bunnyjadwiga: (Default)
Someone else on my friends' list posted this a while back.
I think it's adorable and only wish I had the crochet skill to make one from the pattern she sells.
I'm linking to the picture of the custom-made doll just because that's got better pictures-- warning, not necessarily worksafe depending on the squick level in your office:

(I love the part where the baby has a button-on umbilical cord with attached placenta....)
bunnyjadwiga: (Default)
A study of raspberry leaf tablets in pregnancy found no significant disadvantages, and no statistically significant advantages (though clinically significant shorter 2nd stage labor):

M. Simpson, M. Parsons, J. Greenwood and K. Wade, Raspberry leaf in pregnancy: its safety and efficacy in labor, J Midwifery Women's Health 46 (2001) (2), pp. 51–59.
bunnyjadwiga: (Default)
Got Medieval today muses on modern vs. medieval depictions of the Virgin Mary, as well as menstruation and pelvic exams for the BVM. :)

bunnyjadwiga: (Default)
Short notices...
Camann, William, and Kathryn J. Alexander, Easy Labor: Every Woman's Guide to Choosing Less Pain and More Joy During Childbirth. (Ballantine, 2006)
For those who are interested in what the medical birth pain management options are nowadays, and for those who just like reading birth stories. Obviously, the information here is likely to be dated pretty soon, and it's definitely pro-pain management. But the stories are pretty worth it, including the hilarious one about the OB giving birth a bit early, when her husband had pneumonia, *her* OB was in the same hospital recovering from a hysterectomy, and her preferred anesthesiologist was skiing in Colorado. Includes sections on alternative methods of pain management, pain management for c-section, and the intriguing "How painful is it -- really?" Lots of pull out boxes and interview responses with caregivers.

Churchill, Gordon. Expecting: One Man's Uncensored Memoir of Pregnancy (HarperCollins, 2000)
This science journalist's account is probably the most readable of the men-talking-about-pregnancy books. Part memoir, part research notes-- typical journalist, Churchill deals with his pre-fatherhood jitters by interviewing people and doing research. Very interesting coverage of the "couvade" concept and various current scientific/evolutionary/biological research on it. Also interesting were his interviews with male friends about their pregnancy experiences, with a few sidelights into the portrayal of pregnancy/birth in the history of media. While not consistently funny or even trying to be humorous-- and sometimes painful to read, such as when he acknowledges discomfort with the changes in his wife's body-- this is a good read with plenty of humor.
bunnyjadwiga: (Default)
Juliana van Olphen-Fehr. Diary of a Midwife: The Power of Positive Childbearing. (Bergen & Garvey, 1998)

I can't resist reading these stories, I just can't. Even when I'm feeling blue about my personal choices (or lack thereof), I have to read such memoirs.

As a document about the Certified Nurse-Midwifery movement, this is an excellent autobiographical source. It's even funny in a number of places. There's a certain amount of didacticism, a certain amount of dogmatism, involved. It's important to read this document in the context that it's the work of an activist, and of course you'll pick up on the activist tone. I wish there was better balance in the stories she tells (most of them are either 'how the OB sucked' or 'how I and other nurse-midwives were great') but it's certainly more balanced than some of the earlier works. The experiences she documents took place in the late 1970s through the 1980s, and that's important context (some things have gotten better, some worse, and some things haven't changed.) It's also important to remember, when reading this book, that this is a document about primarily a home-birth practice, where the patients accepted were SEVERELY limited by her risk definition-- no overweight patients, no smokers, etc. etc.

Basically, when Ms. Olphen-Fehr talks about her personal feelings and experiences, she is giving us a picture of what it means/meant to become a CNM and to start up her own practice, how home births work/worked while she was practicing (as of the publication of the book, she had become an administrator in a CNM training program, also a worthy pursuit). I would NOT take her strictures or opinions as generalizable to all CNMs or any other kind of baby-catching professional, and I wouldn't read this as a document about childbirth (as one of the reviewers said, too many babies suffer pain or injury for some moms to be able to deal, even if they haven't had the sort of traditional medical birth of the kind she censures. On the other hand, for those interested in how home-birthing more or less works before pursuing it for oneself, this is a good read, not least because the author points out, somewhat tactfully, problems she did have to struggle with. (Ok, I admit it: I don't think I'd want her for my midwife, but I think she's emblematic of her time and for people for whom her approach works, I think it's useful to know what she offered.)
bunnyjadwiga: (Default)
The first recorded case of a C-Section operation survived by the mother appears to have been in Germany in 1500, performed by the desperate father-- Jacob Nufer, a pig gelder.

Rectovaginal fistulas (which is one of the complications that episiotomies were developed to combat) were common and long-term complications of birth in the 19th century. Between 1845 and 1850, James Marion Sims came up with a speculum that allowed repairs to be made and perfected a method by operating on a number of African-American slave women who had such fistulas. He later made his fortune performing the surgery on upper-class women who also demanded the now-fashionable anesthesia for the operation.

The 16th century Rosegarden for Pregnant Women and Midwives recommends that overweight women deliver in a hands and knees position that is widely mentioned in the current delivery/midwifery literature as a method for reducing shoulder dystochia (where the child is trapped in the birth canal because the posterior shoulder cannot be delivered). This manuever, however, is not easily executed in a modern standard delivery room due to the presence of monitoring equipment.
bunnyjadwiga: (Default)
Public record of the labor and delivery of a Iberian woman, 1490:


Jul. 31st, 2007 11:21 am
bunnyjadwiga: (no)
There was recently a stillbirth among the people I work with-- I just found out about it. I thought I would pass on the link for this book by someone I worked with at Lehigh, which is very good-- though goddess forbid my readers would need it:

When Pregnancy Fails; Families Coping with Miscarriage, Ectopic Pregnancy, Stillbirth, and Infant Death.
by Susan Borg and Judith Lasker. Rev. ed., Bantam Books, 1989

Text Online at: http://www.lehigh.edu/~jnl0/book.html


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