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PRESS RELEASE - Ravenswood, WV - March 24, 2017 – Esali Birth to host 9th Annual Mother’s Day 5k in Belpre, OH on Mother’s Day Sunday, May 14th at the Civitan Park. The MD5k is a stroller-friendly beginner’s level course with walker and runner categories, along the Ohio River and is part of the River City Walkers and Runners club summer series. Registration, $15 per participant, is available Saturday, May 13th from 5pm-7pm at Shelter #1 at Belpre Civitan Park. T-shirts are limited. Race Day registration is $20 per participant, from 12:30-1:45 with the 5k beginning at 2:00 pm EST. Free kids races for ages 11 and under will follow, directed by the River City Kids organization.

Proceeds from the race support community education and support events as well as education and progress of healthy and happy births throughout the Mid-Ohio Valley and surrounding regions. Breastfeeding rates throughout West Virginia are some of the lowest in the country. Families do not know all of their options regarding birth, and are not fully supported to birth in all environments including at home where studies have shown, for healthy mothers, home birth is as safe as, often with less intervention, as hospital birth.

“This fundraiser is a crucial part of Esali Birth’s free workshops and outreach, such as the monthly MOV Breastfeeding Social, that provide educational and supportive opportunities for families of childbearing age. Adequate knowledge of breastfeeding and the support to do so is imperative for continued breastfeeding success. Likewise, healthier births and breastfeeding basics allow longer breastfeeding relationships which affect the continued health of the mother, baby, and community,” says Esali Birth owner and Perinatal Mentor, Danielle Bergum.

Esali Birth’s MD5k started as a World Breastfeeding Week celebration in 2009 supporting La Leche League. As LLL stopped their WBW celebrations, the race transitioned to fully supporting the Mid-Ohio Valley.  In previous years, proceeds have been utilized for WV RN continuing education opportunities to enhance knowledge of early tongue tie (ankyloglossia) influences on breastfeeding success, training for area birth professionals for advanced techniques in labor support, and enhancement of educational resources for expecting families. Esali Birth plans to utilize 2017 proceeds for similar opportunities in the coming year to enhance the well-being of childbearing families and increase support options throughout the Mid-Ohio Valley.

Esali Birth provides education, doula support, and full mentoring to families in the Mid-Ohio Valley and online. Esali Birth seeks to enhance the knowledge of options available to childbearing families as well as the human rights individuals have during birth and beyond. Empowering parents to make informed decisions about their health and well-being is our focus through confidence-building education, awareness and support.

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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Danielle Bergum at 304.482.4729 or email mdbergum@esalibirth.com.

5 Books for Childbirth

Birth books never get old at my house.  Are you looking for some great reads this winter?  Here are five birth books you can cozy up by the fire with and really start digging deep into birth practices, their influences on maternal-fetal health, and how to get started now helping your mentoring clients or making your pregnancy more holistic and comfortable.

Safer Childbirth? by Marjorie Tew

This book is a hard look at the history of maternity practices - from cultural and anthropological influence to studies and evidence completely disregarded and twisted - that literally changed the way we believe about birth and the misconceived perception of safety that runs rampant with many providers and birthing facilities, with research to back.  If you're new to the birth scene, definitely grab a copy of this!  If you're seasoned, especially if you have formal education and find birthing practices and helping women intriguing, definitely grab a copy of this!

Tew tells us, "Action to reduce losses in childbirth still further would have to concentrate on improving the health of the neediest mothers.  In the light of past performance, there is not the slightest reason to believe that the desired objective would be achieved by increasing the medical input into maternity care. On the contrary, fewer losses would result if the medical input into maternity care were greatly restricted, while access to, and uptake of, healthy diets and social support became universal."

Hear, hear!

Move Your DNA by Katy Bowman, M.S.

Many of you may have read Katy Bowman's interview years ago about the negative impacts of kegels (read: mono-movement) and importance of [proper] squatting (though, in reality - it is movement she's getting at - not just squatting).  You may not have realized that within that time, that interview exponentially increased her traffic and in addition to her amazing Nutritious Movement website, she has many amazing books that are an absolute must read for any... modern human!  What I love most?  She further instills my annoyance over "exercises" and instead encourages fun and functional balanced daily movement.

Movement - rather body alignment which is created from healthy daily movement - is crucial for the body's biological ability to birth smoothly.  There's only so much healthy eating can do for you.  While not a perinatal-specific book, this is a foundational look into some of the most common health conditions of our modern cultures which directly relates to many common birth and breastfeeding complications.

Bowman urges us, "I want you to keep exercise and movement separate in your mind because there are many movements we wouldn't consider exercise that are essential to the tissues of the body.  For example, the workings of an infant's mouth while feeding at the breast are different than the workings of an infant's mouth while feeding off a bottle.  In the end, the task of getting milk is accomplished no matter if you take a boob or a bottle, but the process of milking the breast, it turns out, is important to the optimal formation of the jaw and face bones.  The structure of the face bones and established motor patterns of the face muscles end up affecting other processes, like breathing and swallowing, as ell as the space available for tooth eruption."

mmmmhmmm.... I know - all you mommas out there that have ever interacted with me for breastfeeding support are probably hearing my voice in your head repeating my caution of things like pacifiers, am i right?  This is a great lead into the next dig-deeper book recommendation.

Impact of Birthing Practices on Breastfeeding, 2ed. by Linda J. Smith and Mary Kroeger

Still one of my most absolute favorite books.  Period.  If I could quote the entire amazing information here, I would.  It is just so good and I am constantly astonished by the persons that work within the maternity industry that not only haven't read this book, but are completely unaware of the information within.  This title is a picked apart, intensely researched, look at birthing practices from the big ones - like cesarean and pain relief - the seemingly insignificant ones with big impacts - like IV fluid and mother's position at birth.  I mean, wow!  It is worth every single penny and I do so hope that if you're a perinatal mentor, that this is already on your bookshelf.  If not, please add this one soon!

The authors explain in the chapter on Effects of IV Hydration on Maternal Stress, Breast Edema, and Lactogenesis, "Postpartum breast engorgement is a major barrier to establishment of effective and comfortable breastfeeding.  Only recently have clinicians differentiated between onset of copious milk secretion (lactogensis III) and edema... Many mothers have left birth facilities by day 2-4, and may not have access to adequate professional support in the critical first week postbirth."

Then the snowball just keeps rolling.

Dr. Jack Newman's Guide to Breastfeeding, Revised Ed. by Dr. Jack Newman and Teresa Pitman

Dr. Jack Newman has some of the most thorough and equally the most effective - simple - breastfeeding information available.  There are a lot of great resources out there, but if you're looking for that one title to add to your shelves, this is it.  It is great for expecting mothers without having to filter through a lot of opinions or outdated support techniques to get to the basics of breastfeeding and likewise a great flip-through reference for perinatal mentors.

Have you experienced this yourself?  Newman explains, "A baby who 'latches on just fine for the first few days' and then cannot latch on when the mother's milk comes in and she becomes engorged probably didn't latch on in the first few days: he pretended to.  If a baby breastfeeds well in the first few days, the mother may feel full when her milk 'comes in,' but she should not be so engorged that the baby cannot latch on."

Did your mentor share this information with you?  This is only the tippity top of the iceberg of information contained within these pages dispelling myths - even in the birth support community.

Herbal Healing for Children by Demetria Clark

You know I couldn't do a list like this without some recommendation of herbal wellness.  Many new mentors and parents are looking for compact information that makes their lives easier and healthier.  This is a great book for the shelf that does just that.  Not limited to children, despite the title, it is great for the whole family by offering pages and pages of whole-family safe recipes and basic herbal care knowledge sharing.  Everything from cradle cap and diaper rash remedies to infestations, infections, and fever support - this is a great go-to for feeling more confident in parenting (always helpful) and having resources available for mentoring clients.

A little excerpt encourages, "Treating a child with herbs can be an effective way to fortify the body and cure illness.  Herbal medicine is the right choice for kids because it blends modern medical research with ancient practices and remedies.  Children generally respond well to herbal remedies, even when they are administers in tiny doses.  Children's bodies are sensitive and react promptly to an herb's synergistic, efficient, gentle effects."

This was one of the first books I ever bought on herbal wellness when my littles were tinies and it just fed my obsession of obtaining herbal awareness.  I still reference this at times for my personal mentoring clients when time is of the essence.

BONUS!

Man's Guide to Birth by Danielle Bergum

Last but not least, a little bonus book - and free with Kindle Unlimited - though I may be a little biased on this title, is Esali Birth's Man's Guide to Birth which is a pocket-guide style summary of the holistic knowledge shared from Esali Birth Mentoring.  From conception through pregnancy, into birth, and during postpartum and early parenting - each page is a tip to follow with a quick summary.  No new parent should be without this guide, and every mentor should have this in their lending library.

Most new childbearing families feel a sense of comfort birthing in the US from a perceived belief that our developed status makes us less prone to less than ideal outcomes.  Reality, however, is not quite so...

What we know:

  • The U.S. has the worst maternal health statistics of ALL developed countries (we rank 61st). Yes, even though we spend more per capita on health care and many [hospital] births are off the charts expensive.  Home births can be expensive, but relatively they are much lower costs.  Many women find that the cost of a home birth is lower than insurance deductibles.
  • 99% of births are in a Hospital, attended by nursing staff focused on monitors and obstetrician that are not present for labor.  Shouldn't this increase our safety if women are birthing in a hospital believing they are receiving the best care?  However, it can be quite difficult to really tell what is happening in labor if someone is only focusing on monitors, "observing" a laboring mother from a completely separate room, or getting feedback from phone conversations.  This does not happen at a typical home birth, I can assure you.  Quietly knitting in the corner, possibly - but ever listening, observing, noting, and providing calm energy.
  • Countries with better health statistics have midwife-attended labors and births with home birth as an accessible option supported by obstetrician.
    Yes, European countries have a model of maternity care that encourages midwives for normal healthy births collaborating with obstetrician for higher risk births and surgical birth.  Only 8% of births are attended by midwives in the US, and many of them have also never seen a home birth but rather learned from Obstetric and medically managed births.
  • Studies show home birth is as safe as, with less interventions, than hospital birth.  We have to start with the idea that providers actually understand the biology of birth.  If they've never seen a normal non-intervened birth, then they can't adequately compare what is normal and what is managed.  At most home births, a quiet and calm midwife with experience in home birth will watch and let mom do her thing in peace and love with her family.  She may support emotionally, palpate, suggest positions, and listen to heart tones - but she starts with a perspective that birth takes time, mobility, and love.  If we go to medicine every time something isn't matching an outdated and limited-study chart, then we're seriously diminishing the birth safety for mothers from the get go.  Once that first intervention starts, it often snowballs into many others and sometimes, walking out the front door is that first intervention because moms no longer feel calm and confident.
  • Hemorrhage is the leading cause of maternal death. This is true just about anywhere, but what people don't realize is how much a medically intervened birth increases this risk.  Environments that don't support biology such as taking baby away from mom, medications surrounding birth, and anything that decreases oxytocin such as bright lights, noise, chaos, too many people in the birth room, and staff demeanor, will increase adrenaline which is an antagonistic hormone to oxytocin.  Oxytocin is the hormone that contracts the uterus.  A contracting uterus after the birth (which is also increased with baby being skin to skin and nuzzling the breast) clamps down on the capillaries and stops bleeding.  This is only ONE influence, which happens in practically all hospital births, that increases risks of hemorrhage.  The other significant issue is postpartum care which is virtually nil in hospital births.  With a home birth, midwives see the mom multiple times after the birth, call often, and meet with mom 2-3 times within a 6 week period for a normal birth.  Most moms birthing by cesarean only have one appointment after 6 weeks.  A lot can happen during postpartum such as hemorrhage and eclampsia.  Care needs to continue for moms with adequate breastfeeding knowledge and support and postpartum healing care.  This would also decrease postpartum depression, which brings us to our next point.
  • 10-20% of US women suffer from postpartum depression.  This doesn't cover prenatal depression... but why is this happening?  We've created a culture that believes baby blues are a normal part of postpartum, for one.  That many mothers are sad that it is literally believed to be expected.  This is ridiculous.  When a woman is designed to have a flood of happy hormones pour over her throughout birth, immediately after birth at higher levels than orgasm, and every single time she breastfeeds - what in the world would make postpartum such a depressing time?  Let's think about the fact that 42% of women are induced and another 47% are augmented (sped up) both often with synthetic oxytocin (pitocin or syntocinon) which doesn't cross the blood-brain barrier and as such doesn't have the same psychological effects as natural oxytocin.  Let's think about the 99% of women birthing in environments with bright lights, a lot of noise, and often chaos immediately after birth all of which decrease natural oxytocin.  Let's think about all those babies whisked away, screaming like crazy, handled like a rag doll, and jammed with all sorts of needles and suction devices and touching people that have no business touching the baby before mom.  Let's think about the majority of hospital birthing women that receive a routine injection of pitocin post birth to "prevent" postpartum hemorrhage (never mind the fact if the prior labor care was biological, natural oxytocin and immediate bonding/skin to skin would work as it should).  Let's think about all the supplements and pacifiers not only at home, but given away in the hospital to reduce breastfeeding.  Let's think about all the providers that know next to nothing, or completely wrong, breastfeeding information.  Let's think about all the moms that go home and are expected to do it all, even some going back to work in 3-6 weeks before they're ever physically healed, let alone psychologically.  Let's think about all those women that are expected to milk their breasts with a machine instead of having their baby with them as nature designed.  Let's think about the lack of support women have during these stages when other countries literally pamper the mom for 4-6 weeks with food, love, and most of all encouragement to lie with her baby and rest and nurse.  Let's think about what we're causing, not what to expect because we're unwilling to change practices.  Let's think about the 33% of women birthing by cesarean, likely 1/2 of those being preventable through proper care, that have doulas and dads holding their baby on their breast to nurse because they're so medicated and tired they can't hold their arms up.  Let's think about these cesarean birthers that are healing from birth trauma and major surgery that are told, "all that matters is a healthy baby" who are not just suppressed on telling their story, but never routinely counseled to process their birth.  Home birth midwives STILL meet with their hospital transfer patients during postpartum when their care was transfered because they get what a mother needs.  Where is this care for most of that 33% of women?
  • More women are birthing unassisted because of their fear of trauma from birth attendants and hospital policies. While I am among the few that support unassisted birth because I support autonomy and I believe in the body's ability - I am appalled that many women are choosing this not because they feel empowered to do so and are truly at peace with all birth scenarios, but because our maternity system is failing.  It is increasing their fear of harassment, bullying, birth rape, safety for mom and baby, and ultimately parental confidence.

 

Now, make no mistake - all of this is real and true, but in most communities, we are certainly blessed to have the ability to choose home birth with experienced attendants.  Likewise, the relative risks are overall low in childbirth - not at all like it was when birth first moved into the hospital and providers were increasing risks of birth by causing illnesses simply from not washing their hands.  We've come a long way and have a lot of methods available to us to make birth safer.  The key, however, is to use those methods when needed and not as a form of defensive medicine or our of fear for lack of biological understanding.  There are so many great resources to help you learn more about birth in the US such as www.improvingbirth.org, www.primalhealthresearch.com, and www.childbirthconnection.com.

Feeling confused?  Looking for options?  Seeking the desire to free your mind of birth fear?  Schedule a mentoring session with me and let's talk about your situation and your options.  Let's talk about your health to maximize your birth options and let's talk about how to navigate this birth industry for the happiest birth possible, because a happy birth is a healthy birth.

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turient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus.

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Praesent augue arcu, ornare ut tincidunt eu, mattis a libero. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. In elit purus, ullamcorper vel luctus vitae, venenatis eu odio. Vivamus tincidunt, urna quis consectetur venenatis, quam urna tincidunt mi, quis convallis enim dolor sed elit. Pellentesque ultricies congue lacus, eget elementum erat lobortis et. Sed non velit neque. Mauris gravida mattis libero elementum dignissim. Proin vehicula ultricies leo, vitae sollicitudin risus sagittis at. Cras sit amet eros purus. Curabitur non lectus id massa auctor cursus. Cum sociis natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus.

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It is THE cause above all causes. It is the BEGINNING of health for our children and their future. Support the beginning, and the future becomes brighter. Birth and breastfeeding go hand in hand, and by supporting the early stages of life, we can improve our culture’s health and happiness for many generations to come. Breastfeeding provides protection against diabetes and all the big diseases most other causes are supporting. But, this isn’t just a bunch of money going to causes that haven’t improved outcomes over the past 20 years – it is going to support biology in one of the most healthy ways possible – and directly in our own community. That mom down the street that cried because she didn’t have support to breastfeed – this money goes for her. This money goes for the baby with latch problems. The money goes for the families that want to breastfeeding and want a free place for support. Every little bit helps support our community and our future.

Bottom line, remember that everyone has the birth they need for their own spiritual journey. There is a rhyme and reason for all things. Births are life changing for the mom and baby, and we all want this experience to be as healthy and happy as it can be – but ultimately, no matter how this plays out, this event is significant to challenge you in your faith and relationship with God. Maybe you are becoming a stronger mother, a more loving care giver, a more patient person, a more carefree individual, understanding for the next phase of your life, meeting someone that you’ll impact in the future… the reasons are endless. So, let’s join together in our advocacy and not fight with one another for the sake of which one has it right. They are all necessary – let’s just work to make birth normal again for everyone and the birth experience empowering.

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