Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Mothers Deserve Options

Huffington Post`s Ricki Lake  is asking questions about birthing culture in USA

I made my 2008 documentary The Business of Being Born to educate women about choices in childbirth, and raise questions about maternity care in the U.S. For example, why were C-section rates skyrocketing? Why were options such as birth centers and home birth disappearing? And why does a country supposedly committed to health care reform seem opposed to safe, cost-effective options that include midwifery and well-woman care?
The impact of the documentary was monumental. The blogosphere blew up (I can handle a few people yelling at me if it means my message is being heard!) Every day women stop me on the street to share stories of their safe, successful, meaningful births. Many say they felt "in the dark" about their options until seeing The Business of Being Born. But unfortunately, due to the highly medicalized climate of hospital births and the financial interests of insurance and drug companies, our birth options are disappearing at an alarming rate. It's seems that the more we know, the fewer choices we have. In the last five years, New York City alone has witnessed the shuttering of its only freestanding birth center, two hospital-based birth centers, a popular childbirth education center and a major hospital that offered privileges to a large number of hospital midwifery practices and home birth midwives. This has left many parents-to-be struggling to find birth options outside of the traditional OB/GYN approach.

NEWS RELEASE Global partners stand behind global standards for midwifery

ICM International Confederation of Midwives~s press release:

On the last day of the International Confederation of Midwives Triennial Congress in Durban, South Africa, global agencies have expressed their commitment to work with each other and with ICM to tackle maternal mortality. The UN Population Fund, World Health Organization (WHO), the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida) and the International Federation of Gynaecologists and Obstetricians (FIGO) have each pledged to support the implementation of ICM’s landmark global standards for midwifery education and regulation as a core strategy to tackle maternal mortality worldwide. Around 350,000 women die each year as a result of preventable complications in pregnancy and childbirth. 99% of these deaths happen in low income countries, many of which are in sub-Saharan Africa. Millennium Development Goal 5 commits countries to delivering significant improvements to maternal health worldwide but has been the slowest moving of all the MDGs so far.

 ‘Evidence shows that access to competent, educated and strong midwives significantly reduces maternal and infant mortality.’ said Bridget Lynch, President.  ‘ICM set out on the Road to Durban three years ago, committed to reaching our destination with the tools needed to help governments around the world tackle unacceptable rates of maternal and infant mortality. Since then, we have worked with midwives of the world and our global partners to make sure we arrived with these tools in our hands. I am proud to say that we are now the first health profession in the world to have achieved global standards for the competency, education and regulation of our workforce. These, alongside the information provided by the UNFPA’s State of the World Midwifery Report will be essential to the achievement of each countries maternal mortality target.’

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Human Milk for Human Babies` s review published in the IBJ

International Breastfeeding Journal released a review on commerce- free, internet- based, milk- sharing network to which belong HM4HB Global Network Human Milk for Human Babies and HM4HB- Kuwait .

International Breastfeeding Journal 2011, 6:8 doi:10.1186/1746-4358-6-8
Published: 25 June 2011
After only six months, a commerce-free internet-based milk-sharing model is operating in nearly 50 countries, connecting mothers who are able to donate breast milk with the caregivers of babies who need breast milk. 

Some public health authorities have condemned this initiative out of hand. Although women have always shared their milk, in many settings infant formula has become the "obvious" alternative to a mother's own milk. Yet an internationally endorsed recommendation supports mother-to-mother milk-sharing as the best option in place of a birth mother's milk. 

Why then this rejection? 
Several possibilities come to mind: 
1) ignorance and prejudice surrounding shared breast milk; 
2) a perceived challenge to the medical establishment of a system where mothers exercise independent control; and 
3) concern that mother-to-mother milk-sharing threatens donor milk banks. 

We are not saying that milk-sharing is risk-free or that the internet is an ideal platform for promoting it. Rather, we are encouraging health authorities to examine this initiative closely, determine what is happening, and provide resources to make mother-to-mother milk-sharing as safe as possible. 

Health authorities readily concede that life is fraught with risk; accordingly, they promote risk-reduction and harm-minimisation strategies. Why should it be any different for babies lacking their own mothers' milk? The more that is known about the risks of substituting for breast milk, the more reasonable parental choice to use donor milk becomes. We believe that the level of intrinsic risk is manageable through informed sharing. If undertaken, managed and evaluated appropriately, this made-by-mothers model shows considerable potential for expanding the world's supply of human milk and improving the health of children.

Expert highlights advantage of human milk bank in UAE

Breast milk is the best nutrition for the newborn and exclusive breastfeeding of the infant is recommended up to 6 month of age by WHO . However, sometimes breastfeeding is difficult, like in cases of premature babies or babies born with certain diseases. Then, it can be replaced with breast milk from donor/ donors so baby can reap all benefits. 

In State of Kuwait we have available these breastfeeding resources:
HM4HB- Kuwait Human Milk for Human Babies Kuwait : Facebook group
LLL Kuwait La Leche League Kuwait

Gulf Today informs us about initiative to establish Human Milk Bank in Dubai, UAE 
DUBAI: As mothers in the UAE are becoming more aware of the benefits of breast milk, some may be unable to give the nourishment to their babies for various reasons.

A possible solution is the establishment of at least one human milk bank (HMB) in the country.

The concept was recently introduced to 750 pregnant and new mothers at a breastfeeding and child nutrition symposium in Dubai.

The Breast Milk Cure ( Breastfeeding in Africa)

Have you ever wondered about breastfeeding in poor countries of Africa and how mother`s malnutrition can effect breastfeeding?
                                                                 Nicolas D Kristof
You can learn more from the piece in N.Y. Times 
What if nutritionists came up with a miracle cure for childhood malnutrition? A protein-rich substance that doesn’t require refrigeration? One that is free and is available even in remote towns like this one in Niger where babies routinely die of hunger-related causes?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Look at the Research: The Link Between Epidural Analgesia and Breastfeeding

Science & sensibility by Lamaze is bringing us a review of latest research on use of epidural analgesia with possible link to breastfeeding difficulties after the delivery. 

It’s probably fair to say that most women who decide to have an epidural during labor don’t consider its possible impact on breastfeeding. Perhaps this is because no thought is given generally to any possible links between drugs and breastfeeding success (or otherwise). Instead, both pregnant (or laboring) women and caregivers usually assume that breastfeeding is a separate issue. Evidence from early research certainly doesn’t seem to support that view and a little common sense would also lead us to challenge it further…

Transparent City- Martin

It is my pleasure to announce that the city I was born in: Martin, Slovak Republic will receive today prestigiuos award "Transparent City" Preventing and combating corruption in the Public Service from UN.  Congratulations!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in New Mothers: Results from a Two-Stage U.S. National Survey

  1. Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in New Mothers: Results from Two-Stage U.S. National Survey 
Article first published online: 20 MAY 2011 
DOI: 10.1111/j.1523-536X.2011.00475.x
  1. AUTHORS: Cheryl Tatano Beck DNSc, CNM, FAAN,
  2. Robert K. Gable EdD, 
  3. Carol Sakala PhD, MSPH, 
  4. Eugene R. Declercq PhD, MBA
Cover image for Vol. 38 Issue 2
Pregnancy and labour may be diffucult and painful expirience for some women,  leaving permanent impact on the life of the woman and her baby. This study identified main factors in onset of posttraumatic stress disorder. 
- low partner support
- elevated postpartum depressive symptoms
- more physical problems since birth
- less health-promoting behaviors
- eight variables significantly differentiated women who had elevated posttraumatic stress symptom levels from those who did not: no private health insurance, unplanned pregnancy, pressure to have an induction and epidural analgesia, planned cesarean birth, not breastfeeding as long as wanted, not exclusively breastfeeding at 1 month, and consulting with a clinician about mental well-being since birth. 

State of World`s Mothers 2011

State of World`s Mothers 2011 by UN is yearly evaluation of the Mother`s Index.
 "What are the world's best and worst places to be a mother? The 12th annual Mothers' Index analyzes health, education and economic conditions for women and children in 164 countries.Norway ranks #1 this year and Afghanistan ranks last. The United States comes in at #31 among the 43 developed countries ranked. "

Sadly, State of Kuwait is ranking No. 35 in category of less developed countries. You can read more about the Maternity Health Statistics in the Middle East and Human Development Report .


Monday, June 20, 2011

UN spotlights role of midwives in improving maternal and children’s health

Source: UN News Centre 
17 June 2011 – 
The United Nations is set to unveil a report highlighting the vital work of midwives in ensuring that millions of women and newborn children do not die needlessly at a time when many countries still lack enough skilled staff to serve as birth attendants.The report, The State of the World’s Midwifery 2011: delivering health, saving lives, is the first of its kind and draws on data gathered from 58 countries.
Co-authored by several UN agencies – including the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) – and more than 20 international partners, it will be released on Monday at a global conference of midwives taking place in Durban, South Africa.
The report will examine the progress made so far on boosting the numbers of midwives, which are particularly critical to the achievement of two Millennium Development Goals (MDGs): boosting maternal health, and reducing child mortality.

Home birth is on the rise. But is it safe? (US Consumer Report)

Source: Consumer Report US , May 26, 2011.
Less than one percent of babies in the U.S. are born at home. But after years of decline, home births are on the rise. Between 2004 and 2008, the rate of home births increased by 20 percent, according to a study published online May 20 in the journal Birth. Why? Maybe alienation with hospital care—where around a third of babies were delivered by Cesarean section in 2007—has some women wanting more control over what they consider a normal, natural experience. They want, in a sense, to stay home to stay safe. But are they right? Is home birth safe?

While the question is a polarizing one, at least in this country, several professional organizations say it can be for low-risk pregnancies if necessary precautions are taken. That includes the World Health Organization, the American Public Health Association, the National Perinatal Association, and the American College of Nurse-Midwives.

Midwifery in Arab/ Middle East Countries

UN just published State of World` s Midwifery 2011, covering some 58 countries in all regions of the world.
"Increasing women's access to quality midwifery has become a focus of global efforts to realize the right of every woman to the best possible health care during pregnancy and childbirth"

I would like to focus on Middle East/ Arab countries. Reports are available from following countries:
1. UAE

"It is clear the women do not know what a midwife is and many women think that they are safer with care from a doctor. Based on the results of this research a marketing strategy has been developed to promote the role of the midwife as the expert in normal birth and work has begun both with the medical profession and women to improve the profile and status of midwifery in the UAE"

2. Gulf Countries

"If only considering the percentage of deliveries attended by skilled health personnel and the maternal mortality ratio, the nearly 22 Arab States can be divided into three groups (Table 1). The first, where both indicators are balanced, contains small, rich Gulf countries as well as middle-income countries such as Tunisia, where the government has adopted a holistic, multi-disciplinary health strategy including the investment in training and empowering midwives. Also in this group are countries such as Palestine, where despite an instable and insecure environment, important and well-structured NGO interventions ensure good maternal health care. In the second group, both indicators are high and this can be explained by geographical, social, cultural and economic factors including the weak quality of maternal health services, as in Djibouti, and over-medicalization and low profile of midwifery as in Lebanon and until recently in the United Arab Emirates. The third group has countries where the percentage of births attended by skilled health personnel is low and the maternal mortality ratio is high. In addition to other factors, the situation in most countries in this group (including Morocco, Sudan and Yemen) can be linked to the lack of availability, accessibility and affordability of maternal services in remote and rural areas"

State of World`s Midwifery UAE 2011

In order to promote the role of the midwife it is necessary to find out what the lay perception
is of the role. This  research surveyed women’s views United Arab Emirates (UAE) and
enabled the planning of a marketing strategy to promote midwifery. A semi-structured
questionnaire was distributed in English and Arabic during routine antenatal sessions. The
381 questionnaires that were returned were from women from 27 different nationalities all
planning to give birth in the UAE. The questionnaire consisted of 12 statements to which
respondents were asked to tick either ‘right’, ‘wrong’ or don’t know.

State of World`s Midwifery

UNFPA just published State of World`s Midwifery. Midwives are primary health care providers providing care for low-risk women during pregnancy, labour, after delivery, including the care for babies.
Increasing women's access to quality midwifery has become a focus of global efforts to realize the right of every woman to the best possible health care during pregnancy and childbirth. A first step is assessing the situation.
The State of World's Midwifery 2011: Delivering Health, Saving Lives, supported by 30 partners, provides the first comprehensive analysis of midwifery services and issues in countries where the needs are greatest.
The report provides new information and data gathered from 58 countries in all regions of the world. Its analysis confirms that the world lacks some 350,000 skilled midwives -- 112,000 in the neediest 38 countries surveyed -- to fully meet the needs of women around the world. The report explores a range of issues related to building up this key health workforce.
This page includes access to the full report in three languages, as well as related resources, applications, bibliographical information, individual country profiles and stories of midwives.

Human Milk for Human Babies HM4HB

HM4HB Global Network has brand new mission and vision statement! You can visit our local community in Kuwait : HM4HB- Kuwait

Our Mission

The mission of Human Milk 4 Human Babies Global Network is to promote the nourishment of babies and children around the world with human milk. We are dedicated to fostering community between local families who have chosen to share breastmilk.

Our Vision

HM4HB is a global milksharing network, a virtual village, comprised of thousands of people from over fifty countries. We are mothers, fathers, adoptive families, grandparents, childbirth and breastfeeding professionals, volunteers, supporters, donors, and recipients that have come together to support the simple idea that all babies and children have the right to receive human milk. We use social media as a platform for local families to make real-life connections and come together as sustainable milksharing communities where women graciously share their breastmilk. HM4HB is built on the principle of informed choice: we trust, honour, and value the autonomy of families and we assert they are capable of weighing the benefits and risks of milksharing in order to make choices that are best for them. We hold the space for them and protect their right to do what is normal, healthy, and ecological.

Kuwait gets membership in human rights council

Source: Kuwait Times 
Published Date: June 20, 2011
GENEVA: Kuwait's accession into the United Nations Human Rights Council, effective today, constitutes a major national achievement and a qualitative step in the Kuwaiti diplomatic activities, said a ranking diplomat. This membership was sought in accordance with a decision by top political leaders, said Kuwait's Permanent Delegate to the UN Office in Geneva Ambassador Dharar Razzooqi, in an interview on the occasion of the significant event, the first of its kind since the Gulf state joined the United Nati
ons Security Council 30 years ago.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The way you relate to your partner can affect your long-term mental and physical health, study shows

Source: Medicalxpress

The potentially lasting implications of day-to-day couple conflict on physical and mental well-being are revealed in a study published today in the journal Personal Relationships.
Until now research has concentrated on the immediate effects of romantic conflict, typically in controlled laboratory settings. In one of the first studies to look at the longer term, Professor Angela Hicks investigated the physiological and emotional changes taking place in  the day after conflict occurred, specifically taking into account the differing styles of between participating partners.
"We are interested in understanding links between  and long term emotional and physical well-being", said Professor Hicks. "Our findings provide a powerful demonstration of how daily interpersonal dealings affect mood and  across time."

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

World's first womb transplant planned

A British based businesswoman is preparing to make history by becoming the first person in the world to have her womb transplanted into her daughter. Source: Telegraph 

World's first womb transplant planned

Eva Ottosson, 56, has agreed to take part in a groundbreaking new medical procedure, which if successful could see her donate her uterus to her 25-year-old daughter Sara.

Pregnant women show an amazing lack of knowledge about childbirth options, study shows

Los Angeles Times asks how much we really know about our options in childbirth.
Fewer pregnant women and their partners are attending prenatal education classes these days and appear to be quietly following whatever advice the doctor or midwife recommends, researchers said Monday.

Birth: U.S. home births increase 20% from 2004 to 2008

Doctors, led by Dr. Michael Klein of the Child & Family Research Institute and University of British Columbia, surveyed 1,318 healthy pregnant women. They found many seemingly unprepared to make their own decisions regarding childbirth options, such as whether to have natural childbirth or a Cesarean section.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Human Milk for Human Babies is among Top 50 Pregnancy Facebook fan pages


1. Birth Without Fear

An awesome community for support of all pregnancy, labour and birth related topics

2. Peaceful Parenting

"Advocates on behalf of babies' and children's health and well-being with an empirical research foundation. " This group gives wonderful information for mamas while pregnant so that they can make well-researched decisions for their babies after birth. Lots of pregnancy related information as well.

3. Human Milk 4 Human Babies Global Network

HM4HB Global Network is bringing informed milksharing & private milk donation in to the mainstream. Human milk is for human babies & now there is a way for families to connect on Facebook.
You can check Human Milk for Human Babies HM4HB Kuwait on our facebook fan page.

Too Many C-Sections: Docs Rethink Induced Labor

Time analyses birthing culture in USA.
The rise in cesarean-section deliveries in recent years has been characterized by some as a key indication of the overmedicalization of childbirth. While the procedure undoubtedly saves lives and leads to better health outcomes for mothers and infants who face problems during pregnancy and labor, many experts say the procedure is being performed too often, and in many cases for nonmedical reasons, putting healthy women and babies at undue risk of complications of major surgery.

The rate of C-sections has reached more than 31% in the U.S., a historical high, according to 2007 data from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). The reasons for the increase are many and have been widely discussed: the rising rate of multiple births, more obesity in pregnant women, the older age of women giving birth. In fact, C-sections have become so common that many women may have an inflated sense of safety about them. "For the most part, moms and babies go through the process healthy and come out healthy, so maybe there's this sense that we're invincible," says Dr. Caroline Signore of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute for Child Health and Human Development.

Stress-Defeating Effects of Exercise Traced to Emotional Brain Circuit

NIMH National Institute of Mental Health confirmed stress-defeating benefits of exercise .

Evidence in both humans and animals points to emotional benefits from exercise, both physical and mental. Now, in recent experiments with mice, scientists have traced the stress-buffering effect of activity to a brain circuit known to be involved in emotional regulation as well as mood disorders and medication effects. The finding is a clue to understanding the neurological roots of resilience, key to developing new means of prevention and treatment for stress-related illness.


In ongoing research, NIMH scientists have used a mouse model that mirrors particularly well the impact of social stress on mood in humans. Male mice are intensely aggressive when housed together; if these mice are placed in conditions that result in defeat by another mouse, they will behave in a way that mimics depression, much like a human might. Previous research demonstrated that mice housed in an environment with plenty of opportunities for exercise and exploration are relatively unfazed by bullying; they are resilient compared to mice housed in more spartan surroundings. The benefits from activity and stimulation depend on the growth of new neurons in the brain in mice (Novel Model of Depression from Social Defeat Shows Restorative Power of Exercise). A next step was to pinpoint where in the brain changes were taking place in response to exercise that resulted in stress resilience.