In the mother hood

Check out my recent post about Elisabeth Badinter’s Tyranny of Breastfeeding in a recent issue of Harper’s.

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FP in TheBump

We recently found out that Fearless Pregnancy will be in TheBump, the print companion to the popular site. Thanks to Bump readers for mentioning Fearless Pregnancy as one of their favorite pregnancy books! If you don’t know the yet, check it out. It’s a great site!

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Pregnant and working? Take this survey!

Fearless Pregnancy was recently contacted by University of Georgia professor Laura Little and Texas Tech researcher Amanda Hinojosa to spread the word about a very exciting study they are doing on pregnant women’s work experiences. It’s called the “Pregnant and Working Survey.” Here’s a little about it from the researchers:

Are you pregnant and working? We need your help!

We are researchers from the University of Georgia and Texas Tech University, studying the attitudes and behaviors of pregnant working women. We are also mothers and understand the struggles pregnant working women feel. We want to help so we are studying ways to improve the workplace experiences of pregnant working women. To do so, we need pregnant working women who are 18 years of age or older to fill out a short survey. The data obtained in this survey will help us develop a valid instrument so that in the future we may test these experiences and how they relate to organizational outcomes. LINK TO SURVEY: “PREGNANT AND WORKING SURVEY”

Please take a moment to complete this survey and also forward a link to friends who are pregnant. Research in this area is much needed!–

Fearless Pregnancy team

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Breastfeeding Helpline

Yesterday I complained there wasn’t enough free help out there for breastfeeding moms. Today I found the National Breastfeeding Helpline.  Also check out for more breastfeeding info.

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Is a Call to Action for Breastfeeding enough?

Last week the U.S. Surgeon General’s Call to Action for Breastfeeding made the news. The CDC says 75 percent of babies are initially breastfed but by six months only 13 percent are exclusively breastfed. Since I have a 2 month old and am currently breastfeeding — but not without struggles– this hits home. There’s been a lot of talk about more workplace and family support. I think that’s important, but I have to say that it’s the technical issues that often thwart breastfeeding efforts. There needs to be more affordable help out there for these issues.  I think we need to get real…breastfeeding is natural, but not easy for many, many women. Cracked nipples, clogged ducts, mastitis, latch problems, not producing enough milk…well, the list of potential issues is pretty vast. I live minutes from a wonderful resource called The Pump Station. I also have access to people I can ask for help. Still, I’ve had major issues. What about women who don’t have these resources? What about the women who can’t afford to pay $250 to have a lactation consultant visit their homes? I think people haven’t talked enough about technical help for breastfeeding moms. A call to action is a nice first step, but what we really need is solid help…we need every pediatrician, midwife and OB/GYN to be able to diagnosis breastfeeding issues and offer treatment and strategies for nursing moms. Until that happens, the breastfeeding rates won’t budge.

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Are pregnant women smug?

What do you think of this? Are pregnant women really smug?

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The ‘birth rape’ debate

There’s a controversial issue being debated lately on sites frequented my birth advocates, midwives, etc: birth rape. (Click here for a link to one such post on Jezebel. OR click here for a link to a post on the UK feminist site the f-word.) Birth rape is being used to describe some women’s experience of being roughed up in the delivery room. That is, having forceps used or other procedures that they interpret as being forced upon them in the name of delivering their babies. When I read about the issue, I frankly felt conflicted. I didn’t necessarily like the the term “rape” used in this sense. I had a dear friend who was raped many years ago and I even discussed it with her. She was deeply offended, saying that nobody should throw around the term and that there was a big difference. Rape rape, she felt, is purely malicious. A doctor or midwife, unless he or she is psycho, would be unlikely to have such deeply malicious intent. I totally agree with that. However, the writer in me also wants to defend anyone’s desire to name and talk about their experience how they feel necessary. Nobody should be censored. Of course, I was eager to hear Dr. Fischbein and Joyce Weckl’s thoughts. Below, you can read what they think. We’d also love to hear your comments. –VC

From Fearless Doc Stuart Fischbein:

I think the word “rape” in this context is inappropriate in almost every case. It does belittle real rape in my opinion. But then, there is some worth for those who want the shock value of the term. I believe, however, there is little reason to ever do anything to a rationale woman without consent. Even if the baby is in trouble. ACOG even has an informal policy on autonomy of women. The current trends in medicine spawn a sort of coldness and distance, though. With a good relationship between patient and practitioner, these scenarios would likely never occur. Such is the midwifery model.

From Fearless Midwife Joyce Weckl:

During my career, there are times when I’ve heard wonderful things about male OB-GYNs and terrible things about some female OB-GYNs and midwives. So I don’t agree that the midwifery model is superior ALWAYS. Generally, yes, any care that is not too paternalistic and condescending is better. Sometimes there are emergencies and chaos and the woman’s body takes second place to the outcome of the baby. I myself have been in some gnarly situations with stuck babies, hemorrhaging moms, etc. and have felt that I would do whatever it took to save lives. It is not always warm and fuzzy to give birth. On the other hand, I’ve seen some doctors, nurses, etc. do terrible things to patients that were unnecessary and demeaning, and I’ve also seen seemingly loony patients blow things way out of proportion. I’ve also witnessed women who suffered sexual abuse or rape (consciously or not) that totally flip out at delivery because it  triggers memories of their abuse. Regardless, there will always be women who find birth traumatic for whatever reason no matter what happens and who is involved. Sometimes there is a much bigger story that is not known and often not known by the very woman who feels cheated or violated. I believe, however, these woman are entitled to their feelings and I’m sorry they experienced birth in this way. It’s a tragedy!

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Breastfeeding: join the Boob-olution!

Click here if you want to join the Boob-olution! Or at least watch the video.

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Dr. Fischbein to be panelist at Long Beach Event– Get tix now!

Our own fearless doc Stuart Fischbein will be among the panelist at the upcoming Leaders Causing Leaders Conference at the Long Beach Convention Center November 6-7. Get registered to attend now! Details below:

Leaders from Birth: Our world leaders 15 to 30-years from now are in the womb, orphanages, playgrounds, war zones, home and school!

JOIN US for an inspiring, empowering panel discussion amongst interdisciplinary pioneers connecting the dots between shaping our future and serving our children well.

November 7th 2pm / Leaders Causing Leaders Conference / Long Beach Convention Center / Moderated by Cecily Miller

Panelists: Karen Gordon , Susan Kaiser Greenland, Dr. Stuart Fischbein and , and Ishmael Beah!

We are excited to invite you to this inspiring, interactive, fun and transformative event at the Long Beach Convention Center, November 6 & 7. There are many great ways to participate and embody your leadership during the conference. In addition to the diverse speakers there will be panels with Q&A, break out sessions, workshops, Challenge-Day! experiential, the Sanctuary Space, yoga, and a youth leadership program. Here’s a sprinkle of topics to engage in: social entrepreneurship, science & technology, education, socially responsible media, politics, spirituality, women’s leadership and human rights.

This weekend will be fun and productive, with much opportunity to network, and deepen your authentic leadership.

More Info:

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Origins By Annie Murphy Paul: More Excitement, Less Fear

I’m only a couple of weeks now from having son number 2, so I’m kicking up my feet a little more these days. One of my favorite things is to listen to podcasts (okay, and watch DVDs of Mad Men).

In the NY Times Book Review podcast, I lucked upon an interview with science writer  and mom Annie Murphy Paul. She was discussing her new book Origins: How the nine months before birth shape the rest of our lives. When the discussion first started, I had some trepidation about where it might go. I remember a Los Angeles Times health article a couple of years ago that painted a really bad, moms-walking-on-eggshells-because-of-new-possible-research picture (and, actually, egg shells is probably a bad example because I’m sure some preg mom wouldn’t do that for fear of salmonella).

Much to my relief, though, esteemed writer Annie Murphy Paul doesn’t paint any such picture. From the podcast interview, her views are pretty much in line with Fearless Pregnancy. Murphy Paul was pregnant with her second child while working on Origins. She said after exhaustive research and after interviewing top scientists in the groundbreaking field of fetal origins, she had less fear and more excitement for her pregnancy than ever before. I encourage you to listen in and even get her book. Oh, and what did Murphy Paul do differently in her second pregnancy after she attained so much knowledge? Here’s what she said:

1.She ate more fish (but didn’t overdo it with the high mercury content variety).

2. She exercised.

3. She ate a lot of chocolate (interestingly, a mom’s chocolate intake has been linked with happier newborn temperament)

4. She relaxed about it all! Murphy Paul said that instead of being filled with fear and anxiety about every little thing in pregnancy, she felt heartened by the researchers excitement. Furthermore, she embraced the new idea that a little maternal stress is actually good for babies. In fact, it supposedly makes them smarter because it accelerates the development of the nervous system. -- Victoria Clayton

Click here for a link to the Annie Murphy Paul interview.

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