Friday, February 20, 2009

Powerbirth! Start pushing at 5cm!

So recently I became aware of a "Revolutionary" new birthing technique, called "Powerbirth". I watched a video of this technique, by the founder, Lydi Ronka Owen, as well as checked out her website.

While watching the video, I was horrified. Women are excitedly following this technique, under the false premise that it's what they SHOULD be doing, that it will be faster, and that there is no risk.

In the video, and on the website ( www.powerbirth.com ), Lydi states:

When a woman reaches 5-6 cm's dilation, she
feels like pushing. This is because the
fetus/baby has completed flexion of his/her
head. The occiput is now the presenting part,
the smallest diameter of the skull that has to
pass through the bony pelvis.

EVERY woman feels like bearing down at this
stage of labor
, but is generally told that if she
pushes, she will hurt herself or her baby.

WRONG!!! If she pushes, she will be helping her
baby to make the 1/8 rotation from the Ischial
Spine to the Os Pubis, which will enable her
baby/fetus to pivot and enter the birth canal.

If she doesn't help her unborn to make this
rotation, she will be given an epidural to help
her with the pain she will endure because she
refused to listen to her body, and her baby's
suggestion of- "Give me a little help here, MOM,"
and, ultimately - the CESAREAN
!



Lydi not only says in a blanket statement that EVERY woman feels the urge to push at 5cm, but that if she DOESN'T do this, then the mom will likely end up in a cesarean section.

This information goes against everything that we ( midwives ) know about the physiology of birth. Those of us who also don't ever tell a woman when it's okay to push ( because we're not in their body ), know for a fact that a woman feeling the complete urge to push at 5cm just doesn't happen. It's very, very rare.

What also bothers me, is that this "technique" is marketed as an EMPOWERING technique for birth, and yet...there is a midwife's hand in mom's vagina quite often. HOW is that empowering? During the video, one can literally see the midwive's hand and arm TREMBLING from the force of manual dilation. Yes, you read that right...manual dilation. Not holding back a lip because mom wanted that done instead of waiting it out...manually causing the cervix to be more open than it is naturally. And quite unnecessarily.

The most dangerous thing about this, is that women are being led to believe that this is SAFE. They are not told of the risks of cervical swelling, cervical tearing, hemorrhage, exhaustion from pushing before the body is 100% ready ( oh wait, according to the powerbirth technique, that's at 5-6cm. ), uterine and/or cervical prolapse.

Nevermind their power being taken away from them by having multiple vaginal checks, being brainwashed to begin pushing at 5-6cm ( how is this ANY different than the hospital staff saying "Okay! You're 10, you can begin pushing now...". Gee thanks for telling me what MY body is ready to do ) and being led to believe that this will lead to much faster births.

An acquaintance had a birth under this technique, and she ended up pushing for hours and hours on end, with the midwife's hand inside of her vagina the whole time, MANUALLY pushing the cervix back. I want to cry when I hear this.

Obstetricians aren't the only ones who are harming women, or putting them in very dangerous situations. Do these midwives believe that they're doing anything intentionally harming? No. But neither do most Obstetricians who believe in Cesarean Sections as whole for safety.

Just because a home birth midwife is a home birth midwife, it doesn't make her safe. Women...know who you're hiring, and thoroughly research what they're selling. There shouldn't be any "technique" for giving birth...women have been giving birth for centuries, without needing a label, a technique, or another woman's hand inside of their vagina, to do her body's job for her.

51 comments:

TheFeministBreeder said...

I had the unbearable urge to push at 2 cm. My contractions came on like a freight train that day. First nothing, then a lost mucous plug, then BOOM! Full active labor. My doula was convinced that I was in transition because my body was literally bearing down without any help from me, and I could not stop it. But I wasn't in transition (according to the hospital staff) so I got the epidural (yes, big mistake) because I was terrified that I was going to rip my cervix open from pushing too soon.

Instead, my cervix swelled from not pushing when I felt the urge.

THEN, I read somewhere later that a woman should be allowed to bear down WHENEVER she feels the urge... not just at 10 cm. God, I wish I had known that during my labor. I think things would have turned out quite differently.

I agree that this woman shouldn't make generalities by saying "every woman." That is irresponsible. But I wish more thought and research went into the notion of pushing before "complete." It would have helped me last time.

Birthkeeper said...

Let me clarify something - I believe that when a woman's body takes over, and there is an unbearable urge, one that you cannot control...then the body's cues should be followed.

As a midwife, I do not check dilation during labor, in roughly 98% of the moms I attend. There's no point. So, I wouldn't know if mom was 2cm or 10 most of the time. I follow mom's cues, and she needs to do what her body is telling her to do.

Are you sure that you were only 2cm? The thing is, the doctor or nurse who checked you could have been wrong. I'm not doubting *you*, by any means...but I've not heard of a woman's body taking over and bearing down at 2cm. It may be possible that you were further along, and dr/nurse was feeling the folds of the baby's scalp ( I've made this mistake myself ).

But the point I have a big problem with, is the author's statement that ALL women feel the urge to push at 5cm, because I know this is NOT fact. And saying this, and telling women that they will have shorter labors if they begin pushing at 5cm, is extremely dangerous.

Anyway, hope you get my point. ;)

TheFeministBreeder said...

Oh yes, I definitely get your point. I have no idea if they were wrong. I do know that my (very experienced and trustworthy doula) was convinced that I was about to deliver that baby, but the all-knowing (insert eye rolling here) hospital staff said I wasn't. They also argued constantly over whether I was this many or that many centimeters. To this very day, I'm convinced that if I'd let myself push when I felt the need, I would have had that baby in a couple of hours, instead of 38. But I absolutely do not agree what that other midwives assessment that "ALL" women should push at 5 centimeters. Those of us who understand and respect the birth process know that there is no "all" or "every" or "always" or "never" when it comes to birth.

I still think this needs to be talked about though. Or maybe it is talked about, but I just didn't know about it becase I made the mistake of signing up with an OB for my births (which I will never do again.)

LauraLounsbury said...

I came upon your blog through a comment you left on a girl's blog that was praising her midwife Liz for the powerbirth technique. Liz was my midwife for my first child and I just had it out with Lydi (who trained Liz) via email about what she did to me and the method she's using. I would like you to send you the emails we sent back and forth so I can get your feedback about what happened. Please send me your email address. I will separate my address with spaces so that no one that's phishing can find it.
t h e l o u n s b u r y s 1 @ y a h o o . c o m


Thanks!

Sarah said...

I just found this post -I know it is old, but I want to know if there are any doctors who will allow pushing as early as 5 cm. I felt like pushing from that point on. It alleviated pain and it got to the point where my body was pushing and I was trying as hard as I could not to let it, which made everything excruciating.

Why don't doctors recognize emotional signposts as anything to pay attention to? Those of us who don't fit the normal patterns of birth would really benefit if they would let us just do what our bodies want us to do when we want to do it!

Christine Fiscer, Birthkeeper said...

Sarah - as I think I have said in comments already, this particular brand of Midwifery isn't about mom being "allowed" to push when her body takes over. This particular brand comes with multiple vaginal exams (which shouldn't be done no matter WHERE you are or whether you have an OB or a MW), forced/coached pushing, and manual dilation of the cervix.

There are some women who will push at different times. For most of my clients, I'll never know whether that was at 5cm or 10cm, because I don't check unless something in the labor is not right. Which, is rare. :)

Rochelle said...

I delivered two babies with Lydi. She is the safest and most knowledgeable midwife out there. She worked with my bodies natural urges to push at around 5cm. Both of my babies were born safely without any tearing and I was up and about feeling great shortly after my birth. People are afraid to listen to her wisdom because it goes against their teachings and they would have to admit that what they were taught is wrong-that's hard for most people to admit, even if it's true. I delivered my third child with a midwife who felt that pushing was unsafe before ten centimeters. It counteracted against my bodies natural instincts- subsequently, I spent three day in labor and had a hellish birth with a midwife who claims, "A gentle birth lasts a lifetime." There's nothing gentle about tiring a woman out and not working with her body to help her deliver as safely and swiftly as possible. Most midwives are too afraid to take responsibility for the birth and leave it up to mothers who often are so panicked they can't get in touch with what's going on in their bodies without the help of a wise, intuitive midwife to guide them through their birth. When I had my babies with Lydi-I felt empowered and strong. When I birthed with a different midwife who is supposed to be top in my area, I felt weakened and disappointed with my overall birth experience. I suffered longer than I had to. I truly believe if I had my third child with Lydi, I would have been really satisfied with my overall birth experience. Also, Lydi delivers babies because it is her calling, and because she cares about children and their mothers. Most midwives any more, are in the field for the money and the ego boost. Lydi has never turned a client away for lack of money, although I've seen other midwives do it all the time. She gets attacked because her ideas are revolutionary and will change the world of midwifery, put their egos aside and listen to her and look at her track record. She knows her stuff and she is the best. There aren't any midwives who even come close to having her wisdom and intuition-even Ina May. If you want a safe, empowering satisfying, safe birth experience-Power birth is the only way to go. I have first hand experience with her and highly recommend her. When your cervix is ready, it's ready. There is no point in suffering through longer, painful, tiring hours of contractions when there is a point in most women before 10 cm that they can safely and easily push that baby out. You need a qualified, caring, intuitive midwife with enough experience and love to help you and guide you whenever your body is ready to release the baby. Lydi Owen is just that, anyone who says otherwise is misinformed, and hasn't had the benefit of working with her or is afraid to admit she is right.

Rochelle said...
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Rochelle said...
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Rochelle said...
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r said...

I accidentally posted the same comment a few times so I deleted them. If anyone wants a personal testimonial about Lydi Owen, feel free to ask me. As much as we'd like to believe that a women naturally knows what to do in labor-I disagree. Most modern women are out of touch with their bodies and need the guidance of an experienced intuitive midwife who can tell where they are at in their labor and guide them through it. If we could do it naturally by following our body's instincts we wouldn't need midwives, doctors, CNM's, etc., to help deliver our babies, would we? When the pain kicks in and you have something that big coming out of something not so big, most women get really scared and the fear makes the process harder overall. that's when you need a strong, caring woman by your side to help you through it and come out on the other end feeling strong, powerful, and satisfied with your birth experience. every woman deserves that, and Lydi truly delivers in that area. I gave birth three times in my living room with midwives of two different philosophies. If I knew what I know now, I would have begged, borrowed and whatever to have Lydi at my birth because unfortunately for my last one I was on the other side of the country. I was cocky and thought I had enough experience to get through on my own with minimal help from a midwife. I needed Lydi for this last birth more than the other two and regret not going with her for the third time. She would have saved me a lot of pain, suffering and disappointment with my birth experience with her way of truly helping every woman who delivers with her feel like she is strong, powerful, and capable of having a swift, safe, harmonious birth. I couldn't give her a higher recommendation. She deserves much praise and credit for bringing light to the truth when most midwives are more concerned about fighting amongst each other instead of bonding together towards the common goal of showing the world that home birth is the safest and best option to birth our children.

r said...

Honestly, if I had called I bet Lydi would have flown out to be there to assist me in birth. She's the most loving woman I've ever met. I didn't think about that unfortunately and without Lydi's help, I unfortunately had an excruciatingly painful and unfulfilling birth experience the third time. I wouldn't have had to beg, borrow, or whatever...all I had to do was ask and she would have been there for me like she is for all of her clients. She's the best. Hands down. I made a huge mistake not birthing with her, and if I ever have another which is doubtful after the trauma I went through with my last midwife-I'd walk across the country to have her deliver my kid. She's the best out there. I feel really passionate about Powerbirth because I have experienced first hand how extraordinary it is and reaped the benefits twice...and I've also delivered the old fashioned wait till ten cm way and I regret it. So from experiencing both sides of the coin-Powerbirth is where it's at.

Christine Fiscer, Birthkeeper said...

My blog post wasn't towards Lydi Owen, but towards the "technique" of Powerbirthing, just as I have posted about dangerous practices by Obstetricians in the past. I will not allow the promotion of it on my blog - so feel free to take that elsewhere. :)

I personally know of *several* women who have been deeply traumatized (both physically and emotionally) by the things done in the name of Powerbirthing. I feel sorry for women who feel that they NEED a Midwife (or any care provider) to instruct them in how to give birth, or feel better in having someone tell them what to do and what not to do. Women are incredibly strong and more than capable of giving birth without someone telling them when to push, how to push, or what is going on inside of their own body.

To put ANY Midwife on a pedestal is dangerous. And ANY Midwife who has RULES for their clients, isn't a true "With Woman" Midwife. A Midwife who instructs women on what and when to do things doesn't trust the birthing process any more than the misguided women she serves that are relying on a care provider to make things good. I know of Midwives who don't "allow" their clients to do certain things - birth in their own bed, birth in water, birth on hands and knees - and this is deplorable. This shows that the Midwife believes she is the one in control.

No one, including myself, has argued the point that some women's bodies take over in pushing before she reaches 10cm. However, this is NOT the Powerbirth philosophy. From the video I watched (Lydi's own video), women were being TOLD when to push, and often included manual dilation and many many cervical exams. This is a gross violation to women.

Again - I will not allow the promotion of Powerbirthing on my blog. It is a dangerous and irresponsible approach to Midwifery, and dishonors the beautiful process of birth.

r said...

I am more than happy with Power Birth...don't knock it till you try it. I was more than happy to have Lydi tell me what to do when I was in labor. All I wanted to do was crawl in a ball and die when I was in active labor. If it wasn't for her, I wouldn't have known what to do. I was out of my mind in pain and very grateful for her loving guidance. She never did anything invasive or dangerous. I think it's dangerous to tire a woman out, or assume she knows what to do in labor...if such was the case, we wouldn't need midwives or any other help. She's regarded highly by me because I have witnessed first hand the value of her technique of birthing and her success rate. I hear far too many stories of tearing, hospital transfers, c-sections, etc., from women whose midwives followed the 10cm rule and allowed them to labor without the guidance or helpful instruction they could have offered to allow them safer, less invasive, easier births. It's just my persobal experience from being surrounded and in the company of several midwives, and their clients. That's why I think Lydi is the top midwife in the field today. No disrespect, I just know that I haven't heard or witnessed a fraction of the complaints I've heard from other women about their births when I was around Lydi and her clientele. The majority of her births do not experience the tearing, long days in labor, hospital transfers, etc., that other women who delivered with other midwives experience. No one can make every one happy, however her track record is reputable and her knowledge is priceless. She didn't have any rules with me, and I was grateful for her guidance when I couldn't think straight because usually when you are in labor it is physically, mentally, and emotionally overwhelming. If women don't need a midwife, why do we have them???

Christine Fiscer, Birthkeeper said...

I *am* a Midwife, so perhaps you've misunderstood me. However, I have an extremely low hospital transfer rate, a next to nothing tearing rate, and an even lower cesarean rate with my clients. And I don't check dilation in 99% of the labors I attend. Many of them, I don't even catch the baby. I am simply there as Midwives are meant to be - as a help only if help is needed. Many of my clients don't need any help though. They know their bodies, and they do beautifully without any input or help from me. This is how it should be.

I'm very glad your experience with Powerbirthing was just fine - many women have not been as fortunate. I have come across more women who have been traumatized by it, rather than empowered by it.

Best wishes to you.

r said...

Cervical checks were always helpful to me in knowing where I was at in my labor. I think far too many people view it as invasive for the wrong reasons. I found it to be not invasive at all. My last midwife was against cervical checks-I had to beg her to do it. I was at 11cm by the time she did. She didn't feel comfortable doing checks more so becasue it was a vagina, not because it was invasive. A midwife should be comfortable with women's vagina's and should definitely check each woman to make sure everything looks normal before she delivers, and check when she is in labor because it's a helpful indicator of how her labor is progressing from the inside. My midwife didn't think I was in in active labor because as a result of Powerbirthing, I was somewhat more in control and calmer than what she was used to seeing in her clients. She had no idea what was going on because outwardly she couldn't read my signals. If you want to discuss things- maybe you shouldn't ask people to "take it elsewhere", because they don't share your beliefs. If you aren't willing to discuss this topic and hear all perspectives-than you are narrow minded and stuck in an inflexible mind state, and not open to learning and growing.

Christine Fiscer, Birthkeeper said...

I have no issues with vaginas - they are actually very fascinating. And, I have no issues checking a cervix when there is a NEED. However, in the *majority* of normal labors and births, there is zero need nor benefit in checking a cervix. Certainly no benefit in checking routinely.

The "take it elsewhere" was in reference to promoting the Powerbirth Technique. Just as I wouldn't allow someone to promote scheduled cesareans, inductions, or drugs as wonderful things either.

r said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Christine Fiscer, Birthkeeper said...

I have deleted comments and have now put my blog on moderation. I will NOT allow the promotion of dangerous birth practices - regardless of whether the care provider is an OB, Midwife, or Unassisted birther.

If you'd like to call me closed-minded due to this - have at it. ;)

MandalaMom said...

The midwife who attended my first birth used the Powerbirth method. I had never even heard of it and she never mentioned it during prenatals.

During the labor, she manually dilated my cervix with her fingers. It was the most horrifically painful thing I have ever experienced in my life, before or since. (I've had two other home births since then that were nearly painless and, while fast, were gentle, peaceful and empowering). Not only did the constant "exams" amplify the pain a thousand-fold, but they caused me to "check out" emotionally, because they were a total violation. She began manually dilating my cervix long before I was having a natural urge to bear down. She never explained *what* she was doing, or why, or asked permission or informed me that I was being Power Birthed.

When I felt the urge to bear down, she ordered me to lie on the floor. I had been laboring in a squat, rocking my hips, which was the only thing allowing me to cope with back labor. I refused and I remember crying "NOOOOO" as I was forcefully moved to the bed she had made for me on the floor. Once lying down, my baby's heart rate began to decel although it had been fine while I was upright. Then it was all crisis and "PUSH! PUSH! PUSH!" and threats that the baby needed to be born NOW, or else. I tore severely delivering her shoulders but got her out very quickly. The entire birth was 5 hours, from first contraction to delivery. My baby had a low APGAR and needed oxygen. Once she was stable and I had been stitched (sans anesthetic, because the midwife didn't have anything for pain except ice cubes) the midwife left. I was eager for her to go.

I should mention that immediately after the birth, she roughly massaged my abdomen and applied traction to the cord and pulled my placenta out. Before she left, I passed out while trying to hobble from the toilet to the bed and my husband questioned whether I had lost too much blood. The midwife was not concerned and said something like "well, it IS a lot of blood. If it were any more blood than it is, it would be too much blood, but as it is, it's okay." It was so "okay" that I ended up in the emergency room later, having a transfusion of 4 units. Does this sound like a midwife who understand anything about natural birth?

I consider my first home birth "a hospital birth at home." It was full of everything I did not want. I had PTSD afterward, with frequent panic attacks, persistent insomnia and obsessive fears of death. I was NEVER going to have another baby, despite desperately wanting more children, because I knew for certain that I would not survive another birth like that.

But every dark cloud has a silver lining. That birth inspired me to learn everything I could about what had gone wrong and how to prevent it from happening again..That birth is the reason I do what I do now, educating women about how Birth Works--about the safety and beauty of birth when the process is allowed to unfold without interference. Power Birth is not natural. It's a violation of nature and women have the right to informed consent about the risks, just like with any other unnecessary intervention.

MandalaMom said...

The midwife who attended my first birth used the Power Birth method. I had never even heard of it and she never mentioned it during prenatals. I chose homebirth because I wanted to birth with as few interventions as possible and I wanted to follow my instincts. I thought by hiring a midwife and staying home I was going to have the safest birth possible.

During my labor, she manually dilated my cervix with her fingers. It was the most horrifically painful thing I have ever experienced in my life, before or since. (I've had two other home births since then that were nearly painless and, while fast, were gentle, peaceful and empowering). Not only did the constant "exams" amplify the pain a thousand-fold, but they caused me to "check out" emotionally, because they were a total violation. She began manually dilating my cervix long before I was having a natural urge to bear down. She never explained *what* she was doing, or why, or asked permission or informed me that I was being Power Birthed.

When I felt the urge to bear down, she ordered me to lie on the floor. I had been laboring in a squat, rocking my hips, which was the only thing allowing me to cope with back labor. I refused and I remember crying "NOOOOO" as I was forcefully moved to the bed she had made for me on the floor. Once lying down, my baby's heart rate began to decel although it had been fine while I was upright. Then it was all crisis and "PUSH! PUSH! PUSH!" and threats that the baby needed to be born NOW, or else. I tore severely delivering her shoulders but got her out very quickly. The entire birth was 5 hours, from first contraction to delivery. My baby had a low APGAR and needed oxygen. Once she was stable and I had been stitched (sans anesthetic, because the midwife didn't have anything for pain except ice cubes to “numb” the tissue) the midwife left. I was eager for her to go. (continued…)

MandalaMom said...

The midwife who attended my first birth used the Powerbirth method. I had never even heard of it and she never mentioned it during prenatals. I chose homebirth because I wanted to birth with as few interventions as possible and I wanted to follow my instincts and I thought by hiring a midwife and staying home I was going to have the safest birth possible.

During my labor, she manually dilated my cervix with her fingers. It was the most horrifically painful thing I have ever experienced in my life, before or since. (I've had two other home births since then that were nearly painless and, while fast, were gentle, peaceful and empowering). Not only did the constant "exams" amplify the pain a thousand-fold, but they caused me to "check out" emotionally, because they were a total violation. She began manually dilating my cervix long before I was having a natural urge to bear down. She never explained *what* she was doing, or why, or asked permission or informed me that I was being Power Birthed.
(continued...)

MandalaMom said...

(continued) When I felt the urge to bear down, she ordered me to lie on the floor. I had been laboring in a squat, rocking my hips, which was the only thing allowing me to cope with back labor. I refused and I remember crying "NOOOOO" as I was forcefully moved to the bed she had made for me on the floor. Once lying down, my baby's heart rate began to decel although it had been fine while I was upright. Then it was all crisis and "PUSH! PUSH! PUSH!" and threats that the baby needed to be born NOW, or else. I tore severely delivering her shoulders but got her out very quickly. The entire birth was 5 hours, from first contraction to delivery. My baby had a low APGAR and needed oxygen. Once she was stable and I had been stitched (sans anesthetic, because the midwife didn't have anything for pain except ice cubes to “numb” the tissue) the midwife left. I was eager for her to go.
I should mention that immediately after the birth, she roughly massaged my abdomen and applied traction to the cord and pulled my placenta out. Before she left, I passed out while trying to hobble from the toilet to the bed and my husband questioned whether I had lost too much blood. The midwife was not concerned and said something like "well, it IS a lot of blood. If it were any more blood than it is, it would be too much blood, but as it is, it's okay." It was so "okay" that I ended up in the emergency room later, having a transfusion of 4 units. Does this sound like a midwife who trusts birth or women’s bodies or understands anything about natural birth?
(continued...)

MandalaMom said...

I consider my first home birth "a hospital birth at home" thanks to my involuntary introduction to the Power Birth technique. It was full of everything I did not want. I had PTSD afterward, with frequent panic attacks, persistent insomnia and obsessive fears of death. I was NEVER going to have another baby, despite desperately wanting more children, because I knew for certain that I would not survive another birth like that.

But every dark cloud has a silver lining. That “Power Birth” inspired me to learn everything I could about what had gone wrong and how to prevent it from happening again and through it, I became truly empowered. That birth is the reason I do what I do now, educating women about how Birth Works--about the safety, beauty, and instinctive quality of birth when the process is allowed to unfold without interference.

Power Birth is not natural. Women have the right to informed consent about the risks of Power Birth, just like with any other unnecessary intervention.

r said...

I'm sorry to hear about that. I can't reply because the "moderator" of this site has censored me because she seems to have a personal vendetta against Lydi Owen. I would love to hear more to understand better and I'm sorry your birth was unsatisfying.

LauraLounsbury said...

MandalaMom- Did you use Elizabeth Camp Smith as your midwife? Your birth sounded almost exactly like my first which was also a Powerbirth nightmare. Liz trained under Lydi.

Christine Fiscer, Birthkeeper said...

I have already said - several times - that I don't have any "personal vendettas" against anyone. I simply will not allow the promotion of such a vile practice of so-called Midwifery. Period. :)

MandalaMom said...

Thanks for your interest, Laura and R, I've posted in more detail about my experience with Power Birth on my own blog: http://mandalamom.blogspot.com/2010/12/power-birth-not-to-be-confused-with.html

Claire said...

I didn't even realise I was in labour and no one told me (it was a bad situation as my baby was about to die and no one spoke) no one told me to push or not to or anything else. I didn't push as it happens, but I did follow my body and did things naturally. I was in little pain because I followed my body.

A good MW can tell how far along a woman is without sticking her fingers into the mother. There are physical signs (such as the temperature of the legs or the linea nigra) and using general observation.

Claire said...

No woman should be in so much pain she wants to curl into a ball and die, that's bad management from the MW. Why wasn't she encouraging different positioning? Why didn't she teach techniques before the birth?

sesasha said...

http://www.powerbirth.com/Technique.html

Either she's back-pedaling or others have taken Lydi Owen's instruction out of context. I'm learning towards the former. In either case, the midwifery community seems to have put her in her place and she's now advocating that women do what their bodies tell them do during labor and delivery, rather than what someone else tells them to do.

B said...

Reading this was absolutely horrifying! Obviously there are a few woman who feel that it was a good experience from them, but it is even MORE obvious that the vast majority were emotionally scarred as well as physically. I am pregnant with my first and so happy to know that my midwife believes that my body knows what to do and she is there only if I feel I need her. Thank you for raising awareness! No one should be told when to push whether it is at 5 cm or 10cm, our bodies will let us know. It is frightening when a care provider OB or MW put an all inclusive label on women.

January said...

@MandalaMom, that is called birth rape...what that midwife did to you. I am so sorry mama. It is good to hear you have had 2 wonderful home births since. (((hugs)))

January said...

Wow Christine. Thank you for shedding light on this issue. I have shared your blog post and hope that others do as well.

What concerns me the most is that this sounds just as full of interventions and brainwashing as a hospital birth with all of its interventions, etc.

I do believe that not all woman feel an urge at 10 cm. We are all different. But to say that ALL woman feel an urge at 5-6 cm and if she doesn't follow that urge is not helping her baby, etc, is ridiculous.

After reading the comments from 'r' I am even more convinced that this is far from Power Birth, but more like "Dependent on your Midwife" birth.

I appreciate your responses to her and feel you are a midwife that truly trusts birth. 'r' and "Power Birth" midwives are not trusting birth. They are putting blanket statemnets on all midwives and making it as if they are necessary for women to have empowering births. That is wrong. women should have the support they want, but shouldn't be told they 'have' to have anything to birth. They don't.

When I had my UC, I NEVER had any urges until the end. I listened to my body every step of the way and it went perfectly. My body and baby know how to birth better than anyone can tell them to and it's ludicrous for someone to say they know my body, baby and birth better than I do.

lisa mai said...

http://www.powerbirth.com/Technique.html

I did not get the urge to push until I literally began pushing my babies out (about 5 minutes from beginning to end). But I do believe there are many cases in which women do feel the urge to push sooner, and they should be allowed to follow their bodies cues. Certainly all women shouldn't start bearing down at 5 cm. I was really distressed at reading this post, but after reading through the powerbirth website it clearly states that they do NOT advocate manual dilation. Please read their site and be sure of the information that you are spreading.

Christine Fiscer, Birthkeeper said...

Lisa - the website has been COMPLETELY re-worded since this has been exposed. It is a huge deception. The promotional videos *clearly* show the Midwives doing manual dilation, as well as previous clients attesting to the fact that it was done to them.

The very first promotional video made, by the founder, has a laboring mom turn to the camera and say, "See now in the hospital they wouldn't move your cervix back for you!". It shows the Midwife with her hand inside of the woman's vagina for EVERY single contraction, in which she instructs her to purple push.

I am *acutely* aware of what I am speaking of.

r said...

http://midwifethinking.com/2011/01/22/the-anterior-cervical-lip-how-to-ruin-a-perfectly-good-birth/

Christine Fiscer, Birthkeeper said...

"R" - Yes, I wholly agree with that article. However, it has absolutely NOTHING to do with what the Powerbirth technique has done to women. Powerbirth has included directed purple pushing, BEFORE mom has the urge, and *manual* dilation. It's on video. There is no denying it, no matter how many times a website is re-worded. :)

mommysblessings said...

I have to say that I had pushed two of my babys who were premies out at 7cm. at 5 lb 5 oz and 5 lb 12oz but I was listening to my body and not my nurse or doc. I had my forth at hm and had tons of pressure and was pushing at 6 cm getting no where. My mid wife checked me because of my urge and request. Boy that was way more painful and un needed. When my body was truly ready to push my baby boy came right out in less then 5 minute. The point I'm getting at is our bodys are ready to puch when they are ready to push. No matter how many studies are done!!!! Labor is not a promotion or an acted out play that is the same for every women. More so then not women push around 10 cm. And dont sit there well someone has there hand up there while there baby is trying to come into the world. My midwife guided me and is the most amazing person I know when it comes to her knowledge of laboring women. She was my support when I needed her and continues to be a close friend.

maria said...

Could I have a link to the video? Thanks.

Christine Fiscer, Birthkeeper said...

Sorry Maria, you have to order the video in order to see it. :(

maria said...

Oh I see. Mmm not sure I need that to be convinced. Yikes. Thanks for sticking your neck out, Christine.

LauraLounsbury said...

I just read Lydi's response to the opposition she's received about "Powerbirth" and I have a few things to say in response..And "E"'s email...why don't they just say her name on there if she's so proud of what she practices. I won't mention her full name because what I have to say about her isn't good at all. She actually mentioned me on the post. I am "L" at the bottom of the page who looks radiant and happy in the pictures of my birth I sent her. (I sent her the pictures to prove that I was one of her clients and my story was true as she didn't remember me at first) Of course I'm happy in those pictures. I finally got to meet my 1st child after going through literal hell giving birth to her. I wish I had pictures of me almost fainting from bloodloss into my husbands arms and the softball sized blood blot I passed into the toilet. (She left less than an hour after the birth, before I had even gotten up to go the bathroom) How about laying in bed in agonizing pain for 2 days, barely able to turn over. (My experience with my subsequent births were nothing like this. I was up in the evening and had hardly any muscular pain with the exception of afterbirth pains)I wish I had video of "E" telling me to PUSH PUSH PUSH PUSH like a mad woman, not giving me any time to rest even though I told her I needed to (It's okay she said, You're almost there) ALL OF THIS INSANE PUSHING TOOK PLACE AT 6 CENTIMETERS WITH NO URGE TO BEAR DOWN WHATSOEVER. ((((During my subsequent peaceful birth, I had such a fear of pushing that I asked to be told when because I didn't know how to trust my body. On my third birth I was still so afraid of pushing from the trauma of my "Powerbirth" that I waited until my baby was basically coming out on his own before I gave one push and he popped out.)))) She had me pushing so hard with my legs up in the air that I actually popped blood vessels all over my forehead. And during the entire time she manually dilated my cervix during contractions while I pushed. Do any of you know how utterly painful that is? AND SHE TOLD ME (unfortunately just before she performed this heinous act rather than in my prenatals to prepare me) "I AM GOING TO DILATE YOUR CERVIX" She used those words! So if any of the powerbirth advocates says it's not about manual dilation it's a bold faced lie. If they weren't ashamed of it they would use their own names on Lydi's site and prepare EVERY SINGLE MOTHER for the possibility that they might be asked "Do you want to labor for 2 more hours or do you want to see your baby in 30 minutes?" This is a very invasive procedure and every mother deserves to know of the risks involved. (continued)

LauraLounsbury said...

Well, I just lost the first half of my comment unfortunately. I already spent an hour writing it, and I just can't spend any more time on here. If I have time later I will post details about my Powerbirth experience. Lydi actually mentioned me on her site, where she's defending herself and the opposition powerbirth is receiving. I am "L" in the end who looks radiant and happy in her birth pictures. I basically told the nightmare of the birth story and explained that of course I was happy. I was seeing my 1st child for the first time after going through hell giving birth to her. But I did come forward, because I thought that just maybe, if the currently Powerbirth practicing midwives would at least INFORM their clients of the possibility that they might perform this technique, then a mother could feel good about making an informed decision. This was the main reason that I broke my silence and came forward to write my midwife, who is "E" in Lydi's blog and also Lydi about Powerbirth. I hoped that maybe she would change her practice and prepare mothers about Powerbirth, before they are in the vulnerable state in labor. Why doesn't she? Why is it a secret? WHY DON'T THEY TALK TO EVERY MOTHER ABOUT THIS PROCEDURE IN THEIR PRENATALS SO THEY HAVE AMPLE TIME TO DECIDE WHETHER OR NOT POWERBIRTH IS FOR THEM??? Please NOTE: I never had Lydi Owen as my midwife (so I can't say whether or not she prepares her moms for the possibility of using the Powerbirth technique in labor), but I did receive many a nasty, unsympathetic email from her defending my midwife and everything she did to me. My midwife was sympathetic once she received my email and understood how hurt I was (Yes, I was they one they were talking about when they said a mother waited 2 years, but not for any other reason but that I was too afraid to come forward) HOWEVER, she DID defend most all of her actions and after reading what she wrote about DyAnna's birth on Lydi's site I am utterly disgusted by her attitude, and feel no sympathy about them being under fire from other midwives. What exactly do they think that this is? Some game where they know this sweet little trick that the other players don't and so they're trying to sabotage them in jealousy?? They are getting attacked by midwives from all sides because those midwives are tired of receiving complaint after complaint from their traumatized clients about the way they have been treated. Plus they are educated about the dangers of this practice. THAT'S why Lydi and her midwives are under fire, not because there is some personal vendetta against them. AND the reason they aren't in short demand is because women like me are too afraid to come forward. "Who could say anything bad about THAT midwife? They are so experienced and wonderful. They've had over 2000 births and they've never lost a baby....I must be crazy to think they did anything wrong to me..." Well, if you're reading this and "Powerbirth" has changed your life in a way you can never forget, don't be afraid. You're not the only one and you can talk about it. Just like the government midwives are here to SERVE US AS MOTHERS, not the other way around. They are not all knowing and they do make mistakes and there are some that are too proud of themselves to change their ways. This is unfortunate, because the wounds they inflict take a long time to heal.

LauraLounsbury said...

Oh Good! My first comment was posted! I had received an error message when I went to post it..That was disheartening as you can imagine. But it showed up!

ms.johnson said...

LMAO!!! You woman sound like little Teenagers who doesnt like the popular girl in school.. WOW!!! MY POWERBIRTH Birth WAS FANTASTIC!! And Christy How many babies have you birthed??? Like 20 maybe... makes your statement of "acutely" knowing what you speak of comepetely INCORRECT... You know NOTHING of what you speak of!! Shaking my head at all of you JEALOUS, NASTY WOMAN!! Midwives should help each other and be more concerned with LIFE then their pocketbooks and SLANDERING other Midwifes.. If you had a problem with Lydi Owens and her powerbirth technique why werent you woman enough to call her and ask her about it and discuss her with it.. Show how mature you are by blasting her on a BLOG POST!! I hope that woman see this blog and NEVER use you or any of the woman you associate with.

Christine Fiscer, Birthkeeper said...

1) Does it sound the same way when people speak up against abusers? Do they sound like teenagers? What about when people try to warn others about Doctors who cause harm? Do they sound jealous or like teenagers, or are they simply trying to help others avoid being harmed?

2) How many babies have I birthed? Two. My oldest, and my third. My second and fourth were cesareans. I lost one baby in between my third and fourth as well. *I* don't birth my clients' babies. It is mothers who do the birthing, delivering, whatever you want to call it. I am simply there to support, and to catch if I am asked to.

3) What I have written about is not only confirmed by video footage, but by personal account of women who have birthed with Lydi, or have birthed with Midwives trained specifically by Lydi in this "technique". How can it be incorrect if it has been confirmed?

4) I don't care about my pocketbook. Me supporting women who have been abused by this, has absolutely nothing to do with my pocketbook. Especially since Lydi and I do not even live in the same area. ;)

5) What would be the point of calling and asking her about it, when she is choosing to deny that she does or has ever done the things that she has been confirmed doing? And I never really specifically "blasted" her, but have called out this horrible "technique" that should NEVER be done to women, especially when they don't give true informed consent.

6) Women have seen this blog, and they are just as appalled and outraged as I am. Not only that, but more women are coming forward who have been abused by this. They now have a voice, and they don't need to be afraid of coming forward.

Brash and Sassy said...

Hi, I'm due in 9 days (27.2.11), I'm a first time Mum and having my baby boy at Osborne Park Hospital in Perth, Western Australia.
I heard about this "Power Birthing" method when someone on the "What to Expect" forums mentioned it.
Let me tell you I shook when reading women's traumatic experiences of this method.
I think this woman should be sued and her practices made illegal, with so many women traumatized by them.
I agree with a previous poster, that the technique sounds like labour/birth rape.
If somebody did this to me, my fiance (firey bugger!) would rip her away from me.
Are the "midwives" that practice this, mothers themselves? If they are, have they had "Power Birthing" practiced on them??
Anyway, my body has miraculously made a baby up till this point, I'll trust it to do the rest in labour!
Lots a love, Bec. x

nrrrdgrrrl said...

Recently, a woman on my hubpage asked if I had been PowerBirthed without my consent. I honestly didn't know what PowerBirth was until I found Lydi's page. When I asked her to read our birth story and consider the permanent damage my body has endured from pushing at 6 cm, and if in fact, that was from a powerbirth method, this was her response:"I love the way PowerBirth is being attacked when you haven't a clue what it is I'm teaching. After you've read my manual, then talk to me about your opionion...Power means the ability to accomplish something...it doesn't mean pushing too early just to get labor over with...I intend to keep on preaching what I know is truth and I would advise you to do more research before you attack. In fact, you should have done more research before you hired that midwife. As for doctors and hospitals, America ranks 40 and 46 among industrialized nations for bad outcomes during labor and birth for mothers and for babies. Go into a graveyard and see how many infants lie there buried because they were brutalized during birth...by doctors...in the hospital. The bottom line is that it is up to women to better inform themselves and take more responsibility by getting educated during the childbearing cycle." The woman is insane and extremely hostile. If you'd like to see what can happen when you push before completely dilated, see http://hurtbyhomebirth.blogspot.com/2011/03/zens-story.html
http://hubpages.com/hub/Dying-to-Birth-at-Home-Is-Homebirth-Worth-the-Risk

Christine Fiscer, Birthkeeper said...

nrrrdgrrrl - I am SO very sorry for what you went through. :( Your story is almost exactly the same as several of the women that I know who have had PowerBirth experiences also. I hope, desperately, that you understand that not all of us Midwives are like that, and that it is NOT what occurs regularly in home births. I feel physically sick when I think of a woman who calls herself a Midwife, doing this to women. Treating them so abusively. Putting them in danger.

And yes - Lydi and the other Midwives who practice this way continue to lie about it. Continue to go to the default of "Have you even read the manual?". I have videos of her "Powerbirthing" women - doing exactly what you describe in your story. It is very real.

I'm glad you took it a step further than most are able to, and reported your Midwife. A woman out there who is defiling the very sacred tradition of Midwifery, shouldn't be one. I hope you have been able to heal, even somewhat, from your experience.

If you read through more of my blog posts, there are links to other stories that are just like yours, here in Utah where it all started. :sigh:

Christine Fiscer, Birthkeeper said...

Also - the website that you posted your story to is run by a "doctor" (not in practice, hasn't been for many years) who skews and flat out lies about home birth statistics, refusing to acknowledge the safety of home birth with a skilled Midwife. She dodges real debates, and continues to entertain in logical fallacies instead of factual information. Deaths that occur in home births are *not* hidden. They are the most publicized, actually, and Midwives (even when not to blame whatsoever) are villified because of it. Babies die in hospitals every single day at the hands of OBs. Some unpreventable, some very preventable. Just as at home.

As I said, I hope you know that this wasn't home birth. This was birth rape and abuse. :(