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A Let It Be mama tells her birth story

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Midwifery made the news here in Louisiana (my first television appearance)

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What is a Midwife?

The term midwife, derived from the Anglo Saxon word, “mit wif”, meaning “with woman,” was first recorded in 1300. Written accounts dating to the 2nd century confirm the role of midwives in the birthing process.

Midwifery is quite possibily the oldest profession on the planet, as women have been helping women to give birth since the dawn of humankind. Modern midwives provide care to women during normal pregnancies and deliveries and collaborate with and or refer to obstetricians or other physicians if health complications develop or the pregnancy becomes high-risk.
A Midwife is…

…a trained professional who offers expert care, education, counseling, and support to a woman and her newborn during the childbearing cycle. The midwife works with each woman and her family to identify their unique physical, social and emotional needs. In addition, many midwives provide well-woman gynecological care and family planning services. Midwives know how to watch for and identify potential or actual complications, and they can provide emergency treatment until additional assistance is available.

What do Midwives do?
Midwives offer:

* prenatal care that promotes informed decision-making;
* choice of birth place;
* education and counseling;
* labor support, birth and postpartum care;
* support for bonding;
* examination and evaluation of the newborn;
* breastfeeding support;
* counseling in early parenting; and
* well-woman care.

Midwifery Care: Midwives are experts on normal birth; obstetricians are experts on difficult or surgical births. The division of responsibility between two strong and respected professions creates the best conditions for optimal birth care.

Midwifery care is cost effective, midwifery fees are typically less than fees for comparable services provided by physicians; midwifery care saves money without sacrificing quality or safety.
Midwives provide personalized care

Women want more than technological care during pregnancy and birth. Midwives encourage participation by family members and provide continuous support during labor and birth.
Midwives trust the birth process
and affirm each individual
woman’s ability to give birth.
Midwives encourage informed choice

Midwives encourage women and their families to take an active part in their own health care. Pregnancy is an ideal time to educate mothers about nutrition, healthful birth practices breastfeeding and infant care.
Midwifery care offers choice of birth place

Midwives practice in homes and birth centers. Midwives support the right of the parents to choose the birth place that best suits their needs.
Midwifery care makes a difference.

Midwives worldwide have an excellent record of safety with numerous studies associating midwifery care with excellent outcomes. In five nations with the lowest infant mortality and lowest rates of technological intervention, midwives attend 70% of all births without a physician in the birth room.
Midwifery in the United States

Midwives are recognized throughout the world as the most appropriate maternity care provider for most women. Midwifery licensure and scope of practice in the United States is regulated by individual state laws. The following categories of professional midwives are recognized in the United States.

Direct-Entry Midwives “Direct-entry” midwives, who are licensed in some states, are not required to become nurses before training to be midwives. The Midwifery Education and Accreditation Council (MEAC) is currently accrediting direct-entry midwifery educational programs and apprenticeships in the United States. Direct-entry midwives’ legal status varies according to state, and they practice most often in birth centers and in homes. Currently in the state of Oregon licensure is optional, some midwives choose to become both certified and licensed and some chose to remain unlicensed. A licensed midwife is a LDM an unlicensed midwife is a DEM, some midwives are both LDM or DEMs and CPMs.

Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs) may gain their midwifery education through a variety of routes. They must have their midwifery skills and experience evaluated through the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM) certification process and pass the NARM Written Examination and Skills Assessment. The legal status of these nationally credentialed direct-entry midwives varies from state to state. In some of the states where they are also individually licensed, midwives’ services are reimbursable through Medicaid and private insurance carriers.

Certified Nurse-Midwives Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNMs) are educated in both nursing and midwifery. After attending an educational program accredited by the American College of Nurse-Midwives Certification Council (ACC), they must pass the ACC examination and can be licensed in the individual states in which they practice. CNMs practice most often in hospitals and birth centers. CNMs are often trained by obstetricians or physicians and often must practice under a obstetrician in a hospital setting. Most CNMs do not attend home births.

Source: “What is a Midwife” pamphlet written by Ina May Gaskin

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New home birth practice in the New Orleans area!

Let It Be Midwifery is a newly born, home birth practice in the New Orleans area! The intention of my practice is to provide women the opportunity to discover the strength they contain within themselves to birth uninhibited and unaltered, with the least amount of intervention possible. My passion as a woman, mother and midwife is to assist women in reclaiming the wonder and joy that are inherent in birthing new life into their own hands.

I believe that women are strong and contain the unique ability to bring forth life into this world. Birth is the most mysterious, miraculous, and trans-formative time in a woman’s life. Every woman deserves the opportunity to move through their own experience, at their own pace, without judgment or obligation. Birth imprints itself in the lives of the mother, the baby, and the family. A joyful birth empowers the mother, welcomes the newborn into a peaceful and loving environment and helps to bond a family.

In traditional midwifery, the midwife is present to offer information and care for the mother and baby as a whole. This care is provided in a manner that specifically respects the connection and needs of mother and baby to remain together during the highly sensitized postpartum period. Newborn exams are done in mother’s arms, weight and measurements are delayed. Mother and baby are honored as a whole with general avoidance of needless separation. Nothing is more touching than the sight of an undisturbed mother and baby embracing each other in a postpartum circle of love, with their innate needs being fulfilled.

“There is power that comes to women when they give birth. They don’t ask for it, it simply invades them. Accumulates like clouds on the horizon and passes through, carrying the child with it.” — Sheryl Feldman

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Why choose homebirth?

Why Choose Homebirth?
Should You Have Your Baby at Home?

By David Stewart, Ph.D., Executive Director, National Association of Parents and Professionals for Safe Alternatives in Childbirth (NAPSAC) International
“Today in the United States, at the end of the twentieth century, advances in science and technology account for many positive changes in our quality of life. Yet more and more women from all walks of life are choosing to give birth the old-fashioned way — in their own homes. Why?

The fact is, in spite of all the good that has come from scientific discoveries and experiments, medical science has not been able to improve the human body and the way it was designed to work. Yet when our bodies are not functioning the way they were created to function, we are more fortunate than our ancestors in that modern medical science can sometimes help.

So why are families having homebirths? Though each couple may have individual reasons, most plan homebirths because they believe that most of the time pregnancy and childbirth are normal functions of a healthy body — not a potential life-and-death crisis that requires the supervision of a surgeon.World Health Organization Quote

There are risks involved in childbearing. In a small percentage of cases the skills of an obstetrician/gynecologist and high-tech equipment like ultrasound and fetal monitors are necessary in order for the mother or the baby to survive childbirth without long-term ill effects.

The neonatal mortality rate for the U.S. in 1989 was slightly more than 10 per 1,000 live births.[1] We have the most highly sophisticated and expensive system of maternity care in the world, yet in the same year twenty other countries — countries with less technology than we have in our hospitals and laboratories — had more babies survive their first months of life than our babies in the United States.

What do they do in those 20 countries to have better outcomes?

With fewer high-tech hospitals and obstetricians available, many of those countries — like Holland, Sweden and Denmark — use midwives as the primary care-givers for healthy women during their pregnancies and births.[2]

Understanding the potential danger in the overuse of childbirth technology, the World Health Organization has repeatedly implored the U.S. medical authorities to return to a midwife-based system of maternity care as one way to help reduce our scandalously high mortality rates.[3]

Midwives, in fact, still attend most of the births around the globe. Physicians, in spite of their advanced training and surgical specialties, have never been proven to be better childbirth attendants than midwives. And no research has been done that proves hospitals to be the safest places in which to give birth.

In fact, study after study has demonstrated that for the majority of child-bearing women in the U.S., the homebirth/midwifery model should be the standard for maternity care. In the pages ahead, you’ll see why.”

Access the full article & credentials here.
More mothers are going for home births

by Julia Llewellyn Smith from Telgraph.Co.UK

“When Lizzy Blanchard was pregnant for the first time five years ago, everyone assumed she would give birth in her local hospital. She wasn’t so sure.

“I always had an instinctive feeling that a home birth was right for me,” she says. “Everyone said: ‘You’re very brave!’ but there was nothing brave about it. I was simply more frightened by the idea of spending time in hospital than of giving birth.”

Her feelings were compounded after a tour of the maternity unit of her local teaching hospital.

“It looked like a Hammer horror film – old-fashioned, with poky little rooms, full of terrifying instruments like the ventouse [a vacuum device to help with delivery], the bed that goes up and down, the kidney shaped thing to puke in. I thought I’d much rather puke in my own bucket…”

Read more here.

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Eclampsia and Toxemia in pregnancy can be prevented and treated!


By Dr. James Howenstine, MD.
November 30, 2004

Eclampsia has been one of the major enigmas of the medical profession for hundreds of years. The cause for eclampsia is considered to be mysterious by most physicians despite extensive scientific articles beginning in the 1920s showing that eclampsia is an easily preventable nutritional disease. Standard therapy consists of bed rest, restriction of sodium in the diet, diuretics, and blood pressure lowering drugs. This condition is treated as a medical emergency with efforts to bring about immediate delivery of what is often a very premature baby by inducing labor or Caesarian section.

Evidence of eclampsia is found in between 2 and 20 per cent of pregnancies worldwide. Approximately 50,000 women die of eclampsia annually. Eclampsia is seen more frequently in poor people, diabetics, twin pregnancies, women who have received no prenatal care and women with preexisting kidney disease or hypertension.

Typically signs of eclampsia appear in the last three months of pregnancy. The cardinal feature is elevation of blood pressure from the blood pressure levels seen earlier in the pregnancy. Common symptoms include severe swelling, protein in the urine, headaches, nausea and vomiting, mental confusion and agitation, right upper abdominal pain (liver), visual impairment, convulsions and ultimate coma. Severe cases often have coagulation problems with bleeding , liver dysfunction and kidney failure..

Dr. Tom Brewer had an important conversation prior to medical school with an immigrant Russian neighbor who related that pregnant Russian women often died of hemorrhage or convulsions. This Russian neighbor related that “Times were hard and food was scarce.” This conversation made a profound impact on Dr. Brewer’s thinking.

During his obstetrical training Dr. Brewer observed that the toxemic patient often became dehydrated with thickened blood. In this dehydrated state the use of the often prescribed diuretics to lower blood pressure becomes particularly dangerous. He felt that the eclampsia was related to lack of protein, salt, vitamins and minerals.

During his residency training at Lallie Kemp Charity Hospital in Louisiana 25 % of the pregnant women seen there had toxemia. In his general practice with a partner in Fulton, Missouri he did not restrict salt, food or weight gain, used no diuretics, encouraged protein intake and saw only healthy women deliver healthy babies with no toxemia. The only toxemic patient he saw in 100 deliveries was a poor woman on a deficient diet who had received no prenatal care.

Dr. Brewer became convinced that low infant birth weight, premature labor, and eclampsia were being caused by the dehydration, low salt diet and diuretic drugs given to eclamptic patients. He feels that physician emphasis on weight limitation during pregnancy has proven to be dangerous because it leads to malnutrition.

The diet Dr. Brewer recommends for pregnant patients includes :

One quart or more of milk daily
Two eggs and one or two servings of fish, chicken, lean beef or pork or cheese daily
One or two daily servings of fresh green leafy vegetables (mustard, collard or turnip greens, spinach, lettuce, broccoli, or cabbage)
Five daily servings of whole wheat bread, corn tortillas, or cereal
A piece of citrus fruit or a glass of orange or grapefruit juice
A large green pepper, papaya, or tomato
Three pats of butter daily
Five servings of yellow vegetables weekly
Three baked potatoes weekly
No salt restriction

He is convinced that eating 80 to 100 grams of protein daily prevents toxemia. Thirty years of using this diet in thousands of patients has avoided all cases of eclampsia, anemia, premature separation of the placenta, severe infections in lungs, kidneys and liver, low birth weight babies, premature babies, and miscarriage. All babies were born healthy. The American obstetrical profession continues to oppose the concept that malnutrition causes eclampsia.

Dr. Brewer has been able to instruct midwives in how to institute his high protein diet for eclamptic patients. This diet leads to reversal of symptoms which is unheard of using conventional drug therapy.

The patient who gains no weight during a pregnancy is at high risk for eclampsia. It must be remembered that a considerable portion of the maternal weight increase[1] is caused by the weight of the placenta, the expanded blood volume seen during a normal pregnancy, the weight of the baby and the quantity of amniotic fluid. Very obese women , who are existing on empty calories from starches and sugars gain weight that is stored as fat because the baby is unable to utilize the empty calories. These babies are underweight and the mother is often toxemic. Animal experiments using sheep showed that most sheep placed on a starvation diet near the end of a pregnancy died.

Dr. Brewer has observed that pregnant women who were smoking 2 packs of cigarettes daily but eating a good diet had no problems with the health of the child suggesting that the quality of food consumed is the most important prognostic factor. A woman eating for twins must consume enough food for 3 people.

Dr. Brewer is convinced that improving the diet prior to conception is very worthwhile. This creates impossible problems for impoverished persons. Because the focus of medicine is so drug oriented and so lacking in nutritional knowledge eclampsia will probably continue to be a plague even though it’s cure is very simple.

Nutritional Deficiencies Are Being Attributed To Genetic Disorders

Veterinarians have learned that the institution of a healthy diet, vitamins, minerals and nutritional supplements prior to conception completely eliminates congenital birth defects[2] in animals. Dr. Joel D. Wallach D.V.M., N.D. relates that 98 % of birth defects are caused by nutritional deficiencies. He includes in this list cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, heart defects, brain defects, spina bifida, cleft palate, limb defects, hernia etc. Radiation appears to be responsible for less than .1% of birth defects. Teenagers have a bigger percentage of children with birth defects than women over age 40 probably because of poor diet, lack of supplements, and their own need for supplements as growing adults competing with that of the developing infant.

Billions of dollars have been spent on laboratory, pet and agricultural animals to learn more about birth defects. The information obtained from these studies has totally eliminated birth defects in animals.

Cystic fibrosis is a selenium and fatty acid deficiency in the fetus or newborn breastfed infant. Maternal malabsorption of selenium caused by subclinical celiac disease is the initiating cause of the selenium deficit found in the fetus. This newborn’s selenium deficiency produces the fibrocystic lesions in the pancreas typical of cystic fibrosis. The cystic fibrosis infant is born with normal lungs but later they become a major problem with recurring pneumonias and pseudomonas bronchial infections which often cause lung failure to be the cause for death at a young age.

In 1958 Dr. Klaus Schwartz of Germany reported in Federation Proceedings (NIH Journal) that selenium was an essential nutrient. Deficiency of selenium produced the same pancreas lesion in test rats and mice as was seen in cystic fibrosis in humans.

In 1972 Cornell University researchers reported that chicks hatched from selenium deficient hens developed cystic fibrosis lesions in their pancreas. This “cystic fibrosis” disease in the chicks was completely reversible within 30 days in newborn chicks by supplementation with selenium. This important research information enabled Dr. Wallach to treat 450 cystic fibrosis patients with excellent results using selenium. Infants with “cystic fibrosis”started on selenium therapy at 3 months are still cured at age 12. Mothers who had cystic fibrosis children have been able to have normal children when their selenium deficiency was corrected.

Working in conjunction with 3 Chinese scientists Dr. Wallach was able to learn that 1700 children who died of Keshan Disease (a heart fibrosing illness caused by selenium deficiency in the soil) had clear evidence in 595 of these children (35 %) of the cystic fibrosis lesions in their pancreases. Because the Cystic Fibrosis gene is reportedly present in only 1 out of 2500 persons this clearly proves that cystic fibrosis is not a genetic disorder. Approaching the Keshan Disease from a different angle careful autopsy studies of 400 persons who died with “cystic fibrosis” had characteristic fibrotic lesions of the heart exactly like those found in selenium deficiency in Keshan Province of China.

The reason that some mothers become selenium deficient appears to be related to food allergies which cause changes in the appearance of the gut producing malabsorption of food. Breast feeding by a selenium deficient mother makes the infants selenium deficiency worse. The presence of maternal food allergies, malabsorption syndromes and nutritional deficiencies all can lead to birth defects. Dr. Wallach believes that it is unlikely that aggressive searching for food allergies and widespread use of selenium and nutritional supplements will be pursued by physicians who are earning a comfortable living with the status quo. Unfortunately many physicians hearing about the relationship between selenium and the causation of “celiac disease” will be skeptical and not willing to use this information.

The Infertility Problem

Dr. Wallach has had considerable success in helping couples have children who have been diagnosed as infertile by conventional physicians. He is certain that infertility is simply another manifestation of the nutritional disaster in the U.S. Testing husband and wife for nutritional defects and then correcting these defects has permitted hundreds of couples to have children. This may involve the use of rotation diets to ascertain food allergies. Correction of malabsorption also leads to pregnancies. Finding couples with poor nutrition, no food supplements, food allergies and malabsorption can be very rewarding in the correction of infertility. This information about the frequency of nutritional disorders seems to provide convincing evidence that birth defects are not able to become manifested when good nutritional supplementation is provided at the time of conception and continued during the pregnancy.

The U. S. medical system has moved so far away from understanding the importance of nutrition that implementing of Dr. Brewer’s diet to stop eclampsia and Dr. Wallach’s program to prevent birth defects with good nutrition may never become common practice but at least persons who are interested in learning what good nutrition can accomplish may be helped to avoid these problems.

Genetic Research

Massive amounts of money were and are being spent learning the position on genes where genetic defects are located. When this information is obtained it does not cure any diseases. The suggestion by Dr. Wallach that good nutrition prevents possible genetic defects from appearing appears to be of far greater importance than the site where gene defects are located. When Dr. Wallach made the break through discovery that selenium deficiency was the actual cause for fibrocystic disease he was promptly fired from his position at the NIH. This emphasis on genes as a cause for diseases removes the blame for the failure of modern pharmaceutically oriented medicine’s inability to cure cancer, arteriosclerosis, and Type 2 diabetes.


1 Interview with Dr. Tom Brewer Preventing Eclampsia (Metabolic Toxemia Of Late Pregnancy) : An interview with TomBrewer, M.D. Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients November 2004 #256 pg. 69-75
2 Wallach, J.D. Lan, Ma Let’s Play Doctor Wellness Publication LLC pg. 120-124

© 2004 Dr. James Howenstine – All Rights Reserved

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Dr. James A. Howenstine is a board certified specialist in internal medicine who spent 34 years caring for office and hospital patients. After 4 years of personal study he became convinced that natural products are safer, more effective, and less expensive than pharmaceutical drugs. This research led to the publication of his book A Physicians Guide To Natural Health Products That Work. Information about these products and his book can be obtained from and at and phone 1-800-416-2806 U.S. Dr. Howenstine can be reached at and by mail at Dr. James Howenstine, C/O Remarsa USA SB 37, P.O. Box 25292, Miami, Fl. 33102-5292.

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Delayed cord clamping

“Delayed” Cord Clamping and Stem Cells – When to Cut the Cord?

What if there were a simple, free, natural way to give your baby a bit better start on the first day of life:

* Improving blood counts now
* Reducing the chance of iron deficiency later
* Improving oxygen levels in the brain
* Reducing serious bacterial infections
* Stabilizing blood sugar levels
* Improving organ growth

A growing number of studies suggest that what we call “delayed” cord clamping might do all of the above, and more. Throughout almost all of human history, in all parts of the world, and throughout the world of mammals, the umbilical cord remains connected both to the baby and the placenta at least until the cord stops pulsing (sometimes longer). Usually this is 90 seconds to 3 minutes or more.

The idea of rushing to clamp and cut the cord within 20 seconds is a recent idea, so that professionals can take charge of and examine the baby right away. It’s not clear this practice is beneficial for healthy, stable babies.

At the moment of birth, perhaps 2/3 of a term baby’s blood is in the baby; 1/3 remains in the cord and placenta. For premature babies, it might be only half.

Waiting the extra seconds for what I prefer to call “normal” cord clamping rather than “rushed” cord clamping, gives the baby an extra supply of iron – a supply that can last for 6 full months – perhaps enough to prevent iron deficiency throughout the entire first year. I believe babies were originally designed to get iron from their mothers, not from fortified processed foods like white rice cereal.

A Natural Stem Cell Transplant

The extra blood the baby gets by what I call “normal” clamping isn’t just any blood – it’s once-in-a-lifetime, rich, umbilical cord blood, which is packed with an assortment of powerful stem cells. These stem cells are still migrating from the placenta into the baby at the birth moment.

Those who favor cord blood banking rush to clamp and cut the cord earlier, to prevent the valuable stem cells from going into the baby, so that instead they can whisk these stem cells away to be preserved in cold storage. This is better than just throwing the stem cells away.

I prefer going with the age-old natural process of letting these potent stem cells plant themselves in the baby as a last gift at birth, to grow within and carry out the purposes for which they were designed. Cutting edge science is just beginning to appreciate and understand the true value of this gift.
Alan Greene, MD, FAAP
March 29, 2011

Tolosa JN, Park DH, Eve DJ, Klasko SK, Borlongan CV, and Sanberg PR. “Mankind’s First Natural Stem Cell Transplant.” Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine. Mar 2010, 14(3):488-495.

McDonald SJ, Middleton P. “Effect of timing of umbilical cord clamping of term infants on maternal and neonatal outcomes.” Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2008, Issue 2. Art. No.: CD004074. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD004074.pub2.

Read more:

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Using a Rebozo to Open Up The Pelvis

A picture from the midwifery today conference in Eugene Oregon of Angelina demonstrating how to use a rebozo to open up the pelvis in a difficult labor and birth

via Using a Rebozo to Open Up The Pelvis.

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35 Reasons Why We Choose Homebirth

35 Reasons Why We Choose Homebirth.

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