Traumatic Birth Part 3

According to Cheryl Tatano Beck, traumatic birth is defined as “an event occurring during the labor and delivery process that involves actual or threatened serious injury or death to the mother  or her infant. The birthing woman experiences intense fear, helplessness, loss of control, and horror” she had later revised that statement to include the woman feeling stripped of her dignity.

c-Section

What is the cause of women perceiving their birth experience as traumatic? It is the systemic elimination of protective care during the birthing process.

In Beck’s study of 40 women she says that there were four themes that emerged. Theme #1 was to care for the women and treating them as human beings. Theme #2: Lack of Communication.  Theme #3 was safety. Theme #4: The ends will justify the means.

With theme #1 women feeling they were objectified, and treated arrogantly and with a lack of empathy. The women were left alone, and abandoned. The birthing mother’s needs were not met by the hospital staff. An example given was of a woman from Puerto Rico who was on all fours, when a nurse brought in 20 students to observe…without her consent.

In theme #2 no one communicated with the woman in labor. They were described as having conversations with one another within earshot but not directly talking with or to the laboring mother. As if she were non-existent.

In the third theme the laboring mothers felt that the staff (nurses and doctors) did not adequately deliver safe care. The mothers were not being allowed input into the care being given for their own selves and actually fearing for their own and / or the infant’s life!

In theme #4 entailed the sense that what was endured and experienced by the mothers was the sense of being “pushed to the background” as everyone around them were celebrating the baby’s healthy birth. These women felt invisible, only the infant mattered.

The experiences mothers have had led to severe post-partum trauma and depression.  Beck, Driscoll, and Watson’s book Traumatic Birth goes into detail about feedback loops [pp. 10-12] that describe the interaction of the mother and child after a traumatic birth, with a listing of the causes and consequences of the cause. Sometimes even breastfeeding is difficult, creating “…intruding flashbacks, disturbing detachments with their infants, feeling violated, enduring physical pain, and insufficient milk supply…” Often the anniversary of a traumatic birth amplifies the feedback loop.

My own reaction to the shared experiences the women in this book had illustrated the barbarism of western medical professionals, a barbarism that is completely contrary to those principles I listed from the ACOG website in part #2.

The women who tell their story of childbirth weave an astounding sense of personal alienation.  It is no wonder that there is PTSD, depression, self-destructive behaviors, socially isolationist behaviors and pelvic floor injuries as a result of the improper calloused form of care received. Many of the women feel as though they were raped, yet most had no “history of physical, emotional, and/or sexual abuse” so birth precipitated  a sense of having “the loss of the soul”.

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Anemia

blood-75302_1280
Normal Red Blood Cells

What is it?

Anemia is a condition of the blood in which there are less red blood cells (hemoglobin) than what would be considered normal. This would indicate a low amount of iron in the blood. The main function of the red blood cells is to carry oxygen to the lungs and body tissues and remove carbon dioxide. The symptoms of this condition reflect the lack of oxygen and build-up of carbon dioxide.

There are three classifications: excessive blood loss, excessive red blood cell destruction, and low red blood cell production. To identify which of the classifications, a series of labs are necessary. Just in the “excessive blood loss” classification are many causes, such as a slow-bleeding ulcer or excessive menstruation. Deficient production is the most common cause, but even it can have different causes. It could be due to iron deficiency, low B12, or lack of folic acid.

Symptoms

If the deficiency reaches appoint of concern, it has already become serious. The symptoms often do not get recognized.

  • Loss of appetite
  • Constipation
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Coldness of extremities
  • Pallor
  • Pale and brittle nails
  • Soreness in the mouth
  • Cessation of menstruation

Anemia often is the indication of an underlying health issue.  It should always be investigated, lab tests will assist in determination of the classification of deficiency and the treatment used. It is not recommended that you self-diagnose due to the problems that arise from iron supplementation when not necessary. Too much iron will damage the liver, heart, pancreas, and the activity of immune cells, it has been linked to cancer.

Recommendations 

Certain foods bolster the levels of iron in the blood.  These are: calves liver, Blackstrap molasses (at least one tablespoon twice a day), broccoli, egg yolks, asparagus, red raspberries, plums, prunes, purple grapes, bananas, kelp, whole grains, yams, and squash.

Oxalic Acid in certain foods will block or interfere with absorption of iron. The foods high in Oxalic Acid are almonds, cashews, chocolate, cocoa, rhubarb, soda, spinach, swiss chard, and most nuts and beans. Eliminate these foods or at the very least, limit their consumption.

Note: eating fish with vegetables high in iron will increase the absorption of iron. As does the elimination of sugar from the diet. When taking iron supplements, avoid taking calcium, vitamin E, zinc or antiacids…these will interfere with absorption.

The Following Herbs Are Also Helpful[1]

  • Alfalfa (as a tea)
  • Bilberry
  • Cherry
  • Dandelion
  • Mullein
  • Nettle (tea)
  • Red Raspberries

REFERENCES

James F.  Balch, M.D. and Phyllis A. Balch, C.N.C.  Prescription for Nutritional Healing, 2nd Ed. (1997) Avery.

Michael Murray, N.D. and Joseph Pizzorno, N.D. Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, Revised 2nd Ed. (1998) Three Rivers.

[1] Other herbs that are not listed may helpful, but not recommended in pregnancy.

Plains Paleo-Vegetarian Nutrition for Pregnancy

(this information was taken from my sister site hoksiyuhaboti)

The first thing you should know is that there are many types of vegetarians and styles of eating vegetarian.  The two most common are Lacto-Ovo (milk and eggs) and Ovo (eggs). There are also “semi-vegetarians” who mostly eat a vegetarian diet, with occasional additions of chicken, or fish. My vegetarian cookbook mentions crusto-vegetarians who eat shell fish; mollo-vegetarians who eat clams, scallops, oysters or mullosks; repto-vegetarians who eats snakes and other reptiles…as examples of the few of many variations on the vegetarian diet.

For the Lakota, your diet could be called a Paleo-Vegetarian diet.

alaska from scratch on pinterest
from Alaska From Scratch on Pinterest

What??

As Lakota people, consider this: your fore-mothers gathered tinpsila (wild turnips), beans (there is story about this vegetable and the importance of “giving back”), blo (wild potatoes), berries, corn (wagmeza), squash (wagmu) and many other fruits and vegetables.  There were healing plants that would have also found its way into the pot, as well.

The people gathered eggs when possible, traded for corn and squash, and gathered wild rice (before coming out to the plains).  In the old stories about the first Huƞka “making of relatives” ceremony,  with the Arikira.  Corn was given in the ceremony, by the Arikira. Corn is used in soup with Tinpsila and Tripe (buffalo guts).  This soup is used in ceremony.

Since many of you do not gather up your fruits and vegetables in the old way, what can you do? First, get fresh fruit and vegetables whenever possible, when in season (less expense).  Next to that would be dried or frozen.

Unfortunately, most of the dried foods found in stores around Native country are sulfured. “Organically made” dried foods are hard to find, and disproportionately expensive.

You can create a garden.  To do so you would need to use an old traditional practice of “the three sisters” for planting.  The garden would consist of beans, corn and squash. You can create low mounds with the squash at the center of the top, a circle of corn surrounding it interdispersing some bean bush plants. The center of the top would have a slight indent to catch water from the summer thunder storms.

Grains are not a part of the Paleo diet, with an exception of wild rice by the northern bands of the Oċeti Ṡakowiƞ. Baked or fried bread never was a part of the old traditional diet, not even unleavened flat breads. But I was told that there was a dumpling made from starchy vegetables and formed into balls then placed into the soup.

Nuts were also gathered when the people were encamped.  So you can add some nuts to your diet for protein.  The best nut is the almond, and of course walnuts would have been gathered a long time ago, from the walnut trees.  If you choose to use acorns, make sure you understand the method to process them into edible food.  Pine nuts are excellent, too.

The Benefits of a Vegetarian Diet

If you have Diabetes, obesity, kidney or heart disease you can be assured that the vegetarian diet will help you to build your way back to good health. Too much meat eaten at a meal is hard for the digestive system, and often is transformed into acids.

“Most digestive disorders, such as indigestion, nausea, bloating, gastric reflux, are symptoms caused by excess acid in the gastric region and not enough alkaline minerals in the intestinal tract.[i]

Can you go Paleo AND do vegetarian? Why, yes.  Remember there are many types of vegetarian diets. You can play with the type of meats you use… but, always remember you need to purchase grass-fed, free-range, and you will be much healthier!

If you add eggs, these too should be free-range.  Milk should not be raw, but you should consider this: it was not a part of the Lakota/Dakota/Nakota diet.  Women breastfed their babies sometimes until 7 years of age, and then no other milk was consumed.
Acid/ Alkaline pH Considerations

Many diseases are caused by pH imbalance.  Such as: diabetes, heart disease, arthritis to name a few.  Also disorders can be healed by eating correctly such as: acid reflux, morning sickness, migraines, and constipation.

A vegetarian diet is mostly alkaline in nature.  This is due to the ratio of vegetables and fruits in the diet to proteins. Meats (red meats, beef, mutton, pork, salmon, herring, mackerel, lobster, shrimp and crayfish), millet, white rice, couscous, semolina, white breads, soda crackers, white refined sugars and items coated with it, lard and some lard-like products (Crisco) used for cooking, are all foods high in acid forming elements.

In general, a good rule of thumb is to plate your food with 2/3 alkaline foods, and 1/3 acidic. Of the alkaline types of foods, you should choose any leafy green vegetables, but the ones highest in minerals and vitamins for re-building and maintaining good health are Kale, Bok Choy, and spinach.  In the Orange to yellow vegetable bracket are squashes, pumpkins, and carrots.  Citric fruits should be eaten early in the day for better digestion.

Foods to avoid:

Refined sugar, all processed foods (white bread, rolls, etc.), any of the typical sweetening substitutes such as Sweet and Low (a carcinogenic) except for stevia (which is plant-based). Even though you may love your fry bread (as I do) that needs to be very limited (only at ceremony or special occasions). Most of the canned fruits used for Wojapi have an additional amount of corn syrups, so use fresh fruits instead.

 

REFERENCES:

Goodman, Ronald.  Lakota Star Knowledge.
Vasey, Christopher.  Acid Alkaline Diet for Optimum Health, The.  (1999) Healing Arts Press.

[i] How to Balance Your pH to Heal Your Body. http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-6243/How-to-Balance-Your-pH-to-Heal-Your-Body.html.

Symptoms of Marginal Nutrient Deficiencies

 

  • Tiredness or fatigue
  • Stressed
  • Irritability
  • Trouble with concentration or remembering
  • Numbness or tingling of extremities
  • Low immunity or prone to colds or the flu
  • Depression / Anxiety
  • Cravings for sweets
  • Morning Sickness

 

DEPRESSION OR ANXIETY: Deficiencies in vitamin B1.

Whole grains, wheat germ, peanuts, green peas, dark leafy green vegetables, lean pork, cooked dried beans and peas.

CRAVING SWEETS/MORNING SICKNESS: Deficiency in Vitamin B6

VERY PALE SKIN: Deficiency in Folic Acid

FATIGUE:  deficiency in iron

Before becoming fatigued, remember that many foods are packed with iron. So begin eating these foods even before becoming pregnant. These foods are: Black Strap Molasses, Spinach, Kale,

INCREASED COLDS AND SUSCEPTIBILITY TO FLU: Deficiency in copper, iron, selenium, zinc, Vitamin A & Beta Carotine, Vitamin E, Vitamin C, or any of the B vitamins (especially Folic Acid)

DISORIENTATION/NUMBNESS OR TINGLING OF EXTREMITIES/MOODINESS/IRRITABILITY/DIZZYNESS: Vitamin B12 deficiency which causes macrocytic anemia, or if the cause is by a lack of digestive factor, pernicious anemia.  These two are not the same as an iron deficiency.

Found mostly in food of animal origin, i.e. meats, milk and eggs. If found in plant form it usually is due to fermentation such as Miso.

Note: B12 deficiency may put you at risk for a preterm delivery, or a low-birth-rate baby.

 

FOLIC ACID

Folic Acid is one of the B Vitamins.

It is found in:

  • leafy green vegetables
  • wheat germ
  • molasses (especially blackstrap)
  • nutritional yeast
  • whole grains
  • root vegetables
  • beans
  • milk
  • spirulina
  • The liver contains high concentrations of environmental and systemic toxins / not recommended for pregnant women.

For the maximum use of folic acid from foods, eat them: raw or steamed.  You can sautee the vegetables, but remember to do so lightly.  If you boil the vegetables, the vitamin will be leached out of the vegetable into the water.

Eat at least two large portions a day. Also eat the other listed items as well.


SYMPTOMS OF DEFICIENCY

  • The “mask of pregnancy” and other pigment changes
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Persistent vaginal infections
  • Because other B complex vitamins may also be deficient: various nervous system complaints

Babies are more likely to to have neural tube defects (such as Spina Bifida) when mothers are deficient in Folic Acid early in pregnancy. Low day intake of folic acid and /or low blood folic acid levels in the third trimester doubled the chances of preterm delivery and low birth-rate babies.