On a late winter evening in the middle of the night, a soon-to-be new mother sits on the bathroom toilet in a suite at the birth center. There is no door to the bathroom, and she has asked that everyone in the birth room sit on the other side, away from her, so that we are not in her field of vision. She has also asked us to turn out all of the lights, and for absolute silence. Periodically, we hear a low, rhythmic moan echo against the tile. It rises as the contraction builds. Read More

For as long as the human species have roamed the planet, we have been giving birth and reproducing. Reproduction is how we withstand the process of natural selection and thrive on this planet. The whole process is fascinating, and it’s hard to not admire the intelligence of the human body as well as the courage and tenacity of women. Unfortunately, in the last decade, we have taken the innate intelligence of our bodies out of pregnancy and birth and turned it into a diagnosed condition as opposed to a natural process. Read More

Let’s be honest, pregnancy can wreak havoc on the musculoskeletal system and the back is no exception. During pregnancy, the breasts and belly expand and that extra weight pulls the shoulders and upper back forward. Simultaneously, the lower back begins to curve inward to compensate for the shift in the expecting woman’s center of gravity. As this change occurs, the muscles and ligaments in the lower back become shorter, tighter, weaker, and achy, and women begin to experience back pain in pregnancy. Read More

Think about how great it feels to be surrounded by warm water, whether in a hot tub, a bath, or natural hot springs. The caress of the water on the skin creates a release of endorphins, or nature’s anesthesia, which leaves one in a blissful, pain-free state of both mind and body. Water immersion during labor and water birth have the same effect and are excellent non-pharmacological option for pain-relief. Read More

Now, more and more birthing sites across the U.S. are offering this option to their patients, joining 65% of countries across the globe that have been providing “gas and air” in post - World War II Europe for years and with great results. The self-administered gas is 50% oxygen and 50% nitrous oxide. It generates a relaxed state within which one experiences a diminished perception of pain. Nitrous is fast acting, achieving peak effect at 30 – 50 seconds after inhalation. The gas is often just enough to help a woman get through her labor or allow her to delay the use of the epidural, but it’s not for everyone. Read More

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