photo Susan Kotansky
Valeriana and her grandson, Jayden
photo Susan Kotansky
Valeriana and her grandson, Jayden
When my husband and I decided we wanted to start a family, we came to the decision after much consideration and careful planning. I had finished my massage degree and had a thriving practice. My husband had just been offered a new position and was looking forward to a short break in the transition. We were ready. Within just a few weeks of giving ourselves the green light, I was sending pictures of pregnancy tests to my sister to ask if it was possible to be “just a little bit pregnant” (answer: no, there’s no dipping your toe in the pregnancy deep end). And just like that, we started preparing for the next phase of our lives. We read all the books, took the childbirth classes, had the baby shower and were sure we were informed and armed with all the necessary skills.
I would like to explain why I am making this post in support of Planned Parenthood. As a practicing midwife, I want women to know both sides of all issues so they can make informed decisions for themselves. I feel that a lot of people don’t understand the big Planned Parenthood picture and how much their services support Women’s Health, especially women who can’t afford to go to a doctor for contraception. (You have to have a really good plan to cover an IUD fully, for one example.)
Planned Parenthood spends about 34% on contraception per year, 42% on STD screening and treatment, and only 3% on abortion services. During the last 8 years, in a democratic administration, abortion numbers have dropped steadily, to 25% of what they were in 2007. So Planned Parenthood actually drastically decreases the number of abortions performed, by offering contraception services. (this is fact checked, I have the source)
I also want to share my personal feelings about this. When I was an OB nurse in the 70’s I worked at a public hospital in the Bronx. The government wanted to defund Medicaid for abortions for the first time since Rowe vs Wade had passed. I went around my unit to gather signatures in support of Medicaid for abortion from nurses on the floor. I was warned by friends that I was going to get a lot of disapproval from these old-fashioned nurses. To my surprise, I found the opposite. My first signature was my head nurse; she was from Trinidad and kept her Bible on her desk. I asked her and she readily signed it. I was shocked; I asked her why. She told me that she and many of the nurses cared for the women who sought illegal abortions. They saw horrible infections, hemorrhages from uterine perforations and numerous deaths. Legal abortion has ended this tragedy. Abortion always existed in the shadows, but it was dangerous and shameful. Further, no one is encouraged to abort, it is a personal choice that I believe each woman should have the freedom make for herself, following her own conscience and moral principles. I learned this from the nurses whose experience of these tragedies supported their convictions
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There are many things that help our children to be as healthy as possible during their first minutes, hours, days, months and years. If the findings of some new research are correct, then ensuring that our babies get their full volume of blood as they are born might be one of the more important steps we can take for the well-being of our children.
Here is the problem: while studies are showing us that there appears to be no good justification for the routine clamping and cutting of a baby’s umbilical cord seconds after the baby is born, survey after survey shows most obstetricians and many midwives still clamping and cutting cords very soon after delivery as a matter or course, with some rates as high as 95% (Downey and Bewley 2012; van Rheenen 2011). Dr. Jose Tolosa and colleagues write, “Although without clear benefit and no rationale to support it, early cord clamping remains the most common practice among obstetricians and midwives in the western hemisphere” (Tolosa et al. 2010).
Expectant mothers can take heart this Easter. Tucking into chocolate eggs is good for the baby, according to a study of over 300 women – especially if you are feeling a bit on edge.
Katri Raikkonen at the University of Helsinki, Finland, and her colleagues asked pregnant women to rate their stress levels and chocolate consumption.
After the babies were born, they looked for an association between the amount of chocolate their mothers had eaten and the babies’ behaviour. Six months after birth, the researchers asked mothers to rate their infants’ behaviour in various categories, including fear, soothability, smiling and laughter.
The babies born to women who had been eating chocolate daily during pregnancy were more active and “positively reactive” – a measure that encompasses traits such as smiling and laughter.
And the babies of stressed women who had regularly consumed chocolate showed less fear of new situations than babies of stressed women who abstained.
The researchers point out that they cannot rule out the possibility that chocolate consumption and baby behaviour are both linked with some other factor.
But they speculate that the effects they observed could result from chemicals in chocolate associated with positive mood being passed on to the baby in the womb.
Jayden, April 20th, 2012
8 lb., 10 oz.