Thursday, September 26, 2013


While I feel that the idea behind the Advocated 4 Survivors of Sexual Abuse committee and training session is a wonderful one, attention also needs to be paid to what women are being taught about labor and birth. Read the article below for the details:

In Say What You Mean, I discuss the power of semantics. So where does this paradigm begin? With what women are being taught about childbirth! It begins in pop culture. It begins in the grocery isle line. It begins in the hospital far more than it begins at home.

I'm not sure if these are the author's words or from the hospital/staff, but the article states,
The young mother-to-be screamed and tried to jump off the bed when doctors performed the frequent internal exams required during labor.
 Internal exams are NOT required for labor. It is her body and she doesn't need someone's estimated measurement of her cervix to tell her when to push; she'll know. Furthermore, a cervical exam can only tell a person a small bit about what's going on with a woman's labor; there are many other intricacies at play and she is best left alone.

An article in Midwifery Today states, "What a contraction is doing is always ahead of what a cervix is telling." 

Women are frequently inclined to ask "what am I at?" "How much more to go?" This is a sign of working from the head, when in labor it is best to be within ourselves, allowing our bodies and babies to work together in this intimate dance. 

A good care provider will stand from afar and observe the woman in labor and allow her body, actions, sounds and urges to tell when it is time to push, not the measure of her cervix.

Cervical exams can actually hinder labor, especially in a "patient" who has been sexually abused. In the article this is noted, so why should the chance of labor stalling be increased and the mother feel assaulted? This should not be and that is why any woman can decline cervical exams and probably should do so.

It is also stated in the article
Logically you know it's for the baby, but when you're assaulted and violated so many times, it's not a feeling you want to be feeling,
she said. referring to a survivor. 

Where did this woman learn this concept? Especially being a survivor I would hope that her care provider would provide her with more education to know that there are actually more risks associated with cervical checks, such as maternal infection, and no known benefits to mother or baby, and help her learn to turn inward, trusting her body. More often than not, a survivor will prefer to labor with an epidural because the pains of labor can be overwhelming; even with this intervention, it would most benefit the mother if she gave consent to exams and they were not done so routinely. As you may understand by now, routine exams are not in best interest of the mother according to Western Journal of Medicine.

What is your experience with vaginal exams?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

AKA Transformation

A professor of mine recently asked us to explore transitional states of change~

Why Sal, I'm so glad you asked. A very challenging transitional state of change for many women that classifies them as a "person at risk" would be pregnancy and birth. At risk for what you may ask?  Well, having a baby, of course.

growing their family. hospital policies. the joy of birth. birth trauma. interventions. confusion. trials of patience. a new relationship. a breastfeeding relationship. transformation.
A "person at risk" -in the birth sense- aka a person in need of love, support and empowerment.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Unplanned Unassisted {via Banned From Babyshowers}

Banned From Baby Showers: Indiana Couple Gives Birth in Their Bathroom -- ON ACCIDENT! (It's a Better News Story When it's Not Planned)

Donna Ryan, author of Banned From Baby Showers presents a great alternative title for "Emergency Childbirth"; as you might remember from another recent post of mine, semantics are incredibly powerful!

My favorite part of her post is her commentary on the response of the OB
that he'd never seen a baby born in "this good of shape born outside of the hospital".  He/she must have some magical powers to make babies be in "good shape" when they are born in the hospital!  Being born in the hospital does not mean that a baby will be in "better shape" than a baby born outside of the hospital. It's not a magical place.
It's a shame the shock value of this story - a shame that "it's a better news story when it's not planned" because every birth is beautiful whether it be at home, at a hospital, unassisted or attended by a professional. I would not consider an EMT one of those professionals and I cringe at the misinformation they are taught in school. My husband is on his way to becoming a firefighter and happens to be in the paramedics course this semester- let's just say that the "emergency" childbirth chapter of his school book is filled with sticky notes from me! Not only are they taught inappropriate ways to attend to an unplanned unassisted birth outside of the hospital but some of what they are taught can be down right harmful, if not at least traumatizing to the mother and un-beneficial for the baby. 

Banned From Baby Showers suggests that this couple, though they esteem this as a positive experience, may venture to opt for an induction for their next baby. I would like to hope they'll opt for a planned home birth.

Where was your baby born? Did you have an unassisted birth? Planned or unplanned?

For more information on [planned] unassisted birth visit Laura Shanley's Page 
or take an "undisturbed birth" class with Indie Birth 

Be Empowered on this Journey of Life!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Say What You Mean

You do not have to be induced. No matter what they say. No matter what you say. Even when medically indicated!

*Gasp* Am I proclaiming that you shouldn't get an induction when medically indicated?  No, of course not. But that's you're choice! And that is the point I am making.

I am so tired of hearing women say "I had to get induced because..." You did not HAVE to get induced! You do not HAVE to be induced!

In regards to medically indicated inductions

Please, I implore you, for the sake of birth in our society, consider your words carefully. Because how we speak, how we think, how we view birth matters; it truly, truly makes a difference for women around us and for future generations. What are we teaching our daughters and their future husbands when we say "I had to"? We are teaching them and those around us that it is not their birth, it is that of the institution. Semantics are incredibly powerful. The correct terminology in the case of your suggested medical induction would be, "My care provider recommended induction" And then, do your research or look within or pray, whatever your general go-to method is when between a rock and a hard place. It IS your choice to allow or decline your care provider's suggested induction. Take responsibility for your birth- after all, it's your body, your baby, your birth, your choice.

I urge you, to know and understand what true medical indications for induction are. Take responsibility for your choice.

Did you know: 

According to the NNEPQIN Post maturity (gestational age <41 weeks) is an elective induction.
ACOG, Mayo Clinic and American Family of Family Physicians all discourage the elective induction or scheduled cesarean for reason of a "big baby."
Childbirth Connection and Evidence Based Birth also have a lot to say about inductions.
Lamaze International says
When it comes to choosing a birthday, baby knows best.
UpToDate says
Delivery before the onset of labor is indicated when the maternal/fetal risks associated with continuing the pregnancy are thought to be greater than the maternal/fetal risks associated with early delivery
Your due date is not an expiration date 

In regards to elective inductions

The truth is, well you know what the truth is. 

I'll say it again, semantics are powerful. 

"I had to be induced because I'm overdue" means "I'm sick of being pregnant so I've decided to force my baby out because I went past my guess date"  

As I said before, your due date is not an expiration date. You have options.

Sometimes, women feel - due to family circumstances, such as spouse availability, family being in town to help after baby is born, striving to get all of that maternity leave - that they must induce. In these circumstances, please, please, understand the real hormones involved and the importance of labor. Understand, as said before, you should be choosing the lesser of two evils. It is your choice, I give you that but be responsible for it and responsible for what you say, because semantics are powerful. Did you hear me yet? Semantics are incredibly powerful; we are shaping the way our society views birth, not just now but for future generations. So please, if you've chosen an induction for convenience, stop saying "I need to be induced" because you don't! You are choosing to be induced. Furthermore, you should never feel pressured into an induction. "My care provider says I have to be induced" is not, in and of itself, a valid reason for induction. Your care provider may recommend and induction but in the end it is your choice to accept or decline. You do not have to show up! Make an informed choice that supports your birth, your body, your baby and your desires.

To induce or not to induce. That is the question. And it is just that, a question, a suggestion, an intervention. This is your Journey of Life -own it!

Did you schedule your labor or let nature decide?

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Practicing Distractions

Source: Urban Parenting Magazine
Nomophobic: The fear of being without cell service.

I've got gadgets and gizmos a-plenty
I've got whozits and whatzits galore
        You want thingamabobs?
               I've got twenty!
              But who cares?
                  No big deal
                 I want more

I don't think Disney had our current state of being in mind when this song was written. But take a look around you. In restaurants, at the bus stop, in line at the state fair - everywhere you go you'll find someone on their cell phone or practicing some other form of distraction; 

We always have to be doing something! 
You're doing something right now- reading this blog, perhaps you're even on your cell phone. 

I challenge you to stop practicing distractions. Take the time to enjoy your kids- be there, be ALL there. Enjoy empty moments of time. Don't think you have any free time? You just might find some by taking on this challenge. For 48 hrs- when your dinner date goes to the ladies room, don't tweet. When you find yourself in line at Starbucks, don't try to beat the next level of candy crush. When the kids have gone to bed and the last one's made her last "peep", don't check your Facebook, or your email, or even your missed calls. Breathe in the silence. 

My son (6) and I were driving home from Prescott the other day and he discovered his Nintendo DS wasn't charged. He asks me "mom, can I play on your phone" which I denied him. "Mom, do we have a coloring book?" and we didn't. "What am I supposed to DO?!" he exclaimed. I told him to just chill, enjoy the view, relax. He matter-of-factly replied, "Mom, kids these days don't know how to chill."  

Chill out and enjoy the Journey of Life. 

What distractions are you prone to practice? ;-)

Contact info

Jennifer Valencia | Labor & Postpartum Doula | 928.300.1337


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