26674 Meadow Ridge Drive, Elko New Market, MN 55020
101 E 5th St., Suite 208 Northfield MN. 55057
Hello everyone! I am excited to begin blogging again!
I hope that this Blog post finds everyone healthy and well! It seems that we are all constantly being bombarded with Covid-19 information and statistics, Treasured Birth, LLC is one of the businesses that was required to close due to the quarantine, and direct-contact with our clients.
However, we are very excited to announce that we have been approved to begin our re-opening for business, June 1st our Minnesota Senator gave the okay for Massage businesses to re-open. This is exciting news for us — and yes, we are Open for Business; but we are including a few important changes in order to maintain the safety of both us, and our clients. Those changes are included below. We are happy to see all of you soon! Please recommend us to your friends, family, and clients (please remember that we only do massage for our women clients, however, Childbirth Education and labor support focus on couples!) Again, we are taking appointments, and scheduling classes through our website. Please visit our website at https://www.treasuredbirth.com to learn more, or to schedule your class/massage! Help us to get up and running again! We look forward to hearing from you!
A Letter to Our Clients, Friends & Family
Dear Treasured Birth, LLC Clients and Families,
We would like to share with you what we know about COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and ways we are addressing potential risks at our offices, and when visiting you in your home.
In order to keep our clients and families as safe and healthy as possible, we are instituting measures to prevent potential exposure as we return back to work. The goal is to “prevent the spread”. We plan to do this by following the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines to help decrease the spread of illness.
First, it is important to know the symptoms of COVID-19. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure:
The current recommendation is that if you are experiencing mild symptoms of COVID-19 that you isolate at home during the illness. Do not go to work, school or public areas and avoid public transportation. Get plenty of rest, stay hydrated and manage your symptoms with over-the-counter medications at home. Seek prompt medical attention if your illness is worsening (e.g., difficulty breathing). If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, notify the dispatch personnel that you have or are being evaluated for COVID-19.
Treasured Birth, LLC, will not be testing for suspected COVID-19. We are attempting to keep a zone of wellness at either of our offices. If you suspect you have COVID-19 we suggest you contact your primary care provider. CALL AHEAD and let them know you have or suspect you may have COVID-19. This will help the healthcare provider’s office take steps to keep other people from getting infected or exposed.
When to reschedule your appointment (all types of illness):
TREASURED BIRTH, LLC’S PREVENTION STRATEGIES
We will only be allowing one massage client at a time into the office. Please do not bring your family along for your appointment.
Upon your arrival to the office building, please wash your hands at the Prevention Station before entering, and we will be requesting that you wear a mask (we can’t provide you with one, so please bring one along).
ANYONE WHO IS EXHIBITING SYMPTOMS CANNOT BE PRESENT IN THE OFFICES, (i.e.. WAIT IN THE WAITING AREA). WE WILL REQUEST YOU TO LEAVE IF YOU HAVE A FEVER, COUGH, OR ANY OTHER POSSIBLE VIRAL SYMPTOMS.
How you can help
We will be setting up a prevention station with hand sanitizer, and tissues when you enter either one of our offices. Before entering our office, please immediately go into the bathroom and have everyone, including children, wash their hands. While soaped up, sing the song Happy Birthday twice before rinsing. Please dispose thoroughly of your towels when finished. When you arrive for your appointment, please stop and sanitize your hands.
If you come to one of our Treasured Birth offices exhibiting flu/cold-like symptoms, we will require you to immediately leave and reschedule your appointment.
Children’s Toys in the Office
All toys have been removed from the office.
We are moving all doula prenatals and postpartum visits to online. We will use Skype, or FaceTime, or WhatsApp for our meetings. We will be contacting families who have signed up for meetings, or births in June onward with further information.
We encourage you to join our online Facebook group to stay connected to community. Join here: https://www.facebook.com/treasuredbirth1.
If You are Pregnant or Breastfeeding
Pregnant women should take the usual preventative actions to avoid infection – such as washing hands often and avoiding people who are sick. Here is an article with more specifics for breastfeeding and pregnant women: https://avivaromm.com/covid-19-pregnancy-breastfeeding/
How to Stay Healthy Every Day
These are just suggestions that are common sense and that everyone can do.
We will continue to update our recommendations as more information becomes available about COVID-19 Coronavirus. The global picture of COVID-19 is a fluid, evolving situation and although we endeavor to stay as updated as possible, the information posted here may not reflect the latest news.
On behalf of the Providers and Staff at Treasured Birth, LLC,
Kelly Martin, Treasured Birth, LLC
In this time of Covid-19, we are all becoming more aware of our vulnerability as human beings. But learning about how we can naturally stay healthy using alternative methods is going to become more commonplace as we all make the journey into this new Covid-19, and virus vulnerable world. If we actively pursue learning, we can empower ourselves with the self-knowledge that the old “granny midwives”, and our Post-WWI and WWII ancestors knew. From the book “Herbal Healing for Women,” I make the following post. Please be aware that this is not to diagnose or prescribe, and it is not being stated in any way as a cure for anything. It is more a nutritional suggestion — please consult with your provider before using anything herbal or alternative.
Herbs for Women
(Rosemary Gladstar pages 111-113)
There are many remarkable healing herbs used specifically for the female system. They serve as tonics, feeding and nourishing the reproductive system, and many are also used for healing specific ailments by herbalists. The following herbs are Rosemary Gladstar’s favorites, and they are the ones most often used in her herbal work with women. (For a detailed description of each of these herbs, please see the Materia Medica in Part II of this book).
Though all of the above herbs are used frequently for the female system, they each have different properties and physiological actions and are indicated for different needs and specific actions. It is important to have a basic understanding of the primary actions of these herbs on the reproductive system. This will help you choose the most appropriate herb(s) for each situation and also give you a rudimentary understanding of how and why each herb is working. The following categories characterize the major physiological action of herbs used for the female system. Since herbs are multifaceted and have many actions, most will fit into one or more categories.
These herbs are specific for toning and strengthening the whole female reproductive system. They are generally extremely potent in vitamins and minerals. They feed and nourish the reproductive organs, are used for restoring vitality and balance, and give general tone to the system. They are generally recommended for use over long periods of time and have little or no known side-effects. Some examples of uterine tonics are black cohosh root, comfrey root and leaf, dong quai root, ginger root, licorice root, motherwort leaf, nettle leaf, squaw vine, strawberry leaf, and vitex (chaste berry).
These herbs help stimulate and promote normal menstrual flows. They are very beneficial for relieving menstrual cramps and for bringing on suppressed, or delayed menstruation. While many emmenagogues are also uterine tonics, some promote menstruation by irritating, or stimulating the uterine muscles. Be sure that you know whether the emmenagogue herbs you are using primarily promote menstruation through a tonic, nourishing action, or through a stimulating or irritating action. Some examples of emmenagogic herbs are: Angelica root, black haw, blue cohash, cramp bark, dong quai root, false unicorn root, ginger root, motherwort leaf, mugword leaf, pennyroyal leaf, squaw vine, and yarrow flower and leaf.
Hormonal Balancers and/or Regulators
These are herbs that balance and normalize the functions of the nedocrine glands. They balance estrogen production and regulate the activity of these and other hormones. Hormonal balancers are useful in all aspects of menstrual dysfunction. Contrary to popular opinion, they do not actually contain hormones, but are considered hormone precursors. They provide the necessary elements, or building blocks to produce hormones. Most are also considered prime “liver” herbs, since much of the activity of hormonal production is dependent on the health of the liver. Some examples of hormonal balaners are: Black cohosh, black haw, dong quai root, false unicorn root, licorice root, vitex (Chaste Berry), and wild yam root.
These herbs promote uterine contractions and are used for stimulating delayed menstruation, stimulating contractions during prolonged labor, and as abortifacient agents. Some of these herbs contain oxytocin, which encourages the production of prostaglandins in the body. High levels of prostaglandins in the system stimulate uterine contractions. Some uterine contractors work by stimulating blood flow to the uterus. Other uterine contractors cause contractions by irritating contractors are actually toxic and should be avoided. Though these herbs are a potentially helpful group, you should be sure to understand them, and their particular function well before using them in your herbal work. Some examples of uterine contractors are: angelica, blue cohosh root, cotton root bark, parsley root and leaf, pennyroyal leaf and flower, rue leaf, and tansy leaf.
Stay tuned for the next posting which we will talk about herbs during pregnancy!
MASSAGE TECHNIQUES FOR LABOR
Article Published in: “A Midwife’s Touch,” by Elaine Stillerman. © 2008 Midwifery Today, Inc. All rights reserved.
[Editor’s note: This article first appeared in Midwifery Today Issue 84, Winter 2008. Portions of this article were taken from Prenatal Massage: a textbook of pregnancy, labor and postpartum bodywork, by Elaine Stillerman.]
As labor progresses into the active phase, a noticeable shift occurs in contraction pattern and mother’s emotional response. The midwife’s goal is to keep her calm, comfortable and focused and to encourage the normal progress of labor. Another important task is to meet her emotional needs with understanding, nurturing and respect. This will give her a greater sense of control over labor, which can lead to heightened self-esteem and a more satisfying, empowered experience.(13)
The bodywork techniques must now be adapted to the mother’s emotional and physical needs and changes. Her breathing pattern will be different and should be encouraged by breathing (or intoning, moaning, etc.) with her.
Techniques for Active Labor
As labor progresses into the transition phase of stage one, most women are no longer comfortable with long, gliding strokes. Some women may actually pull away from touch altogether as they focus on the task at hand. Hot or cold packs, or ice chips (perhaps imbued with an herbal remedy such as black cohosh, if her blood pressure is low and stable) may be welcome. Holding, rocking or swaying with her may be all the support she needs. Placing your hand on an area of tension or firmly applying pressure on her sacrum during a contraction can relieve back pain. (Don’t forget to keep her face and jaw relaxed, since a lot of women in late labor grimace in pain and lock their jaws.)
Quiet encouragement and reassurance are paramount during transition. Keeping her relaxed and calm lets her natural rhythm of labor proceed smoothly and on course.
After the short resting phase of stage two where she may enjoy a few gliding strokes on her back or belly, strong contractions resume and the urge to push becomes involuntary and compelling. Relaxation is vital to the conservation of her energy and smooth passage, particularly her pelvic floor and adductors, as any physical tension could increase pain and slow labor. Gently and quietly remind her to release tension and allow her body to open.
Helpful ways to support her include encouragement, staying calm and helping her follow patterned breathing and chosen relaxation strategies. Help her change positions and rub any tense areas—if she wants the touch. The strokes of abdominal effleurage during the active phase begin at the fundus and move toward the pubic bone in tandem with uterine contractions. Between contractions, try effleurage of the lower back, or she might prefer gentle pelvic rocking. Leg cramps or muscle spasms can be treated with active or passive stretching or appropriate light leg massage. She will most likely need assistance straightening her legs after squatting to either stand erect or sit down.
Most of the support during the baby’s birth helps to calmly remind mother to stay relaxed and conserve her energy. You can offer some physical support such as counter-pressure or perineal support and help her find a comfortable birthing position.
Expulsion of the Placenta
In the tribal world, placental birth was usually very fast because women were in good physical shape and they used efficient birthing positions. Standing and stretching can expedite placental delivery.(14) Massage was used almost exclusively to encourage expulsion of the placenta in tribal societies. Other procedures included contracting the abdominal muscle, having the woman sneeze, having the new mother bite on something very hard or having her blow into her hands or an empty bottle.(15) Heat applications were also used to effectively expel the afterbirth.
The women of Morocco soak the end of the severed umbilical cord in oil heated over hot coals. Within a few minutes of the treatment, the new mother stands and the placenta falls out.(16) The Filipinos warm the handle of a wooden rice ladle and press it against the woman’s navel. In certain regions of Mexico, a hot tortilla is placed against the mother’s right side.(17) In India, the birth attendant oils her head and rubs it against the standing mother’s belly until all the blood comes out.(18) In Tahiti, the afterbirth is expelled as mother kneads her own abdomen while bathing in the sea. Her husband presses his foot against her to stimulate further expulsion of fetal detritus.(19)
Abdominal massage from the fundus to the pubic bone, skin-to-skin contact between mother and baby (kangaroo care, nursing), nipple stimulation or oral stimulation (by the partner) promote the release of endogenous oxytocin that encourages the uterus to contract and expel the placenta. Midwives can stimulate acupuncture point Spleen 10 to release the placenta. Place the heel of your hand at the top border of the mother’s knee. Your thumb should reach the belly of the vastus medialis muscle where the point is found. Hold for a count of 10, repeating until the uterus starts to contract.(20)
If mom starts to shake, squeeze the arches of her feet to control the trembling and guide her through gentle breathing.
Many helpful bodywork and massage techniques, along with numerous comfort measures and coping strategies, can have a positive impact on the way a woman perceives and experiences her labor. These techniques also provide midwives with additional ways to keep their clients calm, comfortable and relaxed.
Elaine Stillerman, LMT, has been a New York State licensed massage therapist since 1978. She began her pioneering prenatal practice in 1980. She is the developer and instructor of the professional certification workshop “MotherMassage: Massage during Pregnancy” (www.MotherMassage.net) and the author of MotherMassage: a handbook for relieving the discomforts of pregnancy (Dell, 1992); The encyclopedia of bodywork (Facts On File, 1996); Prenatal massage: a textbook of pregnancy, labor, and postpartum bodywork (Mosby, 2008); Modalities for massage and bodywork (Mosby, publication date to be announced). She is the researcher and writer for the PBS-TV show “Real Moms, Real Stories, Real Savvy” and is proud to have helped organize the March 2008 Midwifery Today conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
For years the story of the Little Red Hen has been going on in this local birth community. I have asked many times for connection and support in helping to finish my midwifery education and clinical training, only to find it necessary to need to leave this great State of Minnesota to find the education and community in states other than Minnesota.
I want to publicly thank those midwives who have really been there for me– to teach and mentor me, those who didn’t haze, those that followed through with their promises, those who actually cared whether or not I succeeded, those midwives from other states, like Washington, Arizona, Missouri, Illinois, Utah, Wisconsin, Florida and California, who have mentored me, and encouraged me to keep walking with my education, even after pursuing it for 14 years.
My education has spanned far and wide and when it is completed, which will be very soon, I will be a caring, knowledgeable and empathetic midwife who knows what it is like to have both a caring, and an uncaring birth community behind her.
For those who are current midwives in Minnesota, I ask you for this — don’t say words like: “I think we need more midwives!”… and not take any personal action to make those words come true. If you are truly a midwife who wants to support the overall growth of midwifery, then follow through with what you say.
Don’t be like the Little Red Hen. The story of the Little Red Hen is one in which the hen does all of the work, getting the garden ready, planting the garden, weeding the garden, watering the garden, harvesting the garden, and then making bread to eat from the harvest. The Little Red Hen from beginning to end had no help, no support from her closest people. She remained dedicated to doing the project from beginning to end, overcoming all obstacles to keep going. Throughout her journey, she kept asking for help, support, friendship, invested time, but no one helped her. until she was ready to present the final product–that is when everyone comes to her and asks for a piece of her work.
Minnesota hear my words — if you are wondering why this nearly educated student midwife is not a part of your community, you should probably remember the story of the Little Red Hen. When she completed her project, she alone sat at her table and enjoyed the fruit of her labor. That will be Treasured Birth. This chick is getting ready to hatch! <3!
The Many Benefits of Birth Doula Support
The experience of childbirth reverberates throughout a mother’s lifetime. The constantly changing sweep of personal, family, and community history are intertwined with the cultural and psychosocial meaning of birth — for the mother, the child, and the family. In this way, childbirth is seen as one of the critical life events that can either connect a family – or disconnect a family. It is society’s responsibility not to allow the moment of birth to shrink into an invisible, unacknowledged episode of medical intervention. As a society, it is imperative that to rally for the right to birth choice and support.
A great deal of research has been conducted that addresses the positive effects that supportive caregivers, such as doulas and labor assistants, can have on outcomes in women’s childbirth experiences. A doula is an advocate for a woman in labor. Drs. John Kennell and Marshall Klaus used the Greek word “doulos” (meaning a willing servant without the need for bondage), to describe a trained professional that recognizes birth as a key life experience (Klaus, Kennell, & Klaus, 1993). A doula is described as a woman experienced in childbirth who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother during pregnancy, during labor, and just after childbirth (Klaus, Kennell & Klaus, 1993). Dr. Dana Raphael, an anthropologist, in her book published in 1973 called “The Tender Gift: Breastfeeding,” may have been the first person to publish the title “doula” to identify a female who gives psychological encouragement to a postnatal woman. A doula does not perform clinical tasks, or provide medical care. Instead she focuses on emotional and social support. She may provide education, logistical planning, and social support.
The use of a doula is an innovative option to address complex disparities in health care during pregnancy, labor and postpartum. In the broadest sense of role, a doula is a community health worker (or paraprofessional) who provides skilled and intimate continuity of care throughout the childbearing year.
A great deal of research has been conducted regarding the impact that supportive caregivers such as doulas and labor assistants can have on women’s birthing experiences. A doula’s role encompasses all non-clinical aspects of care. DONA is a certifying doula agency in the United States that trains women to be practicing doulas. Their core standard of ethic is that a doula can provide emotional, mental, and physical support to a mother – but she is unable to perform anything “medical.” She doesn’t take blood pressure, or do cervical checks for dilation, or provided I.V.’s or injections. She simply “mothers the mother.”
More than fourteen randomized clinical trials have been documented in a number of countries that have shown that continuous social, physical, and emotional support can help control pain, reduce the length of labor, and decrease the use of cesarean sections and other invasive procedures (Scott, Berkowitz, & Klaus, 1999; Hodnett, 2002). Other positive effects of support involve increased psychosocial benefits such as healthcare system cost savings, reduced resource utilization, and increased patient satisfaction. Labor support has also been correlated with improved breastfeeding rates (DONA International, 2005; Hodnett, Osborn, 1989; Hodnett, 2002a), and a decrease in postpartum depression (Beck, 2004b; Creedy, Shochet, Horsfall, 2000; Czarnocka, Slade, 2000).
Two hallmark studies were conducted in Guatemala, the first was a randomized control study by Sosa et al. (1980), which studied the amount of time women labored with a supportive birth companion, in comparison to women who did not. This study found that labors were significantly shorter labors for the women with support (8.8 versus 9.3 hours). The second randomized control study by Klaus et. al. (1986) found that supported women had a reduced incidence of cesarean section birth, had fewer perinatal complications, and had a decrease in oxytocin induction/augmentation (Madi et. al., 1999).
Several studies were conducted in North America to determine if these findings could be replicated. The studies all found the same positive outcomes with continuous doula care.
Pascoe (1993) studied nulliparous women who were referred to two community birth companion programs in Michigan from 1983 to 1987. Training was provided to the volunteer doulas (i.e., birth companions). Length of labor was shortened in the group who received continuous doula support during labor.
Gordon et al (1999) randomly assigned laboring women who received care from a health maintenance organization in northern California, to receive care from either a trained doula providing continuous labor support, or to a usual care group. A decrease in epidural anesthesia use was reported from the group of women who were supported by a trained doula.
Hodnett and Osborn (1989) studied the effects of continuous labor support in a North American hospital. Continuous labor support was provided by professional self-employed lay midwives or midwives in training who had previous experience providing continuous intrapartum support to a minimum of twenty laboring women. Although continuous labor support did not have an effect on the length of labor, or the cesarean rate, those participants who received continuous labor support were less likely to need pain relief, and to have episiotomies compared to those who received traditional nursing support.
Campero et. al., 1998 study examined women’s overall experiences with doula support. This qualitative study investigated the experiences of childbearing women who received doula support during the perinatal period. The doulas provided the same support as in the previous studies, and provided further evidence of the importance of forming trusting relationships with caregivers (Hodnett, 2002), and the value of being prepared for birth (Zwelling, 1996). The evidence provided by these trials suggests that lay labor support would be an invaluable addition to modern maternity care in the childbirth and the postpartum period. Despite the health and cost-effectiveness of doula care, one national survey indicated that only about 8% of women have used doulas at their births (Sakala, Declercq & Corry, 2002). It is believed, however that this number has increased substantially in the last decade (Lantz et al, 2005).
The range of doula support varies, as does who the doulas are themselves. The Association of Labor Assistants and Childbirth Educators (ALACE), Birth Works, Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association (CAPPA), Doulas of North America (DONA), and the International Childbirth Education Association (ICEA) produced a survey recently to examine who doulas are. Current members who were residents of the United States and had started, or completed doula/labor assistant certification were surveyed. A random sample of 1,000 doulas was selected, including 700 certified doulas and 300 with certification in progress. Over 57% of the respondents were certified through DONA. The respondents had the following sociodemographic profile: 94% reported their ethnicity as white, 3% African American, 2% Hispanic, and 1% other ethnic groups. The average age was 40.3, with a range from 20 to 71 years old. The majority of doulas were currently married (82%) and had given birth at least once (88%). In terms of education, almost 49% reported that they had a college degree or more, with 20% credentialed as a nurse or midwife. In addition, one out of three respondents reported prior training in some type of childbirth preparation instruction. The average income in 2002 from doula work was $3,645 amount certified doulas with almost half reporting that they made less than $1,000. The research revealed that doulas represent individuals from a range of academic and professional backgrounds united in their desire to support and enhance the childbirth experience of women. The primary characteristic that differentiates the professional doula from other support people is the technique of continuous care. The professional doula is committed to being present with the laboring woman 100% of the time. The research revealed that doulas represent individuals from a wide range of academic and professional backgrounds whose commonality was in their desire to support and empower women birthing. The primary characteristic that differentiates the professional doula from other medical support professionals is simply that they have the ability to give continuous care. A doula is committed to being present with a laboring woman 100% of the time (Hodnett, 1996).