One of the courses I am taking this semester is about determinants of health.  We look at things both within the individual, and within the environment, and how they interact to affect health. A very interesting topic, and very challenging to integrate the research on a topic into a three page essay. But integrate I must. For the next paper, I’ve decided to look at race and ethnicity and its effects on cesarean.  I know enough epidemiology to know that when you adjust for risk factors African American and Latina American women are more likely to give birth via cesarean than their Caucasian American neighbors.Read More →

I shared my excitement about ordering some new running skirts for my birthday with a colleague at work. She’s a runner, and her less than enthusiastic response was, “I’ve never understood why people like those.” As I reflected on her response, and the less than enthusiastic responses many women receive when they share their desire for a natural birth, I noticed some parallels. The first thing to point out is that my friend wasn’t judging me even though she was responding negatively. She really was perplexed – in her experience running skirts were about vanity. She’s only 26, naturally thin and been a runner sinceRead More →

The American College of Nurse Midwives has declared August Midwifery Lobby Month.  That means they want all members and supporters to talk to legislators about policies that improve access to midwifery care. One of the national bills they encourage support for is MOMS for the 21st Century. Take a look at the information and let me know what you think. I want to draw your attention to one item this bill would address – maternity care shortage areas. Why? Because this is my main research interest.  Currently, we don’t really know where these shortage areas are.  How do I know. I just finished my master’sRead More →

I’m updating the directory this week, a very boring task involving staring at a computer screen and writing code…….yawn. But in the midst of these updates I do more research, look for more resources and find more information about midwifery in places I don’t live…like Canada. Here in the US, midwifery is regulated at the state level.  This means laws can be very different depending on where you live.  This is not a problem unique to the United States.  Canada’s midwifery laws are province specific and create equal havoc for Canadian families. Check out this summary of current midwifery laws. Not being Canadian, I don’tRead More →

Safe Motherhood.  It seems like such a simple request.  Around the world women and babies still die during pregnancy and childbirth – despite medical advances that could save many of them. Five years ago, when I began my journey to fight maternal and neonatal mortality, I thought the problem was simple. Today, I see that the health of mothers is affected by more things than the availability of a skilled birth attendant. Like an onion, layers of cultural, socioeconomic and political problems continue to cause problems for women.  While we are finding some solutions, we are not there yet. Layer One:  Family It may beRead More →

I have been watching the unfolding of tension in central Africa since before my visit in 2008.  Reports of rebels attacking villages.  Allegations of government corruption. Growing tensions between neighboring countries. This morning I found this article in my inbox: A group has officially declared war on Burundi. You may be accustomed to thinking about war in terms of the risk to soldiers, but my heart and fears immediately turn to the women and children who are caught in the midst of struggles for power.  Some migrate to “safer” parts of the country or to neighboring countries in an attempt to keep their families aliveRead More →

Do you have a Twitter account?  I actually have two, one for personal use and one for business use.  I wasn’t sure I liked it for a while, but it is slowly proving its worth to me. For example, you can get updates and information from international organizations working to promote safe childbearing.  If you don’t want to take the time to search them, just visit my @birthingnatural profile and subscribe to my international list. Be forewarned, the accounts on that list tweet alot.Read More →

I’m taking a class in the epidemiology of reproductive health this semester.  I like it, but I’m weird like that.  We talk about where the data comes from for the various statistics you hear thrown around, and what that may (or may not mean) for potential bias and the accuracy of the numbers.  No, not at the conspiracy level of a country falsifying the information.  Just the normal problems in trying to get an accurate picture of the reproductive health in an area. So what does this mean?  Well, how do you figure out the amount of STIs in an area if there is noRead More →