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What's your thoughts on eating while in labor? I've heard many reasons not to, and many reasons why I should. Is it bad to eat during labor?
Anonymous

themidwifeisin:

So why do many (most) hospitals tell their patients that they cannot eat during labor?  In 1946, Curtis Mendelson did a review of the records of 44,016 women during labor and birth.  Most of these women were using Twilight sedation, a combination morphine and scopolamine to reduce pain and memory of birth. General anesthesia was commonplace even for vaginal births, although it was not necessarily administered by specialists.  OF those 44,016 women, 66 women “aspirated” during labor, which means that food or water came up from their stomach, got caught and essentially sent back “down the wrong tube” into their lungs.  This happens most commonly while patients are under anesthesia.  Even though only two of those 66 women (out of 44,016 in total) died, Mendelson recommended that all women abstain from eating during labor.  This quickly became the norm, and we still see this policy in place today.

Even though we do not regularly use Twilight Sleep and General Anesthesia for vaginal births, the policy of avoiding food is to protect the patient in the case that there is an emergency so dire that the patient must be put under general anesthesia for an emergency cesarean section.  

Which organizations currently advise AGAINST eating during labor?

  • American Society of Anesthesiologists Task Force on Obstetric Anesthesia (A 2007 report suggests restricting intake during labor to small sips of clear fluids up to 2 hours before anesthesia)
  • American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (A 2009 report suggests restriction of intake to clear fluids)

Which organizations DO NOT advise against eating during labor?

  • American College of Nurse-Midwives (A 2008 report recommends that women at low risk for aspiration be permitted self-determined intake according to guidelines established by the hospital. They urge midwives to participate in research to confirm the safety of ad lib nutrition for laboring women.)
  • World Health Organization (A 1997 report recommends that because the energy demands of labor are so great and because replenishment ensures maternal and fetal well-being, healthcare providers should not interfere with women’s desire for oral intake during labor)
  • Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada (A 1998 report recommends that healthcare personnel offer a woman in active labor a light or liquid diet)
  • The Cochrane Collaboration did a review of research in 2010 that concluded that there is no evidence in support of restriction in women at low risk of complications.

Things to consider:

  • Energy needs during labor - labor is the equivalent to running a marathon, and some patients can be laboring for hours and days.  Think about what you would be like if you didn’t eat for a day and a half.  You’d feel weak, quaky, lightheaded.  Now think about if you didn’t eat for a day and a half plus you were in labor.
  • The imbalance of only drinking water - many studies are researching the effects on sodium levels for patients who only drink and receive fluids via IV during labor.  Their sodium levels become diluted, and they can have severe repercussions because of that.
  • Stress on the laboring patient - it’s stressful to be denied food.
  • Vomiting - people who eat during labor are more likely to vomit during labor, although this has no affect on outcomes.
  • Fetal outcomes - there are no increased negative outcomes for patients and their babies when eating during labor.

So what do I personally think?  Eat as you want to.  The research supports patients eating as they desire, especially since most laboring people won’t particularly want to eat as labor gets more intense.  However, I find it quite important that my patients have the energy needed in the early stages of labor.  However, you will need to talk to your provider and see what they suggest and what the policy is at the hospital/birth center where you are delivering.

Below are some graphs for the medlrs out there who are interested in the research.  The graphs and most of the info above is available at THIS link.

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uno-flatu:

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uno-flatu:

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earthymamma:

Breasts shouldn’t be shown in public because they are sexual, just like penises.

In fact, the two are not comparable.  Penises are genitals—that is, they are part of the reproductive system.  Breasts are not genitals, because they are not part of the reproductive system.  Scientifically speaking, breasts are erogenous zones—that is, an area of heightened sensitivity that can be stimulated to achieve sexual arousal.  Genitals, since their primary functions are sexual, are legally considered obscene and cannot be shown in public.  Erogenous zones are not primarily sexual and thus are not obscene.

Furthermore, if you really believed that breasts and penises should be treated alike, you would have to treat fake breasts designed to fill the role served by real breasts (which is all that pacifiers and bottles are) the same way you treat fake penises designed to fill the role served by real penises (in other words, dildos, butt plugs, and vibrators).  If you don’t consider bottles sex toys, you don’t really consider breasts to be obscene.

But you admit breasts can be used for sexual arousal!  Doesn’t that make them inappropriate to display in public?

Mouths, necks, and fingertips, are also erogenous zones frequently used for sexual arousal; however, like breasts, their primary biological functions are not sexual.  Unless you want to argue that none of those should be shown in public, either, this isn’t a valid reason to declare breasts inappropriate for public view.

Incidentally, men’s nipples are not only erogenous zones but structurally no different than women’s nipples.  They are likewise attached to breast tissue, which is why men can get breast cancer.  In fact, there have been documented instances of men who have managed to breastfeed, yet men are allowed to show their nipples without any outcry.  There is no logical reason why men’s bare breasts and women’s bare breasts should be held to different standards of public decency.

But breasts are “secondary sex characteristics,” doesn’t that make them sexual?

A secondary sex characteristic is simply any non-reproductive-system feature that distinguishes males from females within a species.  In humans, that includes beards, Adam’s apples, and even height differences between men and women, none of which anyone would call sexual.  Thus, simply being a secondary sex characteristic isn’t enough to make breasts sexual, either.

But teenage boys or pervy men could see you and get aroused, doesn’t that make it sexual?

No.  Legally, conduct is only lewd if the person acting actually intends to arouse onlookers, not just whether the person who sees it is aroused.  This is also common sense, as almost anything can be a turn-on for someone passing by.  Foot fetishists consider women in sandals provocative.  Orthodox Jews consider a woman’s arm above the elbow provocative.  Pubescent teenagers consider just about anything that moves provocative.  However, a woman wearing short sleeves and sandals walking past a group of teenage boys isn’t inherently sexual nor inappropriate for public view.

My intent when breastfeeding is to feed my child, not to make some stranger horny.  If someone walking by finds my breastfeeding arousing, that’s no more my problem than a teenage boy’s being aroused by a pretty girl walking past is that girl’s problem.

Urinating/defecating is natural, too, but you can’t do that in public.

Urination and defecation in public are banned for two reasons: because feces and urine are unsanitary and because the act of urination or defecation require the genital area to be exposed.  Breastmilk is not unsanitary, nor does breastfeeding expose any genitals.  Thus, the reasons for banning public urination/defecation don’t apply to breastfeeding.

If breastfeeding is such an “intimate” thing, like I hear a lot, why do you want to do it in public in the first place?

Hugging and kissing are also intimate, but no one considers it inappropriate to hug or kiss one’s child in public.  Intimate acts are just acts that foster emotional closeness between people.  Emotional closeness can happen anywhere.

Also, this particular intimate act provides free, convenient infant food.  If my child is hungry while we’re out in public, I think wanting to feed him then and there is a perfectly logical reaction.

There’s no need to breastfeed in public to feed a baby.  You can just pump/give a bottle.

There’s also no need for you to buy coffee at Starbucks, because you could always make some at home and take it with you.  We all do things in public that we don’t “need” to do, but as long as those things are appropriate for the public sphere, whether we “need” to do them or not doesn’t matter.

Additionally, breastmilk from the source is free, convenient, and doesn’t require lugging extra equipment or taking extra time to extract the milk and feed the baby separately.  Formula and pumped milk don’t have all those advantages.  There’s no reason for me to inconvenience myself in order to avoid doing something appropriate in public.

Once babies are eating solids, they don’t need to be breastfed in public.  They don’t need the milk for nutrition.

Children don’t need to eat meat for nutrition, either, but they’re still allowed to eat it in public.  See the previous answer regarding “needs.”

Breastfeeding where children can see is inappropriate.  They shouldn’t be exposed to that.

It’s impossible to breastfeed where no children can see, since breastfeeding requires the participation of a child.  If it were inappropriate for children to see breasts, then no one could ever breastfeed, publicly or privately, because the child being fed would see them in either event.   Thus, unless you believe that all breastfeeding is inappropriate, you have already admitted that children seeing breasts isn’t a problem.

But how can I explain that to my children when they ask what you’re doing?

Tell them I’m feeding my baby.  If they ask further, tell them that human mommies can make milk for their babies just like cows do.  It’s a simple but complete answer.

Why can’t you be considerate and use a cover/go somewhere private?

Because there’s no reason to.  As already proven above, there’s nothing inappropriate about breastfeeding in public.  Would you ask someone eating a burger in the food court or someone talking on a cell phone in the parking lot to either cover up or go somewhere else?  Of course not, because they’re doing nothing that’s inappropriate or infringes on anyone else.  Would they be rude or inconsiderate to refuse such a request?  Again, of course not—if anything, the person asking would be rude and inconsiderate for harassing them for no reason in the first place.  Since breastfeeding in public is likewise neither inappropriate nor intrusive, the same logic applies.

Breastfeeding in public is exhibitionist and immodest.

Tell that to the Puritans, who despite their exacting standards of modesty saw nothing unusual or sinful about women breastfeeding outside the home.  Or to the Christians of the Middle Ages, who required women to cover far more than our society but commonly hung icons of Mary breastfeeding Jesus with her entire breast exposed in their churches.  Or even to observant Muslims in the present day—many women who fully cover their bodies, hair, and faces to comply with Islamic modesty rules still breastfeed in public.  The idea of breastfeeding being immodest is less than a century old—it didn’t become commonplace in the Western world until formula became the norm, never became commonplace outside the Western world, and is no longer commonplace in most of the Western world today.

In any case, this is irrelevant.  Women are allowed to walk around in skimpy bikinis in public.  There is no law against immodesty as long as it isn’t obscene—and as there are no genitals involved, breastfeeding isn’t.

But I don’t want to see that!  It makes me uncomfortable.

You have the right to feel uncomfortable.  Likewise, I have the right to feel uncomfortable when I hear people preaching on street corners or see men wearing socks with sandals.  But unless you want to also ban everything else from the public sphere that could possibly make anyone uncomfortable, this argument carries no weight.

ask-the-flesh-thief:

j0ye:

OKAY SO I’M GONNA DROP A STORY ON Y’ALL 
MY FOLLOWERS KNOW THAT I’M PRETTY UNIQUE LOOKING
I HAVE A GNARLY UNDERCUT, A SHORT HAIRCUT, AND AS OF YESTERDAY MY HAIR IS BRIGHT PURPLE, AND I TEND TO WEAR CLOTHES OF THE ALL-BLACK-SHORT-SKIRTS-THIGH-HIGHS-INTIMIDATING-HEAD-BITCH-IN-CHARGE VARIETY
MY FOLLOWERS ALSO KNOW THAT I HAVE A RAD LITTLE THREE-YEAR-OLD SON NAMED OLIVER WHO IS MY WORLD
ONE DAY, OLIVER AND I WERE AT THE STORE, AND WE WERE WALKING PAST THE CEREAL, SINGING A SONG TOGETHER AND OVERALL JUST BEING CUTE BECAUSE WE’RE FUCKING ADORABLE, AND THIS MIDDLE-AGED WOMAN WAS WALKING THE OTHER WAY WITH HER HUSBAND AND DAUGHTER. I’M USED TO PEOPLE STARING AT ME, ESPECIALLY CONSIDERING I WAS ROCKING BLUE HAIR AND A OUIJA BOARD SHIRT AND A HELLA CUTE VELVET MINISKIRT THIS SPECIFIC DAY, SO I IGNORED HER GLARING AT ME AND CONTINUED ON LOOKING AT THE PANDA PUFFS
THEN I STARTED HEARING HER MUTTER UNDER HER BREATH ABOUT ME, SAYING STUFF LIKE, “Irresponsible teen mom couldn’t keep her legs closed” AND, “Her son is going to be so messed up because she has absolutely no self-respect”
NORMALLY I JUST LET IT GO, BUT THAT DAY OLIVER AND I WERE SINGING THE SHINS SO I WAS IN A REALLY GOOD MOOD AND FELT CONFIDENT, SO I STOPPED MY CART AND SAID, “Excuse me, did you say something?”. SHE KINDA STARTED BLUSHING AND SAID NO, TO WHICH I REPLIED, “Well, it seems you kinda did say something. Something about me being irresponsible and not having respect for myself?” AND THIS WOMAN WAS BRIGHT RED AT THIS AND HER HUSBAND WAS JUST TRYNA HURRY HER ALONG AT THAT POINT BUT I HELLA WAS NOT GONNA LET HER GET AWAY WITH SHIT TALKING ME SO I SAID, “You know, I do respect myself. I have my hair like this because I respect myself enough to do it and have the confidence to pull it off, and I dress like this because I respect the fact that I have killer legs that I don’t want to hide just because some old crows glare at me over it. My self-respect has nothing to do with my parenting ability, but if it did, I’d say it’s been a positive correlation because my son is respectful of everyone and doesn’t judge people based on their appearances. He knows that people look how they do because that’s just how they want to look, and that’s how all three-year-olds are until they get to the age where they see the fact that their parents are scowling at a girl who has bright hair, or a boy who wears a skirt, and that’s the age where they become insufferable assholes like you.” AND LET ME JUST SAY THIS WOMAN’S JAW DROPPED FASTER THAN THE TRIX BOX SHE WAS HOLDING AS I FUCKIN SASHAYED OUT WITH MY PANDA PUFFS AND CARRIED ON SINGING~*~*~

//you’re my hero

ask-the-flesh-thief:

j0ye:

OKAY SO I’M GONNA DROP A STORY ON Y’ALL 

MY FOLLOWERS KNOW THAT I’M PRETTY UNIQUE LOOKING

I HAVE A GNARLY UNDERCUT, A SHORT HAIRCUT, AND AS OF YESTERDAY MY HAIR IS BRIGHT PURPLE, AND I TEND TO WEAR CLOTHES OF THE ALL-BLACK-SHORT-SKIRTS-THIGH-HIGHS-INTIMIDATING-HEAD-BITCH-IN-CHARGE VARIETY

MY FOLLOWERS ALSO KNOW THAT I HAVE A RAD LITTLE THREE-YEAR-OLD SON NAMED OLIVER WHO IS MY WORLD

ONE DAY, OLIVER AND I WERE AT THE STORE, AND WE WERE WALKING PAST THE CEREAL, SINGING A SONG TOGETHER AND OVERALL JUST BEING CUTE BECAUSE WE’RE FUCKING ADORABLE, AND THIS MIDDLE-AGED WOMAN WAS WALKING THE OTHER WAY WITH HER HUSBAND AND DAUGHTER. I’M USED TO PEOPLE STARING AT ME, ESPECIALLY CONSIDERING I WAS ROCKING BLUE HAIR AND A OUIJA BOARD SHIRT AND A HELLA CUTE VELVET MINISKIRT THIS SPECIFIC DAY, SO I IGNORED HER GLARING AT ME AND CONTINUED ON LOOKING AT THE PANDA PUFFS

THEN I STARTED HEARING HER MUTTER UNDER HER BREATH ABOUT ME, SAYING STUFF LIKE, “Irresponsible teen mom couldn’t keep her legs closed” AND, “Her son is going to be so messed up because she has absolutely no self-respect”

NORMALLY I JUST LET IT GO, BUT THAT DAY OLIVER AND I WERE SINGING THE SHINS SO I WAS IN A REALLY GOOD MOOD AND FELT CONFIDENT, SO I STOPPED MY CART AND SAID, “Excuse me, did you say something?”. SHE KINDA STARTED BLUSHING AND SAID NO, TO WHICH I REPLIED, “Well, it seems you kinda did say something. Something about me being irresponsible and not having respect for myself?” AND THIS WOMAN WAS BRIGHT RED AT THIS AND HER HUSBAND WAS JUST TRYNA HURRY HER ALONG AT THAT POINT BUT I HELLA WAS NOT GONNA LET HER GET AWAY WITH SHIT TALKING ME SO I SAID, “You know, I do respect myself. I have my hair like this because I respect myself enough to do it and have the confidence to pull it off, and I dress like this because I respect the fact that I have killer legs that I don’t want to hide just because some old crows glare at me over it. My self-respect has nothing to do with my parenting ability, but if it did, I’d say it’s been a positive correlation because my son is respectful of everyone and doesn’t judge people based on their appearances. He knows that people look how they do because that’s just how they want to look, and that’s how all three-year-olds are until they get to the age where they see the fact that their parents are scowling at a girl who has bright hair, or a boy who wears a skirt, and that’s the age where they become insufferable assholes like you.” AND LET ME JUST SAY THIS WOMAN’S JAW DROPPED FASTER THAN THE TRIX BOX SHE WAS HOLDING AS I FUCKIN SASHAYED OUT WITH MY PANDA PUFFS AND CARRIED ON SINGING~*~*~

//you’re my hero

asylum-art:

Dietmar Voorworld is an artist who takes rocks, pebbles and leaves he finds in nature and turns them into memorable pieces of circular land art.