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Salt and Pregnancy, A Personal Story

A reader writes to Dear Midwife:

Dear Anne,

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. 


Love, Marci 

You can write to Dear Midwife here.

Copyright 2017 Anne Sommers

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