Natural Childbirth with Midwife Anne Margolis: Rational Wellness Podcast Episode 57
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Anne Margolis, midwife, talks about how to have natural childbirth with Dr. Ben Weitz.
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2:14 Anne Margolis explained that she started out as an Obstetric nurse and she developed “fear of birth”. She saw that many of the routine interventions that occur in a hospital to healthy women resulted in more interventions and surgeries and turned what should be a natural process into a crisis situation. She got pregnant and was going to have her first baby at the hospital where she worked. First she was told to take her clothes off and put a hospital gown on, which seems innocuous, but it disempowers the patient. Then she was told not to eat or drink, and no one running a marathon would go without fuel or hydration and having a baby is like running a marathon. Then she was attached to an IV and told she had to lie flat on her back and be attached to continuous fetal monitoring, which actually results in a lot of false positive fetal distress and this leads to more c-sections. The evidence shows that continuous monitoring has not improved outcomes or reduced oxygen deprivation or cerebral palsy. Naturally, women need to labor in a more upright position with gravity helping the birth process. And they kept monitoring her and if she wasn’t dilating a centimeter per hour, they wanted to give her pitocin, which makes the labor harder, which she refused. But eventually she gave in and then they gave her an epidural and her baby’s heart rate bottomed out, so they ordered an emergency C-section. But it took an hour and the assistant surgeon hadn’t arrived yet and she thought her baby was brain dead from oxygen deprivation. She was traumatized and then she started pushing and gave birth waiting for the C-section. She suffered a PTSD birth trauma.
10:30 A friend suggested that she become a midwife and she had no idea what a midwife was and she looked into it and realized that this was for her. Midwifery “restored the normalcy, it restored power back to the woman and her family. It restored the celebration, it restored the beauty. We are experts in normal. Like our philosophy is birth is normal until proven otherwise, but we can certainly screen for problems and handle them. Simply we try to keep it simple, but what a difference. It was like night and day and the crisis and the emergencies became way more the exception and I was seeing that birth works. Like women can birth like they breathe.”
11:50 Anne spoke about going to a midwifery conference, where a French obstetrician asked “what is the best intervention that an obstetrician or a midwife can do during birth?” He said, “To knit.” During a normal birth, the best intervention is no intervention.
15:15 Anne explained that the US has the highest rates of maternal mortality, infant morbidity, and infant mortality of all the developed countries, as I pointed out in my intro. It’s not the case that people are significantly healthier in countries like Norway, but they have much fewer C-sections than we do. The average rate in the US in hospitals is over 30% and it is 50% in some hospitals. Women should be with midwifes rather than with obstetricians.
18:44 I pointed out that this is kind of the problem with our whole healthcare system in general, is we’ve taken this acute care model of care and trying to extend it to everybody to well-patient care, to chronic conditions, and it doesn’t really work and your concept of midwifery is very much in tune with both a chiropractic concept and the functional medicine concept, which is to respect the wisdom of the body, intervene just enough to help the body to heal itself, rather than taking over and intervening when it’s not necessary.
19:22 Anne said that the longer she is in practice, the more she has come to understand that “when she helps a woman to prepare in advance for her pregnancy and help her with her fear and boost her confidence and billions of women have birthed for thousands of years and while she’s birthing 300,000 are birthing and I really help her to tune into her intuitive, primal, sensual, instinctual, self, I am amazed. I just catch.”
21:09 I asked if the fact that in the US we seem to have more older women trying to have babies using IVF and other medical interventions is responsible for the higher maternal mortality rates and Anne did not feel that this was a significant factor.
22:04 Anne said that in our culture we always feel a need to numb any discomfort and we give too many epidurals, which increases the c-section rate.
27:43 Anne explained how giving birth is like surfing.
30:07 Anne talked about how some of the after birth procedures at the hospital are not ideal for the baby. As the baby is coming down the birth canal up to a third of its blood volume backs up into the placenta and at the hospital they immediately clamp and cut the umbilical cord, thus depriving the baby of its blood and the stem cells, the immune complexes, the iron, etc. You can wait till the cord stops pulsing or you can wait till the placenta comes out and then cut it. In the hospital they take the baby away from Mom and put it under bright lights and do all these procedures like suctioning the lungs, etc. and the baby should just be left with Mom.
34:22 They give the Hepatitis B vaccine, which makes no sense unless Mom is positive, since a newborn infant has no chance of getting hepatitis.
36:03 I asked Anne what she thought about circumcision and she said that it is genital mutilation and not evidence based care.
Midwife Anne Margolis is a holistic, certified nurse midwife and Certified Clarity Breathwork Practitioner. She is dedicated to improving maternity and newborn care and experiences, preventing and healing birth trauma, and empowering women to give birth naturally and LOVE their experience. Her website is homesweethomebirth.com. She has written two #1 international best selling books, “Natural Birth Secrets.” (Here is a link to it https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0786WNWMJ) and “Trauma Release Formula” (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0786V4VXD/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=homesweehom0e-20&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=B0786V4VXD&linkId=a2c7fdec4c3a635b3abc206976607cb6 ). She also offers a comprehensive online course to help you ROCK your pregnancy to birth and new mama-hood in ALL settings, leading you through the journey as she does with the families in her thriving local practice: http://homesweethomebirth.com/loveyourbirth/ .
Dr. Ben Weitz is available for nutrition consultations specializing in Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders like IBS/SIBO and Reflux and also specializing in Cardiometabolic Risk Factors like elevated lipids, high blood sugar, and high blood pressure as well as sports chiropractic work by calling his Santa Monica office 310-395-3111.
Dr. Weitz: This is Dr. Dan Weitz with the Rational Wellness podcast, bringing you the cutting edge information on health and nutrition from the latest scientific research and by interviewing the top experts in the field. Please subscribe to Rational Wellness podcast on iTunes and YouTube and sign up for my free ebook on my website by going to drweitz.com. Let’s get started on your road to better health.
Hey Rational Wellness podcasters, thank you so much for joining us again today and we have a very interesting topic. We’re gonna talk about birthing and all the issues related to that in the United States. I want to give you a little intro about this, but first I want to ask you, for those of you who enjoy the Rational Wellness podcast, please go iTunes and give us a rating review so more people can find out about it.
Okay, so, despite spending more than twice as much for healthcare as other developed countries, maternal mortality rates in the US are rising, they’re much higher than all these other countries and whereas maternal mortality rates are declining in other developed countries. So, for example, the maternal mortality rate in the US is 26.4 deaths for every 100,000 live births, whereas it is 3.8 in Finland and below 10 in every other advanced country except ours. Infant mortality rates in the US are also significantly higher than in 20 other developed countries. To help give us some information about this topic as well as other information about how to have a healthy, happy birth, Anne Margolis is an international speaker, birth educator, certified nurse midwife, licensed OBGYN nurse practitioner for over 20 years. Hi Anne, welcome.
Anne Margolis: Hi.
Dr. Weitz: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you decided to become a midwife?
Anne Margolis: I started out as an OB nurse. Actually, my grandfather was an obstetrician, but I never thought I’d be in that world, you know I didn’t know. I ended up in nursing school and when I did my obstetric rotation in college I knew this is what I wanted to do. My first job, now this was back in the ’80s, my first job as an obstetric nurse I worked there about four years, and that was a regular, typical, standard hospital and that’s where I developed fear of birth. I was having to rescue a lot of the problems caused by just routine interventions that are done to all healthy women walking in to have a baby, let alone people that have complications, but most women are healthy and having healthy pregnancies and they were just the routine care, which often led to a cascade of interventions that caused problems, that caused more intervention, and as the nurse I was having to rescue that and do that and I was having to be in more operating rooms than I ever imagined. I never really saw natural birth like I was taught about in nursing school, so I had fear of birth. Birth was a crisis, it was an emergency waiting to happen, a disaster waiting to happen, it was a potential lawsuit. That was the experience on the unit where I worked.
Dr. Weitz: How sad.
Anne Margolis: That’s all I knew, right? There was no internet then. That’s all I knew and I was pregnant with my first baby on this unit, so I was given the royal treatment, “Oh, one of nurses is gonna have a baby,” but I was given the standard treatment. What I want to share with you is my experience because it’s still going on today despite all the evidence that the harm of this kind of care and this is what gave me the passion to do what I’m doing. So I had fear but I went in and the first intervention that seems innocuous is I was told to take off my clothes in labor and put on a hospital gown, which is what we all do. It seems harmless, right? But that begins the dis-empowerment and I feel like sick when I’m a healthy woman having a baby. I didn’t really know this then. I’m now in a hospital gown, I’m dependent, disempowered, kinda of like an assembly line patient and now you guys know everything, I know nothing. That’s what happens when you put … so I tell all these people when they go into a hospital, keep your clothes on, retain your power, your individuality.
Anyway, so then I was told you can’t eat or drink and any athlete knows when you’re doing any sort of major event, it’s not wise, it’s actually totally not advised to go without oral fuel and hydration. I was attached to an IV and labor is a major physical event for the body. It’s like running the 26 mile marathon or climbing a big mountain. It’s very arduous so you need to be hydrated and nourished. I was told I had to lie down flat and be attached to continuous electronic fetal monitoring, that now the electronic fetal monitoring that monitors every contraction and every fetal heart rate, they’re doing this routinely despite all the evidence that that has not done a thing to improve outcomes of baby, reduce cerebral palsy or oxygen deprivation, and issues with baby. It has only increased cesarean rates by three to five times that of having just the intermittent monitoring, which is equivalent but you’re not attached to anything. Being told to lie flat on their back. No animal could labor that way. Naturally, women when they’re left to their own devices need gravity. We need to be upward, we need to be moving and it’s helping the baby navigate its way down the pelvis. You know the pelvis, as a chiropractor, is three bones connected by ligaments, so on the back it’s smaller capacity and in asymmetrical positions and lunges and rocking and all sorts of upward positions, the pelvic diameter can stretch and is the largest capacity. So all these things, I was setting myself up. Already I did not labor well. I was put on a clock, so I had to dilate a centimeter an hour and every hour the doctor kept coming in sticking his hands up me and going outside and telling the nurse outside the door, “She’s still four, she’s till four and give her PIT,” at one point I heard. Now as a nurse I knew what that was. So when she comes in and puts that in my IV, like if I hadn’t been a nurse, they just do these things, but I’m like, “I don’t want pitocin. That’s gonna make everything harder, stronger.”
Dr. Weitz: By the way, pitocin is a hormone that increases the strength of the contractions, right?
Anne Margolis: It’s a synthetic version of the natural hormone in my body that would have done just fine if they would have left me alone. Yeah, it’s a synthetic hormone of what’s natural in the body, but yeah, it makes it stronger, harder and more intense, the contractions, to speed up the labor. I told my colleague, the nurse that I work with, “I don’t want pitocin. I know what that’s gonna do,” and she says, “Oh, but honey,” and her response was well meaning, “You don’t want a cesarean do you?” and I’m like, “No …” you know I was an athlete myself and I’m a dance, I have yoga. I was scared of cesarean. I do not always see good outcomes during cesarean birth. So I was kind of feared into it. I’m in a vulnerable situation now and then my coping went out the window. I heard them say, “Give her an epidural,” and once I had that epidural my daughter’s heart rate bottomed out so dangerously low that I see panic in everyone’s eyes. They call a stat emergency cesarean. As a nurse I know they have minutes to get my baby out.
I was now, my biggest fear happening, whisked off to the OR and waiting for the assistant surgeon. I was on the operating table all scrubbed and ready waiting for the assistant surgeon who never came. So I’m looking at the clock, I was alone, 10 minutes, 20 minutes, a half-an-hour, and 45 minutes, an hour. I had moved from utter fear to thinking that my baby is now oxygen damaged, gonna be a vegetable, to now dead. In that hour, that’s what I was convinced.
Dr. Weitz: Wow.
Anne Margolis: Yeah. I didn’t rationally know that in that time that the reason that continuous electronic fetal monitoring, one of things, why it’s not improving outcome and it just increases c-section is, is a lot of false diagnosis of fetal distress when there is one, but I didn’t … so I started pushing when I was an hour into that from the medication and I called for help. The doctor comes running and he’s in a frenzy, “Get me a vacuum,” he’s calling to the staff and he cut a big episiotomy and vacuumed, he suctioned her head out. I couldn’t look at her. I was afraid of what I was gonna see and she’s pink and breathing and like not phased by this apparently. She was fine. I was not fine. Now I know I had all the symptoms of what they call PTSD birth trauma, when you undergo such a horrific situation. The nightmares, I couldn’t talk or think about it, any kind of trigger would trigger this whole sympathetic nervous system torture in my body and I was scared to back and see.
That happened, the same kind of birth I had a second time, just like that. So it was between that and experience and my working there and I was talking to a friend about my frustrations about this and she says, “Why don’t you be a midwife?” and I literally said, “What’s a midwife?” and she started telling me and I went to the library and it was like, I came home. I came home and I applied and I went to midwifery school and it was like the whole experience … as midwives, the training is expensive training. In New York you have to have a masters degree, it’s postgraduate training and you have to be nurse, you know, bachelors of nursing and then a masters degree. It restored the normalcy, it restored power back to the woman and her family. It restored the celebration, it restored the beauty. We are experts in normal. Like our philosophy is birth is normal until proven otherwise, but we can certainly screen for problems and handle them. Simply we try to keep it simple, but what a difference. It was like night and day and the crisis and the emergencies became way more the exception and I was seeing that birth works. Like women can birth like they breathe.
I remember going to a midwifery conference, a big packed midwifery conference and there was an obstetrician speaking, beloved obstetrician, he’s a French obstetrician, he works in England now and he said, “What is the best intervention that a midwife can do at a birth … or an obstetrician?” He was speaking to midwives but “an attendant obstetrician or midwife can do at a birth?” His answer is brilliant. He said, and it’s kinda funny but it’s brilliant. He said, “To knit, K-N-I-T.” That is because, first of all evidence-based care is that when a healthy woman goes into labor, first do no harm. Medical intervention is not warranted. The best intervention is no intervention. Women birth like we breathe, like our heart beats, like we go to the bathroom. If nothing is wrong, don’t fix it. The Hippocrates Oath when doctors take their … in training doctors take their graduation oath. Part of that is first do no harm. So when all is going well, no intervention. But to knit is brilliant because it’s this calm, seasoned midwife whose seen thousands of births and knows that everything is fine and she’s with the woman and she’s so calm that she can knit and that laboring woman is so receptive to the calm. If she sees that calm that’s exuding, she’ll feel calm and she’ll labor well because a fearful animal or a fearful woman or a tense woman, if there’s tension in the room, she won’t labor well. The knitting keeps an attendant’s hands occupied ’cause nurses and midwives and doctors, sometimes they need to like fix something when they’re in labor, you know, do something with their hands and nothing is broken so you don’t need to … so it just kinda keeps the hands occupied with the eyes open, heart is open, ears are open and mouth is open. Of course, encouraging words when she doubts her strength, but she can put the knitting down if necessary, but that’s the best intervention at a birth. I thought it was brilliant coming from an obstetrician and I believed in all this.
So when I had my second two babies the midwifery way I was still scared because I believed in it but because of what happened to me, the trauma that I had gone through and what I had seen I had to feel it within me, experience it myself, for me to authentically promote this for other women. Oh my gosh, I remember my midwife saying, “Oh, you’ll be fine,” and it was beautiful. It was a beautiful experience and it was very healing. I felt very well supported. My body just worked and she was there as a lifeguard but she just allowed and supported my body to do what it knew how to do. So now I can authentically and I became very … I opened up my own practice. I worked in a hospital practice for a while and then I opened up my own practice. The hospital practice where I worked, which is the kind of practice model that gets the best outcomes, so I wanted to address your opening about how our country is ranking. We have hard statistics in our country. We rank among the highest compared to developed nations in maternal mortality, newborn mortality and morbidity, despite being most technically advanced, having very high cesarean section rates, twice that of Europe, spending more money.
So what’s the common denominator in these countries like Finland and Sweden and Holland, Japan? Why are these countries with very similar demographics, it’s not like they’re healthier over there, right? Why are they doing so much better? So Dr. Marzden Wagner, he’s a perinatologist, high-risk obstetrician, a former Director of the Maternal Fetal Health Department of the World health Organization, written many peer reviewed articles, very scholarly books and articles and he’s a big proponent of midwifery because he says, “The common denominator in these other countries, when a healthy woman is having a pregnancy, she never sees an obstetrician because healthy women need experts in normal and that’s what the midwife is.” The obstetrician we need thankfully, and they work together in a team, but they are needed for the high-risk situations, like if the woman has heart disease and she’s pregnant, if a woman has insulin dependent diabetes and she’s pregnant, if there’s triplets. That’s their expertise, they go to medical school, they’re surgeons, they learn how to deal with complications and disease and treat them medically and surgically. Part of holistic care is sometimes we need that. My cesarean section rate is 5%. There is a time and a place for cesarean birth. It should not be 30% and higher, which is the national average. Some hospitals around here could be 40%, 50%, around the country too. So what he said is the common denominator is that both are using their expertise, serving the entire childbearing population, but when you have in the United States this high-risk kind of care, high use of surgery and medical and surgical interventions and technology applied to just the healthy women and babies, then you get the risk and the poor outcome that you’re seeing. That’s the practice where I worked. It was this team obstetricians and they just, “Just call us when there’s a problem.” They even wanted, somebody, let’s say, who high blood pressure, insulin dependent diabetes, they even wanted them to get midwifery care and they would just deal with the medical issue or, “Just call us when surgery is needed.” It was that teamwork, not that one is bad, one is good. It depends on the mom, what that mom needs, but the vast majority of women having babies are healthy and they benefit most from no intervention.
Dr. Weitz: Yeah, and I think this is kind of the problem with our whole healthcare system in general, is we’ve taken this acute care model of care and trying to extend it to everybody to well-patient care, to chronic conditions, and it doesn’t really work and your concept of midwifery is very much in tune with both a chiropractic concept and the functional medicine concept, which is to respect the wisdom of the body, intervene just enough to help the body to heal itself, rather than taking over and intervening when it’s not necessary.
Anne Margolis: Right. I’ve been a midwife 22 years. The more I practice the more I’m in awe of how little I have to do. I mean I have a lot to do in terms of there’s a lot of fear now, women have a lot of fear, they lack confidence, there’s a lot of myths, and misunderstanding, but when I help a woman to prepare in advance for her pregnancy and help her with her fear and boost her confidence and billions of women have birthed for thousands of years and while she’s birthing 300,000 are birthing and I really help her to tune into her intuitive, primal, sensual, instinctual, self, I am amazed. I just catch.
Dr. Weitz: Great.
Anne Margolis: My presence is there. I’m a lifeguard. Sometimes I do have to intervene, but it could be simple like, “Let’s get up and dance. Let’s go for a walk, go in the shower, make sure you’re eating and drinking.” It could be very simple stuff like that that just … that’s all you need.
Dr. Weitz: That’s great. How much do you think the higher maternal mortality rate has to do with the rising rates of c-sections, essentially turning a natural process into a surgical procedure.
Anne Margolis: Huge correlation. That’s major abdominal surgery. Most other surgeries they’re trying to make more laparoscopic, they’re trying to make the incision less, but this is like a total, major abdominal surgery and it has huge risk. Unfortunately that’s hugely responsible for the high mortality rate in this country.
Dr. Weitz: To play devil’s advocate a little bit and I don’t really know what the difference is between the US and these other developed countries, but is some of this potentially related to the fact that we use … and I don’t know that this is the case, I’m just speculating, we use more in vitro procedures, maybe in higher risk populations, using hormones and medical intervention in the first place.
Anne Margolis: It is related to-
Dr. Weitz: In other words do we have more risky complicated pregnancies to begin with?
Anne Margolis: I don’t think IVF in a healthy woman, once a woman is pregnant it doesn’t increase her risk if she’s healthy.
Dr. Weitz: Okay.
Anne Margolis: No, no.
Dr. Weitz: Okay.
Anne Margolis: But what does increase the risk is like all the interventions, high rates of inductions, high rates of epidurals. There’s hospitals … we live in a culture that likes to numb. We’re not comfortable with discomfort.
Dr. Weitz: Right.
Anne Margolis: But I help women in my practice, whether through my practice or through my course or online consulting, I help them so that they can transcend the sensations, embrace the sensations. Just like if someone is running the 26 mile marathon, it’s not easy. I’m sure mile 10 or 5 or 12 or whatever it is something is hurting. They’re thinking, “I can’t do this.”
Dr. Weitz: Right.
Anne Margolis: A lot of athletes … I’m a dance, so I like to talk about professional dancing, things are hurting but their eye is on, “I’m gonna rock this,” or “I’m gonna win this for my team,” or “I can do this.” The beta endorphins and the hormonal recipe that’s going on when an athlete is running or when a woman is giving birth helps numb the sensations and a woman can tap into her strength and she can do it. I have a 93% … like women in my practice, and they come from all walks of life, engineers, physicians, nurses, chiropractors, acupuncturists, corporate people, and they’re doing it naturally, 93%. That means that the majority of women are doing it naturally. Only 7% need to have medical or surgical intervention. My c-section rate is 5%, but I have not once had to transfer a woman to have an epidural because she could not cope with the pain of normal labor.
Dr. Weitz: Now I’m sure a lot of women when they consider natural childbirth are gonna say, “Well, if I’m not gonna get an epidural, what am I gonna do?”
Anne Margolis: The problem is the epidural is contributing to high c-sections rates and all of the other and the hard statistics that we’re seeing. Look, I’ve had epidurals my first two babies, but I so preferred having my third and fourth naturally. What a different experience. I’m working hard-
Dr. Weitz: So the pain is not overwhelming?
Anne Margolis: No. No, because I’m up, I’m moving, I’m in the shower and I’m also embracing it and it’s also I see labor for what it is and I help women to see labor for what it is. It’s the uterus, it’s coming and going in waves and it’s a healthy pain, it’s a pain of hard work. It’s not a pain of suffering. It’s not a pain of illness.
Dr. Weitz: And when you have natural childbirth you’re an active participant as opposed to a passive-
Anne Margolis: Yeah, we need to woman to be an active and she moves in positions to help the baby… and her body is giving her messages to move in a different position, not just to help her cope, but help the baby physically navigate its way down. Not even one person in my 20 plus years of my own practice have I had to have transferred because she needed an epidural for normal labor. You need to be well prepared, but just even seeing labor for what it is. Like here’s an example. Do you have kids?
Dr. Weitz: Yes, I have two older kids.
Anne Margolis: Okay, so you’ve seen labor unless she-
Dr. Weitz: No, I have, yeah.
Anne Margolis: Right. So in the beginning the wave comes and it’s like … I like to call it wave because contraction implies tension and it’s not completely accurate ’cause the top of the uterus contracts so the bottom can open, so it would be just the same to call it expansions, but hypno-birthing, they call it surges and waves. You can call it waves. I’ve had women make up names like hugs to the baby. You can play around with it. Why not have fun? Why not make it like an adventure of a lifetime, you know”
Dr. Weitz: Right.
Anne Margolis: I’ve had women be in ecstasy with their pain, I’ve been people have explained their … I’m in the documentary “Orgasmic Birth” not that women are having orgasms in birth, but they’re tapping into their sensual and their experience is orgasmic because they’re doing it on their own and they’re so darn proud of themselves and they’re being honored and treated like a goddess in a warrior-like. The power is restored to them, you know? Yes, they need support. Anyway it’s seeing labor for what it is. So yeah, the contraction, the wave builds in the beginning and it reaches a peak and then it comes down again and in the beginning that might be 15 seconds and then there’s not another one for 10, 20 minutes and they’re mild, you can talk through them, and it gradually builds. So at the max peak intensity the wave is 60-90 seconds and coming every two, three minutes, but the peak is really where it’s the most intense and I’m like you can do anything for like 45 seconds, right?
Dr. Weitz: Right.
Anne Margolis: So get a now clock instead of saying one, two, three, four five, just say now, now, now and you just stay in that one. I teach women and women can learn coping, relaxation, grounding, visualization or just sort of surrendering to it, like, wow. Any surfer knows, when you fight the wave it will knock you down, but if you just ride the wave it will just take you.
Dr. Weitz: That’s great. Childbirth like surfing.
Anne Margolis: It’s so similar.
Dr. Weitz: Yeah.
Anne Margolis: And there comes a point and it’s part of like this psychological different stages of early labor versus when labor gets more intense right before the baby is born, women will say to me, and these are women, hardcore … I’ve had women chiropractors, husbands that … a homeopath and natural, natural, natural and she’s in transition, she’s in the last part of labor and she’s like, “I want a cesarean. I can’t,” and I’m like, “That’s great. Baby is coming soon.” I’ve prepared them that they’re gonna think they can’t at the end.
Dr. Weitz: Right.
Anne Margolis: That’s just a normal part of the emotional symptoms of having such intense sensations and it’s when I encourage them to just, “You know what? I got you. Just go into it. Dive right into it.” Mindfulness practices, meditative, just dive right into it, or women will sing their baby out or dance their baby out, like sort of pleasure overrides the intensity of it. Just give into it and then they find the actual fear of feeling was actually worse than the actual sensation and then they birth and then it’s gone, it’s done. Then the real work begins, creating healthy, normal children in this world.
Dr. Weitz: So why don’t they let women eat or drink?
Anne Margolis: That’s not evidence-based care. Add it to the list because of the rare need for general anesthesia in an emergency that if she were to have food in her upper GI tract.
Dr. Weitz: Esophagus, yeah.
Anne Margolis: Yeah, she would aspirate, but actually the food would make it … it wouldn’t affect, meaning the evidence according to all the scientific evidence, it is beneficial for women to eat and drink in labor and it’s harmful to deprive them of food and drink.
Dr. Weitz: And even if they were to end up with a cesarean section, most of the time they use an epidural, right?
Anne Margolis: Yeah.
Dr. Weitz: Okay. So can you talk about some of the processes that occur after the kid is born and how the hospital handles it compared to how it should ideally naturally be handled?
Anne Margolis: Yeah, one of my pet peeves is the cord clamping. We’re the one species on the planet that cut cords. Animals don’t cut cords. Animals give birth, it’s just not complicated and it’s cool because like dolphins, they have female dolphins that surround them, like dueling them or midwifing them. Lamas, the pack surrounds them.
Dr. Weitz: But we got to schedule, the insurance, and we got to get to the bottom line.
Anne Margolis: Yeah bottom line but unfortunately it’s not serving the mom and her family and the baby. Yeah, one of my big pet peeve I have is that … so a third of the blood volume of the baby, that’s a lot of baby blood volume-
Dr. Weitz: Wow.
Anne Margolis: Backs up into the placenta as the mom is pushing, as the baby is coming through the pelvis and when the baby is born, the baby needs that blood back. I don’t know when this, why this started happening … in the early 1900s when birth was moved to the hospital that the cord was just clamped so the baby was deprived of a third of its blood volume, which is equivalent to a hemorrhage that no one sees.
Dr. Weitz: Wow.
Anne Margolis: So those babies were lacking the stem cells and oxygen to transition, the blood volume to transition, all the immune components, iron.
Dr. Weitz: Colostrum, yeah.
Anne Margolis: Well the colostrum is in the breast milk.
Dr. Weitz: Okay.
Anne Margolis: This is their blood. So that’s a big thing. If you’re gonna have a hospital birth make sure that’s evidence-based care. The process has worked for thousands of years, don’t cut the cord. Allow the cord to just give the baby back its blood volume. You can cut it when the cord stops pulsing or just want till the placenta’s birth, then cut it. That’s a big thing.
They’re sticking, suctioning tubes down babies that are vigorous just to clear lung fluid. Babies in the womb, their lungs are collapsed and filled with fluid. They don’t need to breathe because the cord is giving the moms … mom breathes, it goes to her blood, and then the oxygen goes from her blood through the placenta to the baby through the cord. So the baby doesn’t need to use the lungs, but after the baby’s born and takes that first breath, the baby needs the blood volume and the oxygen from the cord to help as its transitioning, and the baby with that big squeeze through the vagina clears a lot of the long fluid, at least two-thirds of it and then the other third gets absorbed. Babies don’t need to be suctioned. We’re sticking tubes down their trachea to … suctioning vigorous babies.
Then they take the baby away from the mother and put it on a warmer, bright lights, and they’re doing all these procedures. That baby needs to be with mom. Just think, the baby had 24 hour room service for nine, for 10 months and warm and quiet and close to mom and then suddenly born. Modern medicine does not … the majority, I mean there are some wonderful practitioners that are into this cutting edge research that actually babies are born fully conscious and there’s a huge profound psychological impact of birth on both mother and baby. Babies are very receptive and sensitive to rough handling and all these procedure and things that are just done to them routinely when all they need is to be … when a healthy baby is breathing and vigorous, they just need to be with mom, never separate. Any procedure or exam can be done with mom holding baby or baby next to mom or dad/partner next to mom. So these are some things. They’re also giving in the hospital hepatitis B vaccine to all babies.
Dr. Weitz: Yeah. What’s the point of that? That’s crazy, right?
Anne Margolis: Come on. if they’re in the hospital, that’s why. Get them now.
Dr. Weitz: There’s zero risk of hepatitis B in infant.
Anne Margolis: And a newborn, especially if mom is negative. If mom negative … ’cause hepatitis B is spread, it’s like HIV in the way it’s spread, blood and body fluids. So if the baby is gonna do IV drug use or promiscuous sex or be a doctor or an obstetrician and have blood exposure risk or something like that. There’s no need for the baby to have hepatitis vaccine, but that’s just become routine. So there’s a lot of things that are done. In my course or in my practice or with women I work with online, there’s a list of like, now it’s 50 things that you have to be aware of, what could be done to you if you’re pregnant, birthing, or for the baby. So let’s discuss the pros and cons. Let’s research this now in the pregnancy so that when you’re in the heat of it, you already know. You make a list of what you want, what you don’t want and communicate that with your provider in your setting so that your wishes can be honored as long as there’s no crisis emergency and make that known ’cause if your baby is taken to the nursery, things are gonna be done to your baby you might not even know anything about it.
Dr. Weitz: What about circumcision? I know that’s a controversial one.
Anne Margolis: It’s harmful, it’s genital mutilation. The thing is I don’t really think it’s controversial.
Dr. Weitz: Okay.
Anne Margolis: Meaning-
Dr. Weitz: There are a few studies that show there’s a decreased risk of genital infections or something like that.
Anne Margolis: Yeah, it’s not supported as medical necessity.
Dr. Weitz: Okay.
Anne Margolis: They just feel pain. Now the thing is I’m not getting into the religion, like some religions-
Dr. Weitz: Right, no, I know.
Anne Margolis: I’m talking about medical circumcision in a hospital, unless the baby has a problem, there’s no medical need for it and babies feel pain, it’s traumatic, They tie the baby down and the baby is born a certain way. Why cut off part of it, you know?
Dr. Weitz: Yep.
Anne Margolis: Yeah, but I have some moms, for example … I would say now about 50% of my practice don’t circumcise. I have some moms that come to me, her husband is circumcised and she might have other kids that are circumcised and she doesn’t want the baby to feel funny or picked on in the locker room or something like that, but more and more and more boys now are not circumcised, so that won’t be an issue. I’ve had plenty of moms who have some circumcised from when they didn’t know about it and are not circumcised now, you know? So I give them that decision. That’s their decision, but they need to know the pros and cons. I want that to be an informed decision. Unfortunately the baby can’t make that decision.
Dr. Weitz: Great.
Anne Margolis: They grow up and they’re like, “Why did you … ” ’cause babies remember trauma. It’s nonverbal memories, right?
Dr. Weitz: Yeah.
Anne Margolis: They can heal from that, but is a traumatic experience for the baby. They’re fully conscious, they’re fully aware.
Dr. Weitz: Cool. This was great. A lot of really good information. I know you’ve written several books and you have at least one online course to learn about how to have a healthy, natural birth. Can you tell us about these and also how listeners can get a hold of you or learn more about you?
Anne Margolis: I was interviewed on a podcast a few years ago and the woman who was interviewing me, she said, “I love your approach,” whatever, “Do you travel?” I’m like, “Well, if you’re in Hawaii.” We were playing, you know?
Dr. Weitz: Yeah.
Anne Margolis: She’s like, “Do you have a course? I would love if you would have a course.” I’m like, “I don’t,” and she says, “Well, you need to make one. How about if you come out to San Francisco. I’m into film and my sister is an editor and blah, blah, blah. I want to film how you bring people through your practice and we’ll make a course.” So that’s how the course started because when I started posting on social media when my daughter told me I should be on Instagram and I asked her, “What’s that?” She said, “Oh, you get all these great pictures and you’re so passionate and here’s the 101 and you like spreading the message of improving birth and mother-baby experiences and care.” So who knew. It became in a few years … it’s 81,000 or more followers on social media.
Dr. Weitz: Wow, that’s great.
Anne Margolis: So I’m hearing from people all over the world, asking me the same questions. So the course I thought was a great idea about how to prepare … I call it a home birth like experience in the hospital, in the birth center, in the home. A normal, natural physiologic birth and also how to embrace complications and embrace the cesarean birth if needed. But how can you rock your pregnancy in mind, body, heart, and soul and it’s how I prepare women in my practice except without the hands-on care. So that’s my course. I’ve poured 22 years of wisdom and experience of what really works to help a woman. I actually took her up on it. We went out to San Francisco and we filmed the whole course. It’s 10 at least hour long videos plus a lot of downloads and then there’s an option of consultations with me. I have a book that’s called “Natural Birth Secrets.” It’s released on Kindle. It became a number one international best seller and it’s coming out on paperback. Then I have another one, “Ask the Midwife” and then another one about trauma healing ’cause a big specialty of mine is so many women come to me traumatized. So 4.3 million women are giving birth in the United States and over a third describe it as a traumatic experience.
Dr. Weitz: Wow.
Anne Margolis: So I’m hearing from so many woman, how can I help them. They had a horrible, horrific, traumatic experience, kind of like I did, but everyone had maybe a little bit different details, but not that much different, and how can I help them heal and how can they have a better experience next time. That’s called “The Trauma Release Formula.”
So my website is called homesweethomebirth.com and my course is Love Your Birth and you can download when you go on that, there’s a free webinar about birth trauma and preventing it. You can download a little nugget of the course, which is about what I said, preparing a birth plan and all those 50 different things that can possibly happen and what you want to do about that. It’s important to know that and discuss that in pregnancy because if you decide that what you want is not in alignment with your provider in your setting, you can absolutely switch providers and settings and know that you have a choice and you have a voice. They are plenty of supportive obstetricians and hospitals and midwives. You just have to do some research. Unfortunately it’s not available … do I have time for a short story?
Dr. Weitz: Sure, yeah.
Anne Margolis: A woman took my course. She was in a very remote area and she only had access to an obstetrician who did cesareans, that’s all, that doesn’t even do natural birth, doesn’t do vaginal birth and that’s all she had.
Dr. Weitz: Wow.
Anne Margolis: She took my course and she found her voice ’cause I tell women that hospitals and midwives and doctors, we’re not law enforcement agencies. Actually we need to respect your autonomy. She developed knowledge is power and she developed her confidence and her belief in her body through taking my course and she said to him, “I don’t want a cesarean birth. I want a natural birth,” and he’s like, “I don’t do natural birth. I don’t even do vaginal birth.” She says, “Well, you’re gonna do that for me. That’s what I want.” Well he agreed and she sent me a video. She had the most beautiful birth. Just think of the ripple effect. It changed him. How is that gonna affect all the other women?
Dr. Weitz: Cool.
Anne Margolis: So that’s where change comes is when we empower women and their families to speak up respectfully.
Dr. Weitz: That’s great, awesome. Thank you so much, Anne. I know the listeners are gonna love this podcast.
Anne Margolis: I’m so glad. I love talking about it. This is how we, I think, change the world, is helping, sharing our passions with the families to take back their health, to take back their birth.
Dr. Weitz: Exactly. Excellent, perfect. Totally in alignment with my mission.
Anne Margolis: Good.
Dr. Weitz: Okay, talk to you soon. Bye.
Anne Margolis: Thank you. Bye.
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