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Saturday, September 27, 2008

ICAN Forums

ICAN (International) now has forums! If you join, you can enter into discussions with others about various topics related to cesarean recovery, prevention and VBAC. It's great!

Click here to join the forums.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Orgasmic Birth Tomorrow- Don't miss out!!!

ICAN of the Twin Cities is proudly co-sponsoring

Thursday, September 25 - 7:00pm
Riverview Theater, Minneapolis, MN

(3CEUs/Contact Hours)


The theater has an event letting out immediately prior to ours. Advance online ticket purchases are


The film will be introduced by
Orgasmic Birth's producer, Debra Pascali-Bonaro.


Pleasure in Birth: Is it Possible?
Thursday, September 25, 1:30-3:00 pm
Woodwinds Health Campus, 1925 Woodwinds Dr., Woodbury, MN

1.5 CEUs/contact hours
Directions, with map, provided when you buy a ticket.

Price: $19


Becoming a Birth Activist (Lecture & Brunch)
Friday, September 26, 9:00am - 1:00 pm
Corondolet Center, 1890 Randolf Ave., St. Paul, MN

4 CEUs/contact hours

Directions, with map, provided when you buy a ticket.

Price: $50 (includes brunch)



MN State DONA Gathering/Annual Meeting

Wabun Park, Minneapolis

Thursday, September 25, 3:00 - 6:00pm

(1 contact hour for DONA certified doulas)


TRIPLE TREAT - Register for all 3 events for $69.

COUPLE SPECIAL (expectant or not) - Two for $30.


Up to 9 CEUS available for only $85! Visit for full details.

Receive a certificate of attendance for no extra fee.

About The Organizers

Spinning BabiesSpinning Babies:
Easier Childbirth with Fetal Positioning

Contact: Gail Tully


The mom's job is to dilate, the baby's job is to rotate. Spinning Babies is an educational website devoted to making birth easier with fetal positioning. When a woman's womb is symmetrical, her baby will settle into the ideal position to fit more easily through the pelvis. Come visit Spinning Babies.

3 SmilesTen Moons Rising:
Giving Birth to a More Peaceful World
Contact: Monica Matos, Founder

Ten Moons Rising Holistic Family Education is a non-profit organization whose mission is to raise awareness about the profound impact that our earliest experiences - in the womb and at birth - have on one's self-image, perceptions of the world, health, behavior and relationship patterns.
The way a baby is born determines whether these foundational patterns are created from traumatic experiences (which can be healed) or gentle, loving ones. The way a mother gives birth impacts her confidence, fulfillment and overall sense of well-being. Birth matters!

3 SmilesThe Childbirth Collective:
A Minnesota Nonprofit Serving Birthing Families
Contact: Teri Pier, CD(DONA), CE

The Childbirth Collective is a nonprofit organization with chapters in the Twin Cities, Duluth, St. Croix River Valley, Winona/LaCrosse, and Fargo/Moorhead. The goal of "The Collective," through resources such as free weekly Parent Topic Nights, is to enhance the childbearing year for parents by promoting quality doula support, advocating evidence-based care, and providing accessible education based on the wellness model of maternity care. We are a collective of birth professionals inclusive of Doulas, Childbirth Educators, Midwives, Lactation Consultants, Psychological Counselors, Massage Therapists, and others within the birthing community, providing services to support families, and each other.

Ican LogoICAN of The Twin Cities
Contact: Sarah Shannon
Please check out our NEW website:
A local chapter of the International Cesarean Awareness Network

ICAN of the Twin Cities is a local chapter of the International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN). Free monthly meetings for support and education are held the second Monday of the month in the Minneapolis and St. Paul area of Minnesota. In addition, we have a library of birth-related books, articles and cesarean/VBAC related research, provide individual telephone or e-mail support, do presentations to any group interested in cesarean prevention or VBAC, attend birth-related events, and generate media coverage for group activities and cesarean issues in the news.

Dona LogoMN DONA
Contact: Susan Lane, DONA State Representative

MN DONA is the informal name to designate Minnesota members of DONA International. DONA international is the largest doula training and certifying organization in the world. Minnesota has largest state membership, per capita, of any state in the US. Minnesota comprises 5% of all DONA membership-- 268 members. Our state has more doula-attended births per capita than any other state! Join through the website.

When you join DONA you will automatically be joining MN DONA without any additional efforts.

Announcement! Our Dona state gathering will be held in conjunction with local Orgasmic Birth events. Watch for location in the next e-newsletter!


Orgasmic Birth is a phenomenal film, with a scientifically-validated
message: that birth is an intimate and innately ecstatic event, as evidenced by the laboring woman's release of ecstatic hormones... It is the perfect antidote to 21st century birth fright. Astonishing, thrilling, and transformative.
Dr .Sarah J Buckley,GP/ family physician, Queensland, Australia
I had the great honor of attending the initial screening with families
featured in the film. What an incredible experience and what a most moving and provocative film. It should be mandatory viewing for all families and practitioners involved in the birth process.
Dr. Larry Rosen, Pediatrician, Oradell, NJ

What a wonderful, empowering, hopeful film! My hope is that women, men, nurses, doctors, and pretty much everybody take the time to see this film. This could be life changing. Thank you so much!
Jennifer Steele, Doula, Portland OR

I loved the film. It's the best feature-length film about birth I have ever seen - and I have seen them all.
Carol Gray, Midwife, Portland OR

Orgasmic Birth is the perfect blend of evidence-based information and documentary film making. This blend helps the viewer to understand more thoroughly the normalcy of birth and why, 90% of the time, birth is an uncomplicated event. As a nurse with over 30 years of experience, I can say that every birth consumer and professional should see this documentary film and will come away with renewed faith and trust in the process!
Connie Livingston RN, BS, LCCE, CD(DONA)
President, Perinatal Education Associates, Inc.

Orgasmic Birth shows what is possible when healthy women feel loved, confident, secure, uninhibited, and cared for during pregnancy and birth. The moving beautiful images leave no room for fear or loneliness, and show birth as the deeply sexual experience that it can be. Thank you, Debra Pascali-Bonaro and your team, for your vision and courage in portraying the ecstatic, sexual, orgasmic potential that exists in birth!
Penny Simkin, Doula, childbirth educator, and birth counselor; Seattle WA

Finally, the truth about birth - some ecstasy, some agony, but beyond doubt a celebration! Women must know that birth is indeed the ultimate expression of their female power, in all its possibilities. Birds fly, fish swim, women do birth.
Elizabeth Noble, PT, Author, Founder of Women¹s Health Section of the American Physical Therapy Association

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Mankato malpractice case: A dangerous verdict

This week, a jury in Mankato, MN brought back a verdict in a malpractice case that may very well fuel the already skyrocketing cesarean rate. The Mankato Free Press summarizes the verdict saying, "Jurors finished deliberating Friday afternoon and determined the clinic and obstetrician Carla Goerish were negligent by not recognizing the fetus was so large it should have been delivered by Caesarean section."

The situation is a sad one. No parent could help but sympathize with the couple who sued Dr. Goerish. Their beautiful baby daughter suffered nerve damage in the course of her birth. Who wouldn't want someone to be held responsible? We all do when something goes wrong, especially with our children.

However, this verdict sets a very dangerous precedent for birthing women everywhere. We just recently posted here about a recent study demonstrating a link between malpractice lawsuits and the rising cesarean rate. This case will no doubt contribute to more unnecessary cesareans being performed on the basis of a suspected macrosomic (large) fetus.

The plaintiff's lawyer argued that a radiologic report that "suggested a macrosomic fetus," combined with "
accepted, published medical standards (that) suggest a C-section be done with macrosomic fetuses" meant that the OB was negligent in this case. Apparently, the jury believed this evidence. Unfortunately, while some studies and standards my "suggest" a cesarean in such cases, there is far from a solid consensus in the medical literature regarding the use of cesarean for suspected large babies. The truth is, radiologic measurements are notoriously unreliable. Estimated weights can be off by more than a pound in either direction. As Dr. Goerish's lawyer argued, there is simply no way to know if a baby it "too large" based on such evidence. See Kmom's excellent discussion of the medical evidence here.

Not to mention that women's pelvises are made to flex and expand to allow babies to move through during birth; a process that is hindered by standard hospital practice of birthing while lying in bed (usually with an epidural). Babies heads are also made to mold, if given time and opportunity to do so, to fit through the pelvis. See ICAN's White Paper on Cephalopelvic Distortion (CPD) for more information. Gloria LeMay's Pelvises I Have Known and Loved is also instructive.

In reality, things can happen in birth. The temptation to say that a surgical procedure may have prevented a poor outcome is alway strong in hindsight. Perhaps it would have in this case. It seems we expect our doctors to be nearly omniscient when it comes to this. It's no wonder many OBs practice "defensive medicine" out of fear of being sued.

But performing cesareans for suspected large babies is NOT the answer, as this video from ICAN Voices illustrates so well. Women of all sizes CAN birth babies of all sizes. No technology to date can accurately predict this, as much as we might like it to.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

In case you missed it...

Our own Heather D. was published a couple months back in the Minnesota Women's Press...

Fight for vaginal delivery

OnYourMind: Heather Deatrick: Stop unnecessary Caesarean sections!

I don't know how or why my feminist, questioning mind shut off the minute I found out I was pregnant.

by Heather Deatrick

It seems to me that although the issue of unnecessary Cesarean sections is hot in the natural childbirth and midwife circles, it is totally off the radar in the feminist and women's rights circles. I do not see how this is different from the abortion debate: Choosing how you deliver your baby is a question of women's reproductive choice.

There are hospitals and doctors that will "not allow" a woman, particularly one who has had a previous delivery via C-section, to choose a vaginal delivery. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) is at the helm of this, stating that hospitals should have 24-hour anesthesiologists on duty if they "allow" a woman with a previous Cesarean section to have a vaginal birth (VBAC). I have heard horror stories of rare instances of hospitals getting court orders for C-sections.

Most women accept this, assuming that there is a good reason. The fact is, there is not. This is about what is good and convenient for doctors and hospitals. I know because it happened to me. When I was pregnant with my first child I trusted my OB. I ended with a C-section due to "fetal distress"-the result of too many medical interventions after I went past my due date. I don't buy the "at least you have a healthy baby" line. A healthy baby does not dictate that hospitals and doctors decide how I can have it! Good heavens, women have been doing this since the beginning of time.

My guess is that "they" have finally figured out how to take that from us too-childbirth. Because a vaginal delivery cannot be forced, rushed or predictable. It has its own rhythm and timing and ebb and flow. I believe the provider should be there to catch the baby. In natural birth, very rarely is intervention by a doctor really needed. Most women can probably have an unassisted birth at home without a problem. Unfortunately, we are told and scared by the what-ifs, of course.

I don't know how or why my feminist, questioning mind shut off the minute I found out I was pregnant. Wow, was I misguided! I learned about normal, natural beautiful peaceful birth in my successful quest and fight to have a vaginal delivery for my second child.

My memories of the birth of my first child: epidural, Pitocin, fetal monitor, vaginal exams, breaking of the waters, doctors dictating everything (being in charge), episiotomy, time limits, progression, failure to progress, stalling of labor ... I could go on and on. I had a wonderful midwife-assisted birth in a hospital with my second child. And now that I proved the OB who said I couldn't have a vaginal birth wrong, I will have a homebirth next time, with women and my husband, and current children. And wait for the baby to come, for my midwife to catch, or maybe my husband, or maybe even me or my son. It will be my choice, my say, my birth.

Heather Deatrick of Minneapolis is a member of the International Cesarean Awareness Network.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Comin' Up!

We've got some really good stuff coming up this fall. Please come when you can for support, encouragement, and to help other women have better births:

Thursday & Friday, September 25 & 26: Minnesota Screening of Orgasmic Birth and related events. Click the link for more info.

Monday, October 13: Monthly Support Meeting - Birth Stories from recent VBAC mamas*

Sunday, October 26th: VBAC Policy Calling Party, 2-4pm. Email for more info. -

Monday, November 10: Monthly Support Meeting - Fetal Positioning & VBAC with Gail Tully, CPM of Spinning Babies *

Monday, December 8: Monthly Support Meeting - Pregnancy & Nutrition with Karen Bruce, doula and Bradley Instructor*

*All monthly support meetings take place from 6:30-8:30pm at Holy Cross Lutheran Church, 1720 E Minnehaha Parkway in Minneapolis.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A Response to MN Parent's "Give Birth Your Way" Article

On the whole, I appreciate Dorothy Wickens' article in the September issue of Minnesota Parent called "Give Birth Your Way." Ms. Wickens presents all the options: home birth, midwives, birth centers, hospital births, c-sections, and doulas. I was initially happy to see that home birth was first on the list as a legitimate choice for birthing women. However, I was unhappy to see this sentence in her discussion of who shouldn't choose a home birth: "Mothers with high blood pressure or diabetes or who have had a cesarean section or other uterine surgery are more likely to experience complications during labor and should not give birth at home" (emphasis mine). Previous c-section is, quite frankly, not a reason to exclude women from home birth.

The complication she refers to is no doubt uterine rupture. Although it's true that women who have had a c-section or other uterine surgery are at a higher risk for this, it is extremely rare - less than 1%. This is not to say that the risk should not be taken seriously, but good home birth midwives know how to recognize the signs, are often more closely monitoring the mother and baby's well-being than would be done at the hospital, avoid unnecessary interventions (such as pitocin augmentation) that have been linked to increased risk of rupture, and have plans in place for transfer to the hospital if need be. Every birthing woman faces risk - whether they have had a cesaren or not. Lots of things can go wrong during labor. To say that women attempting VBAC should unequivocally avoid birthing at home is misguided. Every woman who seeks to VBAC needs to make her own decision about where it is best to birth her baby, whether in the hospital or at home. Both home birth and VBAC are reasonable choices to make based on the evidence.*

In fact, an increasing number of women nationwide who desire VBAC are choosing to birth at home because they cannot find supportive providers, are unwilling to submit to unnecessary interventions required by hosptials and doctors in order to VBAC, or who prefer to stay away from the hospital given their previous experiences there. Even the American College of Obstetrics and Gyencology (ACOG) recognizes this trend in their August 2007 legislative update on "lay" midwives and home birth. ACOG notes, "The situation with hospitals declining to do VBAC deliveries has complicated our advocacy efforts on midwives. ACOG Fellows in California, Washington and other Western and Rocky Mountain states report that women are seeking out alternatives, including home birth with midwives, in their desire for a VBAC." Of course, being a trade organization for doctors, ACOG is none too happy about this trend, but that's a whole different post...

*See Best Evidence on the Safety of VBAC and The Medical Literature on the Safety of Home Birth.