Don't cut that cord!
We want to share with you one of our soap box ramblings, which we happily share with anyone who comes within earshot — it's about keeping your baby's umbilical cord intact after the birth, until it stops pulsing.
The practice of cutting the cord immediately after birth is an example of some of the medical industry not practicing what is called "evidence-based" medicine.
With the medicalization of labor and birth, the idea was passed around that the umbilical cord should be clamped and cut immediately after the baby's birth — presumably to prevent any of the baby's blood from washing back into the placenta.
We now know that this assumption is incorrect, and that this practice has created problems for babies.
There's quite a lot of blood (up to 180 mL) that continues to pump into a baby from the placenta after the birth, and when babies don't get this blood, it can create what's called low blood volume.
Think about this — a baby's body has a lot of systems to bring online immediately after the birth. The first breath alone is a huge change. The kidneys, liver, gut and skin are also being used for the first time in a brand new way, and need that oxygen-rich blood as well. When a baby has low blood volume it taxes her liver to a large degree. This can contribute to jaundice, which is sometimes considered an "iatrogenic" disorder (meaning caused by medical interventions).
There are a whole host of other problems associated with low blood volume too — from low blood pressure to anemia to respiratory distress. Many of the benefits of banking cord blood that you've read so much about are passed to your baby as well.
Read more about this piece of the puzzle in the Blissborn Manual, and do your own research. We're certain that when you look at this important choice you'll include it in your Birth Preferences document.
Tell your provider you want to leave the cord intact at least until it stops pulsing — give your baby the best start, and give him the placenta's final gift!
The Importance of Partners
- Created on Saturday, 15 February 2014 17:53
"In the pregnancy process I have come to realize how much of the burden is on the female partner. She's got a construction zone going on in her belly."
- Al Roker
You might have noticed we've been a bit uncommunicative this past year. This has been a time of reflection, of breathing in, of taking stock...
April marks the one-year anniversary of my divorce. It's been a good divorce, all things considered. My ex-husband is a wonderful father to our two children, now ages 8 and 13. He and I work collaboratively to raise them, as we always have, but now we do it from separate households. We are just happier this way.
But I am on my own, a single mom out in the world, doing what every single mom does -- trying to keep it all together without a partner.
Having said that, I must pay homage to the fact that I can't do it alone, and for me to admit that publicly, if you know me, is surprisingly vulnerable and humble ... and purely terrifying. But it's getting easier. I can't do it alone. I need people.
Although there are a great many feats I've accomplished since separating, I've called on my "partners" in good times and bad, and they've pulled me through. I have a close and supportive group who shows up when I get up the gumption to ask... My sister and Blissborn co-founder Laura is my knight in shining armor and the best cheerleader a girl could hope for. My mom will drive the two-hour round-trip to help with anything. And my friends are solid gold. I am fortunate beyond measure.
What does this have to do with pregnancy and birth, you may ask?
Moms ask us sometimes if they can do the Blissborn class alone, without a partner. When we hear that question, we consider it a call to action. Not because of Blissborn (which does require a partner to help you practice and to learn how to best support you). Not because we think two-parent households are best (we're obviously open to alternatives, and have seen unconventional situations work beautifully). Not because we know many doulas who would love to help (and that is true).
No, the reason we rally around a woman who is hoping to take the class alone is because she is often planning to complete her pregnancy, and then labor and birth, without a partner who's dedicated to her and her baby, and that's risky business.
During the last part of pregnancy, you need someone to come to your birth classes and get invested with you, to stand by your side and hold your hand.
In labor, you need a familiar face, a friendly voice of reason, a tried-and-true believer in you, a witness to your good hard work and strength.
After the baby is born, you need someone to relieve you, to help with household chores and participate in the miracle unfolding in your life.
It gets easier to do it alone, but pregnancy, labor and birth are not the time to perfect the art.
If you are pregnant and going it alone, or know someone who is, please take this advice from someone who knows: Women shouldn't have to do it all by themselves. Life doesn't always give us the perfect scenario, but no woman is an island. We are interconnected and interdependent. We need one another, and more than ever in pregnancy, birth and postpartum. Acknowledging this is a kindness to yourself, and you deserve kindness. Find your tribe. Find your support.
Ask a friend or relative to back you up -- they may not know how much you need them, so you will have to tell them yourself. You might be surprised by the responses you get. A wise woman once told us, "If you want a friend, ask a favor." It's likely that your loved ones will be deeply honored! This is sacred stuff.
Hire a doula if there's nobody reliable in your life. If you have limited funds for a doula, check with local doula training groups -- they're always looking for "practice births" and these ladies usually do it for love, not money.
The "who" comes first, the "how" comes second. Get humble, get vulnerable, get connected, get help. It's job number one, even more important than taking a good birth class like Blissborn.
What is the price of dreaming?
- Created on Saturday, 06 October 2012 17:23
What is the price of dreaming?
I ask my clients this sometimes. I often get a blank look in return.
Really, though, what does it cost you to dream big? I say the price of dreaming is actually very small.
Whole lives are created around the concept of protecting the ego. Gazillions of things don't get done because of all of the worrying about what might happen. "What if I dreamed big and failed? How could I live with the disappointment? What would people think?" Or at the first glimpse of possible failure, you pull your hopes back with the thought, "It probably isn't going to work out." All for the sake of saving yourself disappointment.
A friend of ours dared to dream up a special trip on a whim. She took off on that journey feeling hopeful and excited. It didn't go very well. Even though it was just what she needed at that point in her life and lots of fun, everything seemed to be going wrong, taking longer and costing more than she expected. At one point she reported that she felt seriously panicky, thinking she had made a huge mistake and wondering why the universe was out to get her. Tears, fear and upset washed over her. Ouch.
So, THAT moment is what people are afraid of. And when you really think about it, is that moment such a big deal?
Sure, it feels yucky to fall on your face.
But, here's the revolutionary thought in all of this. What if you dreamed big anyway? What if you knew, right down to the center of your amazingly strong core, that you could handle it if something went wrong? You might have to let that moment wash over you, and you might suffer a bit. But after that... you'd be okay. And you'd have maybe learned something spectacular along the way, and seen some pretty great stuff.
If you know you have everything you need inside of you to handle anything that comes your way, you are safe. When you're safe, you have space to create, to build, to move toward pleasure.
In this space, what would you dare to dream about? What would you dare to try? What would you give yourself the chance to accomplish?
Dreaming big and birth.
We talk a lot in Blissborn about creating a sort of "blueprint" for your labor and birth.
This blueprint is important, because your subconscious mind is an association-making machine, which is part of what makes your mind so efficient. You learn a concept along the way and you have a lightspeed-fast connection to similar concepts.
In birth, we want your associations to be around happy and exciting thoughts and feelings. Creating a real and vivid association with the beauty of your baby's birth day is powerful. Your mind has THAT to associate with, instead of the old ideas. And that can make all the difference.
So we say go for it. Dream big and give yourself the good feelings. What do you really have to lose? The cost of holding yourself back is too much. The price of dreaming is small. And if you achieve that dream, there's no cost at all. This seems like a pretty sound investment to us.
Feel less (or no) pain in labor and birth, Part 2
- Created on Monday, 02 April 2012 03:04
In the last post, we talked about the physical approach to pain control -- understanding the physical structures that make the experience of pain possible, and how to stop them with hypnosis and visualization when it makes sense to do so.
In this post, we talk about the mental or emotional aspects of pain, and how to transform your experience of those sensations by shifting your perspective. Try it! It works!
Enjoy this excerpt from Class 4 in the Blissborn Parent Manual!
The philosophical approach
Signals about the body’s status travel through the nerves to the brain, where they are interpreted. Your mental "programming" gives those signals their meanings ("this is good," "this is bad," or "ignore this"). Until they reach the brain, they are just signals, without positive or negative qualities.
When pain is assigned a negative meaning, it colors your experience of the sensations. It is no longer just a signal, because now a degree of suffering has been added. The emotionalized opinion that the pain shouldn’t be happening, or that it is useless, intolerable or undeserved, are examples of suffering. Here are some more examples:
Negative physical experiences (pain):
Positive or neutral physical experiences:
Negative emotional experiences (suffering):
Positive or neutral emotional experiences:
Pain is different than suffering. Suffering makes pain seem worse.
Nerves transmit a certain amount of information physically, but philosophically your interpretation of the signal is within your control. Studies have shown that people interpret pain differently depending on their perceptions of its reasons. For example, a person wounded while saving a child’s life might describe significantly less pain and suffering than someone who had received the same injury due to another’s careless mistake.
Without a way to control it, pain can act like static in the mind, urging you to action, disrupting thought or focus. Using hypnosis to become an observer of your experiences gives you the distance and clarity to choose new meanings for the sensations.
So how does this relate to labor and birth? As the objective observer in hypnosis, you can restore focus, clear the static, release the need for judgment and action, and choose the meanings you’ll assign to the sensations. We know that the sensations of labor are caused by the contractions of the uterus stretching and opening the sphincter muscle called the cervix, and by the pressure of the baby’s descent. While this is a different feeling than you are used to, if there is no resistance, there is little inherent pain in contracting or stretching the muscles and tissues that are designed to do this.
In the pushing stage of labor, as the baby crowns, there is a different sensation: the stretching of the labia and pelvic floor muscles (the perineum). The vaginal opening is also a sphincter. What if these sensations were just new and different, but not painful?
Discarding the idea that damage is being done to your body in birth and choosing a positive emotional attachment to the sensations of birth frees your mind to interpret the sensations differently. It’s entirely possible to have discomfort without suffering.
Once you have decided to assign positive value to labor’s sensations at the conscious level, using hypnosis tells your subconscious to do the same. This is done primarily through visualization and direct instructions to the subconscious. The contractions become friends helping you accomplish your goal, instead of enemies to be resisted. Your subconscious mind can maintain this comfort for you as you work on other things.
Women can lose sight of the bigger picture of what’s happening in their bodies and in their lives during labor. Birth partners are essential for reminding the mom how important her work is, on all levels from the organic to the cosmic. Many women report that staying mentally focused is the larger part of the work that is labor, and the natural laser-like focus of hypnosis is an extraordinary tool in this regard.
There’s a big payoff: When you raise your ideas about a situation to a higher level, suffering is decreased and you can look at it with new eyes. The quality of your experience is determined by the quality of your thoughts and perceptions. Everyone can experience the same situation differently; it’s only our perceptions of the situation that are different. Changing your perspective can change your life.
Want to take it a step farther?
- Check out the website and movie about Orgasmic Birth. It may seem shocking, but you can transform your contractions into something wonderful!
- Find your local Blissborn Educator to learn more or schedule a consultation or a session to experience hypnotic pain control.
- Email Blissborn to get your specific questions answered and receive personal recommendations.
Feel less (or no) pain in labor and birth
- Created on Thursday, 01 March 2012 12:53
Pain is a signal from a part of the body to the brain. It is a built-in alarm that inspires action to protect the body from harm. It is a necessary component of survival.
All pain is a mind-body experience. In Blissborn classes, moms learn how to manage the relationship between their minds and bodies to maximize their comfort and work with their bodies instead of against them.
In Blissborn's Parent Manual and classes, we talk about two approaches to coping with pain: physical and philosophical. The Parent Manual excerpt below will take you on a tour of your body's magnificent design and give you some feel-good ideas for coping with the physical aspects of pain. In the next newsletter we'll cover the philosophical approach. When you take a Blissborn class, your instructor will show you exactly how to use these strategies.
The Physical Approach
Pain happens in the physical structures of the brain, and not in the part of the body in which the pain is felt. Your brain deciphers and records the nature of the signals and their origins.
To experience pain, the body must send the pain signal, the nerves must carry it, the brain must decode the information and the mind must assign value to it. When you control any of these factors, you can control or stop pain.
The pain message is not always accurate or useful. Phantom limb pain, fibromyalgia and crossed nerves are examples of the way inaccurate and useless information can rob a person of peace and comfort. In phantom limb pain, a strong message is interpreted as pain in a missing limb. The pain cannot possibly be in the actual missing structure.
In normal labor, your body is not being damaged; your uterus and cervix are not broken. Your body is built for birth. The intensity of labor is a survival mechanism to get your full attention. The powerful subconscious processes that run your body and mind are never more apparent than in labor and birth.
The new sensations can cause heightened physical awareness, which amplifies pain. It’s good to know that using hypnosis naturally changes the way you experience sensations, even without taking direct measures to control them. In hypnosis, people report lessened sensations of pain as well as greatly diminished suffering. Hypnosis also provides you with direct control over the functioning of your body, nerves, brain and mind. For example, you can:
-- Stop the pain signals at the source by imagining the area numbed by ice.
-- Shut down the nerves carrying the signals like turning off a light switch.
-- Program the brain to ignore the signals as if they’re not part of you.
Pain control requires deeper hypnosis and more practice than other hypnotic tools, but it’s well worth the effort. Once you get the hang of it and begin to experience success, you’ll be able to control your physical sensations faster and more effectively. This skill will serve you well in labor, birth and beyond.
These same skills are used for surgeries without anesthesia (go to www.BlissbornOnline.com for video links), and they have lots of less-intense applications as well.
For example, it’s not uncommon for a "hypnotically sophisticated" person to create rapid comfort by mentally putting ice on a burn, shutting down a migraine headache, or jamming the signals from a broken bone, just by quickly visualizing the steps they would have used in hypnosis. Some hypnosis students have reported that they found themselves creating hypnosis-style comfort before they had consciously decided to do so – evidence that the subconscious mind has learned the techniques and is automatically doing one of its main jobs, to move you from pain to pleasure.
When using hypnosis to alter pain sensations, your first priority must be to care for your body by tending to its signals. Pain sensations are meant to deliver a message. After you have received the message and determined its usefulness, you may then stop the pain and its attendant suffering as you take appropriate action. Hypnosis helps you stay calm and comfortable as you surrender to the energy of birth.
Next time, we'll talk about the philosophical approach to pain control. Stay tuned!