|May 8, 2002|
Volume 4, Issue 19
|Midwifery Today E-News|
“Aromatherapy for Childbearing”
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Midwifery Today Conference News
DOULA PROGRAM IN CHINA is one of the presentations you will hear when you attend the Midwifery Today conference in China.
The three-day conference will have components of Midwifery Today conferences as well as the presentation of several papers. Chinese doctors have been asked to arrange for midwives to be present as well as doctors, and it has been noted that we are interested in Chinese medicine. A hospital focused on the practice of Chinese medicine is located in downtown Guangzhou.
INNOVATIVE MIDWIVES: Midwifery Today literally searches the world for them. Then we bring those midwives to you for the most in-depth learning experiences.
"Five-Day Intensive Workshops"
Get the full program online. Choose from one of two intensive workshops:
Get the full program online. A two-day midwifery education conference precedes three days of international conferencing.
THIS WEEK'S ISSUE
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Quote of the Week
"Where would all the specialists and producers of medical technology and drugs be if it were suddenly 'discovered' that when women eat well in pregnancy, eliminate drugs and stop substance abuse, almost all complications disappear?"
- Anne Frye
The Art of Midwifery
Moms can take motherwort tincture, 1-2 droppersful in water or recharge every four hours or so for afterpains. Also have the mother take homeopathic arnica, 4 tablets under the tongue every four hours for an aching body. Tiger Balm can be applied to hips, neck and lower back whenever needed. Motherwort also helps with milk production, menstrual cramps, hormones.
- Midwifery Today Forums
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Preliminary research presented at the 1999 annual meeting of the Endocrine Society shows that chemicals can be identified and measured in amniotic fluid. Among the 30 pregnant women who participated in the study, 30% were found to have low levels of industrial chemicals and pesticides in the fluid. Many of these chemicals such as DDE, a byproduct of DDT, were banned in the United States in the early 1970s; however, the chemicals degrade slowly and can persist in the food supply. Some experts believe that prevailing winds carry the pesticide around the globe from developing countries where it is still used. The chemicals, which have been accused of causing cancer, may also cause complications in hormonal development, according to lead study author, Dr. Warren Foster. At certain levels, DDE is known to be capable of blocking the activity of testosterone by acting as a substitute for this hormone. The effect of DDE on testosterone activity concerns Foster because the levels of DDE in some amniotic fluid samples were comparable to testosterone levels normally found in female fetuses.
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Are you a midwife, doula or other birth professional? Check out Having a Baby Today and make sure your clients have the information they need to make responsible, informed choices.
Aromatherapy for Childbearing
Of the five senses, the olfactory organ has the most direct link to the brain. Many people find that an aroma can have surprising effects, reaching past our conscious thoughts to trigger emotions and memories, and it is precisely this ability to gently reach past our mental armor that gives aromatherapy its power as a system of healing. (BritishLibrary.net)
The essential oil is what is used for aromatherapy, but first it must be drawn from the botanical substances by a lengthy process of distillation. What is left is a potent essential oil. The essential oil is highly fragrant and concentrated. In some cases when an oil is undiluted it can be a skin irritant, but there are many other ways to use essential oils.
Oils that must be avoided during the first three or four months of pregnancy include those that are described as "emmenagogue," meaning that they induce menstrual flow, those that are recommended for use during labor to strengthen contractions and a few somewhat toxic oils that could harm mother and fetus.
Oils to avoid during pregnancy:
Aniseed, armoise (mugwort), arnica, basil, birch, camphor, cedarwood, clary sage, cypress, fennel, hyssop, jasmine, juniper, marjoram, myrrh, origanum, pennyroyal, peppermint, rose, rosemary, sage, savory, thyme, wintergreen, plus any other oil described as toxic.
Chamomile and lavender are also described as emmenagogue but can be used with care in small amounts and well diluted (1%-1.5%) except when the mother has reason to fear a miscarriage.
Later in pregnancy, lavender is good for relieving backache and rose diluted to 1% or 1.5% can be used for emotional needs.
Edema: Mild swelling of the ankles and lower legs may be relieved by massage with oil of geranium using smooth, firm strokes, moving always from the ankles toward the thighs.
Circulatory problems can be treated with massage with oil of lemon diluted to 2%.
Mix the oils to be used at birth ahead of time because once labor starts there may not be time to measure accurately. Also, early preparation can avoid spillage (potentially causing counterproductive heavy aroma) that may happen in the excitement of labor and birth.
Lavender or jasmine can be gently rubbed onto the tummy and/or lower back from the beginning of labor. Jasmine is effective at strengthening contractions, but some women find the scent too cloying in the warm birth environment. Lavender may be more acceptable. A few drops mixed in cool water will make a refreshing mixture with which to sponge the mother's face and body.
Jasmine should be used immediately after the baby's birth to help expel the afterbirth quickly and cleanly. It will also help tone the uterine muscles and help them return faster to their prepregnancy condition. Jasmine is also a very good antidepressant, and it promotes the flow of breastmilk. Oil of fennel has been known for hundreds of years to promote milk flow.
- An A-Z Aromatherapy by Patricia Davis
Early First Stage
For feelings of apprehension: To a 10-mL bottle, add the following essential oils and then add organic vegetable oil to fill:
4 drops Lavender
Massage temples, forehead, chest and solar plexus. Breathe deeply.
Active First Stage
To a 10-mL bottle, add the following essential oils and then add organic vegetable oil to fill:
Massage the solar plexus, heart chakra, chest and neck. Inhale the blend deeply while resting.
For shaking, shivering, nausea, fear or exhaustion brought on by hard and fast contractions, inhale the following blend between contractions to help you endure this phase and give you an added boost of strength for delivery. To a 10-mL bottle, add the following essential oils and then add organic vegetable oil to fill:
4 drops Lavender
Massage the lower back, with emphasis on the sacrum.
Inhale the following aromatic blend before you begin pushing to help you gain the needed courage and emotional strength for this stage. To a 10-mL bottle, add the following essential oils and then add organic vegetable oil to fill:
4 drops Peppermint
Check It Out!
CONFERENCE AUDIOTAPES FOR THIS WEEK'S THEME:
GET INTO THE HABT
Having a Baby Today (HABT) is a Midwifery Today newsletter for expectant and new parents.
THE BREASTFEEDING BOOK
Help your clients breastfeed their babies!
Order The Breastfeeding Book and you'll learn about encouraging breastfeeding during the prenatal period, nursing the newborn, troubleshooting, weaning and more.
DOULA AUDIOTAPE PACKAGES
Order the Mini Doula Pack and receive five tapes discussing emotional support and pain relief during labor.
Order the Doula Pack and receive ten tapes on a variety of pregnancy and childbirth issues.
INTERNATIONAL ALLIANCE OF MIDWIVES
Midwifery Today's Web-based organization that networks international midwives.
Midwifery Today's Online Forums: Burnout
I have decided to not receive any woman into my care for the rest of the year. I have a handful of births up through Sept. I will have the last three months of the year off. Has anyone ever taken time off? Does it all come back to you? Is it like riding a bike -- you never forget?
Go to our forums to share your thoughts and experience.
Question of the Week: T-shaped Incision
Q: A primip transported from an attempted homebirth -- breech with legs folded "tailor style." A classical c-section was done because of the advanced status of labor. The baby's butt and body were easily delivered through the incision, but an arm was folded over the head and jammed into the fundus. When they found it difficult to remove the arm, an extension was cut perpendicular to the classical incision. Mom now has a T-shaped cut on the uterine wall. She was told to never attempt a VBAC -- rupture "guaranteed." Any input?
- Linda, CNM
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Question of the Week Responses: Aromatherapy
Q: Will readers please share any tips/experiences for using aromatherapy during labor?
A: I have a spray hand lotion that is strongly ginger scented. If the laboring woman is experiencing nausea, I spray a little of the lotion on her hand, and she sniffs it when needed. Nausea usually subsides, although sometimes it comes on too strongly to be arrested. This helps about 75% of the time.
- Suzanne Fremon, hypnodoula
A: I primarily use lavender essential oil in a base of pure light olive oil for massage during labor. I also use Gentle Baby essential oil by Young's. I also use it in a carrier base of olive oil. I put 3-5 drops of the esssential oil in 8 oz of base. I have put Gentle Baby essential oil straight into a bath with the mother and it has stopped her contractions within 20 minutes. So I now carry the pure oil for hyperactive uterus too early in pregnancy.
- Renata Hillman,
A: As a doula, I use aromatherapy extensively during labor and my clients love it. The first rule of using aromatherapy is to use a pure essential oil (NOT a fragrance oil) mixed with a base of sweet almond oil. A good starting book is Aromatherapy for Mother and Baby by Allison England.
Essential Oil Properties:
Methods of Application
6 drops in a bowl of hot water will help scent the room and calm the breathing.
The oil (4 drops to 2 teaspoons of base/carrier oil such as sweet almond) can be rubbed on the tummy (especially the ones that help labor progress), on the shoulders, the arms, massaged into the hands or feet and legs. Any touch therapy helps relax the client by releasing endorphins, and the scent of the oils helps calm breathing. The oils are absorbed through the skin and have actual medicinal properties.
Another method of application is compress. Add 4 drops of essential oil into a bowl of hot water; swish to disperse. Drop a washcloth on top of the hot water and wring out. Apply to the lower abdomen for pain relief (clary sage), to help with placenta delivery (jasmine) or to the perineum to help prevent tears (rose maroc). When the cloth is cold, repeat. After every three repeats, add a few more drops to the water.
- Leigh Hudson, birth doula
A: I have seen wintergreen used for urine retention during labor or postpartum to avoid having to catheterize.
A: I brought aromatherapy candles to my birth. I chose lavender and tangerine because they are calming scents and I liked them both. I bought good-quality candles to ensure I would have a wonderful aroma in the room. I also had music of my choice playing throughout my delivery.
Know a strong woman? Helping empower one? If you haven't already done so, please forward this issue of Midwifery Today E-News to one or two of your friends or business associates. Thanks so much!
International Midwives Day
Valley Birth Support Network in Wisconsin hosted its first brunch reception for homebirth and hospital-based midwives on May 4. Doulas, CBEs and lactation consultants also attended. We pampered the midwives with therapeutic massage, good food, friendship and laughter. Each midwife was given a plant and scroll with a poem on it. This was the first time most of these women have been honored in their careers -- some spanning more than 20 years. What a great way to celebrate International Midwives Day and International Doula Month. No wonder mothers are honored in May!
- KarieAnn Zeinert, doula
What about meconium aspiration and "all-fours position"? Some doctors say that because the baby is face up all the fluids cannot be suctioned out and it raises the risk for aspiration.
I would just like to say how much I appreciate the different comments and stories related to the practice of midwifery from around the world [Issue 4:18]. Most of all I love the passion and loyalty toward women in their childbearing years. I have just begun my journey as a midwife and I am also bursting with passion.
P.S. What or who is a doula?
- Elisabeth, student midwife
[Editor's note: Doulas, please write one paragraph about what you do and why and send it to E-News. If you have favorite doula tricks, send those too. We'll do a doula issue!]
My sister is 31 years old and is expecting her first child. She is an avid horseback rider, and she wonders if riding could have ill effects on her baby. She rides daily, sometimes two different horses.
- Karine L.
I have witnessed the professionalization of lactation consulting as it is being thrust upon midwifery by the nursing profession. Unfortunately, the traditional registered nurse in the United States is trained to rely upon technology instead of her hands, her eyes, her sense of smell and taste, her ears and even her heart and soul (instinct).
Daily I am repulsed by the constant interruption of the natural process of mothers and babies bonding. The medicalization of birth and breastfeeding has stripped away the power of both women as birthing goddesses and as caregivers. We no longer trust our bodies to give birth nor to guide the process.
I am routinely called a "witch doctor" in my own neighborhood in Oregon because I rely upon homeopathy, herbs, essential oils and hands-on techniques. Ironically, I have an outstanding track record for babies that "no one else could help" (I'm the provider of last resort because I don't accept insurance; however, I use a sliding payment scale and take items in trade). When I'm called to the hospital by my long-standing patients, I see the nurses' eyes roll, but I also see them listening and watching with eyes nearly bugging out of their sockets. They've on many occasions commented on how effectively my "unconventional" techniques work (such as using NSP's Homeopathic Distress Remedy, a drop or two of lavender oil in a carrier oil for massaging mom to enhance letdown or for infant massage in a resistant nurser, using true skin-to-skin contact and fortifying the mother's self confidence). I always bring a bouquet of flowers with rosemary and lavender from my own organic garden (and I add a couple of drops of high-quality essential oils to the leaves). The staff thinks I'm just bringing flowers, but I explain to the parents what I'm really doing with the plants.
It's true I may have more liberty because I have a doctorate in Public Health and I'm doubly board certified, but even so I am still faced with the pressure to conform and an uphill battle in terms of educating staff. So many days I feel like throwing my hands up and walking away. Those are the days I'm grateful that I'm in private practice and that I have a network of friends such as those at Midwifery Today.
- Chris Hafner-Eaton, PhD, MPH, CHES, IBCLC
EDITOR'S NOTE: Only letters sent to the E-News official e-mail address, firstname.lastname@example.org, will be considered for inclusion. Letters sent to ANY OTHER e-mail addresses will not be considered.
The International School of Traditional Midwifery in Ashland Oregon is accepting enrollment for Fall 2002 classes. Contact us at 541-488-8254 or visit us at www.globalmidwives.org
DID YOU HAVE AN EPIDURAL?
Midwife wants to hear from women experiencing problems after epidural, please share your story. Anonymity guaranteed. Write: Mo at Epicomps, 8657 Douglas #261, DSM, IA 50322 or e-mail email@example.com
"Returning Birth to the Family" Midwifery Conference in Asheville, NC -- August 23-25th. Grand Midwife Margaret Charles Smith, Wise Woman Herbalist Susun Weed, Waterbirth Pioneer Marina Alzugaray. Southeast MANA meeting. Contact Cheryl -- 828-628-6345 or firstname.lastname@example.org or www.thematrona.com
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