• August 2022

    Breastfeeding Month

    Lactation: Educate & Support by Laura Maxson, LM If it’s August, we must be talking about breastfeeding/chestfeeding/providing babies with human milk. National Breastfeeding Awareness Month includes:Week 1: World Breastfeeding WeekEducate & SupportWeek 2: Indigenous Milk Medicine WeekStrengthening Our Traditions from Birth and BeyondWeek 3: Asian American Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander WeekEducate & SupportWeek 4: Black Breastfeeding WeekBBW 2022: 10 Years, A New FoundationOn Thursday, August 4, from 10 am-1 pm, families in Santa Cruz County can swing by the Watsonville Hospital parking lot for a drive-through World Breastfeeding Week event. People will learn about breastfeeding and the local support provided by event co-sponsors: Salud Para La Gente, Community Bridges…

  • July 2022

    Healthy Lamaze

    Six Healthy Birth Practices by Laura Maxson LM Parents looking to develop a birth plan can often feel a little bit lost, wondering where to start, and what do I want? Lamaze International’s Six Healthy Birth Practices is a great place to start. Lamaze has a rich history of supporting parents in childbirth since the 1960’s. The Lamaze website provides parents with vital information including the Giving Birth with Confidence blog, videos, and many articles about pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting. Lamaze Healthy Birth Practices Let labor begin on its own. Walk, move around, and change positions throughout labor. Bring a loved one, friend, or doula for continuous support. Avoid interventions…

  • June 2022

    Postpartum

    Postpartum OCD? by Laura Maxson, LM The first months after birth are filled with many new and important baby-related tasks and broken sleep patterns – a stressful combination for most. Parenting can be overwhelming, and teary moments are common, but most parents and care providers are on the lookout for moods that swing too low or hang on for too long. Postpartum depression is on just about everyone’s radar nowadays.Santa Cruz County’s Perinatal Mental Health Coalition (PMHC) provides information and support to parents, and those who work with parents, around mental health and wellness in the childbearing years. Their website SpeakUpSantaCruz.org provides families and professionals with local information for referrals,…

  • May 2022

    Heads Up?

    Pandemic Parenting By Erin Beck Maver Babies, overwhelmingly, go head-down by their due date. Close to 75% are head-down (vertex) by 28 weeks. While some babies linger for a few more anxiety-filled weeks, only 3-4% refuse to turn head-down by 37 weeks. No one plans to have a breech (head-up) baby at term, but everyone should consider the possibility – just in case. There are several reasons a baby might not go head-down on schedule. The uterus might have an unusual shape, a large fibroid or scar tissue, or there might be a very short umbilical cord, unusual placental position, or an abnormal amount of amniotic fluid. Occasionally, a baby…

  • April 2022

    Watch Your Blood Pressure

    Watch Your Blood Pressure Watch Your Blood Pressure 13% of California’s maternal deaths are attributed to these hypertensive disorders, with symptoms that are sometimes missed, misdiagnosed, or masked by other illnesses Preeclampsia, once called toxemia, is a high blood pressure related illness in pregnancy. As more is learned about preeclampsia, it is recognized as one part of a complex series of symptoms in a spectrum of hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. While high blood pressure is often the key to diagnosis, the addition of other symptoms can help indicate the severity of the disease. Unfortunately, 13% of California’s maternal deaths are attributed to these hypertensive disorders, with symptoms that are sometimes…

  • February 2022

    Pillows more than fluff

    Pillows: More Than Fluff By Laura Maxson LM Pillows and relaxation go hand in hand; in fact, a pregnant couple arriving at their first childbirth class with pillows in hand is a classic image of pregnancy. Pillows can make the difference between a few hours of sleep, or tossing and turning all night. So, let’s see… turn on the left side, one pillow under the head, a small flat one under the belly, a nice fat one between the knees, and a firm one for the back – with any luck there’s even one left over for your bed partner. Many swear by a long snake-like body pillow instead of…

  • January 2022

    Love Birth Matters

    Love, the Best Drug of All By Laura Maxson LM Love – it’s something you want in big doses during labor. Feeling loved and being loving, both help release the hormone oxytocin – the fuel that runs the engine of labor. Pulsing into the bloodstream from the posterior pituitary gland, oxytocin goes directly into the brain, triggering the release of endorphins (nature’s opiates) as it also finds oxytocin receptors in the uterus, causing contractions. Oxytocin and endorphins go hand in hand in labor, resulting in a cycle of oxytocin release, answered by heightened endorphin levels. As labor progresses, the laboring person sinks further and further into their body, deepening their…

  • November 2021

    Circle Family Center

    The Circle Family Center Helping New Families Find Help by Laura Maxson, LM Many expectant parents look longingly at a prenatal yoga listing, an independent childbirth class, or parent/child art class and sigh with the realization that it is not within their budget. The Circle Family Center is trying to turn that sigh of resignation into a positive affirmation – “yes, you can!” Newly opened, the Circle is an idea that has been incubating for some time in the minds of Nora Yerena, Elisa HavensStokes, and Kim Guiley. As parents and birth workers, the cofounders of the Circle know firsthand about the support new families need and the difficulty in…

  • October 2021

    Birth Happens

    Birth Happens by Laura Maxson, LM Shared experiences help us understand our world. Local midwives have committed to sharing their combined wealth of knowledge and history around childbirth. “Our efforts are focused on highlighting midwifery and homebirth,” says midwife, Elizabeth Yznaga. She and Kate Bowland, both highly experienced certified nurse-midwives, are partners in the Birth Happens project. The influence of homebirth and midwifery changed obstetrics in the U.S. due in part to the courage of the women and families of the San Lorenzo Valley. They were pioneers in bringing birth back home, while reinventing childbirth education and attending births as midwives. Birth Happens puts a spotlight on local history with…

  • September 2021

    Optimal Cord Clamping

    Optimal Cord Clamping BY Laura Maxson, LM Mothers of animals born with intact cords are focused intently on their babies – sniffing, licking (kissing), and nuzzling – stimulating them to breathe and bond. Before birth the placenta does the baby’s breathing (gas exchange), so the lungs are resting and essentially bypassed by blood circulation. The lungs are made up of fluid-filled air sacs surrounded by tiny blood vessels that are tightly constricted due to lack of blood flow. After birth, as the baby begins to breathe, blood circulation changes dramatically and rushes to the lungs as these tiny vessels relax and swell with blood to begin working. This means that…