Breech Birth: No Cesarean Needed

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Breech birth is one of the most misunderstood and controversial subjects when it comes to women’s pregnancy and delivery. A breech birth occurs when the baby has its head positioned up instead of down in the uterus. Therefore, coming into the world butt or feet first. Most women will never have the option to decide what they want to do when faced with a breech baby. A planned cesarean section is performed for 94% of all breech babies.

If your provider is an OB, DO, or hospital CNM, you most likely will not be given a choice. Breech births can be successfully carried out without a cesarean. In this blog, we will be discussing the different methods used to deliver these babies without a forced cesarian section. 

How Breech Birth Can Be Fixed Internally 

You may be given the option to try to turn your baby in a procedure called ‘external cephalic version’, or ECV. (This is a procedure where the provider attempts to shift the baby from head up to head down using a deep massage technique.) It can be quite painful, or not, depending on the provider’s technique and how difficult it is.

This procedure is about 74% successful and most people who have a successful ECV will go on to have a vaginal birth. For those whose baby doesn’t turn, the majority (88%) will have a cesarean birth – either by choice or because they are forced as they cannot find a provider willing or able to help them birth their breech baby vaginally.

Most hospital providers have not been trained in physiologic breech birth. Rather, they may have been trained in a procedure called “vaginal breech extraction”. This is where the pregnant person is on their back and the baby is pulled out using various maneuvers and ending with a forceps delivery of the head. This is dangerous and often results in damage to the baby, mother, or both. No wonder most providers are unwilling to provide vaginal birth as an option for clients with a breech baby.

How Breech Birth Can Be Done by Changing Position 

In contrast, there is a technique that uses the gravity of the baby moving naturally through the mother’s pelvis. Called “physiologic upright breech birth”. As the name implies, the client is either standing, kneeling, squatting, or on hands and knees. The baby births itself most of the time. A skilled provider will know if the baby needs any help and when to apply which maneuver.

There have been multiple studies that have found no differences in the long-term outcomes between planned CS or planned VBB. Some studies have found a slightly higher risk for the baby between pVBB and pCS. Although, some studies found no difference. The unknown factor is the skill level of the provider

Why Breech Birth is Usually Solved by a Cesarean 

There is almost no option for having a pVBB in the hospital, in the United States. Many people seek alternative options for the birth of their breech baby. Even though this is not their first choice. Home breech birth has been shown to have poorer short-term neonatal outcomes compared to hospital breech birth. But, we don’t know what really causes these poorer outcomes. Anything from an inexperienced provider, possible congenital anomalies, delays, or miscommunication during transfers are all potentially at fault. It’s very possible that home pVBB outcomes could be significantly improved by improving provider training for breech birth.

By eliminating the option for a hospital birth for pVBB, lawmakers, hospital administrators, and Obstetricians are effectively forcing people to have cesareans. This goes against state and federal rulings that protect a person’s right to refuse surgery, as well as moral and ethical mandates to respect bodily autonomy.

Breech Without Borders 

At Midwife360, Fadwah has been trained in the art of VBB and has attended a handful of pVBB in and out of the hospital setting, as well as several breech births in the hospital during twin births where the second baby is coming breech. She has attended and is working with Breech Without Borders Breech Pro Workshop to add to her skill level and to bring this valuable training to other providers in our community. All birth providers – CPM, CNM, OB, DO – are welcome to attend.

As a birth worker, there is always a risk of a person showing up in advanced labor with a breech baby. Rather than trying to rush into the OR for a cesarean that carries its own set of risks (not only for this birth but for the next birth and baby) why not learn the art of physiologic vaginal breech birth to assist the process safely? Go to midwife360.com to learn more about the upcoming Breech Without Borders workshop.

National Midwifery Week 2021: Meet the Midwives

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National Midwifery Week 2021 is here! In the United States, midwives have been serving communities for more than a century. National Midwifery Week was created by ACNM to celebrate the work and dedication of midwives and midwife-led care. From community education to prenatal visits to deliveries, ACNM’s national week of celebration is a time to show your support for all that you do.

This year’s theme, “Midwives for Every Community,” acknowledges the unique skills and abilities of all midwives across the country. The ACNM aims to celebrate midwives in all areas of the country that work in diverse environments to care for women and families. The week will focus on how midwives help address health disparities in underserved communities, provide culturally competent care, and improve health outcomes overall.

Meet the Midwives at Midwife360

P. Fadwah Halaby

Founder of Midwife360 in West Palm Beach, P. Fadwah Halaby was born on March 17 in Washington DC. Fadwah is an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse, as well as a Certified Nurse Midwife. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree with a concentration in nutrition from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA. Fadwah studied both childbirth education and home-birth training in Colorado. She is a Certified Nurse Midwife by the Frontier School of Midwifery and Family Nursing.

When taking a deeper look into Fadwah and the reason behind her passion for midwifery, these were her answers to some of our questions.

Why Did You Choose Your Career?

“I was moved by Spiritual Midwifery– an iconic book written by Ina May Gaskin- the mother of modern midwifery. I read this book while in college at the age of 19, and knew I had found my calling.”

How Long Have You Been Working in Midwifery?

“I gave birth to my first child in 1985 as a ‘free birth’- confident in my ability to birth through my self-study in midwifery over the previous 5 years. I went on to assist another woman in free birth with a breech baby in 1986. In the early 90s, I trained as a lay midwife, completed my nurse-midwife training in 2005, and started my first job as a CNM in 2006.”

What is Your Favorite Part of Your Job?

“Knowing that I had a part in empowering a woman and family through the birthing process. Also, being able to assist women that no one else will help, for example, high order VBACs, twins, and breeches.

What Do You Think is Most Important About What You Do?

“Educating families about the normalcy of birth, as well as protecting the spiritual experience for mama and baby.”

What are 3 Facts About You That Patients Should Know?

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  • I live a plant-based lifestyle
  • I practice Native American spirituality
  • I am Palestinian

What Motto Do You Live By?

“Live and let live.”

What is Your Favorite Book and Why?

The Presence Process, this book has changed my life for the better. It has made me a better and happier person by enabling me to exist in the present moment.”

What is Your Favorite Quote and Why?

” A quote by Octavia Butler says, ‘All that you touch you change. All that you change, changes you. The only lasting truth is change. God is change.’ This quote for me means nothing is permanent, time marches on, and flowing with it is the only way to stay sane!”

What are Some of Your Goals for 2022?

“Continue to organize Midwife360 so that all of our employees feel supported. Create a space where everyone who enters feels like they have come home. Achieve a sustainable work/life balance, including time with my kids and grandkids.”

Joanna Bronkema

Another midwife at Midwife360 is Joanna Bronkema who was born on November 21 in Grand Rapids, MI. Joanna is a Certified Nurse Midwife and Nurse Practitioner, however, she first began her career as an environmental biologist. She went back to school and attended the University of California San Francisco where she received her RN, CNM, and NP degrees.

Below are the answers to our questions to get a better understanding of why Joanna chose the midwifery path.

Why Did You Choose Your Career?

“I love science and I love supporting women’s rights. Bringing a midwife approach, who uses science and compassion to empower women around their health.”

How Long Have You Been Working in Midwifery?

“I started teaching reproductive health in developing countries in 2010. I then became a doula, a nurse, and finished by receiving my NP and midwife license in 2016.”

What is Your Favorite Part of Your Job?

“Watching families find out that they can take back their own power surrounding their health and birth.”

What Do You Think is Most Important About What You Do?

“Health and patient autonomy are the most important objectives of my work.”

What are Facts About You That Patients Should Know?

“I see myself as a lifeguard at birth, letting the family take the lead while quietly monitoring for safety.”

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What Motto Do You Live By?

I am love, I am energy, I am peace.”

What is Your Favorite Book and Why?

Real Food for Pregnancy by Lily Nichols. Nourishing the self nourishes the baby and sets into motion lifelong healthy habits.”

What is Your Favorite Quote and Why?

“The quote by Gandhi that says, ‘Be the change you want to see in the world.’ This is because we all need some inspiration, and living with integrity gives my life purpose.”

What are Some of Your Goals for 2022?

“I joined Midwife360 in 2021 and we moved to a bigger, and nicer office a few months later. So, in 2022 I’d like to continue to see us grow and develop as a cohesive team.”

Lauren Marie Danella

Our final midwife at Midwife360 is Lauren Marie Danella who was born on June 5 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Lauren is a Certified Nurse Midwife as well as Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner with a dual master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania. Lauren worked as a  Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse, and as a Pediatric Nurse for orphaned children with complicated medical conditions. She also studies the art of natural childbirth with the midwives of Bali, Indonesia.

Below are the answers to the questions we asked Lauren to learn why she chose midwifery.

Why Did You Choose Your Career?

After working in an orphanage for 8 years in Mexico, I was looking for the next step in life. I know I’m happiest when helping others and wanted to find a career I could be passionate about by knowing I was helping others in a loving way. In the orphanage, I saw children healing from their trauma just by connecting with a staff member and feeling loved. 

Midwifery seemed to be a way to help mothers bond with their babies from the very beginning, so they are loved from the very beginning and grow up with the strength they need to face the world.”

How Long Have You Been Working in Midwifery?

I started working in the birth world as a doula in 2009. Then as a nurse in the NICU and pediatrics. I graduated from my midwifery program in 2016.”  

What is Your Favorite Part of Your Job?

“Seeing our peaceful, smiling babies who were born gently at home. When parents who have had previous children in the hospital sometimes ask, “Is she okay? she never cries.”

What Do You Think is Most Important About What You Do?

Creating an environment where our mothers feel safe and supported. When there is no fear and doubt, this makes for a faster, more comfortable labor, and babies take their first

breath coming into the world where they feel the love surrounding them from the beginning. This is when babies are born gently.” 

What are important Facts About You That Patients Should Know?

  • Multiple trainings with Debra Pascali-Bonari, creator of Orgasmic Birth
  • Lived in Bali, Indonesia for over a year, working at Bumi Sehat Birthing Center and trained by Ibu Robin Lim and Lianne Shwartz
  • Graduated from The University of Pennsylvania, one of the top midwifery schools in the country. It is also recognized as the top nursing school in the world.
  • Before midwifery, I helped to open an orphanage and elementary school in Mexico, where I taught yoga, meditation, and nutrition.  

What Motto Do You Live By?

“Keep Life Simple.”

What is Your Favorite Quote and Why?

“My favorite quote is by Liza Rossi and she says, ‘Love is the Answer to Everything,’ which I find to be so true.

What are Some of Your Goals for 2022?

“To continue learning and learning new practices and techniques to have the ability to give each mother and baby the care and love they deserve.”

Visit Midwife360 and Meet the Midwives

Midwife360 began in 2014 and is now a staple to women’s care in South Florida. At Midwife360, they offer holistic gynecology as well as midwifery services such as routine women’s care, family planning, and pregnancy care and birthing.

Along with their three midwives, their team also includes Sandra Alandete (Admin), Vanessa Scoz (MA/Admin), and Dawn Downs (Office Manager). This team of beautiful and intelligent women all share the same passion for combing traditional care methods with modern medicine. Furthermore, they bring together a practice based on a deep connection between provider and patient, individual needs, and true healing.

Antidepressants During Pregnancy

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The use of antidepressants during pregnancy is a controversial topic when considering the mental health of the mother, as well as the physical health of the baby. Women with depression may have an increased risk of harming the fetus if they continue to take certain antidepressants during pregnancy. However, depression itself can also harm your baby.

If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, talk with your health care provider about all of your options.

Depression and Pregnancy

Many women battling with depression are prescribed antidepressants by their doctor to help manage symptoms. For years, it was thought that pregnancy protected against depression. This mentality was due to the shifting hormones in a woman’s body. However, scientists now understand that this is not the case; nearly one out of every 20 women who take antidepressants has taken them three months before they became pregnant or during the pregnancy.

The use of antidepressants during pregnancy is a topic that remains controversial because it is unknown what effects these drugs can have during fetal development. Antidepressants are known to cross the placenta, entering your baby’s bloodstream. It is also unknown whether or not some antidepressants remain in your child’s body after they are born.

Antidepressants and Pregnancy

Many doctors and health care providers recommend avoiding antidepressant use during pregnancy if at all possible. Although this may be the recommendation, this can sadly not be the case for each woman suffering from depression. The reality is, some severe cases of depression require medication to help keep the person alive. If you need to stay on antidepressants during pregnancy your doctor or provider will monitor your baby’s growth and development closely throughout the pregnancy.

In 2006, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a public health advisory in regard to the use of antidepressants during pregnancy. This advisory talked about the possible risks of birth defects associated with antidepressant use. This prompted many women to stop using antidepressants altogether. However, studies show that up to one-third of pregnant women experience depression symptoms in the first trimester of pregnancy, beginning before they even realize they are pregnant.

Risks

During pregnancy, blood volume nearly doubles. This means that antidepressants are distributed to the baby through the placenta, which can lead to higher concentrations of medication in your baby’s body than their mother’s system.

There are many potential risks involved with anti-depressant use during pregnancy. If you take antidepressants, it is important to speak with your health care provider about the benefits and potential risks for yourself and your baby.

Some of the possible side effects associated with antidepressant use during pregnancy:

  • May lead to miscarriage or stillbirth
  • Can cause muscle problems in newborns.
  • Restrict fetal growth, resulting in small or underweight babies
  • Increased risk of birth defects such as cleft palate, heart problems, and limb malformations

In addition, babies exposed to antidepressants in the womb may experience withdrawal symptoms, such as:

  •  Breathing problems
  • Jitteriness
  • Irritability
  • Trouble feeding
  •  Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
  • Poor tone

Alternative Ways to Help Cope with Depression During Pregnancy

If you struggle with depression and are looking to steer clear of antidepressants during your pregnancy there are ways to help cope with your depression.

Some of these natural approached to depression include:

  •  Exercise more
  • Spend time outdoors
  • Practice yoga and meditation
  • Minimize your stress
  • Eat healthy
  • Get plenty of sleep

More Questions?

If you have more questions regarding the health of your baby during pregnancy and your mental health contact Midwife360. Owner and certified midwife P. Fadwah Halaby and her team of midwives strive to take the holistic approach to gynecology and pregnancy services. We truly believe in empowering and educating each woman and family we care for. Contact Midwife360 with any questions or to schedule an appointment today.

5 Natural Remedies for Morning Sickness

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Nausea and morning sickness during pregnancy are some of the most common symptoms that women experience. You’re not alone if morning sickness has you feeling a little under the weather. In fact, about 70% of pregnant women get morning sickness.

This article discusses five natural remedies for morning sickness during pregnancy that have been shown to be safe and effective.

Ginger

Firstly, ginger has been used in a medicinal capacity for many many years. It is used to ease morning sickness, motion sickness, as well as cancer-related nausea. Research suggests that ginger may help settle an upset stomach in pregnant women experiencing morning sickness.

Ginger comes in many forms such as:

  • Ginger tea
  • Ginger chews
  • Ginger lollipops
  • Ginger ale
  • Natural form
  • Supplements

Moms to be can take ginger supplements three to four times daily after consulting with their health care provider.

Eat Smaller and More Frequent Meals

Eating smaller, more frequent meals can help reduce morning sickness. It’s important to make sure that you’re not eating too little during the day and making up for it by overeating in one sitting later on. This will only further upset your stomach allowing your blood sugar to drop.

Eat slowly and mindfully, adding nutrients into the body. Although you may feel the temptation to skip meals because of the nausea, remember you are eating for two. Try eating foods without additives and that are easy on the stomach

Some ideas are:

  • Fruit
  • cooked sweet potatoes
  • smoothies
  • rice
  • non-processed carbohydrates

Peppermint Aromatherapy

Another natural remedy for morning sickness is peppermint aromatherapy. Studies show that it can help reduce not only nausea during pregnancy but in women who have just given birth via C-section as well. Moreover, peppermint oil is thought to help ease morning sickness by stimulating the digestive system and calming the nervous system.

Try dotting your peppermint essential oil onto these parts of the body:

  • Wrist
  • Temples
  • Under the nose
  • Neck
  • Back
  • Upper chest area

Vitamin B6 & Magnesium

Additionally, some healthy vitamins and supplements that are known to help with morning sickness and nausea are vitamin B6 and magnesium. Vitamin B, as well as magnesium, can be found in many prenatal vitamins or supplements.

Eating more protein-rich foods like:

  • Meats
  • Fish
  • Poultry
  • Avocado
  • Bananas
  • Pistachios
  • Sunflower seeds

Magnesium can be taken in supplements, topically with magnesium spray, as well as mixed in a bath with Epsom salts.

Avoid Strong Smells

Lastly, and maybe a bit obvious, is avoiding strong smells that may trigger nausea. Many pregnant women experience heightened senses like smell, which you can blame on your pregnancy hormones. Due to our estrogen levels being so high, any small scent that passes our nostrils can seem like an all-out assault on our noses.

Try avoiding these items:

  • Cigarette smoke
  • Perfumes
  • Chemicals in cleaners 
  • Strongly scented foods
  • Candles

If You are Experiencing Morning Sickness

If morning sickness and nausea are a problem for you during pregnancy, there are many natural and at-home remedies that can help. Many women experience it and in most cases, it goes away by week 14.  However, if the nausea is severe, you may want to consult with your health care provider.

If you are looking for or have any questions about pregnancy, birth, and family planning contact Midwife 360. We not only provide holistic gynecology but pregnancy services, which include home birth and water birth to women throughout South Florida. We are here to assist you as well as educate you every step of the way.

Postpartum Hair Loss

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Hair loss is a natural process that many people experience. However, hair loss or thinning during postpartum can be especially challenging, since it’s often accompanied by breakage, and scalp irritation. The good news is that hair grows back.

The hair loss that many new moms experience a few months after having a baby is called postpartum hair shedding. This hair loss happens because the levels of estrogen and progesterone in your body are decreasing or going back to normal after spiking during pregnancy. This often causes your hair to grow slower and less full. It’s not true hair loss during postpartum because it will grow back. Dermatologists refer to hair loss as excessive hair shedding.

What Causes Postpartum Hair Loss

The hair loss most often associated with pregnancy is due to the hormonal changes during and after pregnancy. During pregnancy women notice their hair growing thicker and looking more full. The hormones during pregnancy keep your hair from falling out. However, following pregnancy, these hormones drop and the hair begins falling out and thinning.

The condition, which is also referred to as postpartum alopecia, is relatively common, affecting between 40-50% of women in the months following childbirth.

How Hormones Affect Hair Loss/ Growth

Estrogen is the leading hormone that affects hair growth during pregnancy, postpartum, as well as in menopausal women. Many women during their pregnancy experience fuller and thicker hair growth. This is due to the increase of the estrogen hormone in the body. Thus, producing more hair follicles during the growing phase of the growth cycle.

However, following the birth of your new baby, your estrogen levels drop and return back to the level pre-pregnancy. This causes the new follicles to enter the resting phase of the growth cycle. During this phase, the hair grows slower and produces fewer strands, and begins to shed. Postpartum Thyroiditis can also result in an imbalance of thyroid hormones, which can also affect hair growth.

How Long Does Postpartum Hair Loss Last?

In most cases hair loss after postpartum is temporary. Hair will start to grow back within a few months. Excessive hair loss usually starts eight weeks after giving birth and will last for six to 12 months. If your hair does not begin growing back by your baby’s first birthday, you may consult with your dermatologist or healthcare provider. Month 15 is the lucky number where most women feel their hair is back to normal.

How To Help with Hair Loss/ Growth

There are natural and home remedies that a new mom can implement into her daily routine to help with postpartum hair loss. Some of these can include all-natural shampoos that are specifically for hair loss and helping with new growth. Fenugreek seeds are also helpful when soaked and used as a scalp/hair mask. This herb is also helpful for the production of breast milk.

Adding “hair-healthy” foods into your diet can also promote healthier and quicker hair growth. Including things like:

  • Leafy greens
  • Eggs
  • Healthy fats (avocado, nuts)
  • Vitamin B12
  • Berries
  • Sweet Potatoes

Before the consumption or use of any of these listed always check with your healthcare provider to ensure the safety of you and your baby.

If You Have Any Other Questions

For all pregnancy and women’s care needs contact the professionals at Midwife360. We provide holistic gynecology and pregnancy services, including home birth and water birth to women throughout South Florida. We support and educate women every step of the way through family planning, healthcare options, and birthing. Contact us today to schedule an appointment or speak with one of our midwives.

What If I Have Group B Strep (GBS) While Pregnant or in Labor?

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Group B Streptococcus or GBS is a common bacterial organism found in about a third of people. This bacterial organism is most commonly found in the intestinal tract. However, it can move through the body and colonize the rectum, bladder, and vaginal tract of women. Colonize meaning the bacteria is present, but not infecting the tissues or causing symptoms.

GBS has the ability to give anyone an infection. However most adults, due to having a healthy microbiome, will keep any harmful bacteria in check and will not cause an illness. 

What’s The Big Deal About GBS During Pregnancy?

Decades ago, GBS was the leading cause of infection in newborns and infants. This infection can have devastating effects on a fragile new life, including pneumonia, sepsis, and meningitis. It can cause bladder, uterine, or urinary tract infections. It can also cause miscarriage and increase the risk of premature labor and rupture of membranes. GBS can also cause stillbirth. 

Newborns can get GBS infection in utero, during birth, or even from healthcare workers and family members. Handwashing is important for anyone who will be holding a newborn baby to prevent spreading GBS or other harmful infections.

The Risks to Baby  

When a baby is exposed to GBS in labor or during birth, he or she has a 50% chance of becoming colonized with GBS. Nevertheless, a small percentage of babies exposed to GBS will become infected and sick.  

Most often, babies become infected through exposure in the birth canal during birth. As well as from bacteria migrating upwards once the water has broken. 

Testing For GBS

As of 2020, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) now states that the best time to test for GBS presence is between the 36th and 37th weeks of pregnancy.  This test is done by swabbing the vagina and rectum to determine if GBS is present.

There is also an FDA-approved rapid test that can diagnose GBS in roughly an hour. 

GBS Treatment

To prevent GBS infection in babies antibiotics are used, however, there are associated risks. Many of us know antibiotics are detrimental to our microbiome. Babies receive significant benefits from their mom’s microbiome when birthed vaginally. In turn, affecting the baby’s entire life in a positive way. 

In order to mitigate infections overall, if a laboring mom has prolonged rupture of membranes, a fever, or other infection risk factors, antibiotics will be prescribed even if GBS testing was negative. The treatment is typically IV antibiotics for a minimum of 4 hours before the baby is born. Of course, the time of birth is hard to predict, so typically the hospital will start the antibiotics upon arrival to the hospital.

Treatment has been very effective for lowering the number of newborns who develop GBS infections. There is some controversy concerning antibiotic use during labor and how this can affect babies. 

Is Treatment Harmful For Baby?

Some studies suggest that antibiotics during pregnancy and delivery can decrease the presence of beneficial bacteria in a newborn. Breastfeeding and probiotics can help to boost a newborn’s microbiome. 

Antibiotics can cause problems for mom, including yeast infections or nipple infections. This can complicate and disrupt breastfeeding. Sometimes newborns can develop thrush as well. Allergic reactions are rare, as long as your healthcare provider is aware of any allergies. 

Taking a probiotic during pregnancy and after birth can help to prevent thrush or yeast infections.

Can I Reduce My Chance of Testing Positive for GBS?

Healthy vaginal and gut flora can prevent infection, which could affect the presence of GBS. 

Whether or not it will decrease your risk of GBS, there are other benefits to a healthy microbiome. Mitigating the risk of miscarriage, preterm labor, vaginal and bladder infections during labor, are all benefits. 

Steps to boost your microbiome include:

  • Stay away from processed sugar and junk food
  • Implement 8 servings of leafy greens, fruits, and vegetables into your diet
  • Take prenatal vitamins (zinc, vitamin D, vitamin A, vitamin C)
  • Eat more Lacto-fermented foods (example: sauerkraut, yogurt, cucumber, sourdough bread)
  • Reduce stress
  • Use oral and vaginal probiotics throughout pregnancy

Taking all of these into consideration and doing your best to check every box may not change the status if diagnosed, however, it can help to protect against GBS-related prenatal complications. If you are doing all of the necessary steps and have not tested positive before this can help to prevent GBS colonization and the need for antibiotics.  

For More Information, Contact Midwife360

Midwife360 has been providing holistic gynecology and pregnancy services in South Florida since 2014. The founder of Midwife360, P. Fadwah Halaby CNM, takes pride in offering holistic evidence-based practice for all midwife services such as women’s care, family planning, pregnancy care, and birthing. If you have any questions contact Midwife360 today.

Medicinal Herbs for a Safe Holistic Pregnancy

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The midwives at MidWife360 in West Palm Beach, Florida have gathered our collective knowledge and experience in order to provide you with an introduction to using herbs during pregnancy.

Initial Thoughts on Modern Medicine

As a certified nurse midwife, I’m forever grateful for the medical advancements in obstetric gynecology. Thanks to these technologies, the outcomes of high-risk pregnancies and complications in birth and pregnancy have vastly improved. This has saved countless lives. 

There are two sides to every coin, and unfortunately some of these advancements have been, and are continuing to be overused. For example, about 1 in 3 women in the United States gives birth via cesarean delivery. Many experts agree that this is far too high.

Furthermore, the use of pharmaceutical medications for pregnant women is also excessive, and carries risks like cesarean deliver. Many medications that were thought to be safe, like Tylenol and common yeast infection medications, have been found to carry significant risks. 

Are Herbs Safe?

In comparison, the usage of herbs during pregnancy appears mild and safe. Just like anything, it’s important to be extra informed and safe when using any herbs or medications during pregnancy. The desire toward more natural and holistic solutions has been growing. At MidWife360 we aim to incorporate more gentle and herbal solutions whenever necessary. 

Using herbs for common pregnancy symptoms and discomforts is very commonplace. Using herbs for medicinal purposes dates back to the ancient Egyptians.  In all fairness, scientific research and formal evaluations of many herbs are not available or priority. 

However, pharmaceutical medications are often in the same boat. In the U.S. almost 90% of all pregnant women will be prescribed some kind of medication during their pregnancy. 

As far as herbal and botanical medicine, most of what we know is based on historical, empirical, and observational evidence. There have been some formal and animal studies. Generally, most herbs have no evidence of harm and natural remedies may be safer than typical prescription medications. 

Adverse effects are few and far between, and when they do happen it is often because the individual is uninformed. Some herbs can be toxic or are only appropriate in small doses. Keep in mind, many experts have different opinions on the use of herbs. Just because something does not have proven adverse effects, does not mean it is proven to be safe. 

Some symptoms or illnesses should always call for prompt medical care, and should not be treated at home with herbs. They are as follows:

  • Continuous bleeding
  • Initial herpes blisters or outbreak 
  • Serious pelvic or abdominal pain
  • Continuous serious mid-back pain
  • Hand and face edema
  • Membranes rupture before 37 weeks
  • Regular contractions before 37 weeks
  • Serious headaches, blurred vision, and epigastric pain
  • Fetal movement stopping

Commonly Used Herbs in Pregnancy

There are different lists and opinions among medical professionals. Some of the most common herbs used for pregnancy concerns are: raspberry leaf, evening primrose, garlic, aloe, chamomile, peppermint, ginger, echinacea, St. John’s wort, fennel, wild yam, meadowsweet, pumpkin seeds and ginseng. 

Common ailments pregnant women seek complimentary or natural remedies for are anxiety, nausea or vomiting, urinary tract problems, or lower GI problems. 

This chart is a helpful tool but always work with your doctor or midwife to be safe. The midwives at MidWife360 are well-versed in the safety and use of herbal remedies. 

Herbs for Birth Preparation

Red raspberry leaf tea and red dates are common for birth preparation. Two cups of red raspberry tea daily is safe in pregnancy. 

Additionally, studies have shown the tea causes labor to be more comfortable and reduces need for medical interventions. There are even benefits for babies! Newborns are less likely to require resuscitation. 

Red dates consumed regularly in the last trimester are safe, and also cause labor to be more comfortable. 

The good news is, both the tea and dates are delicious. Making it easy to incorporate into your daily diet and routine. This vegan red raspberry tea latte is a great way to enjoy the tea. Snacking on dates by themselves or adding a few in a smoothie is an easy way to eat them. 

Final Thoughts

Herbal remedies can offer significant relief and benefits for some common discomforts and symptoms of pregnancy and childbirth. Just like anything during pregnancy, use herbs with caution and under the supervision of your midwife or doctor. 

At MidWife360 in West Palm Beach, Florida we offer herbal recommendations for our patients when needed. Though nothing can replace a healthy diet, exercise, positive mindset, and support system. 

A Complete Guide About Shoulder Dystocia

a_complete_guide_about_shoulder_dystocia

What is Shoulder Dystocia?

Shoulder Dystocia is a birth complication that happens during vaginal delivery. When this occurs, one or both of the baby’s shoulders get stuck inside the mother’s pelvis during labor. This causes a stall in the delivery process, which can be life threatening. In most cases, babies born with this complication are delivered safely. However, it can cause problems for both the baby and mother. 

Shoulder dystocia happens in 0.2 to 3 percent of pregnancies, and sadly, is unpredictable and unpreventable. When complications happen during labor, doctors turn to urgent cesarean delivery or surgery to avoid further issues. Although this may work in most cases, urgent cesarean delivery or surgery cannot correct this condition. 

Continue reading below for answers to all questions regarding this topic. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

What Does Shoulder Dystocia Look Like?

When Shoulder Dystocia occurs, the fetal head is delivered but the shoulders are not seen and are not being delivered with normal maneuvers. In other words, this delay in labor causes the baby to be trapped mid delivery. When this is happening, your midwife or provider tries to move your body and baby into better positions to continue natural delivery. 

The shoulder of the baby normally gets stuck behind the mothers pubic bone or sacrum. During this delay, the baby cannot breathe and the umbilical cord may be squeezed or wrapped around the baby’s neck. It is dire that everyone stays calm but acts quickly and efficiently to prevent further complications. The midwife will ask the mother to cease pushing so she can reposition her and the baby as needed.       

Why Does This Happen?

Shoulder Dystocia can occur during any vaginal birth, and without warning. Some of the most common causes for this are that the baby is too big, the baby is in the wrong position or the mother being in a restricting position. Oftentimes, your midwife or provider will change the mothers position to help free the shoulders from the pelvic area. 

It is nearly impossible to predict the risk factors of whether or not your baby will have this complication, but there are some things that can make it more likely. This includes:

  • Shoulder Dystocia occurred during previous pregnancies
  • Fetal Macrosomia (having a larger baby)
  • Having twins or multiple babies
  • Mother is overweight
  • Mother has diabetes
  • Labor induced 

Although these factors may increase the risk of a baby being born with Shoulder Dystocia, it is not clear why some pregnancies experience this complication while others do not. One statistic states that women with a history of having a delivery with Shoulder Dystocia are 10- 20 percent more likely to have a recurrence. 

What are the Complications?

Although most mothers and babies may not experience any further issues regarding this complication, it can bring about further issues. When delivering a baby with Shoulder Dystocia, a midwife or provider may have to break the baby’s collarbone to help with removal of the shoulders. This is a last resort, but may be necessary. This is only one risk that may come from this condition. 

Further risk for the baby may include:

  • Fractured collarbone (clavicle) or arm
  • Fetal brachial plexus injury
  • Lack of oxygen to the body
  • Brain injury due to lack of oxygen (this is rare)
  • Loss of baby (this is rare)

Further risk for the mother may include:

  • Maternal hemorrhage/ postpartum hemorrhage
  • Repairs for episiotomy or tearing during delivery 
  • Uterine rupture

Can You Prevent or Treat Shoulder Dystocia?

Like we touched on above, Shoulder Dystocia is extremely unpredictable and there is very little prevention. Being mindful of potential risk factors like diabetes and watching your weight during pregnancy are all things to help lower your chance of complications during labor. At Midwife360, we recommend our mothers to give birth lying on their side or on all fours to help natural movement of the delivery process. This will help prevent complications like Shoulder Dystocia. 

It is important to inform the expecting mother about the complications and risks of Shoulder Dystocia.  As well as reassure her that, as a midwife, we are trained thoroughly on how to deal with these complications in the safest and most efficient way for the safety of you and your unborn child.  

If You Have Further Questions

If you have any questions unanswered or need more information contact us at Midwife360. At Midwife360 we provide holistic gynecology and pregnancy services, including home and water birth to women throughout South Florida. Our mission and practice is designed to meet the individual needs of each woman and expecting family we care for. We believe women should be informed and educated about their healthcare options for routine care, family planning and birthing.

Headaches During Pregnancy

headaches_during_pregnancy

Headaches are one of the most common discomforts during pregnancy, especially during the first and third trimester. As a pregnant woman, our bodies go through so much physical and mental change. During pregnancy, a woman’s body experiences changes in hormone levels and heightened blood volume. These changes can trigger more frequent headaches. Other triggers can also bring on headaches like stress, dehydration, lack of sleep and not having your normal cup of joe each morning.  

Unfortunately, when most will gravitate towards using over the counter headache medication, pregnant women are normally hesitant. If you are experiencing severe or frequent headaches, always consult with your doctor. There are different types of headaches that you may experience during your pregnancy. Continue reading to learn more about these and how you can treat these headaches in the safest way for you and your baby. 

Different Types of Headaches

More times than not, the headaches women may experience during pregnancy are primary headaches, meaning that the pain doesn’t come from another underlying issue. Experiencing these during pregnancy are common and should not bring alarm. Letting your doctor know you are frequently experiencing headache pain is important to find out what can best help relieve your discomfort. 

 The three most common types of headaches experienced during pregnancy are:

  • Tension headaches
  • Migraines
  • Sinus headaches

Tension headaches are the most common type of headache you will experience. This can be brought on by stress, hunger or if you are carrying tension in your neck and shoulders. When suffering from a tension headache, you may experience mild or moderate dull pain behind the eyes on both sides of the head. Oftentimes, tension headaches will go away within an hour or two. 

Migraines are a more intense sensation of pain that throbs, and can be felt on one side of the head and neck. These types of headaches tend to last for hours and sometimes days. Migraines can also bring on other symptoms like blurred vision, light sensitivity, numbness and nausea. 

Lastly, some women can experience sinus headaches during pregnancy. With a sinus headache, women will experience intense pressure around the eyes, cheeks and forehead area. These types of headaches can also trigger a stuffy nose and occur when someone has a sinus infection. Like migraines, these headaches get worse with more movement and light exposure. 

Is Tylenol Safe?

When most people experience headaches or muscle pain, oftentimes, without second thought, they grab a bottle of Tylenol to relieve this pain. Tylenol contains the drug acetaminophen or paracetamol. Most doctors recommend the use of Tylenol rather than other over the counter medications like Ibuprofen and Aspirin. If your doctor recommends the use of Tylenol during your pregnancy to relieve headache pain, it is important to only take the dose recommended. 

Due to the fact that you are now fueling two bodies, many pregnant women choose to take the holistic route. They make healthy changes in their diet and exercise habits to ensure the health of their baby throughout their pregnancy. Oftentimes, women choose to opt out from putting things like Tylenol into their bodies to stay as natural as possible, but what are alternative options to dealing with the pain?

What Are Safe/Holistic Remedies? 

Many people choose to avoid medication if they can, especially women who are pregnant. What happens when a pesky headache comes on and the pain is not bearable? Here are some home remedies that can help relieve headache pain without all the pills. 

  • Lying in a dark room with eyes closed and minimal light
  • Cold compress over eyes and neck
  • Heating pad/ steam to relieve any pain
  • Drinking plenty of water and eating enough protein
  • Getting an ample amount of sleep 
  • Taking a warm bath with Epsom salt
  • Essential oils
  • Drinking tea (without caffeine) 
  • Meditation
  • Pregnancy massages 

These home remedies are known to help relieve headaches whether you are pregnant or not. If your pain becomes more severe or too frequent, consult with your doctor or OBGYN and discuss what the best and healthiest options are. If you are looking for holistic gynecology and pregnancy services, including home birth and water birth in South Florida, visit Midwife 360 for all of your questions and needs.

Finding The Optimal Fertility Diet

Finding-the-optimal-fertility-diet

If you’re considering becoming pregnant or trying to conceive, you’ll want to make sure that you’re staying healthy and fit. That doesn’t simply mean seeing a lower number on the scale or paying closer attention to how much time you’re spending on the treadmill—being your healthiest means taking a good, hard look inside your kitchen cupboards and at what you’re putting into your body. Practicing a well-rounded fertility diet is one of the first steps to successfully conceiving and carrying the healthiest child possible.

What you’re putting into your body each day is even more important than you think. Some foods may even be hurting your chances of becoming pregnant. To get pregnant and maintain a healthy pregnancy, you’ll need a fertility diet that increases your chances of conception and keeps you strong.

Fill Up on Fruits and Vegetables

You’re aiming for a healthy pregnancy for you and your baby. To be at your healthiest, you’ll need nutrients that take you there. That’s why eating enough fruits and vegetables is vital to optimizing your fertility.

Somehow those leafy greens and juicy fruits aren’t as familiar to the American diet as you would think. Unfortunately, many people don’t get enough of these essential foods when ordering on the run from their local restaurant or shopping for weekly groceries at their neighborhood grocery store. Although packaged foods tend to be the go-to items that people choose during a hectic workweek, they’re not the most nourishing foods for the body.

If you want to improve the quality of your reproductive system, start filling up your plate with plenty of fruits and vegetables. Here’s a simple tip to remember the portion sizes you need: At each meal, make sure half of your plate is full of fruits and vegetables. Some raw fruits and vegetables contain a good supply of glutathione. This is highly important for your egg quality.

If it feels difficult to get enough fruits and vegetables in each meal, put your juicer to good use. Juice some fresh fruits and veggies rich in vitamins each morning at breakfast. Or, try making a delicious smoothie with frozen fruits and yogurt.

Switch to Healthier Fats in Your Diet

Remember to stay away from trans fats. It’s a cruel culprit in the food world that’s considered one of the worst forms of fat you can eat. Trans fats can hide in vegetable shortening, fast-food items, non-dairy coffee creamers, and even baked goods. They can clog your arteries, and they can also increase insulin resistance. When the body experiences high insulin levels, it can cause a metabolic disturbance. This can affect your ovulation cycles, as well.

From now on, try to only eat healthy fats. Not only are they better for you, but they can also help women who are having a tough time getting pregnant. That means focus on incorporating plant-based fats that give your body the nutrients it needs as well. For example, try adding more avocados, nuts, olive oil, and grapeseed oil to your diet.

The switch from trans fats to healthier fats may be tough, seeing as these items are popular in many people’s diets. These are common foods that you may want to indulge in when you’re craving something sweet during the day. Unfortunately, these foods aren’t healthy for your body or your baby.

Strengthen Your Diet with Powerful Proteins

It’s not always easy to get enough of the protein you need to stay healthy. Also, not all protein is created equal.

When it comes to creating a balanced diet geared toward peak fertility, you’ll want to reconsider the protein sources you’re eating. First, you’ll want to cut out the fast-food meats that may be lurking in your diet. These convenience foods are never good for you. Keeping away from these foods is crucial to sustaining a healthy pregnancy. If you’re not already eating an organic, whole foods diet, start now.

If you’re getting a large amount of your protein from red meat sources in your diet, you may want to begin cutting back. When you’re creating a meal plan, notice how much red meat you’re eating. Switch to other protein sources that will be better for your fertility. That means more chicken, pork, and turkey. These foods will give you the protein, iron, and zinc you need.

Another source of protein to include? Coldwater fish. If that worries you, you’re not alone. Chances are, you may be worried about the mercury levels that physicians warn about ingesting before or during pregnancy. However, food items like salmon, sardines, and canned light tuna are fine to eat a couple of times a week.

Choose Better Dairy Options

Maybe you’ve heard about people filling their meal plans with low-fat dairy items. Or, perhaps a particular “no-dairy diet” has made enough magazine headlines that it’s made you reconsider your stance on cream and milk products.

The truth? Dairy items aren’t the “bad foods” people have made them out to be in recent years. It just depends on what kinds of dairy items you’re consuming. For example, milk is an excellent source of B-12. It’s essential to have adequate B-12 levels in your diet. Some studies suggest that low levels of this critical vitamin are associated with infertility in some women.

Experts recommended that you get one or two servings a day of a full-fat dairy item. When it comes to milk, make it a glass of whole milk. Full-fat yogurts are always better than low-fat yogurts when it comes to an optimal fertility diet. It’s ok to have a small dish of full-fat ice cream as well.

Complete Your Fertility Diet with Complex Carbs

Carbohydrates that contain the fiber you need are different from the carbohydrates that are in cookies and cakes.

The sugar-filled cookies and frosting-covered cakes that line the shelves behind glass containers in bakeries are the kinds of carbs that aren’t good for you. These foods will digest quickly in your body, and turn into blood sugar.

However, the good carbohydrates your body craves take time to digest. These are the carbs you should be focusing on adding more to your diet. “Slow” carbs are considered to be better carbs for your body. These good carbohydrates come from whole grains, vegetables, and fruits.

The fertility diet that’s best for you will include nutrient-dense foods that give your body the vitamins and minerals it needs to create life. The decision to have a child is one of the most rewarding decisions you’ll ever make. It can be a challenging, and beautiful journey. To create and maintain a healthy pregnancy, you’ll need someone who can give you the guidance, compassion, and support you deserve. Whether you’re deciding on the best fertility diet to implement, or selecting the best midwife to deliver your baby, you deserve someone you trust by your side to make these decisions along with you. Midwife360 is available to guide you through every step of your pregnancy journey. Visit our website today to see our array of services.