Friday, October 14, 2011

Primary Cesarean Prevention: New Initiative Headed by Whitney Pinger, CNM

Whitney Pinger, CNM, Director of WISDOM Midwifery at The George Washington University Medical Faculty Associates, puts her Pearls for Normal Birth into clinical practice, and she and her staff of talented midwives follow them faithfully. As a result, she is demonstrating that following “The Pearls” optimizes a woman’s chances of having a normal vaginal delivery.

As Whitney explains it, "With the Pearls as our clinical guides -- and with policies that respect the independent practice of midwives -- we can achieve a cesarean rate of less than 5%." Practicing with "The Pearls" is the essence of the new initiative, Primary Cesarean Prevention.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The story of WISDOM at GW Hospital

Read about WISDOM
Midwifery at GW Hospital
Here's the story of how WISDOM and Whitney Pinger's team of midwives came to be at GW Hospital -- and their model of care:

"Choosing Natural Childbirth: Options Offer Women the Best of Both Worlds" (pages 4-5) in the Fall 2011 issue of the GWU Hospital Health News.

The bottom line: Overall, the midwives at GW Hospital have a vaginal delivery rate of nearly 95% and a C-section rate of less than 5%. Meanwhile, the national cesarean section rate is 32% (as of 2007).

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The story of two births: one with midwives, the other on a 24-hour clock

by Ami Thakkar
I gave birth to my baby daughter at the GW Midwife Center with Whitney Pinger in early 2011 in a starkly different experience than I had two years back at Sibley when I gave birth to my son.

I live overseas in Lao, PDR, and came back to Washington D.C. (which is my permanent home) to give birth after Whitney and I stayed in touch over email and phone while I was living abroad. 
I was able to have a natural vaginal birth (in fact, it was a VBAC) because of Whitney's care and support. She knew all the right things to say and do, beginning at the moment I started having contractions. At every stage, she was able to give me the right advice to help my contractions develop and to make my breathing and laboring and pushing as effective as possible. I trust her 100%. I also want to commend the nursing staff at GW Hospital whom I found extremely attentive and caring, with their priority always being the mother and baby.

In contrast, when I had my baby boy at Sibley, the doctors were extremely aggressive and put me on a 24-hour time clock to have my baby. They immediately started me on pitocin, even though they knew my strong desire was to have a natural birth. They poked and prodded me on the hour and after 26 hours, I had to end up getting a c-section. I felt the hospital was more interested in selling me things than taking care of me and my baby. Within 24 hours of giving birth, I was visited by professional photo company and asked if I wanted to buy nursing bras. In addition to this, the nurses pushed for my newborn to have formula, when I wanted to exclusively breastfeed. I am 100% convinced that if I had been with Whitney for my first birth, it would have also been a natural vaginal delivery. I know this because she would have given me very different advice than what the doctors at Sibley had given me. 

I can only hope that the medical field will fully back and support Whitney and the midwifery field.

Happy Midwifery Week!

National Midwifery Week is October 3-9 -- a week organized by the American College of Nurse-Midwives to recognize midwives and increase public awareness about the excellent care that midwives provide.

Here's how you can celebrate: Join Team Midwife to show your support for WISDOM midwives and help communicate the value of midwifery care to the public, hospital administrators, and legislators.

One year later...

Dearest Whitney,
Today is Henry's 1st birthday and while we are all rushing around buzzing with excitment and preparing for a fun family celebration, I am constantly thinking about you and the day that Henry was born. The weather was a lot like it is today (maybe not quite as chilly), and by this point in the day (mid-morning) I was deep into pushing, pushing, pushing! There is no way I could have known just how much my life would change in a few of the longest short hours I've ever known.

Today, Henry is an amazingly happy, bright, healthy, strong, confident, curious child. He has a light in his eyes like I have never seen before. He brings such joy into my life everyday, and he has taught me how to love in a way that I never knew existed.

You were there when Henry came into our lives and into this world. You taught me how to birth, how to believe in myself, how to be patient, and how to trust. These are all things that have helped mold me into the mother I am today and therefore the incredible being that is Henry. I know you touch many souls everyday in this same way. You will always be connected to this day deep inside of me and I will continue to thank you endlessly.

Thank you for sharing your love and light with with me. I am so blessed to see it and live in it everyday. I hope you are well!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Midwives are the guardians of normal and natural birth…

This month, Our Bodies Ourselves celebrates 40 years as an invaluable resource for so many women.

Whitney Pinger reflects on the impact Our Bodies Ourselves has had on her: "As a young teen in the 1970s, OBOS taught me that women’s health was ours, and that we did not have to give up or strength and power. I learned that midwives are the guardians of normal and natural birth and that is what I have come to incarnate... Read her full post.

See also Our Bodies Ourselves on the midwifery model of care and Choices in Childbirth: A Statement by Physicians, Midwives and Women’s Health Advocates who Support Safe Choices in Childbirth.