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Pregnancy is normal. Birth is safe in any setting. Discover your choices.

569 pregnancy article submissions by the Mothering community.

The Amazing Placenta

By Sarah J. Buckley, MDIssue 131, July/August 2005 Jacob's conception was unexpected, and unknown to us for several weeks. We'd been on holiday in Tasmania, Australia's small "south island," and on the ferry trip home had carried not only Emma (four years) and Zoe (one year), but also their brother-to-be—a tiny mass of cells barely a week from conception. As I slept fitfully on my bunk, Jacob's blastocyst, looking like a tiny blackberry just 2 millimeters in diameter, had already rolled down one of my fallopian tubes and was busy burrowing into the dark, thick lining of... read more

Questions to Ask a Doula

In interviewing a potential doula, the following list of questions might come in handy. Remember, your doula should be someone you like, since she will be with you during one of the most intense experiences you will ever have. Are you certified? By what organization? What kind of training have you had? How long have you been in practice as a doula? How many births have you attended? What care providers have you worked with? How many homebirths have you attended? In what hospitals have you attended births? Tell me about some of the births you’ve... read more

Beads and Blessings

By Anne Nicholson WeberWeb ExclusiveWhen my friend Sandra was pregnant with her second child, she had a blessingway instead of a baby shower. Eight of her closest women friends came together one afternoon, each with an offering for a birth altar: a fan (to symbolize opening), a candle shaped like an egg to burn during labor, stones and feathers and talismans of all sorts. Each woman spoke in turn, placing her offering in the center of our circle and explaining its meaning. Some brought poems or other readings. We ate good food, and Sandra told us she felt strengthened to... read more

Honoring the Placenta

By Dawn Francis-Pester Web Exclusive - October 17, 2008 Jonah's Birth It had been two years since Jonah was born. The family marked the occasion in a quiet, relaxed manner: two candles on a vegan carob cake, a few balloons, and a small gathering of relatives. Around this time, Carrie also decided to honor Jonah's placenta that had been sitting in the freezer since his birth. Carrie describes the birth as "powerful, calm, and beautiful." She refused painkillers, along with the drug Syntometrine, which is routinely used in England to speed up the delivery of the... read more

Fragrant Pregnancy

By Kamyar M. Hedayat, MD Web Exclusive - September 01, 2009 IntroductionIf I asked you to describe pregnancy, would one of the words you used be fragrant? Probably not. If you think of ways of describing pregnancy, scent is probably not one of them. When women do remember the scents of pregnancy, they tend to use such words as putrid (after throwing up from morning sickness) or acrid (from acid reflux) or hircine (i.e., goat-like; from the smell of amniotic fluid and afterbirth). It would seem that there’s nothing fragrant about being pregnant or delivering a baby.... read more

Newborn Decisions

During the moments directly after birth, you need plenty of time to rest quietly with your baby. Don’t let anything stand in the way of that.If you give birth in a hospital, there may be some pressure from nurses who want to take the baby to a warming bed in the nursery or to an examination.Your midwife or doctor will want to see that your baby is in generally good health. It should be possible, however, to do all that is necessary while you are holding the baby. These factors will be checked: The baby’s weight and length at birth The baby’s air passages. Many birth... read more

Revealing the Real Risks: Obstetrical Interventions and Maternal Mortality

By Marsden WagnerIssue 118, May/June 2003 Recently, a woman in Iowa was referred to a university hospital during childbirth because of possible complications. At the university hospital it was decided that a cesarean section should be done. After the cesarean section was completed and the woman was resting in her hospital room, she went into shock and died. An autopsy showed that, during the cesarean section, the surgeon had accidentally nicked the woman's aorta, the biggest artery in the body, which led to internal hemorrhage, shock, and death.1 A cesarean section can... read more

Anatomy Of A Miracle

 By Sara Schley Web Exclusive “Birth has a purpose for the mother,” my friend, home-birth midwife, and teacher Terri Nash told me as I sat on her screen porch on a late summer morning, three months pregnant with twins, my feet in her lap. “It initiates her into the next phase of her spiritual development,” Terri continued. “For the deepening of her soul.” A few weeks ago Terri’s words would have made no sense. After five years of infertility treatments, I was finally pregnant. Forty-one-years-old, I was also more physically ill than I had ever been in my... read more

Third Time's the Charm

By Christina WypijewskaIssue 129 March - April 2005 After laboring at a birth center and in a car, this mom finally found her way to birthing at home. Every woman should have the opportunity to . . . give birth as she wishes in an environment in which she feels nurtured and secure, and her emotional well-being, privacy, and personal preferences are respected. —Coalition for Improving Maternity Services My water broke one sunny afternoon—a week before the due date for our third child. Not knowing quite what to expect, I realized that our family was about to... read more

Candles Not Required

By Jenna HullWeb Exclusive - February 27, 2007 I am not the product of hippie parents and I don't consider myself righteous. I am not an atheist, a liberal, or a neofeminist. I am not crazy nor am I from Mars. Yet these are typical assumptions people make when I tell them that my child was born at home. Intentionally. I did not have the baby in the dead of winter, in some remote locale, alone and stark naked. I did not light candles, play new age music, chant to a birth goddess, or have a séance. I did not have my baby while hugging a tree or squatting in a rice... read more

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