Thursday, March 09, 2006


Work's been busy since returning and I've tried to be good about NOT blogging at work. Still, I'm building a backlog of things to note, so let me sum a few of them here:

1. Stress contributes to early miscarriage. UM researchers studied women in the first three weeks of pregnancy and found that women with elevated cortisol levels miscarried 90% of their pregnancies, compared to 33% of women with normal cortisol levels. I know of another UM study that several of my clients participated in, that is examining cortisol levels before, during and after pregnancy and maternal depression. Cortisol is a mighty hormone and we're only starting to understand its impact on gravid women and their fetuses. Nonetheless, all evidence points toward benefits from eliminating stress during pregnancy.

2. Suffocation often at fault in SIDS. Much of last year's recommendations by the American Academy of Pediatrics was reiterated in this article from our local paper. However, I had missed somewhere the notion of a barren crib. I knew to not put blankets on the baby and to make sure crib sheets fit tightly, but I had not heard that even crib bumpers could cause suffocation.

More interestingly -- and continuing in the hormone vein -- is new evidence that babies who die from SIDS may have disruptions in the serotonin levels. Serotonin helps us gasp when we stop getting air. Sleep apnea "survivors" owe a lot to their serotonin. Sadly, SIDS victims are not apnea survivors.

3. Turning from sad to horrifying, I found this account of an Auschwitz midwife inspiring and revolting. She delivered over 3,000 babies during her imprisonment and not one of them died at delivery. Unfortunately, only a few dozen Auschwitz babies left the camp alive.

"Until May 1943, all the children born in Auschwitz were drowned in a barrel. These operations were performed by Schwester [sister] Klara, a German midwife who was imprisoned for infanticide. 'After each delivery, the mothers were able to hear the characteristic gurgle and splashing water' as their babies were disposed of."

4. Returning to a more nurturing model of motherbaby care, some Syracuse (NY) doulas have added a "Mommy Meal Plan" to their services. Visit their [very well-developed but questionably soundtracked] website at to see meal options. It's an interesting intermediate step for women who might not want to hire a postpartum doula, but need some nourishing food.

5. And in Australia, women may move from the hospital into a luxury hotel for the first few days postpartum and have access to an in-house midwife. It appears insurers are behind the move, no doubt because a $250/night hotel stay is still markedly cheaper than the hospital equivalent. And I hear the beds are nicer, too.

6. Finally, I went with my gut last night and agreed to be the doula for the woman who anticipates a twin VBA2C. How exciting! Actually, she's had two "successful" VBAC births already. So I'm more concerned about the twin aspect of it than the VBAC ones. Any good "twin" labor, delivery and postpartum reading out there? I need to get crackin'.


Blogger Sandy said...

My moms' group (in Washtenaw Co.: ) does the meals for families thing after a baby is born - members sign up to bring meals for a member who's just given birth, on bedrest, or who has had surgery, etc. I have to say it made a huge difference, having someone stop by every few days and deliver a meal for a month. Not quite a "babymoon", but still a sanity saver. When you're not sleeping it's nice to eat well.

2:33 PM  
Blogger Tara said...

Oh, that article about the midwife in Auschwitz is heartbreaking... I'm speechless. My thoughts are similar to the ones I had after I read the article on postpartum psychosis that you posted a while back. I know that we need to know these things, that we need to remember... but I can't help wishing that I didn't have to know, that I could erase such horrible images from my head and pretend that I never knew. But thank you for reminding me anyway. We can't let ourselves forget.

4:17 PM  
Blogger Dr. Deborah Serani said...

Great info here

12:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have some vbac twin stoies to share... will hunt for your e-mail (hidden on your blog perhaps?) later on when I don't have nursling attached....

5:01 PM  
Blogger doulicia said...

Hi all. For some reason my left page links all vanished. Until I sort that out, I wanted to make sure K had my email address (

also, Sandy, your moms' group sounds great. I know I've helped organize food caravans for clients or had clients whose friends did this, but I'd not heard of a mother's group doing it for their "members." Nothing beats a hot, home-cooked meal.

Tara, I feel like you do. I cannot fathom most of the awful things that happen in the world, this being only one of them. But I guess I also found the impact this one woman had very inspiring. No deaths among thousands if malnourished, ill, mothers? Amazing. Of course, that doesn't change the fact that I wish it hadn't happened to start with.

9:28 PM  
Blogger I am a Milliner's Dream, a woman of many "hats"... said...


I suggest:
The VBAC Companion,by Diana Korte and all the VBAC info in Henci Goer's The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth.

If you want to borrow either/both before buying them, let me know.


2:37 PM  
Blogger gnarly nanny said...

the midwife in that article was incredible.

7:57 PM  

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