Category Archives: Holistic Life

ACOG Makes New Recommendations

Holy cow. Is it April 1st? No really, tell me if it is, because this is almost TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE: Approaches to Limit Intervention During Labor and Birth.

Just to have the new recommendations safely in more than one place, here they are, straight from the document:

  • For a woman who is at term in spontaneous labor with a fetus in vertex presentation, labor management may be individualized (depending on maternal and fetal condition and risks) to include techniques such as intermittent auscultation and nonpharmacologic methods of pain relief.
  • Admission to labor and delivery may be delayed for women in the latent phase of labor when their status and their fetuses’ status are reassuring. The women can be offered frequent contact and support, as well as nonpharmacologic pain management measures.
  • When women are observed or admitted for pain or fatigue in latent labor, techniques such as education and support, oral hydration, positions of comfort, and nonpharmacologic pain management techniques such as massage or water immersion may be beneficial.
  • Obstetrician–gynecologists and other obstetric care providers should inform pregnant women with term premature rupture of membrane (PROM [also known as prelabor rupture of membranes]) who are considering a period of expectant care of the potential risks associated with expectant management and the limitations of available data. For informed women, if concordant with their individual preferences and if there are no other maternal or fetal reasons to expedite delivery, the choice of expectant management for a period of time may be appropriately offered and supported. For women who are group B streptococci (GBS) positive, however, administration of antibiotics for GBS prophylaxis should not be delayed while awaiting labor. In such cases, many patients and obstetrician–gynecologists or other obstetric care providers may prefer immediate induction.
  • Evidence suggests that, in addition to regular nursing care, continuous one-to-one emotional support is associated with improved outcomes for women in labor.
  • For women with normally progressing labor and no evidence of fetal compromise, routine amniotomy need not be undertaken unless required to facilitate monitoring.
  • To facilitate the option of intermittent auscultation, obstetrician–gynecologists and other obstetric care providers and facilities should consider adopting protocols and training staff to use a hand-held Doppler device for low-risk women who desire such monitoring during labor.
  • Use of the coping scale in conjunction with different nonpharmacologic and pharmacologic pain management techniques can help obstetrician–gynecologists and other obstetric care providers tailor interventions to best meet the needs of each woman.
  • Frequent position changes during labor to enhance maternal comfort and promote optimal fetal positioning can be supported as long as adopted positions allow appropriate maternal and fetal monitoring and treatments and are not contraindicated by maternal medical or obstetric complications.
  • When not coached to breathe in a specific way, women push with an open glottis. In consideration of the limited data regarding outcomes of spontaneous versus Valsalva pushing, each woman should be encouraged to use the technique that she prefers and is most effective for her.
  • In the absence of an indication for expeditious delivery, women (particularly those who are nulliparous with epidural analgesia) may be offered a period of rest of 1–2 hours (unless the woman has an urge to bear down sooner) at the onset of the second stage of labor.

Do you have any idea how amazing this is? Women have been fighting for DECADES in this country, to have these very things be standard medical practice for the average woman with an average pregnancy. I spent years training expectant parents how to navigate the American medical system in order to BE LEFT ALONE DURING LABOR, unless something is actually wrong. I taught them how to negotiate with their doctor so the laboring woman could stay out of bed, move as much as she wanted, in whatever position helped her, and to deliver in whatever position helped her. To not be put on an arbitrary time table with the threat of C-section hanging like a club over her head.

And now, out of the blue… it’s here. Have we won the war? Will this actually happen? Will doctors take it to heart and incorporate it into their practice? Will medical schools begin to teach students how natural, intervention-free labor can be? Will they let their students see intervention-free labors during training? Will newly-trained obstetricians actually UNDERSTAND that birth is a natural process?

I’m almost hyperventilating, I’m so excited.

As long as it’s not April 1st.

 

 

 

 

Keeping Busy and Out of Trouble

I just finished a busy and interesting year as president of my writers club – the Mt. Diablo branch of the California Writers Club. I’ve been with this group for 7 or 8 years, and for the first few, I kept my head down. Not volunteering, not me, nope. I know what happens when you volunteer…

But my lovely and talented critique partners (you know who you are) were all members of the Tri-Valley branch, and they all held positions on the board. At various times one or the another of them was secretary or president, program chair or membership chair, etc. It was interesting listening to stories of their activities and I admit to feeling the odd twinge of guilt now and then. My branch was always asking for volunteers. I was mostly retired. Surely I could do something. 

Eventually I gave in and took over the membership chair position. I found I really enjoyed it, too. I liked being retired and I loved spending days with my husband, but I did miss the challenges and camaraderie of work. It certainly helps that everyone else on the board are nice, interesting, and amusing people. Like any volunteer organization, people come and go, but we all work together very well, I think.

After two or three years of handling the membership work, the board asked if I’d take on the presidency. It was rather abrupt – usually the vice-president steps into that job, but we were short-handed and they promised to babysit me as I learned the ropes. It took some learning, too. I’d never chaired a meeting before, or made an agenda, or facilitated between co-workers. Mostly though, it felt natural to take it all on, including running the general meetings once a month. There’s a bit of me that’s a natural ham, and public speaking is just downright fun.

I trip up now and then, especially on the details. I’m a big picture person and I often need a reminder about the little things to do. Thank goodness for my digital calendar and pop-up notifications! I’m also STILL not any good with faces and names, and being president gives me ample opportunity to embarrass myself and the poor person who’s name I can’t remember. I do recognize all the board members by now, though! In fact, here we are at our recent planning meeting for the next fiscal year:

2017 2018 CWC Board of Directors They are Judith O., Kimberley Ingalls, Lucy H., David G., Andrew B., Elisabeth T., Judith Marshall, Judith Ingram, Danard E., and Al Garrotto. Missing are Lyn R., Jill H., and Ann D. The statue is not on the board!

You probably figured out that I’m president for the upcoming year, too. I blame it all on my critique group.

A Cooking Post: Socca

I’ve found a new food that meets a lot of my criteria for Good Stuff to Eat.

Meet Socca, a crepe-like bread from Nice, France. The link I’m sharing is only one version of many on the web, and I’m not making any recommendations one way or another. Have fun and figure out your own favorite.

Here is my go-to version:

20170610_070639

This was my breakfast. Yes, I know you’re jealous.

As I said, there are many variations for this bread and some of them can require real effort, such as folding in beaten egg whites or investing in a brick oven. All worth it, I’m sure. But it doesn’t get any easier than my version:

1/2 cup garbanzo bean flour
1/2 cup water

That’s it. Wisk it up and pour 1/4 cup of batter into a heated and greased small, iron skillet. Rotate the skillet a bit to spread the batter out, let it brown, then flip to brown on the other side.

This recipe makes three small crepes. For today, I spread mashed banana on them, then filled with the cut-up fruit you see above: 1 apricot, 3 small strawberries, 1/2 peach, and a small handful of blueberries.

That’s a lot of fruit, but it’s summer and my CSA box is full of the lovely, fresh, organic stuff, and I take advantage.

Disclosure Note: if you want to sign up with my CSA, Farm Fresh to You, you can use my code, MARL2337, and get $15 off your first delivery. Yes, I get a bonus, too…

I also like to use these crepes to hold a salad of any vegetables I feel like tossing together, along with a shot of Sriracha Sauce or a squeeze of lemon and salt and pepper. Garbanzo flour is high in protein and fiber: 21 grams of protein and 10 grams of fiber in 1/2 cup. This recipe is low in calories too: 180 calories, not counting the calories in the butter used to grease the pan.

So that’s pretty much a full meal up there folks. For today, I just need to add veggies!

Try it and let me know what you think.

What’s one of your favorite go-to foods?

 

 

 

 

Healthcare: How to Get There from Here

This article, We all Want Healthcare to Cost Much Less – But We are Asking the Wrong Questions, by Joe Flower, is just about perfect in its analysis of the problem. I encourage everyone to read it.

I have always believed that we need health CARE, as opposed to health INSURANCE. This has led me to advocate for a single-payer system that does away with insurance companies. Mr. Flowers does not quite go there in his argument, but it’s not really his point, anyway. He goes a step further: how to go from a profit-driven and highly wasteful, inefficient system, to one that promotes the best health of each individual? What are the steps we take? What happens in the transition?

In short: what do we pay for?

Therein lies the rub, folks.

Comments? What do you think?

 

Oh My, Look at the Time

I’m on the third night of Very Poor Sleep. I’ve been awake since 2:00, just like last night. Yes, I tried meditating, counting my slow, deep breaths, muscle relaxation, and pretty much anything else they claim is useful. I don’t drink coffee after 10:00 a.m. and I almost never drink alcohol anymore. I don’t/can’t nap during the day. I stay off of electronic devices after dinner and do gentle stretches and relaxation poses before bed. There is no TV in my bedroom. Yet in the middle of the night, adrenaline courses through my veins no matter what I do, and now I’m up talking to you.

This is my Normal. It has been for almost 20 years, so no, this is not a result of recent stresses. It would be nice if I were one of those people who happily function on 4 hours of sleep a night. In a way, I do function all right – I always get through the day, usually get a few things done, and feel mostly okay. But years of this are taking a toll. My memory is much worse. I can’t write fiction anymore and you’ve probably noticed the scarcity of blog posts over the last year. It has become a challenge to organize my thoughts and write something coherent. Often I start a post and give up in frustration because I’m not making sense even to myself.

Maybe I should resort to Twitter.

There’s no real point to all of this. Consider it a case a weary mumbling and go on with your day.

How did y’all sleep last night?

 

Here’s a Good Description of a Workable Food System

Let me repost this blog for your reading pleasure. Chew on this idea: https://medium.com/@cnative100/vegetarian-diets-are-not-going-to-save-the-planet-4f50d0c1f8cf#.r6ef0ib8i

I think there’s a bit of unnecessary snarkiness in the article, but the idea is exactly right, if you couple it with Pollan’s mantra: “Eat real food. Mostly plants. Not too much.”

A side benefit of this kind of food system is reduced diabetes, reduced heart disease, reduced obesity, reduced cancer, and reduced other autoimmune disorders. Which means cheaper health care.

How can that be bad?

 

In Our Garden: Western Tanager

This summer we’re seeing a bird that’s new to us. It’s quite striking and got our attention right away. This gorgeous bird stops by most days to drink from our rock fountain in the back yard. It’s called a Western Tanager. I haven’t been able to get its picture yet, so this one is borrowed:

Western Tanager

Copyright: Dave Ryan

Western Tanager

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reblog: Despite a Supreme Court victory, it could take years for Texas abortion clinics to reopen

I’m greatly heartened by the Supreme Court decision that firmly tells Texas pols they can’t interfere with a basic right. But as this article points out, the situation in Texas won’t improve overnight. “Some clinics may never reopen…”

http://www.vox.com/2016/6/27/12038934/supreme-court-texas-whole-womans-health-closed-clinics-reopen-years

So instead… let’s do this: Let doctors be doctors. OB/GYNs need to offer abortion as part of the standard of care. If a patient needs one, the doctor can get her the medication early in the pregnancy, the doctor can continue to oversee the patient’s care, the procedure is cheaper and safer. If abortion needs to be performed later in pregnancy, but early enough for an office procedure, the doctor can schedule it and all should be well.

There should be no need for separate abortion clinics. Just doctor’s offices, health care clinics, and hospitals. They should ALL include abortion as part of the necessary care. It’s done if needed, and not done if not needed.

Simple for everyone.