This definitely seems worthy of passing along!  Please do forward this information for the benefit of birthing mothers everywhere.

I am pleased to present the first-ever NAPW law student writing contests to expand the birthing rights conversation. Attached, you will find a more detailed description of the contests and how you or your organization can become a co-sponsor, and a file containing both writing prompts.

The first contest asks for a critical analysis of the absence of birthing rights issues from gender discrimination and feminist jurisprudence textbooks and curricula (in fact, none of the top three casebooks used in law school courses dedicated to gender and the law address the issue of childbirth or midwifery).

The second contest asks students to develop legal theories that can be used to challenge policies banning pregnant women from having a vaginal birth after a prior caesarean section (VBAC). This topic will encourage students to address a growing problem that has received very little attention from the feminist legal community both in academia and within the leading women’s rights legal advocacy organizations.

Please feel free to pass the writing prompts on to any law students (or law schools/journals) that you may know. There will be cash prizes  for the top three entries in each contest ($1000, $500, and $250; we hope to adjust these figures higher, pending funding!). Submission guidelines and other information will be available at www.advocatesforpregnantwomen.org. Further questions can be directed to writingcontest@advocatesforpregnantwomen.org. If you have questions about co-sponsorship, you can call me at 718-316-8922.

I hope that you will be as excited as I am, and will forward this email far and wide. I also hope that you will become a co-sponsor of this effort, which promises to yield some truly cutting-edge legal scholarship in an area that has been somewhat overlooked by the feminist legal academy.

Yours Sincerely,
Farah Diaz-Tello
Legal Intern
National Advocates for Pregnant Women


At Your Cervix

Have you heard about the At Your Cervix documentary? I think it sounds really interesting and would love to see it when it’s finished. The documentary has made it to the finals at IdeaBlob.com– please go and vote for it if you are interested in this subject! They will use the prize money for post-production costs.

I’m sure all of us women would perfer that pelvix exams be comfortable and empowering! 🙂

The documentary At Your Cervix explores the connection between the way medical and nursing students are taught pelvic exams and the reality that most women experience them as painful and disempowering.

At Your Cervix breaks the silence around the unethical methods used by medical and nursing schools to teach students how to perform pelvic exams; the most egregious being on unconsenting, anaesthetized women. At the same time, the film highlights the Gynecological Teaching Associate (GTA) Program in New York City. Fuelled by the spirit of women’s health activism, the GTA program began over 30 years ago and it has been shown to be the most effective way to teach exams and is also the most ethical and empowering to women.

This process

It’s interesting… how “real life” impedes on indirect knowledge. If you read online long enough, (some) natural birth advocates may (seem to) say that all interventions are bad. I myself used to lean that way. And yet now, I am sometime seeing it is those interventions that we eschew that can allow a woman to avoid interventions that are even more ‘meddlesome’.

I’m not sure I am done ruminating on this, or even saying it all that well… but I have seen some interventions help rather than hinder a mom. And in those cases, I am reminded that moderation is key.

Some interventions do have their place. But ideal outcome must be balanced with perceptive care and recognition that there is both a baby and a mother affected by the care, or lack thereof that is given.

And this is way off-topic, but man… the elliptical machine at the gym is kicking my butt. Literally. 😉

Births 4x

The last week and a half was quite busy… three homebirths and a hospital birth. Each labor and birth had it’s own nuance, timing and variation but all were successful vaginal births. Three girls and one boy. *heart* Now I bet things will be quiet for a week or two.

I am honored to be a part of such a beautiful, special time in a family’s life.

To VBAC, or not

This is posted on the Business of Being Born website: ACOG Responds Regarding VBACs, I Respond Back. I tell you, it boggles my mind that American women are told they don’t have the right to the birth of their choice. Many women with prior Cesarean(s) have been forced to undergo major abdominal surgery because their hospital has banned VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean). The letter posted in the link above includes some of the current statistics regarding the risks of VBAC and the risks of a repeat Cesarean.

I’ll say it again, if you haven’t had a Cesarean yet, do everything you can do prevent one and then you don’t have to battle for your right to give birth vaginally!

Up next

I have been looking into opportunities to learn some more skills… I am really hoping to get my Neonatal Resuscitation (NRP) certification from Karen Strange, CPM. I hear her workshops are well worth it. Hopefully it will work out to do so very soon!

And I am very determined to finish the third phase of my AAMI studies sooner rather than later. Which means I shouldn’t be procrastinating blogging, but instead I should be studying! 😉

They come out with this. Honestly, I’ve tried to be open-minded and make sure this isn’t a knee-jerk reaction. But I just cannot think of any good use for this machine even two days later.

I guess maybe it’s because I’ve seen so many lovely births that didn’t include IVs, continuous EFM/IFM and epidurals. I just don’t see where BirthTrack has a place in normal birth… or that it won’t increase the aforementioned interventions and cause more Cesareans due to the cascade of interventions.

I would much rather lie down for a gentle vaginal exam at the hands of my midwife than have a monitor clipped to my cervix. I also see it as just that much more u/s and doppler exposure.

What do you think?