Author Archive

Childbirth and Pelvic Organ Prolapse

Hello, friends of midwives! Today we have a guest post from Elizabeth Carrollton of She is writing about an issue — pelvic organ prolapse — that is very important for childbearing women.

Pregnancy and childbirth are the leading causes of pelvic organ prolapse (POP). Fortunately, POP is completely avoidable and/or manageable with a focus on pelvic health and pelvic muscle strength. In best case scenarios, women would focus on their pelvic health before they ever become pregnant; however, it is never too late to prevent or mitigate the symptoms of POP.

Pelvic organ prolapse is a condition in which the connective tissues and muscles in the pelvic region become so weak that pelvic organs begin to shift out of place. Pregnancy and childbirth are the most prevalent factors for developing POP because these processes stretch pelvic tissues and muscles far beyond their normal size and shape. While pelvic tissues are designed to return to their normal size and shape, they can remain weakened and slightly stretched. There are other factors which can contribute to POP including:

  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Previous pelvic injury
  • Hysterectomy

When any of these risk factors are combined, it presents additional strain on pelvic tissues and can cause increased prolapse symptoms.

Natural Methods for Preventing Pelvic Organ Prolapse

Pelvic organ prolapse can usually be prevented with proper focus on overall health, as well as pelvic tissue strength and tone.

Preventing POP prior to pregnancy

Women who are trying to get pregnant can give themselves a head start on pelvic health by maintaining a healthy weight, quitting unhealthy habits such as smoking, and doing exercises which are known to improve abdominal and pelvic muscle tone. Kegel exercises can help to strengthen the muscles in the upper vagina, urethra, and pelvic floor. It is a good idea to do them daily because the stronger the muscles are prior to pregnancy, the more they will be able to support ensuing changes. Yoga and Pilates are also good exercises as they focus on core strength, which can provide further support to pelvic muscles.

Preventing POP during pregnancy

Most women are familiar with pregnancy-related incontinence. As the uterus grows, the baby gains more weight, and a tremendous pressure is placed on the bladder and urethra. Research has shown that daily Kegel exercises can make a significant difference in preventing incontinence which routinely accompanies the third trimester. It also helps women get into the habit of pelvic floor exercises which should be continued through the postpartum period.

Preventing POP after pregnancy

For women who have not already made a habit of pelvic floor exercises, this is the time to take action. Preventative measures can help postpartum tissues to heal faster and become stronger, which can prevent POP later on. Women should consider the following treatments:

  • Postpartum massage
  • Kegel exercises
  • Pelvic physical therapy

Why is Prevention Important?

While mild cases of POP may not require any treatment, moderate to severe cases are often treated with surgical interventions that may come with considerable health risks. One of the common surgical procedures utilizes a device called transvaginal mesh. This mesh product has been linked to severe health complications and has been the subject of multiple transvaginal mesh recalls and lawsuits. The more women work to prevent the onset of POP, the less likely they will be to require surgical intervention. Please be sure to always discuss all treatment options, as well as their side effects, with your doctor.


Elizabeth Carrollton writes to inform the general public about defective medical devices and dangerous drugs for


31 October 2012 at 12:38 pm Leave a comment

Dept of Labor is requesting thoughts from breastfeeding employees

Spread the word:

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has posted a Request for Information (RFI) from breastfeeding employees, employers, and knowledgeable breastfeeding advocates to help them better understand:

* Specific space and time problems
* Specific space and time solutions

the link directs you to all the info and you can even submit any comments on line!

Deadline 2/22/11

27 January 2011 at 8:05 am Leave a comment

Women Speak Out About What’s Gone Wrong with the United States Birthing System

Check out this awesome article by Tabby Biddle on the state of birth today in America.

Because so many women don’t have an image of what a natural, empowered birth looks like, there is a lot of fear surrounding the act giving birth. Accordingly, the majority of women give their inner authority over to doctors in their birth process. They trust the doctors more than themselves. The problem with this is that many women aren’t aware that the majority of her doctor’s medical decisions are being made today for monetary and legal reasons, and not necessarily for the good of her and her baby.

16 November 2010 at 6:59 am Leave a comment


Do You (or Does Anyone You Know) Live in ILLINOIS?
There is amazing pushing afoot! It is URGENT that we all push together to help Illinois fill the terrible shortage of home birth providers. Together, we can do it!!

The Home Birth Safety Act (SB 3712) to license CPMs in Illinois is being voted on in the House of Representatives this week, even as early as Wednesday!

We need everyone in Illinois to call their Representatives and to forward this message to their family and friends in Illinois TODAY.

Here is the message that every Representative in Illinois needs to hear:
“I want to let the Representative know that Speaker Madigan has just reviewed the Home Birth Safety Act and improved the bill with an amendment. The bill is definitely going to be called this week. Will the Representative vote Yes for the bill on the House Floor?”

If anyone tells you “this is not the right act,” tell them the Home Birth text is in House amendment 001.

Legislators can be looked up (Legislator Lookup) here.
If you can call Monday, please call the Representative’s district office, and if Tuesday is better, call his/her Springfield office.

The Illinois State Medical Society has been spreading misinformation saying the bill will not be voted on. NOT TRUE. House leadership has assured us a vote, but we need the grassroots to bring it home.

So make the call today and spread the word to everyone you know in Illinois!

After you make your calls, please send a text to report the results to me at the phone number below. Otherwise, please send an email to the email address.

Thank you from all of us Pushers in Illinois!

Rachel Dolan Wickersham, CD(DONA), LCCE
President, Coalition for Illinois Midwifery
Vice President, Illinois Council of Certified Professional Midwives
P.S. Again, please spread this far and wide – to your friends, family, and to all other lists! Even to folks outside of the birthing community. We look forward to keeping you informed of our progress thanks to your support!

On Facebook? Please check out the Illinois Families for Midwifery & Coalition for Illinois Midwifery page here!

“That’s great about Illinois and all, but um, I live in Oregon …”
Scratching your head a bit because you received this email but you don’t know a soul in Illinois? No worries! Just ignore this PushAlert if it doesn’t apply for you, but please do stay tuned in to all the amazing happenings around the PushNation. Something BIG may be ready for pushing in the near future in your PushState, and you’ll want to know so that you can help spread the word!
Oh, and if you haven’t already, Please Sign Up for PushAlerts!!

15 November 2010 at 1:33 pm Leave a comment

Nursing: it’s not just for eating!

Ever get scolded for being your baby’s “pacifer”? Here‘s a lovely little article encouraging mama’s to go ahead and nurse even when it’s not “snacktime”.

18 October 2010 at 8:59 pm Leave a comment

For-profit hospitals performing more C-sections

Read the article here.

14 September 2010 at 12:53 pm Leave a comment

Just a spoonful of sugar?

Research in The Lancet warns that existing medical practice does not work and may cause brain damage

A recent study published in The Lancet has shown that the tiny amounts of sucrose given to newborns to relieve pain during invasive procedures in fact is not as effective as previously shown. Earlier studies used newborn facial expressions as indicative of relaxation in response to sucrose administration, but the new study analyzed brain wave and spinal activity and found babies still feel the pain. The researchers acknowledge that a wider scope of study is required to further confirm results but are suggesting that sucrose not be continued to be used for pain relief.

4 September 2010 at 12:48 pm Leave a comment

Majority of Caesareans Peformed BEFORE LABOR STARTS

Not only do 32% of labors end in a Caesarean delivery, but recent data* shows that for most of those deliveries, mama doesn’t go into labor first. Remember when we were shocked that the Cesarean rate was 1 in 4?

Worries about the ever-increasing Caesarean rate led the National Institutes of Health to form a Consortium on Safe Labor, which performed a detailed analysis of electronic records from 228,668 births at 19 hospitals in the United States from 2002 to 2008. The study is the first to analyze how often Caesareans were performed before women went into labor (more than half the time) and how often after labor had begun.

The main reason for a Caesarean was a prior Caesarean. But in women who have not had Caesareans before, one factor that may increase the risk is the use of drugs to induce labor. The practice has been increasing, and the study found that induced labor, compared with spontaneous labor, was twice as likely to result in a Caesarean.

In the study, 44 percent of the women who were trying vaginal delivery had their labor induced. When Caesareans were done after induction, half were performed before the woman’s cervix had dilated to six centimeters, “suggesting that clinical impatience may play a role,” the authors wrote. Full dilation is 10 centimeters, and a Caesarean before six centimeters may be too soon, the researchers said.
All the more reason to consider a homebirth, I say 😉

*apologies for linking to an article you have to register to read

3 September 2010 at 5:56 am Leave a comment

Whip ’em out!

Enjoy this celebrity video as a silly way to end National Breastfeeding Month.

31 August 2010 at 5:31 am 1 comment

Kangaroo care revives a premie believed not to have survived labor

Grab a box of tissues and check out this amazing story of how an Australian mother saved her premature son’s life with skin-to-skin touch, snuggling, kissing, and  loving words.

Her husband added: ‘Luckily I’ve got a very strong, very smart wife. ‘She instinctively did what she did. If she hadn’t done that, Jamie probably wouldn’t be here.’

27 August 2010 at 6:09 am Leave a comment

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