It begins and ends with smoke. Singed white sage is brushed up and down the body. Head to toe, limb to limb. This ritual smudging is meant to clear the indistinct wounds of trauma. A restless morning or ugly fight must first be washed away before each woman enters the headquarters of Tewa Women United in Española, New Mexico. In the smoke, she is grounded.
For 30 years, Tewa Women United (TWU) has brought together Indigenous women from the Tewa and other Indigenous tribes throughout Northern New Mexico’s pueblos, and across the United States, to address the problems facing their families and the larger community. At first, they met around kitchen tables and in coffee shops to discuss divorce or suicide, says Kathy Sanchez, who helped found TWU in the late 1980s. Later on, the members of TWU came to realize that these were symptoms of larger issues and generational trauma. “Why are our kids turning to alcohol? Why are the men so abusive?” Sanchez asks. “Why do we have so many sexual abuses toward women? We were asking a lot of questions about why things were the way they were.”
In recent years, the group has turned its attention to a particular problem connected to reproductive health: After African-American women, Native-American women face the second-highest rate of death during childbirth, more than twice the rate of white women. In 2003, the Tewa Birthing Project began to examine the disparities in health care for Indigenous women, particularly by creating more access to the support provided by a midwife or doula. Last year, a doula training program was organized to help broaden access to health care and create a safer birth experience with less medical intervention. It is free of charge for the students, asking only that they assist with three births within the community.
(Click link at top to read this piece in it’s entirety on vogue.com)
“The birthing plan: Whether it’s set at home with a doula or in a hospital surrounded by family members, many expecting women have their perfect version in mind. And the location and company one keeps during delivery are just the beginning—with highly curated extras like pressure-relieving birthing balls and soothing “push playlists” growing in popularity. But the reality is that when it comes to child birth, there’s only so much you can control.”
This has been a hot topic in the doula world for a while.
(Click link above to watch the video on EBB website regarding dates and labor!)
In today’s Q & A, part of our Natural Induction Series, we’re going to talk about eating the date fruit or Phoenix dactylifera to induce labor naturally. The date fruit contains a high percentage of carbohydrates and fats and also includes 15 different types of salts and minerals, proteins and vitamins, such as riboflavin, thiamine, biotin, folic acid, and ascorbic acid. Some Islamic scholars interpret verses in the Quran to mean that dates are one of the best foods to eat for childbirth. There have been three smaller randomized control trials on eating dates to induce labor and one observational study that asked women about how often they eat dates to induce labor.
In this video, you will learn:
About the studies that have been conducted on eating date fruit to find out whether it can improve birth outcomes with:
The use of labor induction/augmentation with oxytocin
(click link above to see some amazing photos of ALL types of labors and births…)
Oh, my heart…
No matter how a baby’s birth unfolds ― whether it’s a first-time mom having a C-section, or a third-time mother fighting through a labor that lasts two full days ― childbirth is hard and it is messy.
But in between all the, well, laboring are moments of love. Love between partners, love between families and doctors, doulas and midwives, an)d that very special love when parents and babies lock eyes for the very first time.
Here, talented birth photographers share photos they’ve captured that celebrate those moments of pure joy and connection in childbirth.
The mere idea of sitting on an unsteady birthing ball during labor (and even pregnancy!) can be daunting. But when used properly, birthing balls, also known as exercise and fitness balls) are excellent tools to sustain a healthy pregnancy and successful labor. Indeed, birthing ball exercises can give you the strength and stability that you need to speed up dilation, move baby down into the pelvis, and even manage labor and delivery pain. What’s more, birthing balls are affordable, effective and versatile (you can use them well after birth to help with postpartum pain and breastfeeding, and children tend to think they’re great fun to play with), and you can involve your partner, doula or friend depending on where you choose to deliver. It’s no wonder, then, that so many midwives and birth doulas (myself included) recommend them to their clients.
There is no evidence that water births, where a baby is intentionally born under water in a tub or pool, poses any increased harm to the child, Oregon State University researchers have found.
Researchers examined outcome data for more than 6,500 midwife-attended water births in the United States and found that newborns born in water were no more likely to experience low Apgar scores, require transfer to the hospital after birth or be hospitalized in their first six weeks of life, than newborns who were not born in water.
(click link to read the entire study on sciencedaily.com)