Monday, May 25, 2009

The Benefits of Homebirth

Below is an article I recently wrote on homebirth. Feel free to comment on your personal experience with homebirth!

The Benefits of Homebirth

There is so much controversy surrounding homebirth; many people in our country are simply appalled at the suggestion that homebirth still exists. At the same time, there are those who would not consider birthing any other way. There are several studies that indicate no difference in outcome for a healthy mother and baby experiencing a healthy pregnancy. However, homebirth is still very much the exception in the U.S.

I have no doubt that many more would consider homebirth if they understood more about modern birth practices. There is a new video available through most video rental stores called "The Business of Being Born.” It is a documentary by Ricki Lake and Abbie Epstein that depicts the history of modern birth practices and showcases the depth and power of homebirth, contrasting it with hospital birth. There is no doubt that a natural birth enhances mother/baby bonding and eases breastfeeding.

If women knew what they were giving up, I am certain they would overwhelmingly choose to birth their babies naturally. The difficulty with birthing naturally in the hospital is the unfamiliar surroundings, the unfamiliar staff, and the immediate "option" of pain relief. While birth is an intense process and it is difficult to not want relief, women who successfully birth naturally indisputably experience a "high" that is indescribable. Additionally, there is something about making it through, reaching deep into ourselves for an inner strength we did not know we had. It is a rite of passage that most women in America no longer get to experience. It is something that we can carry forward into those long nights awake with a sick baby, the difficulties of raising a teenager, all the challenges that life throws at us; we know where to reach inside for that place of strength we might not otherwise know how to access.

One thing is certain: mothers who birth naturally in the intimacy and familiar comfort of their homes generally experience greater bonding with their babies, greater success with breastfeeding, and closer-knit families. Perhaps this is all a reflection of who they are; perhaps it is because there was not a disruption of the natural hormones and pheromones present at a birth with no interventions.

Pregnancy Complaints - Resolved!

I recently wrote this article and am publishing it in various places on the web. Enjoy!

Solutions to Common Pregnancy Complaints

There are many changes that take place in a woman's body when she becomes pregnant and as the baby grows within her. There are also many resources that detail the "complaints of pregnancy.” Virtually every pregnancy book lists these complaints and offers solutions for them. I will concentrate on those most often presented in my practice, and the solutions most of my clients find helpful.

Nausea: The increased hormones in pregnancy cause over-production of stomach acids. I recommend eating every two to three hours, even through the night. Keeping something in the stomach seems to minimize the effect of these acids. Also, either drinking mint or ginger tea or sucking on mint or ginger candy or chewing mint or ginger gum often provides a calming effect on the stomach.

Leg Cramps: Try eating a baked potato with sour cream or have a banana with a glass of milk at bedtime. Or take a potassium supplement and consider also a supplement of calcium citrate with vitamin D and magnesium (this will have the added benefit of helping you sleep better when taken within an hour of bedtime).

Indigestion or Heartburn: Eat small meals (eat something every couple of hours rather than concentrating on three meals a day), and limit spicy and greasy foods. Try slowly chewing a pinch of raw oatmeal when experiencing discomfort. Antacids are an option but I suggest limiting their use.

Headaches: Headaches are another side effect of the increased hormones of pregnancy. Ensure consumption of at least 75 to 100 grams of protein a day, a minimum of two liters of water each day, and some form of regular exercise. Many women find relief with essential oils. My favorite is a drop or two of peppermint oil on the temples. If the headaches persist, an over-the-counter pain reliever is an option, but I encourage limiting their use. Occasionally one of my moms benefits from a progesterone cream.

There are many discomforts that can be experienced in a normal, healthy pregnancy. Most of them can be dealt with relatively easily. The good news is that they do not last forever!

For more information about pregnancy complaints, please visit my websites:, and