Friday, May 30, 2014

CLASSROOM DRUM CIRCLES AND YOUTH DRUMMING IS HELPING KIDS AROUND THE WORLD




Source Article:
Benefits of Classroom Drum Circles and Youth Drumming
From Drum Circle Around the World - facebook page
https://www.facebook.com/DrumCircleAroundTheWorld/photos/a.361120333975147.89061.361045053982675/616332018453976/?type=1&theater


"Music therapy has shown significant improvements for those with disabilities and impairments that affect daily living. From newborn babies to the elderly, music reaches places within the mind that ordinary medicine or therapies cannot touch. Schools may be the easiest system to expose children to the benefits of music and drumming therapy. Research has shown that drumming is an effective way to increase the access of music therapy for children, citing the ease with which children approach drums with more curiosity and less fear than other musical instruments. As such, the benefits of a drumming program and classroom percussion instruments in schools can help with social, communication, academic, emotional, cognitive and even fine and gross motor impairments.

Building social skills is an important part of school's unwritten curriculum. Children often learn through modeling skills and behaviors, from sharing toys or crayons to accepting and appreciating the differences in other students. Drumming provides a hand-on demonstration of how to work as a group, interact on an equal level and become a full part of the cooperative illustration that the myriad of drums can provide as students each add a unique voice to a collective song. Furthermore, these social skills help build self-confidence as well as a feeling of belonging among peers.

For students with communication disabilities, whether from disorders like autism or ADD, emotional or language problems, drumming gives a voice to those who struggle with one of the most important life skills. The action of drumming and the rhythms that are played can easily be translated into a style of communication through facilitated drumming or "call and response" methods geared to the age and abilities of the children.

Academically and cognitively, students benefit from music and drumming programs through the bilateral access of the brain. Music stimulates both the right and left sides of the brain, producing better results in standardized test scores and understanding of subjects like math and science. In addition, drumming helps with decision-making skills, impulse control and increases memory.

Through the various drums available such as Djembes that promote core strength and Congas that require students stand while playing, drums help with gross and fine motor skills, as well as hand-eye coordination. The action of drumming itself, either with the hands, sticks or mallets and the physical demands for holding and steadying drums, increases the ability of children to physically move and function on par with peers. Drumming also provides a tactile hobby that eliminates dependence on television, video games and computers for external stimulation.

One of the greatest benefits of drumming and music is the emotional expression it allows. Music and drumming give the player the ability to interpret joy into upbeat rhythms or anger into the heavy and rapid pounding of the drums. This can be especially beneficial for students facing depression, emotional crisis or trauma, providing a healthy and effective means to process difficult emotional responses that can otherwise erupt in destructive behaviors."

Thursday, May 29, 2014

THREE YEAR OLD REMEMBERS PAST LIFE, IDENTIFIED MURDERER AND LOCATION OF BODY




Source Article:
3-Year-Old Remembers Past Life, Identifies Murderer and Location of Body
http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/681034-3-year-old-remembers-past-life-identifies-murderer-and-location-of-body/


"The universe is full of mysteries that challenge our current knowledge. In “Beyond Science” Epoch Times collects stories about these strange phenomena to stimulate the imagination and open up previously undreamed of possibilities. Are they true? You decide.

A 3-year-old boy in the Golan Heights region near the border of Syria and Israel said he was murdered with an axe in his previous life. He showed village elders where the murderer buried his body, and sure enough they found a man’s skeleton there. He also showed the elders where the murder weapon was found, and upon digging, they did indeed found an axe there.

In his book, “Children Who Have Lived Before: Reincarnation Today,” German therapist Trutz Hardo tells this boy’s story, along with other stories of children who seem to remember their past lives with verified accuracy. The boy’s story was witnessed by Dr. Eli Lasch, who is best known for developing the medical system in Gaza as part of an Israeli government operation in the 1960s. Dr. Lasch, who died in 2009, had recounted these astounding events to Hardo.

The boy was of the Druze ethnic group, and in his culture the existence of reincarnation is accepted as fact. His story nonetheless had the power to surprise his community.

He was born with a long, red birthmark on his head. The Druse believe, as some other cultures do, that birthmarks are related to past-life deaths. When the boy was old enough to talk, he told his family he had been killed by a blow to the head with an axe.

It is customary for elders to take a child at the age of 3 to the home of his previous life if he remembers it. The boy knew the village he was from, so they went there. When they arrived in the village, the boy remembered the name he had in his past life.

A village local said the man the boy claimed to be the reincarnation of had gone missing four years earlier. His friends and family thought he may have strayed into hostile territory nearby as sometimes happens.

The boy also remembered the full name of his killer. When he confronted this man, the alleged killer’s face turned white, Lasch told Hardo, but he did not admit to murder. The boy then said he could take the elders to where the body was buried. In that very spot, they found a man’s skeleton with a wound to the head that corresponded to the boy’s birthmark. They also found the axe, the murder weapon.

Faced with this evidence, the murderer admitted to the crime. Dr. Lasch, the only non-Druze, was present through this whole process.

To read more of Hardo’s stories, read his book, “Children Who Have Lived Before.”

ALSO SEE: Boy Remembers Wife and Killer of Past Life, Finds Them Again"

NEW EARTH CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL GIFTS UNDERSTAND HOW TO CLEAR THE ENERGY OF EVIL WITH CRYSTALS



8 year old kid builds crystal grids to clear negative energy and explains how it works
http://youtu.be/U5sSlfvsgYA


Source Article:
This 8 year old kid uses crystal grids to transmute negative energy and explains how it works
http://thespiritscience.net/2014/05/23/this-8-year-old-prodigy-uses-crystal-grids-to-transmute-dark-energy-and-explains-how-it-works/


The children of today are rumored to be far more consciously adept than our previous generations. If thats true this might be a piece of supporting evidence of that.

In this video, 8 year old Adam introduces his latest crystal grid, which he calls a “web” grid. It pulls in dark energy and transmutes it to the light.

Check it out :


It took Adam about 10 minutes to build this grid which is full of various crystals – Amethyst, Apophyllite, Celestial Smoky Quartz, Clear Quartz points, Vogels, and several Lemurian Seed Crystals.

Adam didn’t pull the pattern of the grid out of a book or research it on the internet. Instead he chose to listen to the guidance of the stones themselves.
What do you think these kids will be doing in even 5 years from now?

WHAT IS A PARTIAL-BIRTH ABORTION?

This video explains what happens to a baby during a partial-birth abortion. In a nutshell, the baby is literally pulled out of the womb, feet first, after which it's arms and torso are also pulled out -- as can be seen in the image below. While its head is still inside the mother's body and the baby is still very much alive and moving, the "doctors" take a sharp, pointy, scissor-like instrument and jam it into the base of the baby's skull. They then ram it all the way up into the baby's brain and open the scissor and close it to destroy the brain matter of the child. If the baby does not die from this, they will then insert a vacuum tube into the hole they just created and literally suck out the baby's brain. This "procedure" is done at any age gestation but is likely more common during late-stage abortions.

There can be no doubt that abortion is one of the most sadistic and evil actions that humans have ever engaged in. There are huge spiritual consequences to what we are doing.


Partial-Birth Abortion Procedure With Real Instruments
http://youtu.be/QUr0jCbcPNc

Sunday, May 25, 2014

CHILD SACRIFICE AND THE VAMPIRING OF CHILDREN'S BLOOD GOES MAINSTREAM


Ah yes! The satanic-infested, illuminati media is now promoting the use of children's blood as a means of "reversing aging." We should have known this was coming, especially after the sale of infant blood was promoted on the internet -- as if it were a mainstream commodity (see below).


Child Sacrifice Goes Mainstream
http://youtu.be/VW4bZXAD4W8


PLEASE NOTE: this website -- http://infants-blood.info -- is no longer overtly promoting the sale of infant blood (although if you have the right "password," I'm willing to bet there is a back-end to this sick website where psychopaths can still order infant blood). Have a look at a few screen shots from an older version of the website, which has since received a "make-over." These screenshots are available through web archive and can be seen by anyone willing to do the research.

And what would an infants-blood website be without great pictures!!!!































ARE YOU AWAKE YET? Wanna know where YOUR baby's infant cord blood is going?



Source Article by Bruce Goldman:
Infusion of young blood recharges brains of old mice, study finds
med.stanford.edu/ism/2014/may/young-blood.html

"Something — or some things — in the blood of young mice has the ability to restore mental capabilities in old mice, a new study by Stanford University School of Medicine investigators has found.

If the same goes for humans, it could spell a new paradigm for recharging our aging brains, and it might mean new therapeutic approaches for treating dementias such as Alzheimer’s disease.

In the study, published online May 4 in Nature Medicine, the researchers used sophisticated techniques to pin down numerous important molecular, neuroanatomical and neurophysiological changes in the brains of old mice that shared the blood of young mice.

But they also conducted a critical experiment that was far from sophisticated, said Tony Wyss-Coray, PhD, the senior author of the study and a professor of neurology and neurological sciences. The scientists simply compared older mice’s performance on standard laboratory tests of spatial memory after these mice had received infusions of plasma (the cell-free part of blood) from young versus old mice, or no plasma at all.

“This could have been done 20 years ago,” said Wyss-Coray, who is also senior research career scientist at the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System. “You don’t need to know anything about how the brain works. You just give an old mouse young blood and see if the animal is smarter than before. It’s just that nobody did it.”

Wyss-Coray has co-founded a biotechnology company, Alkahest, to explore the therapeutic implications of the new study’s findings. He serves as the director of Alkahest’s scientific advisory board.

The study’s lead author, Saul Villeda, PhD, now has an active lab of his own as a faculty fellow in anatomy at the University of California-San Francisco. Villeda was a graduate student at Stanford and, briefly, a postdoctoral scholar under Wyss-Coray’s direction when the bulk of the work was performed.

Reversing impairments

“We’ve shown that at least some age-related impairments in brain function are reversible. They’re not final,” Villeda said.

Previous experiments by Wyss-Coray, Villeda and their colleagues, described in a paper published in 2011 in Nature, had revealed that key regions in the brains of old mice exposed to blood from young mice produced more new nerve cells than did the brains of old mice similarly exposed to blood from old mice. Conversely, exposing young mice to blood from old mice had the opposite effect with respect to new nerve-cell production, and also reduced the young mice’s ability to navigate their environments.

But that earlier work didn’t directly assess the impact of young mouse blood on older mice’s behavior. This time, the researchers checked both for changes within nerve circuits and individual nerve cells and for demonstrable improvements in learning and memory. First, they examined pairs of mice whose circulatory systems had been surgically conjoined. Members of such pairs, known as parabiotic mice, share a pooled blood supply.

Wyss-Coray’s group paid special attention, in these parabiotic mice, to a brain structure called the hippocampus. In both mice and humans, this structure is critical for forming certain types of memories, notably the recollection and recognition of spatial patterns. “That’s what you need to use when, for example, you try to find your car in a parking lot or navigate around a city without using your GPS system,” Wyss-Coray said.

Experience alters hippocampal activity and anatomy. Studies have found, for instance, that a veteran London cabdriver’s hippocampus is larger than it was when the driver was first hired, and larger than the average person’s. The hippocampus is also extremely vulnerable to the normal aging process, showing early erosion in function as people grow older. In dementias such as Alzheimer’s disease, this hippocampal deterioration is accelerated, leading to an inability to form new memories.

“We know that detrimental anatomical and functional changes occur in the hippocampus as mice and people get older,” said Villeda. “This is just from natural aging. We’re all heading in that direction.”

When the investigators compared hippocampi from old mice whose circulatory systems had been conjoined with those of young mice to hippocampi from old mice that had been paired with other old mice, they found consistent differences in a number of biochemical, anatomical and electrophysiological measures known to be important to nerve-cell circuits’ encoding of new experiences for retention in the cerebral cortex.

Recharging old brains

The hippocampi of older mice that had been conjoined to younger mice more closely resembled those of younger mice than did the hippocampi of older mice similarly paired with old mice. The old mice paired with young mice made greater amounts of certain substances that hippocampal cells are known to produce when learning is taking place, for example. Hippocampal nerve cells from older members of old-young parabiotic pairs also showed an enhanced ability to strengthen the connections between one nerve cell and another — essential to learning and memory.

“It was as if these old brains were recharged by young blood,” Wyss-Coray said.

Villeda, Wyss-Coray and their associates next subjected regular older mice to a test in which the mice were trained to quickly locate a submerged platform in a water-filled container. The mice had to speedily orient themselves using memory cues provided by their surroundings. The investigators injected old mice intravenously with plasma from young or old mice and ran them through the test. Typically, untreated older mice did poorly compared to young mice, as they did when injected with plasma from old mice. But if they were infused with young mice’s plasma they did much better.

This was likewise the case on another test in which mice were trained to freeze in fear when plunked into a particular environment. The better they recognized that environment, the longer they would freeze. Older mice typically freeze for a shorter period of time than younger ones do. Again, “freezing” times for older mice given young plasma, but not old plasma, increased significantly.

Finding the factors

In both tests, the improvement vanished if the plasma provided to the old mice had first been subjected to high temperatures. Heat treatment can denature proteins, so this hints that a blood-borne protein, or group of them, may be responsible for the cognitive improvements seen in old mice given young mouse plasma.

“There are factors present in blood from young mice that can recharge an old mouse’s brain so that it functions more like a younger one,” Wyss-Coray said. “We’re working intensively to find out what those factors might be and from exactly which tissues they originate.”

“We don’t know yet if this will work in humans,” he said, adding that he hopes to find out sooner rather than later. A near-term goal of his company is to test this proposition through a clinical trial.

Other Stanford co-authors were Frank Longo, MD, PhD, professor and chair of neurology and neurological sciences; postdoctoral scholars Jinte Middeldorp, PhD, and Joseph Castellano, PhD; graduate students Kira Mosher and Gregor Bieri; research associates Daniela Berdnik, PhD, and Rafael Wabl; senior research scientist Danielle Simmons, PhD; and senior scientist Jian Luo, MD, PhD.

The study was funded by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine and the National Institute of Aging (grants AG045034 and AG03144).

Information about Stanford’s Department of Neurology and Neurological Sciences, which also supported this work, is available at http://neurology.stanford.edu/."

Saturday, May 24, 2014

SCIENCE SHOWS HOW DRUMMING CAN HELP WITH ATTENTION DEFICIT DISORDER AND INCREASE COGNITIVE FUNCTIONING AND JOY!




Drumming rewires and heals the brain. For those born into lineages of trauma, emotional neglect, and/or abuse, drumming can open neurological pathways that return the system to LOVE and JOY.

Source Article by Jordan Taylor Sloan:
Science Shows How Drummers' Brains Are Actually Different From Everybody Elses'
http://www.policymic.com/articles/89363/science-shows-how-drummers-brains-are-actually-different-from-everybody-elses?utm_source=policymicFB&utm_medium=main&utm_campaign=social


In the music world, drummer jokes are always popular. Most of them have the same punchline: Drummers are idiots. Take, for example, the following: "How do you tell if the stage is level? The drummer is drooling from both sides of his mouth."

Whether it's being ruthlessly mocked for their idiocy, repeatedly killed in This Is Spinal Tap or just lusted after less often than the lead guitarist (whom we've already studied), drummers walk a tough road. But it turns out science holds them in really high regard: They have a rare, innate ability to problem-solve and change those around them.


spinal tap drummer interview
http://youtu.be/S0QdAbGym8A


For starters, rock steady drummers can actually be smarter than their less rhythmically-focused bandmates. A study from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm found a link between intelligence, good timing and the part of the brain used for problem-solving. Researchers had drummers play a variety of different beats and then tasked them with a simple 60-problem intelligence test. The drummers who scored the highest were also better able to keep a steady beat. Apparently figuring out how to play in time is just another form of problem-solving. At last, hard proof that John Bonham really was a genius.


John Bonham Moby Dick
http://youtu.be/cRuTcnd8YLU


But even though a steady drummer may be more intelligent than his or her bandmates, the drummer's gifts can be shared: a tight beat can actually transfer that natural intelligence to others. In studies on the effects of rhythm on brains, researchers showed that experiencing a steady rhythm actually improves cognitive function. One psychology professor at the University of Washington used rhythmic light and sound therapy on his students and discovered that their grades improved. Similarly, one researcher at the University of Texas Medical Branch used that method on a group of elementary and middle school boys with ADD. The therapies had a similar effect to Ritalin, eventually making lasting increases to the boys' IQ scores.

Granted, these studies focused more on the effects of rhythm on the mind rather than on the mind behind the rhythm. That being said, drummers' consistent rhythmic focus has positive effects on them and those around them (yes, even their neighbors). That's because when drummers bring a steady rhythm (and corresponding problem-solving abilities) to a group setting, they actually create a "drummer's high" for everyone around them. University of Oxford researchers discovered that when drummers play together, both their happiness levels and pain tolerance increase, similar to Olympic runners. We give you Phil Collins:


Drum Duet - Phil Collins and Chester Thompson drums AWESOME!
http://youtu.be/sA3rJXV4R4E


Observing that high led researchers to hypothesize that drumming was integral to community-building and that sharing rhythms could be the sort of behavior necessary for the evolution of human society. Thanks, Phil.

Drumming is a fundamentally human thing. A lot of modern music has shifted towards drum machines over humans to create ultra-precise electronic rhythms. But it turns out that what we typically perceive as error is really just a uniquely human sense of time: Researchers at Harvard found that drummers harness a different sort of internal clock that moves in waves, rather than linearly as a real clock does. They match an innate rhythm that has been found in human brainwaves, heart rates during sleep and even the auditory nerve firings in cats. When a human drummer plays, he or she finds a human rhythm.

So the stereotypes aren't just baseless, they're also plain wrong. A lot of these studies have to do with rhythm just as much as with drumming, but drummers are more engaged with those mental elements than most. They are people tapped into a fundamental undercurrent of what it means to be human, people around whom bands and communities form.

And admit it, sometimes they even write great songs.


Ringo Starr - Octopus's Garden (Beatles) (live 2005)
http://youtu.be/V-BdGchS0yk




Wednesday, May 21, 2014

WHY ARE SO MANY NEWBORNS DYING IN THE U.S.?




This article is complete and utter rubbish!!!! The only reason I am sharing it is because it talks about the ridiculously high numbers of infants that are dying in the United States on the first day of life. The reason so many babies are dying in the U.S. is absolutely, unequivocally, a direct result of the violence being inflicted on them during hospital birth -- and also the violence being inflicted on them during technologically-managed "prenatal care." From repeated and unnecessary sonograms causing brain damage in unborn children, to induction, fetal heart monitors SCREWED INTO THEIR HEADS, cytotec, pitocin, epidural, c-section, immediate clamping of the umbilical cord and theft of their cord blood, separation between mother and baby, neurotoxic vaccinations, circumcision, neonatal intensive care units, and much, much more -- it is AMAZING that any babies make it out alive!!!! The insanity of what we are doing knows no bounds, and yet these morons (or highly paid propagandists) claim that babies are dying because they are being born preterm!

I have a great idea! If you want babies to live, stop blasting them with sound frequencies that are so brutal, they feel an urgency to get themselves out of the womb to safety!!! If you want babies not to lose body heat, PUT THEM ON THEIR MOTHER'S BODY AND LEAVE THEM THERE -- SKIN TO SKIN -- with no hat, no swaddling, no incubator, and no interference!!!! If you want babies to have strong breathing at birth, then stop clamping their umbilical cord, stealing their cord blood, and cutting off their oxygen supply!!!!!

The solution to the ever-escalating rates of infant and maternal mortality in the US is simple. GET BIRTH OUT OF THE HOSPITALS AND BACK INTO THE HOME! American hospitals are the most unsafe place to give birth. Avoid them whenever possible.

Source Article:
Why Are So Many Newborns Dying in the US?
http://www.livescience.com/29386-newborn-deaths-united-states.html

The United States does not fare well in a new report looking at the percentage of babies that die the day they are born.

In that report, the United States falls behind 68 other countries, including Mexico, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, in terms of its rate of deaths on the first day of life. Yearly, about 11,300 U.S. babies die the day they're born, according to the report from the charity organization Save the Children.

So why are newborn deaths in the United States so high?

The nation's high preterm birth rate plays a role. The U.S. has one of the highest rates of preterm birth in the industrialized world (1 in 8 births) — twice that of Finland, Japan, Norway and Sweden. Complications from preterm birth are the cause of 35 percent of newborn deaths in the U.S., Save the Children says.

Babies born preterm, or before 37 weeks of pregnancy, are at risk of death from loss of body heat, inability to take enough nutrition, breathing difficulties and infections, the report said.

Another factor, which contributes to the preterm birth rate, is the country's high rate of teen birth.

"Teenage mothers in the U.S. tend to be poorer, less educated, and receive less prenatal care than older mothers," which in turn, increases the baby's risk of being born early and dying in the first month, the report says.

But teen births have decreased in recent years, and the United States still has the highest preterm birth rate of any industrialized country, Save the Children says.

Women need access to proper prenatal care, in part to understand their risk of preterm birth and other pregnancy complications, said Carolyn Miles, president and CEO of Save the Children. Poverty can prevent women from getting the care they need, she said.

The Save the Children report did not include stillbirths. It's possible that, in trying to reduce the rate of stillbirth, the United States has increased preterm birth rate, said Dr. Joy Lawn, senior health adviser to Save the Children.

For instance, doctors in the United States may detect a pregnancy problem early on, and intervene to allow the baby to be born alive early, only to have the baby die on the first day of life, whereas the same baby may have been stillborn in another country, Lawn said.

However, Lawn said that other industrialized countries are performing the same types of obstetric interventions that are done in the U.S., so this would not necessarily explain the ranking of the U.S. in relation to industrialized countries.

Pass it on: The high rate of preterm birth in the United States plays a role in its relatively high rate of newborn death.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

IS ULTRASOUND CAUSING MISCARRIAGES, INTRAUTERINE GROWTH RETARDATION, AND UNNECESSARY EMOTIONAL TURMOIL FOR PARENTS?



Source Article by Beverley A Lawrence Beech
Ultrasound: Weighing the Propaganda Against the Facts
http://www.midwiferytoday.com/articles/ultrasound.asp
© 1999 Midwifery Today, Inc. All rights reserved.
[Editor's note: This article first appeared in Midwifery Today Issue 51, Autumn 1999.]

"The use of ultrasound in antenatal care is big business, and in any big business marketing is all-important. As a result of decades of enthusiastic marketing, women believe they can ensure the well-being of their babies by reporting for an early ultrasound scan and that early detection of a problem is beneficial for these babies. That is not necessarily so, and there are a number of studies which show that early detection can be harmful.

In response to women’s desire for information about the implications of routine ultrasound examinations, Jean Robinson and I wrote the book Ultrasound? Unsound, in which we reviewed the research evidence and drew attention to some of the hazards (Beech and Robinson, 1996). But since then more evidence has accumulated. For example:

Miscarriage

It is ironic that women who have had previous miscarriages often have additional ultrasound examinations in order to "reassure" them that their baby is developing properly. Few are told of the risks of miscarriage or premature labour or birth.

Obstetricians in Michigan (Lorenz et al., 1990) studied fifty-seven women who were at risk of giving birth prematurely. Half were given a weekly ultrasound examination; the rest had pelvic examinations. Preterm labour was more than doubled in the ultrasound group–52 percent–compared with 25 percent in the controls. Although the numbers were small the difference was unlikely to have emerged by chance.

A large randomised controlled trial from Helsinki (Saari-Kemppainen et al., 1990) randomly divided over 9,000 women into a group who were scanned at sixteen to twenty weeks compared with those who were not. It revealed twenty miscarriages after sixteen to twenty weeks in the screened group and none in the controls.

A later study in London (Davies et al., 1993) randomised 2,475 women to routine Doppler ultrasound examination of the umbilical and uterine arteries at nineteen to twenty-two weeks and thirty-two weeks compared with women who received standard care without Doppler ultrasound. There were sixteen perinatal deaths of normally formed infants in the Doppler group compared with four in the standard care group.

It is not only pregnant patients who are at risk, however. Physiotherapists use ultrasound to treat a number of conditions. A study done in Helsinki (Taskinen et al., 1990) found that if the physiotherapist was pregnant, handling ultrasound equipment for at least twenty hours a week significantly increased the risk of spontaneous abortion. Also, the risk of spontaneous abortions occurring after the tenth week was significantly increased for deep heat therapies given for more than five hours a week and ultrasound more than ten hours a week.

Diagnosis of placental praevia

The Saari-Kemppainen study also revealed the lack of value in early diagnosis of placenta praevia. Of the 4,000 women who were scanned at sixteen to twenty weeks, 250 were diagnosed as having placenta praevia. When it came to delivery, there were only four. Interestingly, in the unscanned group there were also four women found at delivery to have this condition. All the women were given caesarean sections and there was no difference in outcomes between the babies. Indeed, there are no studies which demonstrate that early detection of placenta praevia improves the outcome for either the mother or the baby. The researchers did not investigate the possible effects on the 246 women who presumably spent their pregnancies worrying about having to undergo a caesarean section and the possibility of a sudden haemorrhage.

Since the publication of Ultrasound? Unsound further studies have raised questions about the value of routine ultrasound scanning.

Babies with serious defects

Almost all babies receive a dose of ultrasound, but even at the best centres wide variations occur in detection rates for babies with major heart abnormalities. Both national and international detection rates differ widely in published studies (which are usually undertaken in centres of excellence), but the majority of mothers will be exposed to older machines in ordinary hospitals and clinics. The skill of the operators will vary (everybody has to learn sometime), but even with the best machines and the best operators misdiagnoses occur. A study from Oslo (Skari et al., 1998) looked at how many babies born with serious defects had been diagnosed by antenatal scans, and whether the early diagnosis made any difference to the outcomes. Women in Norway have a scan at seventeen to twenty-one weeks done by trained midwives, who refer to obstetricians if an abnormality is suspected.

In nineteen months, thirty-six babies were referred from a population of 2.5 million. They had diaphragmatic hernias, abdominal wall defects, bladder extrophy or meningomyelocele. Only thirteen of the thirty-six defects had been detected before birth (36 percent). They found that only two of eight congenital diaphragmatic hernias were picked up on ultrasound, half the cases of abdominal wall defects (six out of twelve), 38 percent of the meningomyelocele (five out of thirteen) and none of the three cases of bladder extroversion. The mothers had an average of five scans (from one to fourteen); those in whose cases abnormality was detected had an average of seven.

Three out of the thirteen babies diagnosed antenatally died. There was one death in the twenty-three undiagnosed. All thirteen babies with antenatal diagnosis were delivered by caesarean. Nineteen of the twenty-three undiagnosed babies had an uncomplicated vaginal delivery. The diagnosed babies had lower birth weight and two weeks shorter gestation. Although the babies with pre-diagnosed abdominal wall defects received surgery more quickly (four hours versus thirteen hours), the outcomes were the same in both groups. Although small, this is an important study.

Pregnant women often automatically assume that antenatal detection of serious problems in the baby means that lives will be saved or illness reduced. Knowing about the problem in advance did not benefit these babies; more of them died. They got delivered sooner, when they were smaller, a choice that could have long-term effects. All twelve babies with abdominal wall defects survived. But for the six detected on the scan, their length of hospital stay was longer and they spent longer on ventilators, though the numbers are too small to be significant. They were operated on sooner (four hours rather than thirteen hours) but the outcomes were the same.

Growth Retarded Babies

One of the promises held out by antenatal scanning is that obstetricians will be able to identify the baby with problems and do something to help it. A German study from Wiesbaden hospital (Jahn et al., 1998) found that out of 2,378 pregnancies only fifty-eight of 183 growth retarded babies were diagnosed before birth. Forty-five fetuses were wrongly diagnosed as being growth retarded when they were not. Only twenty-eight of the seventy-two severely growth-retarded babies were detected before birth despite the mothers having an average of 4.7 scans.

The babies diagnosed as small were much more likely to be delivered by caesarean - 44.3 percent compared with 17.4 percent for babies who were not small for dates. If the baby actually had intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR) the section rate varied hugely according to whether it was diagnosed before birth (74.1 percent sectioned) or not (30.4 percent).

So what difference did diagnosis make to the outcome for the baby? Pre-term delivery was five times more frequent in those whose IUGR was diagnosed before birth than those who were not. The average diagnosed pregnancy was two to three weeks shorter than the undiagnosed one. The admission rate to intensive care was three times higher for the diagnosed babies.

The long-term emotional impact

The effects of screening on both parents can be profound. For example, women waiting for the results of tests try not to love the baby in case they have to part with it. The medical literature has little to say about the human costs of misdiagnosis unless the baby was mistakenly aborted, and even then it tends to focus on legal action. However, a letter in the British Medical Journal revealed how a diagnosis of a minor anomaly can have serious long-term implications for the family:

A couple was referred for amniocentesis during the wife’s second pregnancy on the grounds of maternal age, thirty-five years, and anxiety. Their three-year-old son played happily during the consultation. When his wife and son had left the room after the procedure the husband confided that they had opted for amniocentesis to avoid having another "brain damaged" child. On questioning it became apparent that an ultrasound examination before their son’s birth had shown a choroid plexus cyst. Despite having a healthy child, the husband remained convinced that this cyst could cause his son to be disabled. (Mason and Baillie, 1997).

Evaluating the risks

When ultrasound was first developed researchers suggested that "the possibility of hazard should be kept under constant review" (Donald, 1980), and they said that it would never be used on babies under three months. However, as soon as vaginal probe ultrasound was developed, which could get good pictures in early pregnancies (and get nearer to the baby giving it a bigger dose), this initial caution was ignored.

Research by Lieberskind revealed "the persistence of abnormal behaviour . . . in cells exposed to a single dose diagnostic ultrasound ten generations after insonation." She concluded, "If germ cells were . . . involved, the effects might not become apparent until the next generation" (Lieberskind, 1979). When asked what problems should be looked for in human studies, she suggested: "Subtle ones. I’d look for possible behavioural changes, in reflexes, IQ, attention span" (Bolsen, 1982).

Because ultrasound has been developed rapidly without proper evaluation it is extremely difficult to prove that ultrasound exposure causes subtle effects. After all, it took over ten years to prove that the gross abnormalities found in some newborn babies were caused by thalidomide. However, there are a number of ultrasound studies which raise serious questions that still have to be addressed.

The first evidence we saw of possible damage to humans came in 1984 when American obstetricians published a follow-up study of children, aged seven to twelve years born in three different hospitals in Florida and Denver, who had been exposed to ultrasound in the womb (Stark et al., 1984). Compared with a control group of children who had not been exposed they were more likely to have dyslexia and to have been admitted to hospital during their childhood, but no other differences were found.

In 1993 a study in Calgary, Alberta which examined the antenatal records of seventy-two children with delayed speech of unknown cause were compared with those of 142 controls who were similar in sex, date of birth and birth order within the family. The children were similar in social class, birthweight and length of pregnancy. The children with speech problems were twice as likely as controls to have been exposed to ultrasound in the womb. Sixty-one percent of cases and only 37 percent of controls had had at least one exposure.

A Norwegian study (Salvesen, 1993) showed an increase in left handedness, but no increase in dyslexia. While the increase in left handedness was not large, it does suggest that ultrasound has an effect on the development of the brain. It should be noted, however, that the scanners used in this study emitted very low doses of ultrasound–lower than exposures from many machines nowadays–the women had only two exposures, and it was real time, not Doppler, a more powerful form of ultrasound.

Assessing the risks

"Present day ultrasonic diagnostic machines use such small levels of energy that they would appear to be safe, but the possibility must never be lost sight of that there may be safety threshold levels possibly different for different tissues, and that with the development of more powerful and sophisticated apparatus these may yet be transgressed" (Donald, 1979).

Donald’s foresight was remarkable. The machines in use today are far more powerful than the machines used a decade or more ago, and new variants are being developed all the time.

There has been inadequate research into the potential long-term effects. Measuring the outcome of any intervention in pregnancy is very complicated because there are so many things to look at. Intelligence, personality, growth, sight, hearing, susceptibility to infection, allergies and subsequent fertility are but a few issues which, if affected, could have serious long-term implications, quite apart from the numbers of babies who have a false positive or false negative diagnosis. Because a baby grows rapidly, exposing it to ultrasound at eight weeks can have different effects than exposure at, for example, ten, eighteen or twenty-four weeks (this is one of the reasons the effects of potential exposure are so difficult to study). Women are now exposed to so many different types of ultrasound: Doppler scans, real-time imaging, triple scans, external fetal heart-rate monitors, hand held fetal monitors. Unlike drugs, whereby every new drug must be tested, the rapid development of each new variation of ultrasound machine has not been accompanied by similar careful evaluation by controlled, large-scale trials.

Despite decades of ultrasonic investigation, no one can demonstrate whether ultrasound exposure has an adverse effect at a particular gestation, whether the effects are cumulative or whether it is related to the output of a particular machine or the length of the examination. How many exposures are too many? What is the mechanism by which growth is affected? A large-scale study (Newnham et al., 1991) showed decreased birthweight, although a later study suggested the babies soon make up the deficit. It should not be forgotten, however, that numerous studies on rats, mice and monkeys over the years have found reduced fetal weight in babies that had ultrasound in the womb compared with controls. Nor should it be forgotten that in the monkey studies (Tarantal et al., 1993) the ultrasound babies sat or lay around the bottom of the cage, whereas the little control monkeys were up to the usual monkey tricks. Long-term follow up of the monkeys has not been reported. Do they reproduce as successfully as the controls? And, as Jean Robinson has noted: "Monkeys do not learn to read, write, multiply, sing opera, or play the violin." Human children do, and perhaps we should consider seriously whether the huge increases in children with dyslexia and learning difficulties are a direct result of ultrasound exposure in the womb. Furthermore, when a woman is scanned her baby’s ovaries are also scanned. So if the woman had seven scans during her pregnancy, when her pregnant daughter eventually presents years later at the antenatal clinic, her developing baby will already have had seven scans. Do women really know what they consent to when they rush to hospital to have their first ultrasound scan, then trustingly agree to further scans?

Beverley A Lawrence Beech, honourary chair of the Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services (AIMS), is a freelance writer and lecturer and lives in the United Kingdom.

References

Beech, B. & Robinson, J. (1996). Ultrasound? Unsound. London: Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services (AIMS).
Bolsen, B. (1982). Question of risk still hovers over routine prenatal use of ultrasound. JAMA, 247: 2195-2197.
Donald, I. (1979). Practical Obstetric Problems. (5th ed). London: Lloyd-Luke, Medical Books Ltd.
Donald, I. (1980). Sonar—Its present status in medicine. In A. Jurjak (Ed), Progress in Medical Ultrasound, 1: 001–04. Amsterdam: Excerpta Medica.
Jahn, A. et al. (1998). Routine screening for intrauterine growth retardation in Germany; low sensitivity and questionable benefit for diagnosed cases. Acta Ob Gyn Scand, 77: 643–89.
Lorenz, R.P. et al. (1990, June). Randomised prospective trial comparing ultrasonography and pelvic examination for preterm labor surveillance. Am. J. Obstet. Gynecol, 1603–10.
Mason, G. and Baillie, C. (1997). Counselling should be provided before parents are told of the presence of ultrasonographic ‘soft markers’ of fetal abnormality (Letter). BMJ 315: 180–81.
Newnham, J.P. et al. (1991). Effects of frequent ultrasound during pregnancy: a randomised controlled trial. The Lancet, 342: 887–90.
Saari-Kemppainen et al. (1990). Ultrasound screening and perinatal mortality: controlled trial of systematic one-stage screening in pregnancy. The Lancet, 336: 387–91.
Salvesen, K.A. et al. (1992). Routine ultrasonography in utero and school performance at age 8–9 years. The Lancet, 339.
Skari, H. et al. (1998). Consequences of prenatal ultrasound diagnosis: a preliminary report on neonates with congenital malformations. Acta. Ob Gyn Scand, 177: 635–42.
Tarantal, A.F. et al. (1993). Evaluation of the bioeffects of prenatal ultrasound exposure in the Cynomolgus Macaque (Macaca fascicularis). Chapter III in Developmental and Mematologic Studies, Teratology 47: 159–70.
Taskinen, H. et al. (1990). Effects of ultrasound, shortwaves, and physical exertion on pregnancy outcome in physiotherapists. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 44: 196–201.

Resources:

Understanding Obstetric Ultrasound (2nd edition) by Jean Proud
Midwifery Today Issue 51
Theme: Fathers in Pregnancy and Birth; articles on ultrasound, natural family planning, the "call" to midwifery, placenta previa and much more round out the issue.
Midwifery Today Issue 50
Theme: Homebirth; from this issue, read online Ultrasound: More Harm Than Good? by Marsden Wagner"

ARE ULTRASOUNDS CAUSING AUTISM IN UNBORN BABIES?




Source Article by Jennifer Margulis:
Are Ultrasounds Causing Autism in Unborn Babies?
http://www.thedailybeast.com/witw/articles/2013/04/29/are-ultrasounds-causing-autism-in-unborn-babies.html

"Toward the end of my first pregnancy, a doctor ordered an “emergency” ultrasound because she believed I was measuring small. She turned to go to her next client before I could talk to her about it, muttering that she suspected “intrauterine growth retardation.”

My husband and I sat in the waiting room, flooded with anxiety. The scan showed the baby was fine. It wasn’t until years later when I started researching and writing about pregnancy that I learned that ultrasound scans have not been shown to be any more effective in predicting intrauterine growth restriction (doctors these days try to avoid using the word retardation) than palpation of the pregnant woman’s abdomen by an experienced clinician.

The same summer my daughter was born, Marsden Wagner, an obstetrician, scientist, and former director of Women’s and Children’s Health at the World Health Organization, wrote: “There is no justification for clinicians using routine ultrasound during pregnancy for the management of IUGR.”

Most women look forward to multiple ultrasounds because they are lulled into the assumption that this technology will catch potentially fatal abnormalities—such as a heart defect—early, so they can be fixed. When doctors tell pregnant women they will only get one or two scans, some are terribly disappointed, feeling that they won’t be able to bond as effectively with the baby or worrying that the doctor won’t know that the baby is growing normally. But one study of 15,151 pregnant women published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that an ultrasound scan does not improve fetal outcome. The study, which was conducted by a team of six researchers over almost four years, compared pregnant women who received two scans to pregnant women who received scans only when some other medical indication suggested an ultrasound was necessary. The results showed no difference in fetal outcomes.

“This practice-based trial demonstrates that among low-risk pregnant women ultrasound screening does not improve perinatal outcome,” the authors conclude. Even when the ultrasound technology uncovered fetal abnormalities, the fetal survival or death rate was the same in both groups.

What the authors did find, however, was that routine ultrasounds led to more expensive prenatal care, adding more than $1 billion to the cost of caring for pregnant women in America each year.

Another study, of 2,834 pregnant women, published in the Lancet, showed that the babies of the randomly chosen group of 1,415 women who received five ultrasounds (as opposed to the group of 1,419 women who had only one scan at eighteen weeks) were much more likely to experience intrauterine growth restriction, a scary combination of words that means the fetus is not developing normally. Ironically, intrauterine growth restriction is one of the conditions that having multiple ultrasounds is supposed to detect.

Though the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that obstetricians discuss the advantages and disadvantages of having an ultrasound scan with pregnant patients, ACOG does not explicitly recommend the screening. ACOG explains that ultrasound may reduce fetal mortality rates because women who discover they are carrying fetuses that are incompatible with life will often choose abortion, but ACOG also specifies that ultrasound has not been proven to be effective for reducing infant mortality in any other way.

Their policy statement continues: “Screening detects multiple gestations, congenital anomalies, and intrauterine growth restriction, but direct health benefits from having this knowledge currently are unproven. The decision ultimately rests with the physician and patient jointly.”

The authors of the definitive, exhaustive, 1,385-page textbook for obstetricians, Williams Obstetrics, take a similarly conservative stance about ultrasound and do not explicitly recommend it for low-risk pregnancies: “Sonography should be performed only with a valid medical indication,” the authors write, “and with the lowest possible exposure setting to gain necessary information.”

Yet doctors and other birth providers take great exception if low-risk pregnant women refuse to be scanned. In 2004 when Lia Joy Rundle, a mom of three from Mazomanie, Wisconsin, was just a few weeks pregnant with her second child, she changed insurance providers. The new obstetrician reviewed her paperwork. “We might be able to do a quick ultrasound today, if the machine’s available,” she said. “Then you can take a look at your baby.”

Though they were planning to have a 20-week ultrasound, Lia and her husband saw no benefit to doing an early ultrasound and felt there might be some risk. But when they declined the scan, the obstetrician insisted there was no way to get an accurate due date without it. “Look at him, he’s fine,” she scoffed, pointing at their 1-year-old son. “How many ultrasounds did you have with him?”

But as I uncovered when I was researching this book, there is mounting evidence that overexposure to sound waves—or perhaps exposure to sound waves at a critical time during fetal development—is to blame for the astronomic rise in neurological disorders among America’s children.

In 2006, Pasko Rakic, M.D., a neuroscientist at Yale University School of Medicine, found that prenatal exposure to ultrasound waves changed the way the neurons in mice distributed themselves in the brain. Rakic and his team do not fully understand what effect the brain cell migratory alteration might have on brain development and intelligence, but they noticed, rather alarmingly, that a smaller percentage of cells migrated to the upper cortical layers of the mouse brain and a larger percentage to the lower layers and white matter.

At first reluctant to publish these results because they were preliminary and might discourage pregnant women from accepting medically necessary ultrasounds (the mice studies are part of a years-long double-blind experiment that is testing the effects of ultrasound on primate brains), Rakic decided the findings were too significant to ignore and concluded that all nonmedical use of ultrasound on pregnant women should be avoided. “We should be using the same care with ultrasound as with X-rays,” Rakic cautioned.

Manuel Casanova, a neurologist who holds an endowed chair at the University of Louisville in Kentucky, is one medical doctor who is listening. Casanova contends that Rakic’s mice research helps confirm a disturbing hypothesis that he and his colleagues have been testing for the last three years: that ultrasound exposure is the main environmental factor contributing to the exponential rise in autism.



When Casanova began researching autism 15 years ago he discovered that neuroscientists had not been able to isolate the differences between an autistic brain and a normal brain, unlike with Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer’s, where the damage in the brain has been localized. Casanova realized that in order to understand both the causes and the potential cures for autism, scientists needed first to figure out where in the brain of autistic children damage was occurring.

Since no damage to individual neurons had ever been isolated, Casanova theorized that we might not be examining the brain in the right way. He began looking at the brain as a system instead of isolated parts.

It is these columns of neurons working together, which scientists now call “minicolumns,” that are responsible for higher cognitive functions like facial recognition, joint attention (if I turn my face and look somewhere, a child will turn and look too. Not because I told the child to look, but because the normal human brain is wired to do so), and much more. Joint attention is one of the many qualities that appear to be abnormal in the brains of autistic children. Casanova recognized the imperative of studying the circuitry within the brains of patients with autism and other psychiatric conditions. He and his colleagues found something surprising: brains of autistic patients have a 10 to 12 percent higher number of minicolumns as compared to nonautistic brains.

They also found another anomaly. During the normal formation of the human brain, cells divide in the hollows (ventricles) of the brain and then migrate to the surface (cortex), acquiring a vertical organization into columns. At the same time, other cells migrate tangentially and meet up with the columns. Casanova calls these migrations “a very fine ballet,” and explains that the cells that migrate tangentially have an inhibitory role, acting like a container to keep the cells in the minicolumn from spilling into other parts of the brain. Compared with other animals, even primates, the neurons in the human brain have to travel a much longer distance, and during this long migration there is, unfortunately, ample opportunity for things to go wrong.

Casanova explains: “You know that a shower curtain keeps water inside of the bathtub. If you have a defect in the shower curtain, water will spill out of the tub. If the radial migration is not coupled with the tangential migration of inhibitory cells, then the minicolumns will have a faulty shower curtain of inhibition and information will no longer be kept within the core of the minicolumn, it will be able to suffuse to adjacent minicolumns and have an overall amplification affect. Actually the cortex of autistic individuals is hyperexcitable and they suffer from multifocal seizures. One third of autistic individuals have suffered at least two seizures by the time they reach puberty.”

Translation: As the “minicolumn” brain cells move outward, if the complementary cells that inhibit them don’t keep pace, the information in the minicolumns will suffuse out to surrounding cells, causing a chain reaction that can result in seizures.

Ultrasound waves, Casanova explains, are a form of energy known to deform cell membranes. In fact, in the early 1990s the FDA approved the use of ultrasound to treat bone fractures because ultrasound increases cell division. Some cells in the human body are more sensitive than others.

Among the most sensitive cells? Those stem cells in the brain that divide and migrate.

Casanova’s hypothesis: Prolonged or inappropriate ultrasound exposure may actually trigger these cells to divide, migrate, and form too many minicolumns. They divide when they’re not supposed to and there are no inhibitory cells to contain them.

There are more neurologically damaged children in the United States today than ever before. As of 2007, 5.4 million children (the entire population of Finland) have been diagnosed with attention disorders, and today one in every eighty-eight children in America has been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. Japan, Norway, Iceland, Denmark, Australia, France, Germany, Canada, and the United States are among the industrialized nations that are seeing a huge, troubling, and seemingly inexplicable rise in the numbers of autistic children. These countries are geographically and culturally different. Their vaccine schedules are different. The labor and delivery experience is also different: In Scandinavian countries and Japan many more pregnant women tend to choose unmedicated vaginal births.

But all these countries do have one thing in common: the vast majority of pregnant women are getting regular prenatal care and being exposed to ultrasound in the form of anatomy scans and fetal-heart monitoring. In countries with nationalized health care, where virtually every pregnant woman is exposed to multiple ultrasounds, autism rates are even higher than in the United States.

The ultrasounds done on pregnant women today use sound waves with eight times the intensity used before 1991. This time period roughly coincides with the alarming increase in the incidence of autism within our population. Even more disturbing, the majority of technicians using ultrasound machines (as many as 96 percent) do not understand the safety margins they must adhere to in order to make sure the fetus is not exposed to harm.

As ultrasound equipment gets smaller, less expensive, and more portable, it has also become available—without any regulation—to anyone who knows how to surf the Internet. Want to see or hear your baby? You can buy your own ultrasound machine on Amazon or eBay.

“Most people believe it’s just about taking pretty pictures,” Manuel Casanova says, his voice thick with regret. "

Saturday, May 17, 2014

CRUELTY TO MOTHERS DURING HOSPITAL BIRTH -- ALL IN A DAYS WORK FOR THE PSYCHOPATHS WORKING IN LABOR AND DELIVERY




Although this article is long and filled with interesting information, never once does it mention the fact that the current medical system has been created and is run by psychopaths. The Rockefeller Foundation is largely responsible for the evil we see within the medical system today (http://birthofanewearth.blogspot.com/2013/11/rockefeller-medicine-eugenics-murder-by.html; http://birthofanewearth.blogspot.com/2012/03/how-rockefellers-control-fda-and-cancer.html. And because the people behind this system are satanists and luciferians, we can expect to see enormous amounts of evil in the "treatments" and protocols being inflicted on patients, as well as severe mind-control technologies being used to "train" medical personnel and technicians. Those who are attracted to the medical "profession" are often psychopaths themselves, and those who enter this sordid profession with an honest desire to help will soon find out they are not helping at all but causing more harm than good.

There are very few darker institutions on the planet today than American hospitals. My suggestion is to avoid them like the plague.

Source Article:
Cruelty in Maternity Wards: Fifty Years Later
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2920649/?report=classic#bib4


"Abstract

Fifty years have passed since a scandal broke over inhumane treatment of laboring women in U.S. hospitals, yet first-person and eyewitness reports document that medical care providers continue to subject childbearing women to verbal and physical abuse and even to what would constitute sexual assault in any other context. Women frequently are denied their right to make informed decisions about care and may be punished for attempting to assert their right to refusal. Mistreatment is not uncommon and persists because of factors inherent to hospital social culture. Concerted action on the part of all stakeholders will be required to bring about systemic reform.

Keywords: abuse of childbearing women, dysfunctional hospital social systems, patient safety, post-traumatic stress disorder

“Cruelty in Maternity Wards” was the title of a shocking article published just over 50 years ago in Ladies' Home Journal in which nurses and women told stories of inhumane treatment in labor and delivery wards during childbirth (Schultz, 1958). Stories included women being strapped down for hours in the lithotomy position, a woman having her legs tied together to prevent birth while her obstetrician had dinner, women being struck and threatened with the possibility of giving birth to a dead or brain damaged baby for crying out in pain, and a doctor cutting and suturing episiotomies without anesthetic (he had once nearly lost a patient to an overdose) while having the nurse stifle the woman's cries with a mask.

The article shook the country and triggered a tsunami of childbirth reform that included the founding of the American Society for Psychoprophylaxis in Obstetrics, now known as Lamaze International. Nonetheless, as Susan Hodges (2009) recently noted in her guest editorial published in The Journal of Perinatal Education, despite enormous differences in labor and delivery management, decades later, inhumane treatment remains distressingly common. American childbearing women still suffer mistreatment at the hands of care providers, ranging from failure to provide supportive care to disrespect and insensitivity to denial of women's right to make informed decisions to common use of harmful medical interventions to outright verbal, physical, and even sexual assault. Furthermore, the more extreme examples are not aberrations but merely the far end of the spectrum. Abuse, moreover, results from factors inherent to the system, which increases the difficulties of implementing reforms.


ABUSE IN CHILDBIRTH: PARALLELS WITH DOMESTIC ABUSE

According to domesticviolence.org (an online resource devoted to helping individuals recognize, address, and prevent domestic violence), domestic violence and emotional abuse encompass “name-calling or putdowns,” “keeping a partner from contacting their family or friends,” “actual or threatened physical harm,” “intimidation,” and “sexual assault” (“Domestic Violence Definition,” 2009, para. 2). In all cases, the intent is to gain power over and control the victim. One could add that perpetrators, obstetric staff or otherwise, feel entitled to exert this control on grounds of the victim's inferior position vis-√†-vis the perpetrator as the following illustrate:

[The doctor claimed there] is no supporting evidence that says tearing is better, the articles weren't written by doctors who deliver babies, and I'm in no mood to sit around wasting my time because I have to sew you up. (Doula V, personal communication, May 24, 2007)

When I [pregnant woman] attempted to discuss the birth plan with you [obstetrician], you became defensive…, saying, “If I want to do something to you I will do it and you will not interfere. I have delivered hundreds of babies and you have not delivered any.” (Zeller, 2004, p. 5)

Perpetrators also justify controlling the woman on the basis that it is for her or her baby's own good, as illustrated in these excerpts from a Texas obstetrician's birth plan reported on the TheUnnecesarean.com blog (Jill, 2009e):

Continuous monitoring of your baby's heart rate…is mandatory…. This is the only way I can be sure that your baby is tolerating every contraction. Labor positions that hinder my ability to continuously monitor your baby's heart rate are not allowed. (para. 11)

Depending on the size of the baby's head and the degree of flexibility of the vaginal tissue, an episiotomy may become necessary at my discretion to minimize the risk of trauma to you and your baby. (para. 15)

The rate of maternal and fetal complications increases rapidly after 39 weeks. For this reason, I recommend delivering your baby at around 39–40 weeks of pregnancy. (para. 17)

A c-section may become necessary at any time during labor…. The decision as to whether and when to perform this procedure is made at my discretion and it is not negotiable, especially when done for fetal concerns. (para. 18)

The same Texas obstetrician also isolates women from views other than his (see above: “keeping a partner from contacting their family or friends”), stating, “Doulas and labor coaches…may be asked to leave if their presence or recommendations hinder my ability to monitor your labor or your baby's well-being” (Jill, 2009e, para. 9), and a Colorado obstetrician group does the same, as illustrated in this sign posted at the group's clinic:

Because the Physicians at [name of women's center deleted] care about the quality of their patient's deliveries and are very concerned about the welfare and health of your unborn child, we will not participate in: a “Birth Contract”, a Doulah [sic] Assisted, or a Bradley Method delivery. (Jill, 2009e, para. 23)

Likewise, a nurse at a Virginia hospital that bans doulas states, “From a nursing standpoint, too many [doulas] crossed the line and interfered with my job” (Paul, 2008, para. 11).

TYPES OF ABUSE

Perpetrators of abuse also feel justified in using whatever means necessary to overcome resistance or to punish perceived infringements of the perpetrator's prerogatives or real or imagined challenges to the abuser's dominance or worldview. Coercion may take the form of verbal abuse, as in these examples:

He [doctor] stormed in aghast that I was a VBAC [vaginal birth after cesarean] and had been laboring twelve hours. He lectured me on the dangers I was incurring…. He informed me that IF I got an epidural and IF I made progress over the next two hours, he would let me continue. If not, he would [cesarean] section me stat. (Bax, 2007, “The Short and Long of It,” para. 8)

After a long and painful induction, …he [doctor] sat on the couch and complained that watching her [laboring woman] push her dead baby out [antepartum demise at 36 weeks] was “like watching paint dry,” and left to see patients in the office. (Nurse K, personal communication, October 16, 2009)

In some cases, verbal abuse may be combined with physical abuse, as can be seen in this labor and delivery nurse's account:

The doctor…stood over the patient's bed and yelled into her face, “You can kill your baby, you can lose your uterus, but if you want to do something stupid, I guess I can't stop you. So let's get on with it.” He then jerked back the covers, pulled the patient's legs apart and proceeded to perform a rough vaginal exam. (Nurse K, personal communication, October 16, 2009)

Sometimes, verbal abuse has blatant sexual overtones, as these accounts illustrate:

I have witnessed many physicians say degrading things to women in natural labor, as if punishing them for not getting pain control in order to be more passive patients, including “I don't want to hear any noise from you,” “Come on, you need to open your legs, obviously you didn't mind that nine months ago.” (Nurse K, personal communication, October 16, 2009)

She was crying out of fear of the [vaginal] exam, [because it] was being done by a male (very difficult for most Muslim women)…. Dr. tells her that if she is that scared and tense already, she'll never get the baby out naturally…. With each subsequent exam he would then…condescendingly comment on how much “better” she was doing with her vaginal tension. (Doula S, personal communication, October 16, 2005)

He told her to adjust her bottom so she was straight, he says “We want this smile to match that smile, heh heh…if you had an episiotomy, I'd only have to sew up a straight line.” What the F**K, are you kidding me…? She is naked, on her back, in a submissive position, at this doctor's mercy. I wanted to cry! (Doula V, personal communication, May 24, 2007)

Abuse of laboring women may take the classic form of physical harm and pain, as in these examples:

“You're the one who didn't want an epidural, this is the price you pay”—this is often when they refuse to give the patient adequate local anesthetic for laceration repair, despite the fact that the patient is crying out for it and I am standing there holding it out to them. I have seen this too many times to count. The physician's answer is often “I only have a few more stitches left.” (Nurse K, personal communication, October 16, 2009)

I saw one of my prenatal patients whose [cesarean-section] incision opened when her staples were removed Monday. We called the [doctor], and he pulled on the tissue until it opened down to the fascia. He then scrubbed the wound with gauze and H202, and packed it. The patient received no pain medication. (Midwife D, personal communication, August 27, 2003)

Physical harm and pain inflicted on childbearing women also includes cesarean surgery without anesthesia. For example, in a publication titled Cesarean Voices by the International Cesarean Awareness Network, one woman recounts:

My epidural wore off during surgery and the anesthesiologist didn't believe me…. I could feel the stitching and then the stapling. Finally, to stop my screaming, the anesthesiologist pretty much put me completely out, but only because the surgeon told him to. (Scott, Hudson, MacCorkle, & Udy, 2007, p. 4)

According to a study by Paech, Godkin, and Webster (1998), 1 in 200 cesareans are converted to general anesthesia because of a failed epidural. However, as “Nurse K” attests, not all inadequate epidurals are addressed before surgery begins:

I have seen…Cesareans when a patient's epidural becomes inadequate during surgery. Despite her crying out “Ouch, I can feel that, that feels sharp! That hurts!” she is ignored, told “No, it's just pressure,” “I'm not even doing anything that should hurt” … or “I'm almost done.” I have seen this probably 8–10 times in four years at two different hospitals. (Nurse K, personal communication, October 16, 2009)

Physical abuse may not be obvious to laboring women because it happens behind the scenes or is concealed, as revealed in reports by labor and delivery nurses:

Many of the obstetricians that I work with are eager to “get her delivered” as quickly as possible. There is also “pit to distress”…—in other words, keep cranking that pitocin up until the baby crumps into fetal distress and the obstetrician does a stat c-section—all so the doctor can be done, and get out of the hospital. (Jill, 2009a, para. 19)

The…physician…was not satisfied with how quickly the patient was delivering (though she had been pushing less than an hour and the baby was in no distress) and so she inserted two fingers into the patient's rectum and attempted to hook the baby's chin so that the head would deliver more rapidly (without mentioning any of this to the patient, who had an epidural). Her fingers tore right through the sphincter and the patient sustained a 4th-degree laceration. The only thing the OB told the patient about it was that because she had such a “big baby” (7lbs), she would recommend inducing at 37 weeks next time so she didn't “tear so badly.” (Nurse K, personal communication, October 16, 2009)

Abuse in the labor and delivery unit also includes actions that, had they occurred outside of the unit, would be considered sexual assault, as in the following example:

First the doc does an exam—says there's a [cervical] lip…. Next thing I know, the nurse has her hand in there, holding the cervix while mom is screaming, “get out, OUCH, get out, THAT HURTS”—I look the nurse in the eye, tell her AT LEAST 10 times, “she ASKED you to stop—she does NOT consent to this.” So now, she's pushing…, but this DAMN doctor, kept trying to stretch [the vaginal opening] with his flipping fingers—and she kept screaming how bad it hurt. I kept saying to him OVER AND OVER, “can you PLEASE stop?!?! The only time she screams is when YOU DO THAT.” (Doula M, personal communication, April 2, 2003)

An Illinois woman's story contains all of the types of abuse described above—verbal, physical, sexual, and threats of physical harm—that women may encounter in labor and delivery units. As reported on the TheUnnecesarean.com blog, the woman's doctor:

refused to let her have pain medication, telling the nurse that the woman deserved to feel pain because she had not called before coming in and that “pain is the best teacher” (Jill, 2008, “Pain is the Best Teacher,” para. 1; Jill, 2009b, para. 28);

placed her in stirrups with toes turned in so that her buttocks were not on the table, and forced her to remain in that position until after the birth, which took over an hour (Jill, 2008, 2009b);

repeatedly told her, “Shut up, close your mouth, and push…” and “there is only one voice in this room and it is mine” (Jill, 2008, para. 18 and 29; Jill, 2009b, para. 9 and 18);

performed a rough vaginal exam during a contraction, causing extreme pain, while she said, “No. Stop!” (Jill, 2008, para. 20; Jill, 2009b, para. 10);

inserted a catheter during a contraction, causing extreme pain, despite her asking to wait (Jill, 2008, 2009b);

repeatedly told the woman she was going to hemorrhage and that that she and the baby might die, which was especially terrifying because she had experienced a prior stillbirth (Jill, 2008, 2009b);

took a cell phone call from a resident and spoke at length about an abortion that he was going to perform that day (Jill, 2008, 2009b);

told a nurse not to help her (Jill, 2008, 2009b);

sutured her without adequate anesthesia and had her husband hold her down when she squirmed in pain (Jill, 2008, 2009b); and

refused to let her or her husband hold the baby (Jill, 2008).

The cases described above are readily recognizable as abuse, but because of the intimacy and sexuality of childbirth, treatment that an observer would think no worse than brusque or insensitive—what Elizabeth Smythe called “the violence of the everyday in healthcare” (Thomson & Downe, 2008, p. 270)—can inflict severe psychological trauma, in this case by triggering memories of past traumatic events:

Because of the epidural, …when it was time to push, the nurse and the midwife kept yelling at me to keep my feet in the stirrups, but my legs were numb, so they just kept falling down to the floor…. They grabbed my hips and forcefully moved me around into the position they wanted me in, without asking. They just did it. And they kept yelling at me to keep my legs up, but I couldn't. So they moved me around like a rag doll and my feet just kept falling off the table onto the floor. I was so scared, and I felt like I was doing everything wrong. They did not try to calm me, or even ask how I was doing. They just kept yelling, “This is what you have to do if you want to get your baby out! Keep your legs up!”

This forceful manipulation of my body triggered a memory in me of being gang-raped at 15 years old. During the rape, one of the boys held me down, with my hips at the edge of the bed, while the other boy raped me. He kept grabbing my hips and yanking me closer to him and my legs just felt like 50 lb weights. They just kept falling to the floor. He kept yelling, “Keep your legs up, bitch!” and I couldn't. I couldn't move. It was as if I was numb. During my son's birth, the words that the nurse and midwife yelled at me, and the ways they manipulated my body were so similar, it was as if the rape was happening all over again. I was terrified. (Rose, personal communication, September 22, 2007)

In a second example, we see the harm of staff insensitivity to the “violence of the everyday” in a doctor's story of events after her birth told from her viewpoint and juxtaposed with her medical chart notes (Pil, 2010):

Patient: Seven hours [after birth], I suddenly feel weak, dizzy, and nauseated…. The next minute, I'm hemorrhaging. There is blood spurting everywhere, clots the size of frying pans. I think I am going to die. Panicky nurses and residents crowd the room…. I am being stuck everywhere for an IV…. My underwear is cut off, injections slammed into my buttocks, my legs are forced open and somebody shoves an entire forearm into my uterus and pulls out clots. Three times. I scream and scream and scream. The pain is unbearable, and I feel brutally violated. (para. 14)

Chart: 7:30 am: Called to see patient passing clots. … Blood pressure 110/67…100/60…90/58…. Bimanual evacuation lower uterine segment with 3 large clots. Orders: IV, Pitocin IV, [etc.]. Discussed with Doctor B.—Intern (para. 15)

Patient: Everyone flees the room. I am curled in a fetal position, crying and shaking. No one comes to explain why, how or what has just happened…. [No staff members] ever ask if I am all right. (para. 17)

Chart: 7:40 am: BP 90/58. Will continue to observe.—Night Nurse B 8:00 am: IV running. Patient medicated with Zofran for nausea. Resting comfortably. Will monitor.—Day Nurse C (para. 18)

Patient: Doctor B makes rounds. “You doctors make the worst patients.” (para. 20)

Pil's resultant PTSD rendered her unable to return to clinical practice. Health care environments were too much of a trigger.


ABUSES UNIQUE TO CHILDBIRTH

The treatment of pregnant and laboring women opens up new categories of abuse not falling under conventional definitions. One category of abuse is denial of the right to informed choice through giving childbearing women insufficient information, no information, or misinformation about their options. In the Listening to Mothers II survey, women were asked to agree or disagree with four statements on cesarean surgery's adverse effects (Declercq, Sakala, Corry, & Applebaum, 2006). Three-quarters of the respondents on every question were either not sure how to respond or responded incorrectly. Women who had cesareans were no more likely to know the right answer than women who did not have cesareans.

A second category of abuse among childbearing women is elective primary cesarean initiated by the physician. A survey at one hospital revealed that 13% of intrapartum cesareans were at “physician request” according to the obstetrician's self-report (Kalish, McCullough, Gupta, Thaler, & Chervenak, 2004). An additional 3% were, according to the obstetrician, a joint decision with the woman, but considering the power imbalance in the relationship, it is not unreasonable to include these in the “physician request” category. That makes 1 in 6 intrapartum cesareans at this hospital. Subjecting women to unnecessary surgery is, of course, a form of physical abuse.

A third category of abuse is denial of the right to refuse invasive medical procedures and especially to refuse surgery. Results from the Listening to Mothers II survey found that over half (56%) the women who wanted VBAC were denied that option (Declercq et al., 2006), and a 2009 survey of 2,850 U.S. hospitals revealed that half of the hospitals had an outright or de facto ban against VBAC, the latter meaning the hospital had no official policy against VBAC, but no obstetrician would allow one (International Cesarean Awareness Network, 2009). Vaginal breech birth and vaginal twin birth are almost impossible to obtain. Refusing vaginal birth forces women to agree to surgery or forgo medical care.

A fourth category is abuse of childbearing women by the legal system. Legal system abuses arise from medical staff and societal perception that the fetus's rights supersede the rights of the woman. In this respect, women are worse off than they were with domestic violence before the women's rights movement. Before, women could expect no relief from legal authorities or social services; now, they are called in on the side of the abuser. Cases include a California woman whose doctor threatened to report her to Child Protective Services for resisting induction for postdates (Doula E, personal communication, September 11, 2003); an Arizona woman with a prior cesarean told if she showed up in labor and refused automatic surgery, the hospital would get a court order and perform cesarean surgery anyway (Jill, 2009d); a Florida woman confined by the court to hospital bedrest for preterm contractions at 25 weeks, denied access to a second opinion, and ordered to submit to any treatment her doctor deemed necessary, including cesarean surgery (Appel, 2010); and a New Jersey woman previously diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression deprived of custody of her child at birth because she refused to sign a blanket consent at hospital admission for cesarean surgery, an act cited as evidence she was too mentally ill to be a fit mother (Jill, 2009c).


ABUSE AND THE TOLL ON VICTIMS

Predictors of psychological trauma resulting from childbirth include a history of sexual assault, feelings of powerlessness, negative interactions with medical staff, failure to meet expectations, medical interventions, and unplanned cesarean surgery (Soet, Brack, & Dilorio, 2003), although trauma can also occur in spontaneous vaginal births (Soderquist, Wijma, & Wijma, 2002). Given the ubiquity of these experiences, it should not be surprising that sizeable percentages of women experience psychological trauma following childbirth. An Australian survey of women 4 to 6 weeks postpartum found that one third of respondents reported a traumatic birth event in conjunction with three or more symptoms of emotional trauma (Creedy, Shochet, & Horsfall, 2000). Listening to Mothers II survey investigators conducted a follow-up survey that included questions diagnostic of childbirth-related PTSD (Declercq, Sakala, Corry, & Applebaum, 2008). Nearly 1 in 5 (18%) women were experiencing some symptoms, and 1 in 10 (9%) met the full PTSD diagnostic criteria. Worse yet, symptoms are long-lived: Women were surveyed 6 to 18 months postpartum and asked about symptoms in the past month.

Women also specifically report experiencing their childbirth treatment as an assault: “It was like being tortured because I was…screaming, …begging, really, really begging for [the Syntocin] drip to be turned off”; “Don't feel I gave birth and had a baby on that day. I just felt I went into a room and was just assaulted”; and “It was violent and brutal” (Thomson & Downe, 2008, p. 270). The consequences can be severe and long-lasting, as conveyed in the following comments from women:

I was left feeling like a total failure. I left the hospital thinking that I was a horrible mom…. I didn't even want to hold my baby and I was terrified of being alone with him. (Rose, personal communication, September 22, 2007)

I don't remember my baby's first 6 months, I was so mired in depression and post-traumatic stress—flashbacks, nightmares, sweating panics…. You didn't only take my birth, though. I lost more than my son's infancy. For a long time, I lost myself. (Bax, 2007, “The Short and Long of It,” para. 17 and 18)

I still have nightmares—six years later. (Scott et al., 2007, p. 4)

It is important to note that the vast majority of maternity care providers are not abusers. Nonetheless, abuse continues to flourish. Why isn't it stopped? To answer this question, we must look at factors inherent to the system.


OBSTACLES TO REFORM

Most hospital social systems are rigid hierarchies. Because authoritarian social systems allow some individuals unrestrained dominance over others, mistreatment and abuse are likely to follow. For example, as a labor and delivery nurse recounts:

He asked me for an Amnihook to rupture the patient's membranes, and when I pointed out that according to my exam, the cervix was still closed and the baby was still high…, he yelled at me to get out of the room and that he wanted another nurse and I was no longer “allowed” to take care of his patients. (Nurse K, personal communication, October 16, 2009)

Consider the authoritarian family and its organizing principles, as described by Virginia Satir (1988): “There is one right way, and the person with most power has it,” “There is always someone who knows what is best for you,” “Self-worth is secondary to power and performance,” “Actions are subject to the whims of the boss,” and “Change is resisted” (p. 132). As a result, self-esteem is low; communication is indirect and incongruent; styles of interaction are blaming, placating, distracting; rules are unspoken, outdated, and when inhumane, people adapt rather than change them. As authoritarian families provide fertile ground for violence and abuse at the micro level, so authoritarian institutions do the same on the macro level. They enable what has been called a “culture of impunity” in which there is no accountability for abuses and in which its members are at risk to become—sometimes unwilling, sometimes unwitting, and sometimes neither—participants in, if not perpetrators of, abuse. For example, nurses may enforce abusive policies and practices:

If [her partner] has been asked to leave the room during a procedure or something, I try to let them know that it's not because we don't want them there. There are certain policies to be followed and it's the doctor's decision. (Gale, Fothergill-Bourbonnais, & Chamberlain, 2001, p. 268)

Nurses may also collude in abuse:

Woman during prolonged vaginal exam: That hurts my gut.

Dr.: That hurts to do that? [surprised]

Woman: Yes! Just don't do it no more…. No more. Please! [to husband] It hurts, it hurts. I—no more, please no more. [Vaginal exam continues]

Nurse: Just squeeze his hand. There you go. [Doesn't help].
(Bergstrom, Roberts, Skillman, & Seidel, 1992, p. 15)

Nurses may feel compelled to conceal abuse:

I do everything I can so she'll hurry up and deliver, even though ethically I feel horrible about it. I can't tell her, “Your doctor's got a golf game…and that's why I'm doing this to you.” (Sleutel, 2000, p. 40)

And because nurses rank higher in the hierarchy than laboring women, they may engage in abusive behaviors themselves:

Frequently nurses don't want to take the time to work with difficult patients and…go along with the decision to section early in the labor process. (Sleutel, Schultz, & Wyble, 2007, p. 206)

From the very beginning the nurse was very overpowering and just…took away everything that we wanted to do. (Mozingo, Davis, Thomas, & Droppleman, 2002, p. 346)

Even so, many individuals working in institutions with authoritarian cultures are concerned about patient well-being, yet abuse continues unchecked. How does this happen?

One theory is that nurses are usually women, and women are socialized to defer to authority. Traditional nursing training and hospital culture may reinforce this blanket deference without regard to potential conflicts with the woman's rights or her best interest.

A second theory is that authoritarian systems often lack effective mechanisms for calling abusers to account, as illustrated in this labor and delivery nurse's account:

This patient's family subsequently filed a complaint with the hospital (to match the literally 100s of complaints filed by nurses in the past 25 years) and he was suspended for one day before his privileges were returned and he was given the option to “retire” six months later. The next day he returned to the unit and sat at the nurses' station leading a discussion with 4 other OBs (including the chief of staff) saying how “dangerous” the nurses were and that “someday one of them is going to kill somebody because they don't get it that their job is just to follow orders.” (Nurse K, personal communication, October 16, 2009)

As the nurse's experience also illustrates, individuals who attempt calling abusers to account may expose themselves to intimidation and retaliation, up to and including losing their job.

A third reason why abuse continues unchecked is that the lack of accountability often enables abusive doctors to use their power to trap nurses into no-win positions. For example, as this labor and delivery nurse reports:

A female obstetrician on our unit is notorious for “punishing” the nurse for failing to push Pitocin hard enough to get patients delivered by the end of the work day, by taking the patient back for a Cesarean. She then tells the nurse “Have it your way, but it's your fault she ended up with a section.” (Nurse K, personal communication, October 16, 2009)

A fourth reason for continued abuse may be because individuals who are high enough in the hierarchy to make change are unlikely to do so. During residency, doctors trained in authoritarian systems are likely to internalize as normative a model of interaction with underlings and patients that desensitizes them to problem behaviors if not converts them into outright abusers themselves. Once in practice, doctors would rarely witness their colleagues' abuses firsthand. Confronted with the more egregious nurse or patient complaints, the instinct would be to close ranks against a perceived attack from individuals below them in the hierarchy and to discount or dismiss them.

Moreover, closed systems create a conspiracy of silence. As Marsden Wagner (2006) notes, “We may talk to one another about the terrible way a certain…member practices obstetrics, but only in private” (pp. 22–23). He goes on to relate an anecdote of speaking at a meeting attended by doctors from a number of local hospitals at which he presented data on their hospitals' cesarean rates. Rates were as high as 60%. The next day, the obstetric community was in an uproar not about the shamefully high cesarean rates, but over who had given Wagner the data—who had broken the hospital “omert√°”? Whistle-blowers in authoritarian systems run the of risk social ostracism, a powerful disincentive to taking action against peers.

What about the other side of the equation? Why do women tamely submit and do nothing even after the fact? For one thing, women in general, not just nurses, are socialized not to challenge authority. For another, women traumatized in birth display the same prisoner/victim mentality for the same reasons as victims of violent crime or abuse:

There were similarities in relation to the belief that death was imminent because of the severity of pain, suffering, and trauma; in sensations of disconnection, alienation, and isolation from social relationships; in the imbalance of power between the victim and the abusing authoritative others; and in the inducement of passivity, helplessness and dependency through rituals and procedures. (Thomson & Downe, 2008, p. 270)

Female physiology may be at work as well. Taylor and colleagues (2000) dispute that “fight or flight” is the predominant response to stress in women and that belief in its being so originates in almost all studies having been done in males. They argue that “fight or flight” will be evolutionarily counterproductive in females in mammalian species who bear young with limited or no mobility. They propose an alternative: “tend and befriend.” In support of their hypothesis, they cite numerous studies in animals, primates, and humans showing that stressful events trigger nurturing behavior in females. When directed toward offspring, tending calms and soothes, promoting health and well-being. Tending behaviors also reduce stress in the ones doing the tending, not just the recipients, and tending behaviors are not solely directed toward young. Tending facilitates formation of social networks among females, which ensures mutual assistance when a member is threatened. Unlike “fight or flight,” which is mediated by the sympathetic nervous system, “tend and befriend” appears to be mediated by the parasympathetic nervous system, primarily by oxytocin. “Tend and befriend” could explain why laboring women submit without protest to treatment that would provoke outrage under other circumstances.

Women, of course, could complain afterwards—and some do—but most abuse victims are likely to be recovering from surgery, and all have a newborn to care for. Traumatized women will have all they can do to cope with their symptoms and function as new mothers. Few will have the physical or emotional energy to do other than try to put events behind them and carry on. For those who do complain, the system that predisposed to abuse in the first place ensures that complaints will fall on deaf ears.

What, then, is to be done? Meaningful, long-lasting change requires transforming the system. We need a system that rewards those who practice mother-friendly care. We need to introduce accountability for those who don't. Above all, we need to convert authoritarian models to collaborative social structures within which maternity care providers—doulas and educators included—are respected for their spheres of expertise, and the mother-baby dyad's physical and mental health and well-being come first.

Systemic change will require long-term, concerted effort by like-minded groups and organizations from both within and without its institutions. As we begin our next 50 years, it is time for birth professional and advocacy organizations to “get radical,” a word whose original meaning is “fundamental,” and to take the forefront in the campaign begun by the 1958 Ladies' Home Journal article, “Cruelty in Maternity Wards.” Unless and until educators, nurses, doulas, midwives, physicians, reproductive-rights activists, and childbirth reformers join hands and rise up together, childbearing women will go on having no other recourse than the kindness of strangers to protect them during a supremely vulnerable time in their lives.


Footnotes

Join Henci Goer in discussions and questions about obstetric care at her online forum, Ask Henci, on the Lamaze website (www.lamaze.org).

Lamaze International's research blog, Science & Sensibility, is intended to help childbirth educators and other birth professionals gain the skills necessary to deconstruct the evidence related to current birth practices. Visit the Science & Sensibility website (www.scienceandsensibility.org) to stay up to date and comment on the latest evidence that supports natural, safe, and healthy birth practices.



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