Sunday, January 31, 2010

Giving Birth in Haiti

Photo: Damon Winter/The New York Times

Who can turn away from Haiti right now? Haiti, which before the earthquake already suffered from the worst maternal mortality rates in the Western Hemisphere, is now much more vulnerable. The New York Times has an article and a slide show about birth in Haiti, and though they make no mention of midwives in the article, they are there. Circle of Health International is a wonderful organization of health care professionals and others, who focus on midwifery and training midwives in crisis situations. They are on the ground there now and you can read more about what they are doing here. Another midwifery organization in Haiti, is Robin Lim's organization Bumi Sehat, which was an instrumental part of Aceh's recovery after the 2004 tsunami. As a midwife trained out of the hospital, I feel that my training is so well suited to these situations. I don't need anything to be plugged in (except maybe a heating pad!), or beeping, to deliver a baby. We are able to deal with emergencies, as first responders, using our training and knowledge to maintain normal birth and to transport safely, if necessary. Our skills also extend to breast feeding initiation and support, a necessity when formula is not readily available. Please support midwives to deliver safe and effective care to the mothers of Haiti, for both immediate aid, and beyond.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Holistic Baby Guide

Dr. Randall Neustaedter's new book is now available! I'm so excited to read this book. I love that its focus is solely on babies. There are so many foundations being laid, emotional, spiritual, and physical, in that first year. This is why it's important to take care as to what we put into our babies rapidly developing systems, particularly the immune system. Antibiotics, steroids, even vaccines can all suppress a babies' immune system. Having gentle, yet effective alternatives to try before resorting to more powerful drugs is such a gift. For the past two years, I have taken the holistic pediatric seminars with Dr Neustaedter and his colleagues and have found them to be so useful both as a mother and a midwife. His level of confidence in these alternative therapies is contagious. If you are pregnant or a new parent, or know someone who is, you will benefit from this book.

Welcome to Hakima Midwifery!!

Pregnancy B&W portrait (2) by taqu.
Pregnancy B&W portrait by Taqu

A salaam u alaikum and welcome to the Hakima Midwifery blog! I am a Licensed Midwife in Oakland, California. I have noticed that within the Muslim community there is interest in out of hospital birth, but there is also hesitancy and a skepticism. Through this blog I hope to show not only the safety of out of hospital birth, but also the desirability of it. I have been blessed to have my own home birth, and to attend Muslims at home as well as in a freestanding birth center. I believe we have a large body of wisdom amongst us and it is my hope that this forum can be a resource for collecting and building upon that. There is a resonance between the sacredness of a birth and Islam, a tradition wherein even the most mundane is elevated to the sacred. I believe that the sanctity of a new life is often best preserved at home with little intervention. It is in this setting, with the mother in her own comfortable surroundings, monitored by trained midwives, allowed to move freely, and eat or drink, that the amazing expression of Allah's attributes through birth can be recognized. Birth stories from Muslimahs, interviews with Muslim doulas, midwives, childbirth educators and scholars, relevant articles and informative posts on pregnancy, birth and breast feeding will all be included. Insha'Allah this can be of benefit to the families of this ummah. Stay tuned and please feel free to contact me with any questions or with your own birth stories. You can find out more information about me and my midwifery practice at Blessings!