Questions to Ask Your Midwife

I recently came across a wonderful article listing the questions one should ask one’s midwife. I personally did ask many of these, as I was a very nervous first time mama who didn’t want to end up at a hospital under any circumstances.  My experience with The Birth Place under Jennie Joseph was wonderful and most of these were answered without my even needing to ask.  The answers to these questions are going to depend on different factors which we can go over in future.  However, these will give you things to think about and help you with the interview process.

Original blog here:

Midwife Jennie Joseph

Interview Questions…


1.   What is your philosophy regarding pregnancy and birth and your role in it?
2.   How many births have you attended?
3.   What percentage of women successfully have a natural birth under your care?
4.   What percentage of women need to transfer to the hospital (if planning a home birth or birth center birth)? What is the typical reason?
5.   What percentage of moms end up with a C-section?
6.   What percentage of moms end up with an epidural?
7.   What percentage of babies are transferred to NICU?
8.   What is the mortality rate for moms? For babies?
9.   Do you have hospital privileges? At what hospitals?
10. If you have children, what were your birth experiences like?
11. How many midwives or obstetricians are on the team? Who are your assistants? Will I get to meet all of them? What is their experience? Can I be sure that you will attend my birth?
12. Do you deliver breech babies naturally? VBACs? Twins?
13. How many births do you attend per month?

Pregnancy & Prenatal Care

14. What usually happens at prenatal appointments? How many? When? How long are they?
15. Are you available by phone or email for questions?
16. What is your philosophy on weight gain, nutrition, prenatal supplements, and exercise?
17. What factors would risk me out of your practice? How will you help me prevent these?
18. What child birth class do you recommend?
19. What prenatal testing to you encourage?
20. What type of gestational diabetes testing do you typically use?
21. Do you recommend ultrasounds? When? How many?
22. Do you typically do vaginal checks during prenatal appointments? When?
23. What happens if I go past my due date? How late can I be and still birth under your care (if a midwife)?
24. What testing do you do for a late baby? Starting at how many weeks?
25. Do you have any concerns about big babies being birthed naturally?


26. When do you do vaginal checks during labor?
27. What type of monitoring do you do during labor? How often? For how long?
28. Do you routinely use an IV or hep-lock?
29. Are there birth tubs in each room in the birth center? What if one is not available when I’m in labor?
30. Is a water birth available? If not, am I able to push in the tub at all?
31. How long do you recommend I stay in the water at one time? Do I need to get out for monitoring?
32. How many women are under the care of one midwife or doctor at a time? How much will you be with me throughout my labor?
33. Are you comfortable working alongside a doula? Do you have particular doulas you recommend?
34. How long can I labor without induction?
35. When would you recommend induction? Do you use natural induction methods first?
36. How long can I labor without intervention after my water breaks?
37. Who attends a birth? (Students, assistants, nurses, etc.)
38. When do you feel amniotomy is indicated?
39. Can I eat and drink during labor?
40. What’s your process for implementing a family’s birth plan?
41. What positions are available during labor? While pushing?
42. What are reasons you would initiate a transfer to a hospital (if a home birth or birth center birth)?
43. How long do you allow for delivery of the placenta? When do you cut the cord?

Postpartum & Newborn Care

44. What post-partum care do you provide? When? How many appointments? Where?
45. What does newborn care consist of? Under what circumstances would my newborn need to be taken away from me for treatment?
46. Are you comfortable with me declining bathing, vitamin K, heel poke, eye ointment, vaccinations?
47. Can you help me initiate breastfeeding?

What was your experience interviewing midwives and obstetricians? What was the most important question you asked?


6 reasons to say NO to vaccinations

Vaccination is an extremely controversial topic these days.     Whatever side of the aisle you may fall with regard to your opinion about vaccination, one thing is for certain.    The choice to vaccinate or not to vaccinate is a decision that has the potential to greatly impact the health of you and most importantly, your children for the rest of their lives.

As a result, this decision should not be taken lightly and it should not be made in a vacuum.   In other words, don’t just take your pediatrician’s word that shots are safe.    It is possible for doctors to be wrong.    They are human, after all.   In reality, your doctor is simply parroting the standard line about vaccination from the American Medical Association (AMA) playbook.    If you think you are getting their honest assessment, think again.

You should neither assume shots are dangerous just because your friend down the street doesn’t vaccinate her kids.

The key here is education;  making an informed decision by investigating the facts with an open mind and knowing exactly what you are getting yourself into before you commit to do anything.

With that in mind, the list below will briefly detail to you the reasons why I did not vaccinate my own children and will never consider a shot for them for any reason even in the event of a so called “pandemic.”    Please remember that I come from a medical family.   My own Father (retired) is a MD as is my brother and my cousin (who was a pediatrician, now deceased).    My husband’s mother is a nurse.    There is no shortage of opinions on this subject in my family, I can assure you.

So, don’t use family pressure as an excuse to do what you need to do once you investigate the facts for yourself and make an informed decision.   There is no more foolish choice than to do something because it is someone else’s wishes and not your own.    It is your body, after all and these are your children.   There is no one on earth who knows what is best for them except you and your spouse – not even and most especially not your doctor!   Make your decisions feeling confident in this knowledge.

#1:   Pharmaceutical Companies Can’t Be Trusted

Let’s just list a couple of the (many) times over the past 10 years where a drug or drug regimen has been deemed unsafe and downright dangerous and yet the pharmaceutical companies covered it up FOR YEARS in order to continue raking in the profits for as long as possible.    This should be an easy task.

How about hormone replacement therapy for women?    The standard of care for a menopausal woman for over 40 years was HRT.   Even women with no complaints were advised that this treatment was helpful as it reduced chances for a heart attack and cancer and even helped them feel younger.    Were any, I repeat ANY of these claims true?   Not a whit.   Breast cancer risk is doubled for women on HRT,  41% increased risk for stroke, 29% increased risk of heart attack, and the list goes on and on.

How about Vioxx?    Before this dangerous drug that caused thousands of deaths from heart attack and stroke was finally removed from the market, evidence surfaced that Merck had withheld information and even doctored reports on its dangers years before.    As of November 2007, Merck had agreed to pay $4.85 billion to settle approximately 27,000 cases from victims claiming injury or death of a family member using Vioxx.    While this is a huge sum of money, in reality it represents less than one year’s profits for Merck.   Does it pay for a drug company to lie about a drug’s safety and efficacy?   You betcha.    The risk of payouts to victims from getting sued is lower than the lure of huge and long lasting profits while a drug’s patent protection remains in effect.

I could cite other examples, but I’m trying to keep this post as pithy as possible.   Please comment if you have other examples of pharmaceutical company deceit.    It will help others reading this blog who might still be on the fence about this issue.

Remember the old proverb, “Fool me once, shame on you;  Fool me twice, shame on me”?    These corporate behemoths have proven themselves to be completely untrustworthy based on past behavior.   In a court of law, if such a company were an actual witness, an attorney would never put them on the stand due to a serious lack of credibility.   Are you really going to take these companies at their word that these shots are safe when money and profits are impacted by their answer?

#2:   ALL Vaccines are Loaded with Chemicals and other Poisons

Here is a list of some of the damaging ingredients in the vaccines on the market today:

MSG, antifreeze, phenol (used as a disinfectant), formaldehyde (cancer causing and used to embalm), aluminum (associated with alzheimer’s disease and seizures), glycerin (toxic to the kidney, liver, can cause lung damage, gastrointestinal damage and death), lead, cadmium, sulfates, yeast proteins, antibiotics, acetone (used in nail polish remover), neomycin and streptomycin.  And the ingredient making the press is thimerosol (more toxic than mercury, a preservative still used in many vaccines, not easily eliminated, can cause severe neurological damage as well as other life threatening autoimmune disease). These vaccines are grown and strained through animal or human tissue, likemonkey and dog kidney tissue, chick embryo, calf serum, human diploid cells (the dissected organs of aborted fetuses), pig blood, horse blood and rabbit brain.

Can you imagine injecting this stuff directly into your child’s blood?   At least if you ate these ingredients, your body would have a chance to detoxify and eliminate them before any permanent damage could be done.   But, to inject them right into the blood is the most damaging and lethal approach imaginable.    How could anyone possibly think injection of such a cocktail of poison could in any way help preserve and enhance your child’s health?

It sure didn’t make any sense to me.    And, here I am 12 years later, still very happy with my decision NOT to vaccinate my children.

Sadly, I know many Moms with 20/20 hindsight who greatly regret their decision to vaccinate.    I don’t know ANYONE who has not vaccinated and regrets their decision, however.     Which group do you want to be a part of in 10 years?

#3:   Fully Vaccinated Children are the Unhealthiest, Most Chronically Ill Children I Know

One thing that completely confounds me is that there are no studies comparing the health of unvaccinated children to the health of vaccinated children.  This seems like such an obvious study and it should have been conducted decades ago.    Why hasn’t it been done yet?   My guess is because the health of the nonvaccinated children would so totally blow away the health of the vaccinated children that the discussion about the dangers of vaccines could finally be put to bed and the case would be closed emphatically in favor of those that accuse shots of causing chronic illness and auto immune disease.

Take an informal poll of the folks in your circle and see for yourself.   Observation is a powerful tool, so put it to use.   The kids with the most problems – allergies, asthma, ADHD, autism, coordination and other gross motor issues, etc sure seem to be the ones that are right on track with their vaccination schedule, don’t you think?

Even more powerful, ask Moms with several children, some of whom are vaccinated and some who are not.    In my own circle, the Moms I know who have one or two older kids who are fully vaccinated and the younger kids who did not get any shots tell me that, hands down, that the unvaccinated children are healthier and have less problems.

Someday there will be a study that shows that unvaccinated children have many less health problems than their vaccinated peers.   Don’t wait until this study is finally done because it will be too late for your child.

#4:   Other Countries Are Waking Up to the Dangers of Vaccines

In 1975, Japan raised its minimum vaccination age to 2 years old,    The country’s infant mortality subsequently plummeted to such low levels that Japan now enjoys one of the lowest level in the Western world (#3 at last look).    In comparison, the United States’ infant mortality rate is #33.

In Australia, the flu vaccine was recently suspended (April 2010) for children under 5 because an alarming number of children were showing up in the emergency rooms with febrile convulsions or other vaccine reactions within hours of getting this shot.

Need I say more?

#5:   A Number of Vaccines Have Already Had Problems/Been Removed from the Market

Here is a brief list of some of the vaccines that have caused serious injury in recent years.   Please comment with others that you know of if they are not on this list:

– In Feb 2002, GlaxoSmithKline removed the Lyme Disease vaccine from the market citing poor sales when in fact a number of folks who received the vaccine reported symptoms worse than the disease itself such as incurable arthritis or neurological impairment.

–  The Rotavirus vaccine (Rotashield) was removed from the market in 1999 due to an association between the vaccine and life threatening bowel obstruction or twisting of the bowl!   Interestingly, my pediatrician at the time (who was a lifelong friend of our family) had highly recommended that this vaccine be given to my newborn baby at the time.   I trusted my instincts and said no to the shot – am I glad I did!    My pediatrician (remember, lifelong family friend) subsequently dropped me as a patient.   Guess he wasn’t such a friend after all!

– A warning was issued concerning the second Rotavirus vaccine (Rotateq)  in 2007 as it caused the same twisting of the bowel problem in 28 infants (16 of which required intestinal surgery).    This second vaccine has not yet been removed from the market as far as I know.

– Another vaccine that has had a lot of problems but is not yet withdrawn is the Gardasil vaccine for adolescent girls.    Fainting, paralysis, slurred speech are just a few of the reactions reported and yet this vaccine continues to stay on the market.   At least 1600 adverse events have been reported since its approval in 2006, yet doctors are continuing to recommend this shot to their patients.   Why this vaccine hasn’t already been removed from the market is astonishing.

If the vaccines above have had serious problems, the others probably do too as vaccine manufacturers follow the same basic formula when coming up with each new shot.

#6   You Can Always Get Vaccinated, But You Can Never Undo a Vaccination

Procrastination is usually considered a character flaw, but in the case of vaccination, delaying the decision for as long as possible plays to your advantage.    The longer you wait to vaccinate your child, the better.   A child’s immune system continues to develop for years after birth.    The blood/brain barrier does not fully develop until adolescence.     The longer you wait, the more likely your child’s immune system will be able to handle the onslaught with minimal damage.

If you don’t know what to do, don’t do anything!

Conversely, you can never undo a vaccination.   There are holistic therapies that can detox a child from the vaccine’s poison, but the damage that is done can never be 100% repaired.    And, I have NEVER met a fully vaccinated child that is healthier and more robust than a well nourished, unvaccinated child.   Period.

While I would like to convince you to never vaccinate your child, if I can simply convince you to delay it for a few years that is certainly better than vaccinating a baby.     If you can simply commit to waiting until your child is school age to vaccinate, so much the better than if you vaccinate as a toddler and so on.   Time is on your side and waiting is the best policy when it comes to shots.

By the time your child is older, more research will have been done, you will have an opportunity to learn more and become more comfortable with your decision to wait.    Who knows?    Your attitude of wait and see may turn out to be permanent.

original article here

Breastfeeding – Great gift of nature

Breastfeeding symbol

Breastfeeding symbol (Photo credit: Topinambour)

Breast feeding – an evolutionary fixed optimal form of nourishment for young children. Breastfeeding has a multifaceted impact on the physical and mental development of children, shaping their behavior, resistance to unfavorable external factors.

No words, even the most scientific, can possibly describe fully how breastfeeding is good for mothers and children. It’s not only food given to us by nature, but something greater. The woman is not just feeding her child, giving it a part of herself, but also provides many different aspects of his future life. She invests love, and creates a psycho-emotional bond, provides physical and mental health, a sense of well-being and ability to develop both physically, intellectually and emotionally. Most of these aspects are known to a wide range of modern moms, but I still really want to reiterate that this is not only useful but also enjoyable. And once again show just how unique this simple-looking action as breastfeeding really is.

One of the most well-known advantages of breast feeding – a special composition of breast milk. It is because of the amazing ability of mother’s milk characteristics to adapt to digestion and metabolism, and because of a unique composition, it is the ideal food for infants. While scientists are trying to make formula as close in composition to human milk as possible, formula is still just a generic substitute and leads to changes in the processes of digestion, metabolism and composition of intestinal micro flora. Most of the ingredients produced from cow’s milk, some based on the goat’s milk. In this case, for example, breast-milk proteins contain alpha-lacto albumin and cow’s milk proteins and, therefore, formula instead contains beta-lacto globulin, often causing allergic reactions in children. Carbohydrates in human milk are 85% beta-lactose based which is slowly digested and thus promotes the growth of beneficial micro flora, particularly bifid bacteria. Cow’s milk carbohydrates are presented by alpha-lactose, which is rapidly broken down and absorbed. Unique absorption of iron from human milk – 50%, whereas formula iron is absorbed only 10%. Thus, breast milk prevents the development of anemia in infants. As for the biologically active substances, mother’s milk is not at all apart from the competition. A huge number of hormones, enzymes, as well as protective and growth factors are simply impossible to replicate artificially. Finally, breast milk is a unique composition of each woman and each child will have their own unique balance of nutrients that is appropriate for this child.

Another important advantage of breastfeeding is a unique formation of complex psycho-physiological relationship between mother and infant. Think of paintings depicting women who are breastfeeding: just how much affection in them, a special intimacy and love, ineffable spirituality. Breastfeeding continues physical and also spiritual contact with the mother and the child after his birth. It has a profound emotional impact on women, providing a stable balance of psycho-emotional sphere. It’s safe to say that nursing moms have a state of happiness and life satisfaction, and their role; they enjoy the process of motherhood. Breastfed children are breastfed grow calmer, friendly, spiritually rich, maintain a close relationship with their mother, have more profound emotional reactions. This means that at an older age they will easier communicate with others, fewer problems will arise in interpersonal relationships, and life will be filled with positive emotions.

The third advantage is the effect of breastfeeding on health. Again, the positive effect of breastfeeding is manifested in a woman, and child. For example, breastfed children rarely suffer from intestinal, allergic diseases and colds. Breast milk promotes harmonious growth and development of the child, gives it a high resistance to infectious agents and environmental hazards. It is proven that breastfeeding prevents the development of anemia, rickets, and is the best prevention of metabolic diseases in adulthood. For mother breast-feeding affects the normal course of metabolic processes and optimal hormonal status reduces the risk of obstetric complications and diseases. In lactating women smaller the risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer. And these discoveries, scientists are finding more and more, each time re-affirming invaluable breastfeeding for physical health.

Finally, breastfeeding is just convenient and profitable. If, however, breastfeeding is not organized properly, then many of the benefits of breastfeeding may be unattainable. When mother does not know how to properly latch the baby to the breast and he damages nipples, causing pain, talking about the health benefits and receiving pleasure from communication with the child may sound as a joke. When the mother feeds the baby on schedule, not allowing to breastfeed for more than 15 minutes, it does not allow him to obtain a sufficient number of hind or fatty milk, and thus does not take full advantage of the uniqueness of its composition. When following the rules breast-feeding is not only useful for mother and child, but also provides a lot more advantages. One of the pluses is that breast milk is free, and mother will not have to spend money on breast feeding. It’s always ready for use, and never goes bad. It gives the mother the opportunity to live an active life with her child, because the breast can be given in any situation, visiting, traveling, and even making a purchase, or when visiting an exhibition of paintings. With the help of the breast is much easier and faster to calm the baby, or put it to sleep. Accustomed to close contact with the baby mama easily understands his needs and feels better his condition, and therefore knows best what her baby needs to be happy. Lactating woman effectively loses weight, feels happier and lighter, easier develops in the role of a mother, and thus is fully aware of herself as a woman. So she has plenty of time, mood and energy for her husband, which helps to maintain a favorable climate in the family.

Therefore, breast-feeding does not require much effort, is the perfect food, and creates a positive emotional background, helps preserve the health of mother and child, and it is given to us free of charge. Do you appreciate this sacred gift of nature and ready to care for it?