Vitamin K at Birth: To Inject or Not
What's the Concern?
The problem of bleeding into the brain occurs mainly from 3 to 7 weeks after birth in just over 5 out of 100,000 births (without vitamin K injections); 90% of those cases are breastfed infants,3 because formulas are supplemented with unnaturally high levels of vitamin K. Forty percent of these infants suffer permanent brain damage or death.
The cause of this bleeding trauma is generally liver disease that has not been detected until the bleeding occurs. Several liver problems can reduce the liver's ability to make blood-clotting factors out of vitamin K; therefore extra K helps this situation. Infants exposed to drugs or alcohol through any means are especially at risk, and those from mothers on anti-epileptic medications are at very high risk and need special attention.
Such complications reduce the effectiveness of vitamin K, and in these cases, a higher level of available K could prevent the tragic intracranial bleeding. This rare bleeding disorder has been found to be highly preventable by a large-dose injection of vitamin K at birth.
The downside of this practice however is a possibly 80% increased risk of developing childhood leukemia. While a few studies have refuted this suggestion, several tightly controlled studies have shown this correlation to be most likely.4,5 The most current analysis of six different studies suggests it is a 10 or 20% increased risk. This is still a significant number of avoidable cancers.6
Extracting data from available literature reveals that there are 1.5 extra cases of leukemia per 100,000 children due to vitamin K injections, and 1.8 more permanent injuries or deaths per 100,000 due to brain bleeding without injections. Adding the risk of infection or damage from the injections, including a local skin disease called "scleroderma" that is seen rarely with K injections,8 and even adding the possibility of healthy survival from leukemia, the scales remain tipped toward breastfed infants receiving a prophylactic vitamin K supplementation. However, there are better options than the .5 or 1 milligram injections typically given to newborns.
A Better Solution
The breastfed infant can be supplemented with several low oral doses of liquid vitamin K9 (possibly 200 micrograms per week for 5 weeks, totaling 1 milligram, even more gradual introduction may be better). Alternatively, the nursing mother can take vitamin K supplements daily or twice weekly for 10 weeks. (Supplementation of the pregnant mother does not alter fetal levels but supplementation of the nursing mother does increase breastmilk and infant levels.)
Either of these provides a much safer rate of vitamin K supplementation. Maternal supplementation of 2.5 mg per day, recommended by one author, provides a higher level of vitamin K through breastmilk than does formula,10 and may be much more than necessary.
Formula provides 10 times the U.S. recommended daily allowance," and this RDA is about 2 times the level in unsupplemented human milk. One milligram per day for 10 weeks for mother provides a cumulative extra 1 milligram to her infant over the important period and seems reasonable. Neither mother nor infant require supplementation if the infant is injected at birth.11
(*and there are references!!)
Friday, July 13, 2007
...4. In Rh neg women, many people believe that it is the clamping of a pulsing cord that causes the blood of the baby to transfuse into the blood stream of the mother causing sensitization problems. Robert S Mendelsohn, M.D., in his book "How to Have a Healthy Child. . . In Spite of Your Doctor" blames the whole Rh neg problem on too quick clamping of the cord. Especially in Rh neg mothers I urge midwives to wait until the placenta is out before thinking about cord clamping.Only ONE Rh neg woman had cells in her blood! Only ONE! Which begs the question, "How many have you worked with?"
5. I think it is interesting that scientists are now discovering that umbilical cord blood is full of valuable T-cells which have cancer fighting properties. A whole industry has sprung up to have this precious blood extracted from the placenta, put in a cooler with dry ice, and taken to a special storage facility to be ready in case the child gets cancer at some time in the future. This is human insanity of the first order. That blood is designed by Nature to go into that child's body at birth, not 30 yrs later! We need to acknowledge that there are things about the newborn circulation and blood composition that we just don't know and we need to bet that Mother Nature had things figured out pretty well for us to survive this long. Maybe the supposed need for Vitamin K in the newborn comes out of early cord clamping?
In my work (800 births), I have only given Vit K to one baby (on Day 8 after having blood on the umbilicus every day < href="http://www.freestone.org/">Jeanine Parvati Baker, a midwife from Ca.,is the goddess of that method (author of Prenatal Yoga and Hygiea). *Gentlebirth.com
When we interviewed our midwife, before choosing the birth center, we asked about cord cutting and its timing. She said she normally cuts the cord after it stops pulsing, but since I'm Rh, she would have to cut it immediately. Her reasoning was that somehow my blood may get into the baby's blood. The only way we could think of this happening is if the placenta detaches and is ruptured and I'm bleeding inside.
Why is clamping significant? Because, in the majority of medically managed births, the umbilical cord clamp violently separates a newborn infant from a portion of their vital blood supply, possibly causing damage to the brain, heart and or lungs of the child before it even takes its first breath. Many Western OBs routinely clamp the umbilical cord before the child has been fully birthed. "So what? They're doctors, they know what they're doing." According to the majority of the research they don't. Here are several reasons why you might want to tell your doctor to delay clamping the cord and some of the research available to back you up when you do.
When a human baby is born it needs to begin breathing air into its lungs in order to survive. However, it would be a mistake to imagine that a baby's first breath contains their body’s first experience of life-giving oxygen. Oxygen is provided for the fetus throughout the entire pregnancy by the mother, through the placenta. Following birth the placenta continues to provide oxygen for approximately 5 minutes while blood pumps, to and fro, through the umbilical cord. This is part of an ingenious plan of God’s (or nature’s) to allow the newborn time to "unfold" his/her lungs and to gently make the switch from living underwater to breathing air through the lungs. Remember, the infant is not receiving "placental" blood or even the mother's blood through the umbilical cord. The baby is retrieving its own blood supply from one of its own functioning organs that just happens to be inside its mother's body.
When the transfer of blood is given time to complete itself, the placenta and umbilical cord shut down, essentially dying. The blood vessels in the baby's cord close, the placenta separates from the uterine wall and is soon expelled, its function completed. With a simple cord tie and sterile cutting tools, the umbilical cord can be safely severed at this point. The baby is typically breathing well, pinked up and perhaps even nursing away contentedly in a reasonably calm mood. Of course, baby’s first surgical procedure doesn’t really need to be done immediately following birth or, even, at all. In times past when infections were more common and sterile tools were less common, our ancestors would frequently wrap the placenta in a diaper and swaddle it in with the baby until the cord dried out and the placenta fell off by itself, a few days after the birth.
But that’s probably not what happened to your baby, if s/he was born at a typical Westernized hospital. Most OBs and even CNMs are trained to clamp the cord during or immediately following birth. If you suggest the idea of waiting until the cord has stopped pulsing you will probably be confronted with at least one of two prevailing medical attitudes:
#1 ~ It's far too dangerous for me to allow the cord to pulse. You would be putting your baby at risk of : (pick one or more of the following choices) jaundice, plethora, hyperviscosity, or polycythemia. (This is the one WE heard!)
...In 1993, a study by "Kinmond et al...found no increased jaundice, plethora, hyperviscosity, or polycythemia using this method. Yet fear of late clamping persists because physicians have been conditioned to believe that these complications are caused by placental over-transfusion. Cord stripping (allowing the baby to retrieve its own blood supply) has become tantamount to malpractice."
...Mothering Magazine has this to say about jaundice. "Among other drugs, Pitocin inductions and epidurals have been conclusively linked with nonphysiological neonatal jaundice (this is not normal, breastfed jaundice). Any drug administered to mother or baby must be viewed with a 'jaundiced' eye, for it is likely to compete with bilirubin sites on blood protein, causing more bilirubin to be free to contribute to jaundice.
...In fact, it seems that the practice of early cord clamping began during the days of heavily medicated births. Doctors deliberately stopped the blood flow to keep the newborns from retaining too much of the anesthesia their mothers were under. It's enough to make me think that being able to dole out drugs to laboring women is more important to doctors than preventing the various problems related to early cord clamping in newborn babies. A rather scary modern sign of the times, I fear.
...Early cord clamping has been shown to cause: newborn anemia, respiratory distress leading to brain damage and/or death (rare, yes, but it happens), inadequate blood supply resulting in a need for transfusion, possible heart defects resulting from problems closing off the hole in the heart valves following birth. There are a few doctors now theorizing that the rise in autism is due to brain damage caused by early cord clamping. The mother may suffer an increase in the length of the 3rd stage as well as increasing her blood loss following birth when her baby’s umbilical cord is clamped early.
...Early cord clamping may also be at least partly responsible for many of the cases of blood sensitization in Rh factor negative mothers, considering the blood is clamped off with enough force to create a brief “backflow” of the infant’s blood into the mother’s placental “wound.” Dr. Robert S Mendelsohn, M.D., in his book "How to Raise a Healthy Child. . . In Spite of Your Doctor" blames the entire Rh negative issue on early clamping of the cord. (This book is high on my recommended reading list for anyone with kids)
I think I'm a bit more convinced that I want the cord cut after pulsing - EVEN THOUGH I'm Rh neg.
Effects of early cord cutting
Through early cord cutting the baby is missing out on getting up to 1/3 of its placental blood which is very rich and contains hormones, enzymes, iron and stem cells. If the baby doesn’t get all its blood, when its organs are just beginning to work fully, it has to start off depleted and the baby’s system has to produce the missing amount right after birth.By clamping a pulsing cord the baby is forced into a state of panic. It has to breathe suddenly or it will suffocate. This is a very painful experience for a baby and can have long reaching effects. Frederick Leboyer believes the way we breathe at birth creates a pattern that will determine how we will breathe for the rest of our life.Early cutting has been linked to an increased likelihood of childhood anaemia, allergies, asthma, digestive issues, adult colitis, lumbar and vertebral issues, as well as low vitality and lethargy, a poor sense of empowerment, low self esteem and low motivation in life.Psychologically early cord cutting is a traumatic ending to the physical connection with the mother and a sudden loss of the baby’s source of nourishment. This feeling can stay with a person throughout life and may create issues around ‘not getting enough’ or ‘not being able to support oneself’.Better bonding with oxytocin
In a natural third stage of labour mother and baby can have the full benefit of the hormone oxytocin.Oxytocin not only causes the uterus to contract, it plays a major role in bonding between mother and baby. The hormone is produced by the primal brain and is also known as the ‘love hormone’. In smaller doses than at a birth it is also produced during lovemaking and orgasm.With oxytocin levels still high after birth mother and baby will have a bonding experience with feelings of love and pleasure. The way a baby bonds with the mother after birth will influence its ability to love and relate later in life.Furthermore if it feels love and pleasure instead of being overwhelmed, threatened in its survival, depleted and separated from the mother the baby’s primary imprint and first impression of the world will be affected accordingly. Syntocinon does not have the ‘love-effect’ and interferes with a mother's natural oxytocin production.
*From an article/website on Lotus Birth.
We Are Not Pregnant
I've heard this phrase—"We're pregnant"—too much recently, but it's time to move beyond sarcasm. The intent is as understandable as the execution is absurd. It arises out of the noble desire of men (and future fathers) to participate fully in the childrearing. And I understand that for many men, it simply means, "My wife and I are expecting a baby."
But the first dictionary meaning of pregnant remains, "Carrying developing offspring within the body." Whenever a word is misused, it means the speaker is unaware of the word's meaning, or that the cultural meaning of a word is shifting, or that some
ideology is demanding obeisance. Probably all three are in play, but it's the last reality that we should pay attention to. It is not an accident that this phrase, "We're pregnant," has arisen in a culture that in many quarters is ponderously egalitarian and tries to deny the fundamental differences of men and women.
This phrase is most unfortunate after conception because it is an inadvertent co-opting of women by men—men using language to suggest that they share equally in the burdens and joys of pregnancy. Instead, pregnancy is one time women should flaunt their womanhood, and one time men should acknowledge the superiority of women. Men may be able to run the mile in less than four minutes and open stuck pickle jars with a twist of the wrist, but for all our physical prowess, we cannot carry new life within us and bring it into the world. To suggest that we do is a slap in the face of women.
It is also a slap in the face of our Creator, who made us male and female. We were not created with interchangable parts or traits, nor is it our purpose to duplicate or replace one another...
He says that studies show what common sense could have predicted. Mothers have a distinctive advantage over fathers in at least three areas.
In short, women are better at these behaviors, and it shouldn't surprise us
- Breastfeeding. Along with pregnancy, this is another biological difference that can hardly be gainsaid. Breast milk offers infants sugars, nutrients, and antibodies that can't be recreated in infant formula. It also protects infants from at least eleven serious maladies, from ear infections to sudden infant death syndrome.
- Mothers—probably partly due to the physical bond they have with infants
during pregnancy and breastfeeding—are more sensitive to the distinctive cries of infants. For instance, they are better than fathers at detecting the difference between a cry of hunger and cry of pain.
- Whether it's hormones or instinct, mothers are better at overall nurturing behavior, including hugging, praising, and cuddling.
that they enjoy nurturing children. We all like to do things we do well and that
Am I the only one who wants to slap this person? Ok, that may be harsh...am I the only person who is offended? Yes, God created us as two different genders. We're meant to compliment each other as partners. BUT, using "we" in stating pregnat I think is a statement recognizing that it took the two of us. There are too many fathers out there that aren't involved in their children lives, or worse, that want to destroy the life they've helped create, because they see it as the mother's problem, not theirs.
THEN this writer, who, by the way, is a man, goes on to explain that the mother is a better parent than the father. (Side note: at first I thought the writer was some feminist...knowing it's written by a guy makes me think it's written for the sole excuse of getting out of child support or making time to be a dad.) What about all the broken homes where the father is the only parent the child has? Yes, women are in general more nurturing, but the father is definitely needed. I feel sorry for this guy's kids!
Fathers can definitely be involved with the baby during pregnancy! It's an opportunity for both the mother and father to bond as well. My husband reads to our baby, talks to him, and we even get to share in the baby's movements. These are some of my favorite moments, just laying next to him, with his hands on my tummy, feeling the baby move and loving on him. He also hasn't missed a midwife or doctor appointment, so he's seen each ultrasound and been able to ask questions and hear about the development, and took the Bradley birth class with me, learning all about what women go through in pregnancy and how to help and be involved. He is the one person I will need with me during the labor.
I've heard so many stories of how a baby can recognize a father or sibling's voice because they were speaking to the baby while the baby was still in the womb. This is evidence bonding is real, it simply takes effort. I think that dads can learn to tell the why the baby is crying as well, it just takes effort. For most cookie cutter families, where the mom is able to stay home and the dad goes back to work, I can see why it may be easier for moms to discern the baby's cries...she spends more time with the baby! Quality time and bonding is what gets you in tune with your baby.
So, I said it and mean it - WE're pregnant...it took two of us to make this kid and the two of us are committed to getting to know our baby as intimately as possible in bonding and quality time.
*(A random point, I don't understand how breastfeeding prevents SIDS...unless you're co-sleeping as well.)
Thursday, July 12, 2007
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10
Wow! Isn't that a great promise?! God made us and for good works, which He set up before we were born! We were ordained for good works!
1. the art or skill of a workman or workwoman.
2. the quality or mode of execution, as of a thing made.
3. the product or result of labor and skill; work executed.
We are the product of the labor and skill of the Most High God, the only Perfect One, the Savior! The same God who made the heavens, the sunrises, the stars...He made us! We are a piece of art, born out of His imagination and creativity, to do good works that only He could have set up for us! Crazy!
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Sunday, July 8, 2007
...Studies have shown that a suckling infant uses significantly more muscular effort--20 to 60 times more, in fact--to obtain the milk from a human breast than he or she does from a bottle and artificial nipple. (1-3) These higher forces, even at the lower end of the scale, are now regarded as having highly significant effects on the growth and development of a baby's facial and dental structures, as well as aiding aeration and drainage of the eustachian tubes. (4, 5) In addition, suckling at the breast requires a very different use of the tongue and lips when compared to bottle-feeding.
Breastfed children tend to have wider, longer upper jaws that provide adequate space for the teeth to fit in and grow properly, without crowding or impaction. A correctly developed upper jaw will usually permit and encourage the lower jaw to develop normally as well (provided the parents' genes allow a normal jaw relationship). The overall result would seem to be that fewer breastfed children require orthodontic treatment, which reduces dental costs to families, the community, and insurance companies. (6, 7)
Now...in my family, my brother was breastfed for I believe 6 months or more and I was only fed for 2 months. We both ended up at the orthodontist...me for an overbite (probably due to big front teeth) and Blake for his crooked teeth. I ended up throwing away my bionator one too many times (oops!) and Blake got braces.
...there are four primary advantages directly attributable to the physical process of breastfeeding:
...* The tongue functions correctly, which leads to a normal adult swallow.
A girlfriend of mine breastfed, yet her son still had issues in choking on food. She had to get the Baby Safe Feeder to help him eat solid food.
Although bottle nipples have enormously improved over the last 15 years, their structure and texture have little in common with a natural nipple. Modern plastics and latex materials are too elastic and flimsy to compete with nature's brilliant design. The result is that milk flows too quickly, and the infant does not have to work as hard--again, by a factor of 20 to 60, according to several studies--to obtain it. (9) To control the flow of milk and avoid choking, the infant quickly learns to slow the flow by compressing the nipple between the tip of the tongue and the upper gum pad. It is necessary to hold this forward tongue position while swallowing; this position soon develops into a firmly established "tongue-thrust" swallow that will probably be a pattern for life.
To maintain suction, the lips are sealed against the rim of the hard plastic or glass bottle, and the front gum pads are distorted to fit. In the absence of the tongue's bulk in the center and rear of the mouth (because the tongue is now down and forward), the suction pulls the cheek muscles inward, preventing the sideways growth of the maxilla. The rate of swallow and the rocking motion of the mandible are noticeably faster, leaving less opportunity for proper oral digestion and increasing the likelihood of swallowing air. Colic is the common result.
The possible results of bottle-feeding are as follows:
...* poor drainage of the eustachian tubes, leading to:
* a predisposition to ear and upper-respiratory-tract infections: glue ear, tonsillitis, bronchitis, etc.
* crowded or misaligned teeth
Now they're making sense...God designed the boob perfectly! I know that I got a lot of ear infections as a kid...now we may have found the reason?
I know of no situation in which a baby has gained any advantage from having a pacifier inserted in his or her mouth. I believe it fair to say that the only people to gain from the use of a dummy are the child's parents or caregivers--hence the term pacifier itself. Furthermore, in 40 years of dentistry, I have seen literally hundreds of young mouths severely damaged by dental decay and by dento-facial distortion, very probably as a direct result of the excessive use and abuse of these devices.
...But tooth decay is only one of the problems; overuse of the tongue and suckling muscles, especially when they have been trained into bad habits by bottle-feeding, can distort and prevent the normal development of the dental arches. (12) This results in abnormal jaw formation and unbalanced relationships of the jaw and teeth. These commonly manifest as prominent front teeth (so-called buck teeth), front teeth that do not meet (open bite), and crowded teeth.
I have buck teeth...to an extent! I don't remember if I had a pacifier, though...but I really doubt we'll be getting our baby one now...
Thumb-sucking has a major advantage over a pacifier, in that when the child enters an episode of activity, playing or moving about, the thumb will invariably be removed from the mouth; a pacifier tends to remain in position. So the potential for dento-facial distortion is perhaps less with the thumb, at least in a child of normal activity.
Interesting...the only thing is that you cannot take away the thumb...so there goes the idea of an advantage!
...Various cranial traumas can cause the PRM to malfunction; of these, for obvious reasons, birth is the most common. A normal birth seldom causes any problem, but if a mother's small pelvis and/or a baby's large head result in a long, protracted labor, the head may be engaged in the pelvis for many hours and become misshapen. But nature has made allowances for this situation by providing a way of correcting the problem: breastfeeding. As mentioned already, the fact that the baby's muscles must work very hard to suckle means that any cranial misalignment will tend to be quickly corrected as a direct result of the pull of these muscles on the cranial and facial bones.
Other causes or exacerbations of cranial distortions and strains are mechanically assisted birth with forceps or vacuum suction, which can cause severe pressure on the soft cranial bones and cartilages. (15) Emergency cesarean section may become necessary if the baby gets "stuck." In the event of a cesarean section, the inevitable lack of normal-birth compression of the cranium (and the rest of the body) is thought to inhibit, or fail to "switch on," various reflexes, such as crawling/walking and hand-eye coordination, etc., and may result in an apparently slow-developing child. Breastfeeding following a cesarean section may redress some of these factors. An osteopathic midwife will usually massage a c-section newborn very firmly from head to toe in an effort to reproduce the birth-canal compressions of a normal birth. At the other end of the scale, a very rapid birth may also cause specific cranial strains, as well as fail to switch on certain essential neonatal reflexes.
Encouragement for birthing our little giant! This idea also makes me grateful that my mom at least breastfed me a little as I had a MAJOR cone head when I was born.
Any comments on experience or anyone else's research?