childbirth, labor, oxytocin, pregnancy

Pitocin Is Not Oxytocin

Pitocin-Is-Not-Oxytocin
The role of hormones in our body are so vast and dynamic!  Here is a quick article looking at only one of the hormones that help regulate us.

BY KELLY BROGAN MD

“The Love Hormone”.  Sounds important, no? Turns out that we know very little about the hormone oxytocin, beyond that it is incredibly relevant to multiple metabolic, behavioral, and endocrine functions. In a compelling review entitled Beyond Labor: The Role of Natural and Synthetic Oxytocin in the Transition to Motherhood, Bell et al explore the literature suggesting that, once again, we cannot outsmart, outdo, or circumvent nature with pharmaceutical products.

What is Oxytocin?

One of the known roles of oxytocin is in the complex physiology of labor and birth. Perceived by the obstetrical establishment to be a “contraction chemical”, oxytocin’s effects are bodywide, and most notably, brain-based. During pregnancy, oxytocin receptors increase in areas of the maternal brain related to mood, stress, and attachment behavior. Specifically, its activity has been studied in the hypothalamus, lateral septal nucleus, periaqueductal grey, Broca’s area, nucleus basalis of Meynert, locus coeruleus, vagus, solitary tract, trigeminal nerve, and lateral reticular formation. It is secreted continuously in the brain and in a pulsatile manner to the body through the posterior pituitary. Despite efforts, the brain-blood ratio has not been well-elucidated leaving major gaps in our understanding. When it comes to hormones, the production and release of the hormone is critical, but so is the receptor activity – the action of the baseball in the catchers mitt, and receptor sensitivity varies from person to person based on genetics and adaptation to experience.

What is Pitocin?

So, when we manufacture a synthetic version of this hormone and commandeer a woman’s labor physiology, it should come as no surprise that there are unintended and poorly understood consequences. Pitocin®  or “Pit” as it’s called on the floors, is the obstetrician’s whip. They snap this whip when your baby is not conforming to their non-evidenced-based schedules. When your due date is wrong, when you’re forced to birth in highly artificial circumstances, or when your physiology has been hijacked by an epidural.

Bell et al discuss a number of concerns related to the administration of synthetic oxytocin:

  • Because of its hydrophilic (fat-loving) nature and molecular size,Pitocin®  is unlikely to cross the blood brain barrier. But maternal oxytocin is very active in the brain, inducing secretion of other hormones including endorphins (buffering fear and pain). It is also active in the fetalbrain, protecting receptors such as GABA, from potential hypoxia of birth.
  • If, in fact, synthetic oxytocin does reach the maternal brain (because of barrier permeability or active transport of some kind), the authors state:

    “Whether the maternal brain will reliably respond to exogenous oxytocin by decreasing or increasing the synthesis or release of endogenous oxytocin is unknown.”

What about after labor is over?

Women are struggling to breastfeed in proportions likely never seen in human history. Bell et al reference a powerful study that implicates Pitocin in this phenomenon.

“Compared to all other study groups, women exposed to Pitocin® in labor combined with an epidural demonstrated significantly lower oxytocin levels during breastfeeding. Overall, the total quantity of synthetic oxytocin administered during parturition was negatively correlated to levels of oxytocin in plasma two days following birth.”

This may be related to the effects of a pharmaceutical-grade agonist stimulating the oxytocin receptor and causing modeling changes at the membrane level. When receptors are overstimulated, they are internalized and downregulated through changes in gene transcription. Bell et al reference a study demonstrating that:

Participants with oxytocin-induced labor had a 300-fold down-regulation of the OTR gene in uterine muscle, when compared to receptor availability in spontaneous labor.

The role of oxytocin in the HPA axis (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal) may explain why:

“Lactating women show increased vagal tone, decreased blood pressure and decreased heart rate when compared to non-lactating women, especially in response to a stressor.”

Data analyzing the role of oxytocin in response to postpartum stress suggests that it is a buffer to the negative effects of the experience. When this buffering effect is inadequate, we may see the emergence of postpartum depressive symptoms. One study found that bottle feeding women had lower levels of oxytocin, higher heart rates, and higher cortisol, but that breastfeeding depressed women shared this profile, implicating low oxytocin levels in depression.

Amazingly, some of oxytocin’s effects may actually be mediated by gut bacteria (is there anything the microbiome doesn’t manage?) as was demonstrated in this study showing a lactic acid bacteria accelerated (doubled) wound healing in rodents by increasing oxytocin levels. In psychiatry, there is sparse literature supporting the use of intranasal oxytocin in autism, schizophrenia, OCD, social phobia, depression/postpartum depression, and anorexia but notable theoretical underpinnings for consideration in these cases and minimal risk.

While we attempt to understand the variables contributing to altered oxytocin response in the body, deliberately interfering with this feedback system through the use of synthetic hormone should be exposed for what it really is: a dangerous fix for the problems of a medicalized birth.

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breastfeeding, frenulum, inants, newborn, pregnancy, tongue tie

The Basics of Tongue and Lip Tie: Related Issues, Assessment and Treatment

By Melissa Cole, IBCLC, RLC and Bobby Ghaheri, MD., Portland OR.

“Tongue-tie” has become quite a buzz word in some circles and is still quite unknown in others.  Tongue-tie, professionally known as ankyloglossia, is a congenital condition in which the lingual (tongue) or labial (lip) frenulum is too tight, causing restrictions in movement that can cause significant difficulty with breastfeeding and, in some instances, other health concerns like dental, digestive and speech issues.  Mothers of infants dealing with feeding challenges are often desperate to find solutions; as awareness increases about tongue and lip tie, some mothers wonder if this is something their baby may be coping with.

Parents often want to know what some typical signs of tongue/lip tie are.  Each mother/baby dyad is very unique and therefore tongue/lip tie issues can present differently for everyone.  Some common symptoms that may point to the infant being tongue/ lip tied include: poor latch/inability to latch, sliding off the nipple, fatigue during feeds ,sleepy feeds, poor weight gain, clicking during a feed , maternal nipple pain/damage (can feel like the infant is compressing, chewing, gumming, pinching, scraping the nipple, etc), increased maternal nipple/breast infections, compromised maternal milk supply, dribbling milk at the breast/bottle, digestive issues (increased gassiness, reflux, etc due to extra are being swallowed and poor control of the milk during a swallow), and various other feeding related challenges. Some mothers and babies may cope with some of these issues, all of these issues or even none of these issues when a tongue/lip tie presents. We must keep in mind having a frenulum is not the problem; compromised tongue mobility and functionality that cause problems for the mother and/or baby are the problem!

Mothers are tech-savvy and often turn to the computer first to research what might be causing their feeding concerns. When moms go online, they will most likely encounter some discussion about how tongue and/or lip ties can cause feeding issues.  If parents suspect a tongue/ lip tie then families will often want to see a provider in-person to have their baby evaluated and treated.  Sometimes families are lucky enough to have a local provider well-versed in evaluating and treating oral restrictions like tongue and lip tie.  However, many mothers may not have access to this expertise in their local communities. If you suspect that your infant may have a tongue or lip tie and you’re not able to find a provider in your community to evaluate and treat this condition, consider connecting with a local international board certified lactation consultant (IBCLC) that should be able to help connect you with additional resources. Another resource is the website for the International Affiliation of Tongue-Tie Professionals (IATP) (please note that the website is just about to be launched and may or may not be live at present, do check back if needed).

Tongue and lip ties come in various shapes and sizes and can present uniquely in every baby.  Many providers have only been trained to look for very prominent, classic tongue ties that often create a heart-shaped tongue.  However, tongue ties can be sneaky and restrictions that are more posterior (toward the base of the tongue) cannot be easily visualized.  Proper assessment and evaluation are key when identifying these types of ties because they can easily be missed at first glance.  Not all providers know how to properly assess for all types of tongue and lip restrictions.  While there are various assessment tools and tongue-tied classification scales that have been published, there is still no universally accepted standard of assessment and care when it comes to tongue and lip tie.  This fluctuation in assessment and treatment standards can be extremely frustrating for parents trying to seek evaluation and care for their potentially tongue and lip tied infant.  If you are unsure of whether or not your provider is adept at assessing or treating various types of tongue and lip tie you may want to ask your provider the following questions:

  • How do you assess for tongue/lip tie?
  • How often do you treat tongue/lip tie in your practice?
  • Do you treat posterior tongue ties?
  • How do you perform the procedure?
  • What type of follow-up care to recommend after the procedure?

Providers that routinely assess and treat babies for tongue and lip tie should be able to easily answer these questions and provide parents with enough information so that they can make an informed decision.  Providers that may not be the best to assess or treat your baby include ones that rarely assess or treat for this condition, tell parents that the tongue tie will stretch or that it’s not a big deal, tell parents that they have never heard of it posterior tongue tie, or tell parents that this must be done under general anesthesia.  Parents should always feel empowered to seek additional opinions and advocate for the needs of their child if they are struggling to find a provider that understands and treat oral restrictions.

If a tongue or lip tie is present and parents wish to seek treatment, what can parents expect?  Various types of providers treat tongue and lip tie including: ear nose throat doctors (ENTs), pediatric dentist, oral surgeons, pediatricians, naturopathic physicians, and others qualified to do minor surgery.  In most all cases, releasing the frenulum for infants is an in-office procedure, with no sedation needed.  In some rare cases, or in cases with older children, sometimes light sedation is used if the parents or provider feel that the older child would be too stressed while alert, but in infants this is usually not necessary at all.  Some providers release the frenulum with sterile scissors, others use laser technology. The availability and types of providers in any given community will vary as will the course of treatment.  In general, this is what we tell parents coming to our practice to expect (please note that other providers may perform the treatment slightly different ways):

What to expect when your baby needs a frenotomy/frenectomy:

In general, the procedure is very well tolerated by babies.  We take every measure to ensure that pain is minimized.

1)    For a typical frenotomy (an incision of the frenulum), a topical numbing gel is applied once or twice and occasionally, if a frenectomy (frenulum tissue is removed) is needed, a small amount of local anesthetic is injected.  Often, ice chips are applied directly to the area before (and sometimes after), as this helps numb the area.

2)    Crying and fussiness are quite common, and most children lose only a small amount of blood.  They will frequently drool afterwards until the numbing medicine wears off.

3)    Pressure and ice are held to help minimize any bleeding, and the child will be returned back to you, where you have the option of immediate breastfeeding, bottle feeding or soothing depending on your preference.

4)    Tylenol may be used afterwards but is often not even needed.

5)    You may notice some dark brown stools or spit-ups afterwards as some blood may get swallowed after the procedure.

There is very little risk involved with the frenotomy/frenectomy procedure.  The biggest risk of the procedure is the potential for re-attachment to occur.  In order to prevent this from happening, we work with the patient’s in our practice to keep the newly-released area open and healing well by encouraging specific mouth-work after the procedure.  We encourage gently massaging/stretching the incised area, targeted oral motor work to help the tongue and mouth learning patterns, supportive bodywork, and other complementary healing modalities.  By incorporating this type of gentle aftercare, we do see a reduction in reattachment and better progress overall.

Over the decades, it is no doubt that many breastfeeding relationships have probably suffered greatly due to undiagnosed tongue or lip restrictions.  While more providers and parents are becoming educated about ties, we must be mindful not to think that every feeding challenge is created by a tongue or lip tie or that releasing restrictions will immediately improve the feeding situation.  Sometimes there is immediate improvement after the procedure and sometimes it is a gradual process as the tongue is supported in moving in new ways.  Feeding challenges can be complex and involve layers of issues.  In addition, tongue/lip tie can create other issues that may need to be proactively addressed.  Infants and mothers may cope with muscular tightness, nipple damage/pain, milk supply issues, infant weight gain concerns, etc. that need further support before and after a tongue/lip tie is evaluated and treated.  Working with a qualified, experienced board certified lactation consultant or other care providers that are familiar with oral restrictions is highly suggested.  Coping with feeding challenges in a tongue/lip tied infant can be an emotional and physical roller coaster for families.  It is our goal in writing this article that all mothers and babies receive the care they need and that awareness in regards to tongue/lip tie issues will continue to increase worldwide.

For additional resources on tongue and lip tie, please visit Luna Lactation’s website resource page and scroll down to the tongue tie section.

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birth, homebirth, pregnancy

British Regulator Urges Home Births Over Hospitals for Uncomplicated Pregnancies

LONDON — Reversing a generation of guidance on childbirth, Britain’s national health service on Wednesday advised healthy women that it was safer to have their babies at home, or in a birth center, than in a hospital.

Women with uncomplicated pregnancies — about 45 percent of the total — were better off in the hands of midwives than hospital doctors during birth, according to new guidelines by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. For these low-risk mothers-to-be, giving birth in a traditional maternity ward increased the chances of surgical intervention and therefore infection, the regulator said.

Hospital births were more likely to end in cesarean sections or involve episiotomies, a government financed 2011 study carried out by researchers at Oxford University showed. Women were more likely to be given epidurals, which numb the pain of labor but also increase the risk of a protracted birth that required forceps and damaged the perineum.

The risk of death or serious complications for babies was the same in all three settings, with one exception: In the case of first-time mothers, home birth slightly increased that risk. Nine in 1,000 cases would experience serious complications, compared with five in 1,000 for babies born in a hospital.

The findings could affect how hundreds of thousands of British women think about one of the biggest questions facing them. Nine in 10 of the roughly 700,000 babies born every year in England and Wales were delivered in a hospital.

As recently as 2007, the guidelines had advised women to be “cautious” about home birth in the absence of conclusive risk assessments.

Mark Baker, clinical practice director for the health institute, said first-time mothers with low birth risks would now be advised that a midwife-led unit would be particularly suitable for them, while mothers who already have given birth would be told that a home birth would be equally safe for the baby and safer for the mother than a hospital. But women are still free to choose the option they are most comfortable with, Dr. Baker said. “This is all about women having a choice,” he said.

Not everyone was at ease with the new guidelines. “Things can go wrong very easily and we do feel this advice could be dangerous,” Lucy Jolin of the Birth Trauma Association told the BBC.

So far doctors have not expressed any outrage over the decision. “If we had done this 20 years ago there would have been a revolution,” Dr. Baker said. “The penny has dropped. We’ve won the argument.”

With the exception of the Netherlands, where home births have long been popular and relatively widespread, few developed countries have significant numbers of women opting for nonhospital deliveries. In the United States, where a culture of litigation adds a layer of complication, only 1.36 percent of births took place outside a hospital in 2012. Two-thirds of those nonhospital births took place at home and 29 percent at free-standing birthing centers, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

“We believe that hospitals and birthing centers are the safest places for birth, safer than home,” said Dr. Jeffrey L. Ecker, the chairman of the committee on obstetrics practice for American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Under Britain’s integrated health system, if there is a complication, “they have a process and protocol for appropriately and quickly getting you somewhere else,” said Dr. Ecker, who added that he did not believe the British-style guidelines would come to America anytime soon. If such a recommendation were made in the United States, doctors might worry about losing patients to midwives.

That concern is absent in Britain’s taxpayer-funded system. “There are no financial incentives in the U.K. for doctors to deliver in a particular setting because there is no personal gain,” said Dr. Baker of the health institute. Childbirth is “effectively an N.H.S. monopoly,” he said, referring to the National Health Service, Britain’s public health system.

Holly Powell Kennedy, the immediate past president of the American College of Nurse-Midwives, an organization in the United States, praised the guidelines, saying, “This is how the practice should be happening.” In a hospital, “you are less able to labor without interventions,” Dr. Kennedy said.

Reducing the number of hospital births would save the health service money, but British officials said budgets had not factored into the new guidelines. A traditional hospital birth costs the country’s health system about $2,500, with a home birth roughly $1,500 and a birth center about $2,200.

“Yes, it’s a very expensive way to deliver healthy babies to healthy women,” Dr. Baker said about hospital births. “Saving money is not a crime.”

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homebirth, pregnancy

Why Doctors, Nurses, and Other Medical Professionals Are Choosing to Birth at Home

More and more nurses and doctors are choosing to have their babies at home. Find out why!It’s one of the best kept secrets in the medical profession these days: an increasing number of doctors, nurses, physician’s assistants, and other medical professionals are choosing to birth at home.

For the most part these medical professionals keep quiet about it.

They don’t want to offend their colleagues.

They don’t want to lose their hospital privileges.

They don’t want to jeopardize their jobs.

But there are over four million babies born each year in the United States and some of the hundreds, if not thousands, of American doctors and nurses birthing at home are starting to speak out publicly about their choice to have their babies at home.

Why would an obstetrician choose a home birth?

✓ Because home birth is at least as safe or most likely safer than hospital birth. Just ask this M.D. from Yale University who had all four of her children at home.

✓ Because home birth is gentler than hospital birth. Just ask this M.D. who used to fight with his colleagues to allow women to have VBACs and vaginal breech births in the hospital but now attends home births in southern California, including twins and breech babies.

✓ Because they do not want a C-sectionThis M.D. had five.

✓ Because they do not want an inductionan episiotomy, or other harmful, costly, and often unnecessary interventions.

✓ Because they want their baby to come into the world surrounded by love and kindness, not bright lights and anxiety.

One of the medical professionals who chose to have both her babies at home is Jessicca (yes, it is spelled with two C’s, she blames her father) Moore, a 34-year-old nurse practitioner and mother of two from Petaluma, California.

Jessicca (I know that looks wrong but I swear I’m spelling it right) is making a movie about the new trend towards home birth in the medical community.

The documentary film is called, “Why Not Home?

I spoke to Jessicca yesterday on the phone. She generously agreed to share a bit of her (awesome, inspiring, envy-producing) birth story on this blog.

As awesome as her experiences were, if you are like me, Jessicca’s home birth story may be hard for you to hear about

I had my first baby in the hospital. I did not have a good birth.

I still have a lot of regrets and sadness over that choice. Maybe you do too.

I wish I had been as smart and savvy as Jessicca was.

True, it was before the internet. True, I knew very few people who were pregnant or having babies. True, my husband and I were both in graduate school and we had no family support and no way of paying for a home birth. True, I had no idea about how badly we were going to be treated in the hospital.

But I have no real excuse. I should have been smart enough to know better. I was young and healthy and fit. I had only gained 20 pounds during my pregnancy. I planned to stay home as long as possible. What could possibly go wrong?

I loved my obstetrician. She was smart and funny and just a few years older than me. She had a toddler and a new baby of her own, a good sense of humor, and a wicked smile. She looked tired all the time but she was always friendly and kind during our (very brief) prenatal appointments. I didn’t know I would not see her, not even once, during my birth. No one told me she would never follow up with me afterwards to ask me how the labor had gone or inquire about the health of my baby. Why should she? I was just one of her hundreds of patients. “Caring” for my pregnancy was her job. Nothing more.

No matter how good a relationship you have with your doctor, she will probably NOT be available during your labor, unless something goes wrong. The vast majority of obstetricians either feel or are told by hospital administrators that their time is too valuable to come in and say kind words to you, rub your back, or offer you a drink of water. That, after all, is not their job.

So either the obstetrician comes in to do something to you when your hospital labor “stalls” or, if things are going smoothly, she shows up while you are pushing. Only if you are being seen by a large practice with several doctors, like I was, you may end up with one of your doctor’s colleagues, the only male one, the one with the bald head who berates you for being “selfish,” the only one you’ve never met before.

If you’re lucky and have kind nurses, you may have a good hospital birth experience. But if you end up with the sort of nurses I did, ones who thrust their fingers roughly up your vagina after 15 hours of labor and retort, “Nothing! Not even a dimple,” (about your lack of cervical dilation) before disgustedly peeling off their gloves, throwing them away, and rushing out of the room, you may be sorry that you decided to have your baby in the hospital.

I was verbally and physically abused during labor at a hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. The two obstetricians and the labor and delivery nurse who treated me with so much disdain have no memory of me. For them my experience was standard procedure. That the nurses refused to turn down the epidural (the same epidural that I was bullied into accepting, did not want, and was then billed an enormous amount of money for) had no effect whatsoever on them. That I ended up with six weeks of bleeding hemorrhoids, a numb leg, and a broken heart after my baby was born is immaterial. They, too, were just doing their job.

Jessicca has a different story to tell. She did not come to home birth after a bad hospital experience like I did. She had the birth she wanted the first time around. A gentle, safe birth in a familiar location.

Of course more and more doctors and nurses are choosing home birth.

They want what I didn’t have. They want what Jessicca did.

Here’s a bit of her birth story and more about her upcoming film. I contributed $100 to her movie’s Kickstarter campaign. I hope you will too:

More and more doctors and nurse practitioners, like this one, are choosing to birth at home. Find out why. Via JenniferMargulis.net

Off Script by Jessicca Moore

I was always a “good girl.” The oldest in my family, I was a pleaser. I followed the rules, and never got in trouble. I made my parents and teachers proud. My younger brother was another story.

The first time I went off script was when I turned down a scholarship to Washington University in St. Louis at the last minute—during freshmen orientation weekend. Instead I chose to go to a smaller, private Christian University in Arkansas.

I went off script again when I got married while attending college. My parents recovered, but they were initially more than a little displeased at the timing. My dad’s biggest fear was that I would get pregnant and not finish school. I redeemed myself, at least somewhat, when I finished graduate school at UCLA, married and everything. Turns out, my dad didn’t need to worry about me getting pregnant. I would spend four years trying to get pregnant and suffer two losses before I had my two children, both conceived thanks to IVF.

I was a nurse who worked in neonatal and pediatric ICUs. My family and friends assumed I would have my children in the hospital, like nearly 99% of women in America.

With such a high-tech and “wanted” pregnancy, why would I take any chances?

I didn’t make the decision lightly. I looked critically at the data and weighed the risks in various settings. I explored my options thoroughly. And I decided I had the best chance of a safe and uncomplicated natural birth in my own home surrounded by people I knew and trusted.

My family and some of my colleagues disagreed.

But when the time came, the experience of birth was so much more than I imagined it would be.

It was absolutely the most beautiful and powerful experience of my life.

Since then, I have watched friends and family members have dramatically different birth experiences. Experiences that left them feeling powerless, scared, anxious, and defeated.

I have also met more colleagues and hospital birth providers who chose to give birth at home.

Often, they kept their decision quiet, hiding it from friends, family, and colleagues. But theirs is a story I want to tell. A story that has the potential to expand understanding of home birth beyond the fringe practice often portrayed in the media.

So here I am, going off script again. I’m making a documentary film. I’m a practicing clinician and mother of two young children. I never went to film school. It seems a little crazy, but that’s what’s happening.

I started work on this project when my daughter was three months old. I lugged my breast pump to interviews and reviewed transcripts while nursing her. It hasn’t been easy, and it’s still not done. But whenever it gets hard I watch some of the interviews we’ve done or the births we’ve filmed.

There is so much beauty and wisdom, knowledge and power in these birth stories.

I can’t wait to share them with the world.

Off script, it turns out, is the best place to be after all.

Jessicca Moore is a family nurse practitioner and filmmaker in Petaluma, CA where she lives with her husband, two children, and two sheep. She is currently in production on her first feature-length documentary, “Why Not Home?” The film follows hospital birth providers who chose to give birth at home. You can watch a trailer and get more information here: www.whynothome.com and support the project on kickstarter at bit.ly/whynothome.

SmallHeadShotJennifer Margulis, Ph.D., is an award-winning journalist, a former Fulbright grantee, and the author of Your Baby, Your Way: Taking Charge of Your Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Parenting Decisions for a Happier, Healthier Family (Scribner).

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birth, homebirth, pregnancy, research

Largest homebirth study completed

Findings 97 percent of babies were carried fullterm with minimal interventions used for labor and deliveryLargest homebirth study completed reports that 97 percent of babies were carried fullterm with minimal interventions used for labor and delivery
(TRFW News) The Center for Disease Control reports that home births are on the rise in the United States. (3)  Many families worry about safety and choose hospital births in case of emergency.

Study examine 16,924 midwife-led homebirth that confirm health and safety of mother and baby

A  2014 study that examines nearly 17,000 courses of midwife-led care confirms that among low-risk women, home births result in low rates of interventions without an increase in adverse outcomes for babies and mothers alike.  (4)

The results of the study confirm the safety and positive health benefits for low-risk mother and babies.  The study reports that midwives provide excellent care at every step of the birthing process.  Cesarean rate is 5.2 percent for midwife led homebirths in comparison to 31 percent for the national average in the United States.  (1)

Home birth mothers are shown to avoid unnecessary interventions in labor.  Some interventions may be necessary but studies are showing that many interventions are overused, lack scientific evidence of benefits and carry addition related risks.  Midwives were shown to excel at being cautious and judicious when using interventions and this resulted in healthier outcomes and easier recovery for mothers and babies.  The study reported fewer incidents of episiotomies, Pitocin, and epidurals.   (2)

Ninety-seven percent of homebirth babies were carried full term with only 1 percent of babies transferred to hospital after birth

The most significant results of the study are that 97 percent of babies were carried full-term, weighed an average of eight pounds at birth, 98 percent were being breastfed at the six week visit and only 1 percent of babies were transferred to the hospital after birth. (1)

Previous studies have relied on birth certificate data but this study utilized the MANA Stats dataset, allowing for more information.  This study is important in allowing policy makers to understand the importance of legalizing homebirths in states that have not currently done so.  Overburdened hospital systems are creating higher costs for people, insurance companies and government systems.   (4)

This study was able to utilize data of those who were able to give birth at home as well as those who were transferred to a hospital. (2)  It appears that evidence continues to mount that homebirths for low-risk mothers are cost effective and yield healthy results far beyond the pregnancy.

Sources for this article include:

(1) onlinelibrary.wiley.com
(2) www.cfmidwifery.org
(3) www.cdc.gov
(4) mana.org

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