Whale Birth on Video

Ok, so it has to do with birth, but not human birth.

It surprised me that the baby whale came out tail first. I knew that four-footed mammals are born feet-first (I suppose so that their necks don’t break from the drop — I’m picturing a standing giraffe dropping its newborn offspring headfirst — yikes!), but I didn’t realize that water mammals were born tail-first. Which means that if a whale is breech, then it comes out head-first!

Another point of interest is the gush of blood that comes out when the baby whale is born. Although it doesn’t look like that much at first (in comparing it to the size of the mama whale), it immediately disperses into a big cloud. That shows why many midwives prefer for a woman to get out of the tub pretty quickly after birth — it’s just hard to accurately judge how much blood is lost in the water.

I’m not sure what happened to the baby whale’s umbilical cord — did the mother bite it? did her violent wrenchings in the water break it? It’s just cool to see the way other mammals give birth. Here’s the link.

Lamaze International

Many of you may associate the word “Lamaze” with the “hee-hee-hooooo” breathing made popular in the late 70s and early 80s. It’s much more than that now. Go check out their website, but especially the new weekly pregnancy newsletter.

Putting Women in Control

This is such a great article! In a nutshell — when women need a vaginal exam with a speculum, they insert the speculum themselves. Read the article, and next time you find yourself in that oh-so-wonderful position (feet in here… okay, slide a little bit lower, lower…) you can tell the doctor or midwife that you would rather put the speculum in yourself. After all, it’s your body, and you know best how to make it comfortable!

Tricks of the Infant Food Industry

This is sort-of a follow-up to a recent post on artificial breastmilk (infant formula). Here’s the link to an article that talks more about it (thanks, Dale!). Just mind-boggling.

While U.S. infants can survive on formula, many third-world infants cannot. Not only is drinking water scarce or disease-ridden in many areas, but formula is so expensive that many women cannot afford it, so they often dilute the formula to make it stretch. But then the baby doesn’t get enough nutrients.

Breastfeeding is free! And it’s better than formula! What’s not to like?

The Birth Survey

If you are pregnant, or gave birth within the last 3 years, you have the opportunity to participate in an exciting project! Go to The Birth Survey website to find out more about it.

There is so much on the website, it’s impossible to just pull out the best parts, because then I’d end up copying and pasting almost everything, but here is just a taste:

The Coalition for Improving Maternity Services (CIMS) is a coalition of individuals and national organizations with concern for the care and well-being of mothers, babies, and families. Our mission is to promote a wellness model of maternity care that will improve birth outcomes and substantially reduce costs. This evidence-based mother-, baby-, and family-friendly model focuses on prevention and wellness as the alternatives to high-cost screening, diagnosis, and treatment programs.

Whether you had (or are planning) a drug-free, intervention-free birth or a scheduled C-section or anything in between, I encourage you to participate in this survey. Information given will be beneficial for all women, to let them get the type of experience they are wanting. Did your care provider lead you to believe that you would have the type of birth experience you wanted, only to change all the rules once you got into labor? Other women need to know that. Did you have to fight to get an epidural? Other women need to know that. Did you have an awesome L&D nurse? Other women need to know that.

With approximately 4 million births each year, that means that there are 12 million women who can give their opinions and experiences. This could transform maternity care in the United States!

Artificial infant food

(good only for artificial babies!)

This was interesting — the Wikipedia article on Infant formula. I know a lot of people don’t like Wikipedia, but there are citations throughout the article, and it certainly does a good job of encapsulating the topic “in a nutshell.”

In reading one of many breastfeeding books, one of the authors noted that health statistics are usually quoted in a way to make formula feeding seem the norm. For instance, it will talk about how that breastfeeding “reduces the risk” of a baby being obese or becoming diabetic — as if formula-fed infants are the standard, and breastfed infants are the variation. Instead, he pointed out that it would be more accurate to say that formula-feeding increases the risk of a baby being obese or becoming diabetic. Sounds worse that way, doesn’t it? But it’s true.

From the Wikipedia article:

In studies, formula-feeding is associated with increased likelihood of the following conditions in infants:

A comment about comments

I have several posts in queue, since I am in the middle of the summer busy season, and won’t be online regularly. If you have posted a comment before, your comment should appear immediately; if you haven’t, then your comment will go to moderation. I have noticed lately that WordPress (or Akismet) has been sending some comments to spam; so if your comments doesn’t appear immediately or say, “Your comment is awaiting moderation,” it’s gone to spam. I think it’s doing this if you have links in the post, or perhaps if it is a long post. Don’t worry — I’ll check in periodically and check the spam folder and approve comments.