Noted Southern California Licensed Midwife Anne Sommers

Talks Personally About Home Birth, Water Birth and Natural Child Birth

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Midwifery Articles

Important information regarding your pregnancy and midwifery.

Your Prental Visits Bookmark

There is much more that goes on during a prenatal visit than what is described below. However, the following outline will give you a general idea of what to expect at your prenatal midwife visits

Prenatal care really means wellness care and as such involves nutritional  counseling, exercise recommendations, and non allopathic healing options such as homeopathy and herbology. This is also a time for you to get to know your midwife and grow in a trusting relationship that will make your birthing experience a memorable one! It is a time to ask questions, learn about your body and baby, and listen to your midwife’s expertise on pregnancy and childbirth.

This aspect of midwifery care is called “continuity of care”. This is a very important feature of midwifery care that helps to make home birth safe. Rather than having to be examined by multiple providers from appointment to appointment, “continuity of care” assures you that your midwife will be the only one handling your care; there is less room for error because of this.

Your first initial visit

Usually after your consultation, an initial visit is set up. This appointment will consist of getting to know your midwife as well as your midwife getting to your medical past, rule out any health issues that may affect your pregnancy, assess your present well being (diet, exercise and nutritional supplements) and discuss your future goals; such as do you want a water birth, do you want your baby to receive vitamin K, etc. This is also the exciting time when the estimated due date of your baby is confirmed either by calculation on the gestational wheel or in some cases ultrasound!

During this visit, a contract is signed and a back up plan is written out, in the event that your baby or you need medical care during pregnancy, labor or post partum.

Your midwife will ask questions regarding your medical history such as: obstetrical history - previous pregnancies and birth experiences, gynecological history, contraceptive history, and family history. She will want to know if you have had any surgeries, accidents, or diseases; also if you have any allergies. By providing comprehensive, continuous prenatal care, your midwife will get to know you - well enough to have some sense of what to anticipate at your birth.

She will also address common problems that you may be having such as nausea, insomnia, leg cramps, sciatica, hemorrhoids, indigestion, nightmares, swelling, headaches, varicose veins, etc. and if you are Rh negative, advise you on antibody screens (performed periodically during pregnancy) and RhoGam.

Your midwife will then check your current state of health so she can chart a “baseline” for what is, and is not normal for your body during pregnancy and to rule out any conditions that would not make you a candidate for a home birth. Along with checking your urine with a test strip to rule out such conditions as urinary tract infections (UTI), toxemia, and diabetes; she will chart your weight, blood pressure and pulse, take the baby’s heart beat and measure your growing uterus.

She will also send you to your local lab to obtain a blood test to determine your CBC (complete blood count - that includes your hemoglobin, hematocrit and platelet count, among other things), blood type and Rh factor, antibody screen, whether you have hepatitis B, and are immune to Rubella. She may also request a urine culture. This is rule out any infections, or abnormal results to make sure that your baby has a perfectly safe sanctuary to grow in for the next nine months!

Your midwife will also talk to you about 1st and 2nd trimester AFP screenings (optional). http://www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/PNS/Pages/default.aspx

She may refer you to a chiropractor, lactation consultant, nutritional consultant, perinatologist or ultrasound technician among other specialists depending on the need (optional).

Many midwives do physical exams, vaginal exams, pap smears, and vaginal cultures at this time. (optional)

Weeks 8-28, you will be seen every 4 weeks

After your initial visit, a follow up prenatal visit during these weeks goes as follows:

~ Your weight gain since last visit is assessed. Normally it will be 1-2 lbs a week.

~ Your urine is tested via the urine test strip

~ Your blood pressure is checked. If it is low or high she will make nutritional suggestions.

~ Your fundal height measurement is taken, assessing the growth of your baby by using a measuring tape and counting how many centimeters your belly grows with each week. (Starting at around 20 weeks, growth is generally one centimeter per week)

~ Your baby’s heartbeat is listened to for rate & rhythm.

~ Your baby’s position in the womb (head down, breech, transverse, which way his/her back is facing) is palpated at 26 weeks, during which time the baby begins to go head down.

~ Your baby’s heartbeat is listened to for rate and rhythm, which generally can be heard with a Doppler after 10 weeks and with a fetoscope after 20) The amount of beats per minute should be anywhere between 120-160. The rhythm of the heart beat is also evaluated, to rule out arrhythmias.

~ Your midwife will talk to you about nutrition, exercise and complete well-being of both mother and baby; as well as answering all questions as to what to expect during these weeks and address any problems or concerns. She will inquire if you have any swelling, headaches, bruising, bleeding, difficulty sleeping, etc. During your 2nd trimester you may begin to feel ligament pain or pain in the symphysis pubis and your midwife can suggest remedies. She will ask you when you first felt the baby move.

~ 20 weeks some parents, and midwives prefer to do an ultrasound referred to as a Bio Physical Profile (optional) to rule out abnormalities in the baby.

~ 26-28 weeks is when (optional) glucose testing would be done, to rule out gestational diabetes and another antibody screen performed if you are Rh negative.

http://www.babycenter.com/0_glucose-screening-and- glucose-tolerance tests_1483.bc?page=2)
http://www.babycenter.com/0_blood-test-for-rh-status-and-antibody-screen_1480.bc?page=2

Weeks 28-36, you will be seen every 2 weeks.

At this time of pregnancy your prenatal visits become more frequent, as more problems are likely to occur as gestation progresses.

A routine prenatal visit during these weeks goes as follows:

~ Your weight gain since last visit is assessed. Normally it will be 1-2 lbs a week.

~ Your urine is tested via the urine test strip

~ Your blood pressure is checked

~ Your fundal height measurement is taken

~ Your baby’s heartbeat is listened to for rate and rhythm.

~ Your baby’s position in the womb (i.e. head down, breech, transverse, which way his/her back is facing) is palpated. Your midwife may ask you where you feel the most movement. If Baby is not vertex by 32 weeks your midwife may

refer you to a chiropractor for the Webster technique as well as talk to you about other options in turning your baby such as external version, breech tilt, acupuncture, and homeopathy. Some midwives will deliver a breech baby at home. She will go over the risks and benefits of that decision.

~ Your midwife will ask you about nutrition, exercise, water intake, and ask if you have any swelling, headaches, bruising, bleeding, difficulty sleeping, leg cramps or any other issues.

~Your midwife will go over any test results, such as your Glucose Tolerance Test or antibody screen if you are RH negative.

(~ At 28 weeks, some providers will re check your hemoglobin and hematocrit)

Weeks 36-42, you will be seen weekly.

A routine prenatal visit during these weeks goes as follows:

~ At 36 weeks a vaginal (optional) GBS culture is obtained.

~ Your weight gain since your last visit is assessed

~ Your urine is tested via the urine test strip

~ Your blood pressure is checked

~ Your fundal height measurement is taken, assessing the growth of your baby by using a measuring tape and counting how many centimeters your belly grows with each week.

~ Your baby’s heartbeat is listened to for rate and rhythm.

~ Your baby’s position in the womb (ex; head down, breech, transverse, which way his/her back is facing) is palpated. By this time your baby should be head down or vertex.

~ Your midwife will talk to you about nutrition, exercise and complete well-being of both mother and baby. She will address any problems or concerns that you have, ask if you have started preparing your home for the birth with things such as towels, a birth kit, and a mattress cover.

~ A home visit will be scheduled so that your midwife knows how to get to your home, to talk about birth plans and wishes, and give you information regarding setting up the birthing tub (if desired),

~If you are close or past your due date, or having labor like contractions, your

midwife may ask you if you would like your cervical dilation checked (optional)

~At 41 to 41 ½ weeks a non stress test and an ultrasound may be advised. An ultrasound can measure the amniotic fluid amount, estimate the weight of the baby, give a grade on the placenta, check for birth defects.

~By 42 weeks your baby should have been born. Your midwife may suggest ideas for stimulating labor or advise you to go into the hospital to be induced. She may recalculate your due date, ask you if you have any emotional issues holding up labor. Be sure to ask your midwife how long she is comfortable with you going past your due date when you begin your care with her.
 

Unlocking the key to ligament pain Bookmark

“Doctor Billy, “What is causing all this back pain and lower tummy pain in my pregnancy?” This is a common question I’m frequently asked by my expecting patients. The truth is - at least 50 percent of women will experience some form of back pain or discomfort. Pregnant women are prone to backaches, lower abdominal pain, and back pain for a few reasons: pregnancy weight gain, change in posture, and change in hormones.

While the first two factors are commonly understood, the change in hormones is the one explanation that is most neglected. Yet, unlocking the key to the changes in hormones could result in less pregnancy pains.

As I currently write this article my wife and I are expecting our first baby girl. As a result, my wife and I have seen firsthand how managing the changes in her pregnancy are undamental. Helping us understand how to deal with these changes was our midwife Anne.

After carefully weighing the pros and cons of all the data on childbirth and speaking with other couples, we decided the most prudent choice for us was to have a natural childbirth with a midwife. Having interviewed several midwives, my wife and I felt extremely comfortable having Anne as our midwife.

Speaking with Anne over the last several months professionally, she made me realize what impact the change of hormones has on her clients – and it is much greater than I thought. So we have decided to do an interview to help answer some important questions about hormones, ligaments, pain, and relief.

Anne: Dr. Rodriguez, you mentioned that the most neglected cause of backaches and pains are due to changes in hormones. Could you explain that to our readers?

Dr. Rodriguez: As any woman would probably agree, during pregnancy, hormone changes are at an all-time high. During these changes she might experience mood swings, constipation, food cravings, the need for extra sleep, etc. to say the least. However, there is one female hormone that affects the musculoskeletal system directly. That hormone is relaxin - a female hormone that is produced in the ovaries during pregnancy. Though its role is still not fully understood, relaxin is responsible for the expansion of the pelvis to allow room for the fetus to grow and eventually expel the baby. It affects the joints and ligaments in a woman’s pelvis during pregnancy.

Anne: Then we can assume that relaxin affects ALL the joints and ligaments of the body, not just the pelvis and cervix correct?

Dr. Rodriguez: That’s correct. Relaxin, like any other hormone, is not exclusive to just the pelvis. It affects all joints and ligaments of the entire body simultaneously. This is why some women experience more flexibility in different parts of the body, like the neck for instance.

Anne: So when relaxin is released in the body it affects all joints and ligaments to allow proper expansion and flexibility. It would be a misfortune if relaxin was not released!

Dr. Rodriguez: To say the least. Imagine for a moment a piece of string versus a rubber band. What’s the difference?

Anne: The rubber band can stretch and the string cannot.

Dr. Rodriguez: Right! Imagine your ligaments as strings. Picture if they were thin, taught, and had no flexibility whatsoever. They are designed to connect bone-to-bone and bone to muscle, and keep the joint in place. Now, imagine if the pelvis and uterus began to expand without the ligaments being able to stretch fully. Not good. All the ligaments would probably tear, joints would dislocate, and recovery would be interesting to say the least.

Anne: Now that we know the purpose of relaxin, how can it lead to abdominal or pubic pain?

Dr. Rodriguez: During pregnancy the hormonal changes will cause all the major ligaments of the uterus to stretch and expand causing discomfort and sometimes pain along the course of the ligament. These ligaments have been known to stretch up to twenty times their normal size during pregnancy. While it is a normal process, this excessive stretch can lead to many pains. The soreness associated with the stretching of these ligaments can be considered as a “sprain” of the ligament.

However, here’s where it gets interesting. If you recall, ligaments connect bone-to-bone. As the pelvis expands and the joints and ligaments soften, if the joint is not moving freely and normally (what we call subluxation or fixation of the joint) the ligament or ligaments will be even more taught and tender. This is usually the case with the round ligament where women usually feel sharp pain in the lower abdomen region, hips, or groin.

Anne: What ligaments are we talking about?

Dr. Rodriguez: While there are many ligaments involved with the proper positioning and support of the uterus and pelvis, research and experience indicates the round ligaments are usually the culprit. A trained D.C. would be able to assess the issue more precisely.

Anne: What can a pregnant woman do for this? How can she make sure her ligaments remain loose and flexible to allow the pelvis to expand normally?

Dr. Rodriguez: There are a few things. The single most important thing the mother-to-be can do is have regular chiropractic checkups throughout and after her pregnancy. The data shows and supports that women under chiropractic care can reduce their labor by fifty percent. How does chiropractic help the expectant mother? The Doctor of Chiropractic is trained to manage any subluxation, tiny spinal fixations which prevent proper function, that are present in the pelvis and/or spine so that the pelvis can move freely with the natural growth of the pregnancy.

If the chiropractor detects that the round ligaments are taught and restricted, with the use of the Webster Technique, proper function and motion can be restored.

Anne: What about supplementation for ligament health?

Dr. Rodriguez: Absolutely. Standard Process carries two wonderful products that can aid in the health and recovery of the any ligament injury whether acute or chronic, Ligaplex I and Ligaplex II (usually recommended for ligament issues in pregnant women, this product contains manganese, calcium and other nutrients). The Doctor of Chiropractic will be able to determine which of the two should be taken. Ligaplex has been a key supplement and extremely helpful as a part of my wife’s regular nutrition plan.

Anne: Other than being painful, how does ligament constriction affect the mother and baby?

Dr. Rodriguez: Ligament constriction will affect the mother and child in a couple of ways. First, the constriction will limit and in certain instances prevent the proper function and biomechanics of the pelvis, making it more difficult for the pelvic inlet to open and move freely, thus allowing proper fetal movement. In the infant, constraint can cause a stressful environment and can lead to an inability of the infant to descend and position correctly.

Secondly, ligament constraint can case prolonged labor and lead to complications like a breech or posterior positioned baby. Basically, ligament constriction interferes with the proper positioning of the baby.

Anne: What is uterine constriction, I’ve heard chiropractors use that term?

Dr. Rodriquez: Uterine constraint can be described as when the tone of the ligaments that support the entire uterus are tight and restricted, preventing the proper and natural movement of the pelvis and uterus.

Anne: Thank you very much Dr. Rodriguez for sharing this wonderful information for our readers as I am sure many will benefit. ■

Dr. Billy Rodriguez and his lovely wife Alicia reside in Temecula, CA. Dr. Rodriguez is a Board
Certified Chiropractic Physician in the state of California. He is the owner and clinic director of Rodriguez Chiropractic and Wellness Center in Moreno Valley, CA. He is well qualified to work with the expectant mother, infants and children. He can be reached at: drbilly@rodriguezwellness.com or visit his website at www.rodriguezwellness.com

Ed note: Alicia delivered a healthy baby girl soon after this article was written. Because of chiropractic care, good nutrition, and exercise, Alicia’s labor lasted only a few hours.

Putting the brakes on morning sickness Bookmark

Quite often I am asked what can be done to stop morning sickness. The immediate remedy is to take a Vitamin B complex -- by injection, liquid (for many women easier to digest) or tablets. Take the B complex tablets with Vitamin C to aid in absorption and eat a high protein diet.

 

Vitamin B's support the liver, the organ responsible for filtering hormones and toxins from the body. Toxins make you nauseaous. A high protein diet will help to stabilize your blood sugar level which, when it falls causes nausea.

 

When you eat and your food is broken down, the excess glucose is turned into glycogen by the pancreas. The liver stores glycogen. The adrenal glands under stress nudge the liver into producing stored sugar (glycogen).

 

Nausea, morning sickness, hypoglycemia generally involve 3 organs:

  • Liver - The liver detoxifies the generous amounts of hormones that flow through the body in pregnancy.
  • Adrenals - Call on liver for more glycogen. When we are stressed, the adrenals go into action, we require more glycogen. Tension, exercise, growing a baby will increase the need for glycogen.
  • Pancreas - Can over-produce insulin. Through the American diet, this organ has been over stimulated. Too much insulin production can cause hypoglycemia or low blood sugar.

It is very important in pregnancy to reduce the intake of carbohydrates and processed sugar. Eat regularly 6 meals a day (same time each day). Participate in regular activity (same time each day).

Remember, your baby is drawing on your reserves constantly. And what you ate and what your activity level was two days ago will have an effect on how you feel today.

Other than nausea, the signs of hypoglycemia include:

insomnia, allergies, forgetfulness, leg cramps, cold sweats, anxiety, fainting, headaches, dizziness, heart palpitations, rapid pulse, weak spells, depression, irritability, headaches, crying spells, blurred vision

What is a Midwife Bookmark

A midwife is a woman who assists other women in childbirth. The word is Old English: “mid” means “with"; “wife” means “woman.” The relationship between a midwife and a woman she treats is, by definition, an intimate one.

If you choose midwifery care, you will never think of your OB/GYN in the same way again. When was the last time you spent more than 15 minutes with your doctor? When was the last time your OB/GYN made a house call and waited patiently while your two-year-old “hadda go potty”? How often does your doctor call you just to make sure you’re feeling all right? Midwives do these things on a regular basis – it’s part of their philosophy of care.

A midwife doesn’t concern herself only with your physical health. Rather, she treats the whole person: She nurtures your spiritual side while providing expert care for you and your baby before, during, and after birth. The Midwifery Model of Care refers to the core belief that pregnancy and birth are normal life events. Midwives are trained to perform prenatal, postpartum, and well-patient care to women of childbearing age, to attend births, and to provide newborn care. They are knowledgeable in the areas of nutrition, pregnancy, labor, and delivery (including how to handle complications), and how to screen high-risk women for further care needs. This woman-centered model has been proven to reduce the incidence of birth injury, trauma, and cesarean section.

Contrary to what many people believe, midwives also can order lab work, ultrasounds, and other pregnancy-related medical tests. Midwives are trained to handle labor and birth emergencies such as hemorrhage (excessive bleeding), and they are skilled in neo-natal (newborn) and adult resuscitation as well as intravenous therapy.

The Different Kinds of Midwives Bookmark

Excerpted from Homebirth Making it Happen by Anne Sommers and Abbi Perets

Despite the many terms you may hear, there are basically only two kinds of midwives: lay midwives and certified nurse midwives. The difference between the two is their training.

Lay midwives (also referred to as traditional midwives, empirical midwives, or direct-entry midwives) are not nurses; rather, they're women who have had direct training in midwifery through self-study, apprenticeship, a midwifery school, or a college- or university-based program that is separate from the field of nursing. Lay midwives are trained to provide the Midwifery Model of Care to healthy women and newborns throughout the childbearing cycle, primarily in non-hospital settings. Some lay midwives become certified professional midwives (CPMs) or licensed midwives (LMs).

CPMs are independent practitioners who meet the certification standards set by the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM). The NARM certification process verifies a midwife’s knowledge and skills through written examinations and skills assessments, all of which includes training in out-of-hospital births.

A licensed midwife is sanctioned by her state after she passes a test administered by the state’s medical board licensing division. Licensing requirements differ among states; some, like Oregon, do not require licensing at all. Lay midwives in eight states – Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky , Maryland, Missouri, North Carolina, Virginia, and Wyoming – and in the District of Columbia legally are not able to become licensed midwives. So while you may be able to have a legal homebirth in those states, a lay midwife could risk arrest by attending.

Certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) first train as nurses and usually work as nurses in hospitals for several years while they attend a program accredited by the American College of Nurse Midwives Certification Council. Once they complete their midwifery studies, they must pass an examination to be licensed in the individual states in which they practice. CNMs typically work in hospitals and birth centers.

Of course, the groups overlap somewhat. Each midwife is also a unique individual, and you should consider much more than the letters after her name.

A Midwife's Touch Bookmark

“If you choose midwifery care, you will never think of your OB/GYN in the same way again. When was the last time you spent more than 15 minutes with your doctor? When was the last time your OB/GYN made a house call and waited patiently while your two-year-old ‘hadda go potty?’ How often does your doctor call you just to make sure you’re feeling all right? Midwives do these things on a regular basis – it’s part of their philosophy of care.”

Excerpt from Homebirth Making It Happen by Anne Sommers, L.M. Abbi Perets

You might wonder, why would any woman choose a midwife to deliver her baby? Aren’t midwives relics from the Dark Ages? Aren’t they for the poor who can’t afford a doctor or a hospital?

The opposite is true. Record numbers of well-informed women from all walks of life are choosing traditional midwives for the personalized care so many doctors no longer have time for. These mothers-to-be want to be treated as individuals, not as participants in a virtual assembly line of medical procedures often performed by strangers. Preferring to labor and birth in the comfort and privacy of their own homes, today’s moms are opting for sensitive midwives who become their companions in childbirth.

Throughout the ages, traditional midwives have survived in every culture, supporting mothers and acting as guardians of the natural birthing process. Today, they are trained in modern childbirth techniques, but most still use a variety of natural health alternatives, including herbs and homeopathy.In California , midwives are licensed to provide newborn care, attend childbirth, perform prenatal, postpartum and well-woman care, and can order lab work, ultrasounds and other medical tests. They are also trained in nutrition, how to manage complications and how to screen high-risk women for additional care.

If you would like to have all of your questions addressed during your forty-five minute prenatal appointment, be able to eat and move about freely in labor, deliver your baby in the position of your choice, perhaps in water - consider care with a midwife.

You may contact Anne Sommers, L.M. (951) 461-4779.

Birth Trauma, The Webster Technique and Midwives Bookmark

After a recent Ped Ex went out (the one on the Webster Technique), I received an e-mail from Anne Sommers a midwife in southern California. Her comments were supportive and enthusiastic about her experiences with Doctors of Chiropractic in her 11 years as a midwife and doula. She always has and continues to recommend chiropractic care as part of her clients prenatal care.

About the Technique, she had this to say: “I have never known the Webster Technique not to work in supporting a breech baby to turn except for one case where there was placenta previa. I have, however, known of the external version not to work!


I have been recommending the Webster Technique for close to 11 years. During that time I have encountered many breeches and have only experienced three other breech presentations. One woman did not choose to do the Webster Technique and had her baby by c-section. Another was a last minute client whose doctor said her baby was vertex (not) and refused to do an ultrasound to confirm it. She delivered breech in a hospital. Another client of mine had a baby that was vertex until the last week - her baby did a surprise turn.”

In following up with a phone conversation, Anne and I were able to touch base about numerous aspects about birth and the causes of dystocia. I had the opportunity to share with her the chiropractic solutions for dystocia (as taught in the ICPA Certification
Module on Pregnancy) and the more well known “Medical Interventions” such as hospital transport, induction, epidurals, etc.

Of course our conversation led to birth trauma and she mentioned a 10 minute video she had viewed at a Chiropractor’s office which had blown her away. (Birth Trauma: A Modern Epidemic) Having the experience of a home birthing midwife, the footage
seemed foreign and inconceivable. “How could these OB/GYNs pull, twist and actually turn the heads around like a corkscrew with no consideration for hurting the infant?”

Several weeks later, Anne attended a birth that wound up as a hospital transfer. She watched the OB/Gyn grasp the baby’s head and use it as a lever to completely turn the baby’s shoulders one way and then the other. Although completely flabbergasted by the
procedure, she assumed it must be a very rare and unusual procedure. Several weeks later, she witnessed another obstetric delivery where the same procedure was used!!

“What do you think they call this procedure,” she asked me, “the head screw maneuver?” Perhaps it is called the “We are clueless about the effects of force to the fragile infant’s spine and nervous system, technique, “ I answered.


Birth trauma is still very real in our society and its effects are life long. It is a cause of subluxation that is preventable and will need a tremendous amount of education and

contact the midwives, doulas and other birth providers in your community and form these vital alliances. Right now, midwives throughout the country are under fire and needing our concerted efforts for referrals and often financial donations as they face the “Machine of Modern Medicine”. To find the lay midwives in your communities, it is sometimes easiest to find the doulas and then ask them for their connections personally. A comprehensive list of doulas around the country can be found at these websites: www.dona.com and/ or www.birthpartners.com

There is still much we as Chiropractors can be doing in means of education and support. Doctors of Chiropractic are probably the strongest educators in any exposing health care. We have made tremendous impact in raising awareness about the vaccination issue,
antibiotic abuse, nutrition, body movement, and birthing. Even if our educational efforts have made significant impacts on our personal practices—it’s not about our personal practices—it is about a global level of change. Thanks for all you do—it is making a tremendous difference!!

Reader can contact Dr. Ohm through

www.icpa4kids.org

Chiropractic Care Augments Labor at Home Birth Bookmark

After a recent Ped Ex went out (the one on the Webster Technique), I received an e-mail from Anne Sommers a midwife in southern California. Her comments were supportive and enthusiastic about her experiences with Doctors of Chiropractic in her 11 years as a midwife and doula. She always has and continues to recommend chiropractic care as part of her clients prenatal care.

About the Technique, she had this to say: “I have never known the Webster Technique not to work in supporting a breech baby to turn except for one case where there was placenta previa. I have, however, known of the external version not to work!


I have been recommending the Webster Technique for close to 11 years. During that time I have encountered many breeches and have only experienced three other breech presentations. One woman did not choose to do the Webster Technique and had her baby by c-section. Another was a last minute client whose doctor said her baby was vertex (not) and refused to do an ultrasound to confirm it. She delivered breech in a hospital. Another client of mine had a baby that was vertex until the last week - her baby did a surprise turn.”

In following up with a phone conversation, Anne and I were able to touch base about numerous aspects about birth and the causes of dystocia. I had the opportunity to share with her the chiropractic solutions for dystocia (as taught in the ICPA Certification
Module on Pregnancy) and the more well known “Medical Interventions” such as hospital transport, induction, epidurals, etc.

Of course our conversation led to birth trauma and she mentioned a 10 minute video she had viewed at a Chiropractor’s office which had blown her away. (Birth Trauma: A Modern Epidemic) Having the experience of a home birthing midwife, the footage
seemed foreign and inconceivable. “How could these OB/GYNs pull, twist and actually turn the heads around like a corkscrew with no consideration for hurting the infant?”

Several weeks later, Anne attended a birth that wound up as a hospital transfer. She watched the OB/Gyn grasp the baby’s head and use it as a lever to completely turn the baby’s shoulders one way and then the other. Although completely flabbergasted by the
procedure, she assumed it must be a very rare and unusual procedure. Several weeks later, she witnessed another obstetric delivery where the same procedure was used!!

“What do you think they call this procedure,” she asked me, “the head screw maneuver?” Perhaps it is called the “We are clueless about the effects of force to the fragile infant’s spine and nervous system, technique, “ I answered.


Birth trauma is still very real in our society and its effects are life long. It is a cause of subluxation that is preventable and will need a tremendous amount of education and support of like minded groups to see the changes needed to happen. Please continue to contact the midwives, doulas and other birth providers in your community and form these vital alliances. Right now, midwives throughout the country are under fire and needing our concerted efforts for referrals and often financial donations as they face the “Machine of Modern Medicine”. To find the lay midwives in your communities, it is sometimes easiest to find the doulas and then ask them for their connections personally. A comprehensive list of doulas around the country can be found at these websites: www.dona.com and/ or www.birthpartners.com

There is still much we as Chiropractors can be doing in means of education and support. Doctors of Chiropractic are probably the strongest educators in any exposing health care. We have made tremendous impact in raising awareness about the vaccination issue,
antibiotic abuse, nutrition, body movement, and birthing. Even if our educational efforts have made significant impacts on our personal practices—it’s not about our personal practices—it is about a global level of change. Thanks for all you do—it is making a tremendous difference!!
 

Chiropractic Help Augment Labor Bookmark

I received this call on a late Sunday after noon; "Dr. Dohn, this is Dharma, Sarah’s doula. Sarah is having her baby at home and has been in labor for 20 hours now. She is in a lot of back pain. We realize it is Sunday evening, but she would really like you to consider a house call to see if you can help her." I said, "Sure, I'll be there within 10 minutes"

Because my own daughter was born in a home birth setting 27 years ago, I have an appreciation and knowledge of the pros and cons of natural childbirth. I have also adjusted several mothers at their home births. I know that moms like Sarah, do not want to have any drugs or other unnecessary interventions, if possible, for themselves or their babies. That is why they choose midwives, guardians of the natural process of birth.

As a matter of fact, midwives have been around a lot longer than the AMA, hospitals, law suits and pharmaceuticals. That is because the miracle of birth is a universal God given gift of life that usually happens all by itself. Our bodies do not need manuals or licenses or insurance to know what to do.

However, our bodies do need assistance sometimes in allowing the natural functions to take place. Interruptions in the progress of normal labor should be addressed and fixed as soon as possible to prevent further delay in progress and maternal exhaustion. Midwives and Chiropractors share the same ideological goal of assisting the body to do what it does best in the most proficient manner possible for that individual.

Midwives are the masters of patience; they do not live in the hurry up world of assembly line hospital practices that put time limits on birth; all in an attempt to get the most money for the least amount of time. They are skilled at recognizing the true barriers to labor progress, those that are physical, mental, and emotional. They have accumulated generations of knowledge to avoid dangerous, expensive drugs, trauma-inducing interventions and surgical procedures.


Midwives are licensed and are more than careful in looking for complications that would require modern hospital intervention. Anne Sommers, L.M., Sarah’s midwife, for example, has attended hundreds of home births; and no one has ever died or been crippled. Though complications can happen, when they do, Anne has a responsible, medical intercession plan for handling them. Today, when I arrive at Sarah’s home, I notice that Anne has a complete home birth kit with fetal heart rate monitor (Doppler), resuscitation equipment, oxygen, and other necessary medical instruments. She has a selection of medications to control hemorrhage, there if needed, but only as a last resort.

At Sarah’s home birth, "Natural as possible" is the intention; hence the request for the chiropractor first - for Sarah's back pain.


Sarah, a 27 year old dance teacher and student, is in the process of giving birth to her and her partner Brian’s first child; having done everything in her power to ensure a healthy birth and life for her baby. Brian is a musician and teacher; the room is filled with drums, guitars, saxophones and other various musical instruments. The couple is dedicated to a vegetarian lifestyle and their home beautifully reflects their cultural and spiritual beliefs.

Sarah’s upstairs, one bedroom apartment is busy with birth activity. In the living room sets a large, portable, blue plastic hot tub filled with warm water for an
underwater birth. Sarah chooses to labor and possibly give birth in the tub. Her baby has been developing in his Mama's warm, fluid-filled body for nine months now and the welcome to a warm water environment will be comforting to Mama and baby both.

When I walk in to the bedroom, I see Sarah curled up on her bed, next to a beautiful new bassinet filled with blankets and soft toys for the newborn. There
is not much room with all the extra furniture for baby. It is 5:40 PM Sunday evening.  
 
Anne tells me that the labor began Sat at 9:30 PM and continued, steadily progressing until about an hour ago when the contractions began to space further apart. The back pain began to build.

According to Anne, Sarah’s labor had reached a plateau where dilation was not progressing. Her cervix remained at 7 cm. for the last few hours. Though
Sarah was spending a lot of time in the bathroom, laboring in and out of the tub, changing positions frequently, the baby’s head was in a right occipital position, with a slight acynclitism (head tilted to one side).

This fetal misalignment interfered with the descent of the baby’s head. Sarah could not feel her contractions in the front of her abdomen but only in her back,
which is common with this position. Sarah felt like she had a brick pressing against her tailbone.

After I wash my hands I go in to see Sarah. "Hi Sarah. Doesn't look like much fun right now. Tell me exactly where the pain seems focused to you now. And can you change positions to feel better?"


Sarah replies, "Hi Dr. Jim. It hurts right along the low back, all over." (She points to her sacrum, tail bone, and indicate the pain as going to either side equally).

I have examined and worked with Sarah in my office previously so I am familiar with her specifically unique spinal curves and conditions. I have her roll onto her side with a pillow under her head, a pillow between her knees and a pillow to hug. Based on my examination and her description of the pain pattern, I begin a gentle massage of her sacro-iliac joints and of her lumbo sacral fascia. She moans approvingly so I continue and she reports the pain being relieved.

Her contractions are still stopped for now. I then palpate her sacrum and coccyx and feel the fixation of the sacral ligament. I then take a sacral-tuberosity ligament contact. This is gentle, steady thumb pressure superior, posterior and lateral. This is known as Logan Basic Chiropractic Technique and is widely taught at Chiropractic Colleges. The gentle pressure, held for a minute or more, has a relaxing effect on the lumbar spine and the pelvic floor. As I hold this contact I can feel the release and the baby beginning to move.

Anne checks the baby’s heart rate and says it is normal and healthy. Sarah reports the contractions are beginning again. I have Sarah roll over on her other
side and take a sacral-tuberous contact on the other side. The baby is very active at this point. I release the contact and Anne takes over to supervise the contractions and measure for cervical dilation. The contractions are regular and progress is being made. Sarah notices that she is feeling the contractions in the front. I need to go home for a time so I assure them that I will return in 90 minutes and leave.

When I return, Anne tells me that Sarah’s contractions continued for an hour after I left and now have diminished - Sarah was again in back pain. I have Sarah get into the side lying position and again take the sacral-tuberosity ligament contact. I hold this contact gently for about one minute on both sides.


I left the bedroom and decided to wait in the living room. Sarah’s labor progressed significantly. Ten minutes later she gave birth to bouncing, happy, healthy baby boy whose Apgar score was 10/10. Everyone is joyously happy.

I was called in by a Licensed Midwife to deal with a laboring mother’s back pain that was successfully treated by the sacral tuberosity ligament adjustment.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Chiropractors could be present at every birth no matter where they occur?

Salt and Pregnancy Bookmark

Marci writes:

Yes, born at home. Adam was 10 days past his due date but had been in place and giving me lots of contractions for at least those 10 days. Since I generally do go a bit long, there was no real concern. I finally did have a night when the contractions got closer together. I called the midwife at 6am. I was at 6 or 7 centimeters.

By 5:30 pm I was still only at 8-9 cm. I was really tired after 18 hours of increasing intensity. I was sitting on the ball between contractions and standing up during them,
leaning on Michael. After one contraction, I put my knee on the bed and said, "I need oxygen." That's the last thing I remember. I immediately had a seizure.

They called 911 and sent the kids upstairs. When the seizure was over, I started making labor noises and Renee (my midwife) said to Michael, "We're going to have a baby." I was totally out. There are no memories for me at all. The firemen walked in when the head was out and stood by while Renee and Rosemarie attended me with Michael telling me to push while holding my legs open. I guess I kept pushing away their hands and putting my legs together. When the head came out, Renee saw that the cord was over the baby's shoulder, preventing him from coming down farther.


After he was born, the paramedics thought they should take Adam as well as me to the hospital, but Rosemarie said, "Thank you very much but we're midwives for over 25
years. You take Mama and I'll take the baby." And the paramedics said nothing. It is very different here than in California! The hospital treated me beautifully. The OB was
lovely. It was amazing.

I have not changed my mind about homebirth, however! I do not still have seizures or take meds. The neurologist in Texas said that I have “provoked seizures.” I discovered

that the first two seizures that I had when I was pregnant with Jordan (in April 07) were from low electrolytes because I had a silent bladder infection; I was urinating copious
amounts of urine but had no pain.

With Adam, low oxygen was the culprit. I was exhausted, breathing through my mouth, and 44 years, eight months old. I love my neurologist here in Texas!! He was educated in Guatemala, interned at Loma Linda, and came here 20 years ago. COOL doctor!


However, the inept, idiot Korean neurologist at Fountain Valley Hospital in CA in 2007, said we would "never know" why I had those seizures but that I needed to take meds for the rest of my life.

While in the hospital that first time after my first seizure, they said the only abnormal thing was a bladder infection. I asked if my electrolytes were low and they said they'd
check. Before I left, they said they were low but that it wasn't enough to cause seizures.

I got my records and studied them. When I spoke with anyone remotely to the right side of health care, they all agreed with me that low sodium, calcium, and potassium could precipitate seizures. The neurologist here in Texas said low sodium is a huge cause of seizures. He had provoked seizures, himself, from bumping his head and he does not take meds.


In 2007, my medical midwife, was the only one who would take me for a home birth but on the condition that I take the meds that the doctor gave me (Phenobarbital). She also had her friend, who is a perinatologist, consult with me; in case I needed OB care at some point. He is not a backup doctor, but in my case, she felt led to take care of me and to ask for that favor. She doesn't normally have her clients see a doctor. It was nice of him to agree, even though I was SO rude to him. I really hate doctors!!!!

I was given 90mg to take every day, which was one pill. I cut those pills into eighths and took 1/8 of 90mg every day. I didn't tell my midwife, though. When she asked if I was taking my medicine, I said that I was. And I was. :-)

I had a beautiful birth because I had been doing Pilates so the baby was in the perfect position, I went to a nutritionist and was tested for my needs, took minerals, and slept 9-10 hours per night. Everyone took great care of me.

Low minerals or low oxygen added to pregnancy = seizures, in my case. Since Adam’s birth, I have not ever felt one coming or had any signs that something was wrong.

I often marvel at all the drama surrounding many of my births. 

Homebirth: Making it Happen Written by Anne Sommers, L.M. and Abbi Perets $ 15.95 - More Information
 

 

See Anne on National TV!
     
"Baby Story" (The Learning Channel)
      "The Spirituality of Childbirth" (The "Midpoint Show" -Odyssey Channel)
Tears of Joy video

 

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