Archive for August, 2008

These are the books on vaccinations I have:

Just a Little Prick, Peter & Hillary Butler (2006)
Evidence of Harm,  David Kirby (2005)
Raising a Vaccine Free Child, Wendy Lydall (2005)
Vaccinations:  The Rest of the Story, A Selection of Articles, Letters and Resources 1979-1992 ,  Mothering Special Edition (1992)
Vaccination:  The Issue of Our Times, edited by Peggy O’Mara (1997)
What Your Docot May NOT Tell You About Children’s Vaccinations, Stephanie Cave (2001)
A Shot in the Dark, Why the P in the DPT vaccination may be hazardous to your child’s health, Harris L. Coulter, Barbara Loe Fisher (1991)
Vaccines, Are They Really Safe & Effective?,  Neil Z. Miller (2005)
Vaccines, Are They Really Safe & Effective?  Neil Z. Miller (1994)
The Immunization Decision, A Guide for Parents:  does your child really need DPT, OPV, MMR and HIB?  Are they safe? Do they work?   Randall Neustaedter (1990)
Immunization Theory vs. Reality, Expose on Vaccinations, Neil Z. Miller (1996)
The Immunization Resource Guide, Diane Rozario (2000)
Vaccinations: Deception & Tragedy, The Truth about Vaccines and the Dangers They Pose, Michael Dye
What Every parent Should Know About Childhood Immunization, Jamie Murphy


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Everyone here probably knows that I am not a fan of ACOG (I pretty much have alot of distain for them, considering their attack on homebirths and midwives).  however, I love using their statements against the OBs that they brainwash.   Many OB’s will tell women “oh you have a big baby…we need to induce, or schedule a cesarean”.  Sound familiar?  Probably does if you have had an ultrasound later in pregnancy.  😦

these quotes are important to note (I think they will surprise you):

Nonetheless, the results of these reports, along with published cost-effectiveness data, do not support prophylactic cesarean delivery for suspected fetal macrosomia with estimated weights of less than 5,000 g (11 lb), although some authors agree that cesarean delivery in these situations should be considered.


In cases of term patients with suspected fetal macrosomia, current evidence does not support early induction of labor

ACOG Issues Guidelines on Fetal Macrosomia
Joanne Chatfield

The Committee on Practice Bulletins–Obstetrics of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has issued new clinical management guidelines on fetal macrosomia. ACOG Practice Bulletin No. 22, which replaces Technical Bulletin No. 159 issued in September 1991, appears in the November 2000 issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology. These guidelines discuss risk factors and complications, and suggest clinical management for the pregnancy with suspected fetal macrosomia.

Diagnosis, Risk Factors and Complications

The term fetal macrosomia implies fetal growth beyond a specific weight, usually 4,000 g (8 lb, 13 oz) or 4,500 g (9 lb, 4 oz), regardless of the fetal gestational age. Results from large cohort studies support the use of 4,500 g as the weight at which a fetus should be considered macrosomic.

Weighing the newborn after delivery is the only way to accurately diagnose macrosomia, because the prenatal diagnostic methods (assessment of maternal risk factors, clinical examination and ultrasonographic measurement of the fetus) remain imprecise. Leopold’s maneuvers and measurement of the height of the uterine fundus above the maternal symphysis pubis are the two primary methods for the clinical estimation of fetal weight, according to ACOG. Use of either of these methods alone is considered to be a poor predictor of fetal macrosomia; therefore, they must be combined to produce a more accurate measurement. Ultrasonographic measurement of the fetus serves as a means to rule out the diagnosis of fetal macrosomia, which may aid in avoiding maternal morbidity, but is considered to be no more accurate than Leopold’s maneuver.

According to the ACOG committee, the risk factors (excluding preexisting diabetes mellitus) for fetal macrosomia, in decreasing order of importance, are as follows: a history of macrosomia, maternal prepregnancy weight, weight gain during pregnancy, multiparity, male fetus, gestational age more than 40 weeks, ethnicity, maternal birth weight, maternal height, maternal age younger than 17 years and a positive 50-g glucose screen with a negative result on the three-hour glucose tolerance test.

Pregestational diabetes and gestational diabetes are also associated with fetal macrosomia. Data from one study demonstrated that women with untreated borderline gestational diabetes had an increased risk of delivering infants weighing more than 4,500 g, compared with women who had normal glucose tolerance levels (6 percent versus 2 percent, respectively). If gestational diabetes remains undiagnosed and untreated, the risk of macrosomia may be as high as 20 percent.

ACOG emphasizes that an increased risk of cesarean delivery is the primary maternal risk factor associated with macrosomia. Results from cohort studies demonstrate that the risk of cesarean delivery in women attempting a vaginal delivery at least doubles when the fetal weight is estimated to be more than 4,500 g.

Although rare (complicating 1.4 percent of all vaginal deliveries), shoulder dystocia is the most serious complication associated with fetal macrosomia. When birth weight is more than 4,500 g, however, the risk is increased to 9.2 to 24 percent in pregnant women without diabetes and to 19.9 to 50 percent in pregnancies complicated by diabetes. However, while macrosomia increases risk, shoulder dystocia also occurs unpredictably in infants of normal birth weight.

Fracture of the clavicle and damage to the nerves of the brachial plexus are the most common fetal injuries associated with macrosomia. In macrosomic infants, the risk of clavicular fracture and brachial plexus injury is approximately 10-fold and 18- to 21-fold, respectively, when birth weight is more than 4,500 g.

Clinical Considerations

The ACOG practice bulletin discusses the following clinical considerations:

Clinical Intervention. Clinical interventions for the treatment of suspected macrosomia (in pregnant women without diabetes) have not been reported. In pregnancies complicated by diabetes, one small clinical trial evaluated the effect of dietary intervention with or without the addition of insulin. Results suggest that the addition of insulin might be of benefit in treating early macrosomia (between 29 and 33 weeks of gestation). The data revealed a decreased likelihood of birth weight greater than the 90th percentile from 45 percent among the study participants treated with diet only to 13 percent among those receiving insulin in addition to dietary intervention.

Excessive weight gain during pregnancy is associated with fetal macrosomia, and results from large cohort studies confirm this. However, no data are available on the role of dietary restrictions during pregnancy to prevent macrosomia in obese women who do not have diabetes.

Cesarean Delivery. The role of cesarean delivery in suspected fetal macrosomia remains controversial. While the risk of birth trauma with vaginal delivery is higher with increased birth weight, cesarean delivery reduces, but does not eliminate, this risk. In addition, randomized clinical trial results have not shown the clinical effectiveness of prophylactic cesarean delivery when any specific estimated fetal weight is unknown. Results from large cohort and case-control studies reveal that it is safe to allow a trial of labor for estimated fetal weight of more than 4,000 g. Nonetheless, the results of these reports, along with published cost-effectiveness data, do not support prophylactic cesarean delivery for suspected fetal macrosomia with estimated weights of less than 5,000 g (11 lb), although some authors agree that cesarean delivery in these situations should be considered.

Induction of Labor. In cases of term patients with suspected fetal macrosomia, current evidence does not support early induction of labor. Results from recent reports indicate that induction of labor at least doubles the risk of cesarean delivery without reducing the risk of shoulder dystocia or newborn morbidity, although the results are affected by small sample size and bias caused by the retrospective nature of the reports. Results from one randomized clinical trial reveal similar cesarean delivery rates in the induction group (19.4 percent) compared with the expectant management group (21.6 percent), with five cases of shoulder dystocia in the induction group and six cases in the expectant management group.

Suspected Fetal Macrosomia and the Management of Labor and Vaginal Delivery. Midpelvic operative vaginal delivery is the most important consideration for labor and delivery in the case of suspected fetal macrosomia. With the exception of extreme emergencies, a cesarean delivery should be performed for midpelvic arrest of the fetus with suspected macrosomia. If a decision is made to perform a cesarean delivery in the presence of suspected macrosomia, the incision should be large enough to avoid a difficult abdominal delivery.

Summary of Recommendations

The ACOG committee provides the following recommendations for the management of fetal macrosomia:

Recommendations based on good and consistent scientific evidence (Level A):

  • The diagnosis of fetal macrosomia is imprecise. For suspected fetal macrosomia, the accuracy of estimated fetal weight using ultrasound biometry is no better than that obtained with clinical palpation (Leopold’s maneuvers).

Recommendations based on limited or inconsistent scientific evidence (Level B):

  • Suspected fetal macrosomia is not an indication for induction of labor, because induction does not improve maternal or fetal outcomes.
  • Labor and vaginal delivery are not contraindicated for women with estimated fetal weights up to 5,000 g in the absence of maternal diabetes.
  • With an estimated fetal weight more than 4,500 g, a prolonged second stage of labor or arrest of descent in the second stage is an indication for cesarean delivery.

Recommendations based primarily on consensus and expert opinion (Level C):

  • Although the diagnosis of fetal macrosomia is imprecise, prophylactic cesarean delivery may be considered for suspected fetal macrosomia with estimated fetal weights of more than 5,000 g in pregnant women without diabetes and more than 4,500 g in pregnant women with diabetes.
  • Suspected fetal macrosomia is not a contraindication to attempted vaginal birth after a previous cesarean delivery.

Copyright © 2001 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.
This content is owned by the AAFP. A person viewing it online may make one printout of the material and may use that printout only for his or her personal, non-commercial reference. This material may not otherwise be downloaded, copied, printed, stored, transmitted or reproduced in any medium, whether now known or later invented, except as authorized in writing by the AAFP. Contact afpserv@aafp.org for copyright questions and/or permission requests.

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Care of the Uncircumcised Penis
One of the first decisions you will make for your new baby boy is whether or not to have him circumcised. If you have chosen not to have your son circumcised, there are some things you should be aware of and teach your son as he gets older.
What Is Foreskin Retraction?

Sometime during the first several years of your son’s life, his foreskin, which covers the head of the penis, will separate from the glans. Some foreskins separate soon after birth or even before birth, but this is rare. When it happens is different for every child. It may take a few weeks, months or years.

After the foreskin separates from the glans, it can be pulled back away from the glans toward the abdomen. This is called foreskin retraction.

Most boys will be able to retract their foreskins by the time they are 5 years old, yet others will not be able to until the teenage years. As a boy becomes more aware of his body, he will most likely discover how to retract his own foreskin. But foreskin retraction should never be forced. Until separation occurs, do not try to pull the foreskin back — especially an infant’s. Forcing the foreskin to retract before it is ready may severely harm the penis and cause pain, bleeding and tears in the skin.

What Is Smegma?

When the foreskin separates from the glans, skin cells are shed. These skin cells may look like whitish lumps, resembling pearls, under the foreskin. These are called smegma. Smegma is normal and nothing to worry about.

Does my Son’s Foreskin Need Special Cleaning?

Your son’s intact or uncircumcised penis requires no special care and is easy to keep clean. When your son is an infant, bathe or sponge him regularly and wash all body parts, including the genitals. Simply wash the penis with soap and warm water. Remember, do not try to forcibly retract the foreskin.

If your son’s foreskin is separated and retractable before he reaches puberty, an occasional retraction with cleaning beneath will do. Once your son starts puberty, he should retract the foreskin and clean beneath it on a regular basis. It should become part of your son’s total body hygiene, just like shampooing his hair and brushing his teeth. Teach your son to clean his foreskin in the following way:

Gently pull the foreskin back away from the glans.
Rinse the glans and inside fold of the foreskin with soap and warm water.
Pull the foreskin back over the head of the penis.
Is there anything else I should watch for?
While your son is still a baby, you should make sure the hole in the foreskin is large enough to allow a normal stream when he urinates. Talk to you pediatrician if any of the following occurs:

The stream of urine is never heavier than a trickle.
Your baby seems to have some discomfort while urinating.
The foreskin becomes considerably red or swollen.
Related Articles
Medem Learning Center: Circumcision

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By Peggy Peck, Managing Editor, MedPage Today
Published: July 19, 2007
Reviewed by Robert Jasmer, MD; Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco

Michael Anderson, M.D.
Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland
MONTREAL, July 19 — Newborns placed in a sitting position — in car seats, baby carriers, or infant seats, for example — may have an increased risk of sudden infant death, researchers reported here.

Action Points
Explain to interested patients that car safety seats are still recommended for use with all infants.

Explain to interested patients that pediatricians can conduct a car seat challenge for premature infants or infants with upper airway obstruction to confirm the safety of placement in a car seat.
A review of 508 deaths of infants younger than one year found that 17 deaths occurred when infants were in “sitting devices” and 10 of those deaths were unexplained, according to Aurore Côté, M.D., of McGill University Health Center, and colleagues, in a study published online by Archives of Disease in Childhood.

The authors said the greatest risk was for infants younger than one month, noting that six of the 64 infants who died within a month of birth (9.4%), were in the “seat group, whereas only 11 of the 444 infants older than one month (2.4%) were in the seat group, which represents an RR of 3.80 for the sitting position and is highly significant (P=0.006).”

When they categorized all deaths as explained or unexplained, 49 unexplained deaths had occurred in infants younger than one month and five of those infants were sitting at time of death, for an RR of 7.35 (P<0.001). “This clearly suggests a much higher risk for the sitting position for infants less than one month of age,” they wrote.

The retrospective cohort study included all cases of unexpected deaths in infants younger than one in Quebec over a 10-year period (January 1991-December 2000).

Overall, deaths while sitting accounted for only 3% of the total deaths during the first year of life and, the authors said, “premature infants do not account for an excess number of deaths in the sitting group.”

Michael Anderson, M.D., a pediatric intensive care specialist at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, cautioned against over interpreting the study findings.

He pointed out that the “numbers are very, very small” and warned that parents should be reassured that car seats remain the safest way to transport infants.

The authors suggest two factors that could explain the excess deaths in newborns — the fact that prolonged apnea, bradycardia, and drops in oxygen levels are most common during the first month of life and decrease thereafter and the length of time that the infant spent sitting, especially babies who had evidence of upper airway obstruction.

They said that five of the infant deaths occurred in babies who had been sitting for several hours and had laryngomalacia or other cranio-facial anomaly.

The authors said that an earlier study found that using an insert that holds an infant’s head in a neutral position during sleep while in car seats reduced the number and severity of episodes of lowered oxygenation.

These inserts are currently recommended for use with premature infants, and are available at stores that sell baby equipment.

Dr. Anderson said that in the United States it is routine practice for pediatricians to conduct at “car seat challenge” before hospital discharge for premature infants or babies with upper airway obstruction.

During a car seat challenge the infant is placed in the car seat and then vital signs are carefully monitored for a time period that would correspond with the time required for the trip between the hospital and the infant’s home.

The authors said their study was limited by the lack of a control group of healthy living infants, but they said that infants for whom a cause of death was found served as a nominal control group.

The study was funded by the Respiratory Health Network of the Fonds de la recherché en santé du Quebec. Drs. Côté and Anderson reported no financial conflicts.

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I decided I should publish this here, since I’m always looking for it.  So…this is Ethan’s birth story, my first VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean).

12:44 pm: Ethans Birth Story
I have given birth to three wonderful boys. The first two came into this world by cesarean section (c-section). After fighting the medical establishment, my third son came into this world naturally. Each of my son’s birthdays was unique in its own way and together they were the most memorable days of my life. Each day brought forth the hopes and dreams I had for each of my sons. The individual births of my sons can not be compared from an emotional perspective…each was incredible in its own way. The birthing experiences, however, can be compared from a medical perspective and can be compared based upon the quality of experience of both myself and my babies.

My first two sons were born via c-section for basically the same medical reasons. With my first, I went into labor on a Sunday. When I say that I went into labor, I am referring to mild contractions which began on a Sunday afternoon. I could talk and laugh through these contractions and they did not become intense until some time Monday. However, being a first time mom, my husband and I drove to the hospital as soon as the mild contractions began. I had no birthing experience, so it was unknown whether I would have a very fast or very slow birth. We went to the hospital late Sunday night and were sent home because my contractions were not close enough. We spent Sunday night at my mother-in-law’s home and went back to the hospital Tuesday morning after being up all night long with contractions because I felt too uncomfortable being at home. My husband and I had taken Lamaze childbirth classes, and that is what we were told to do. We had all the devices at the hospital (music, stuffed animals, etc.) in order to do our “breathing” exercises. I was placed in a room and only allowed 2 visitors at a time. My best friend was there with me and she, my husband and my mother in law traded places throughout my labor. Eventually, the doctor came in and told me that my labor was not progressing and that we were looking at a c-section if things didn’t move along quickly. This was about 30 hours after my labor began. I was offered pain medication often by the medical personnel. Not knowing the repercussions, I consented to Demerol for the pain, which caused my contractions to cease entirely. Predictably, I was soon thereafter given an epidural and rushed in for an “emergency c-section” because my labor was not progressing and the baby was “in distress”. My beautiful first son was born later that day. After waking, I was taken to my hospital room where I asked for my son repeatedly. Because I was shaking (I later learned that this was probably from the epidural) they would not allow me to hold my baby until I became very upset and demanded they bring him to me. Once he was with me, I rarely allowed him to be out of my sight; however it was very difficult go convince the hospital administration that it was in my child’s best interest to stay in my hospital room and exclusively breastfeed. The natural, peaceful birth I had attempted was never achieved. Bonding with my son was constantly interrupted by nurses and doctors whose hospital procedures were contrary to how I wanted my son treated his first few days on earth.

My second son’s birth was very similar, except the doctors did not wait until I had been in labor for 30 hours to make the diagnosis of “emergency c-section” due to failure to progress and fetal distress. I experienced similar difficulties with my second son as with my first when attempting to keep my son in the room with me and breastfeed exclusively.

When I got pregnant with my third son, I was told that there was no option to a c-section and it was recommended that I schedule one when the time neared. I did not know the exact date of my conception, since I have a very irregular cycle and was not attempting to get pregnant at the time. It was estimated that I was approximately 9 weeks pregnant at my first ultrasound and was given a Dec. 28 expected due date. I accepted the scheduled surgery and was resigned to the procedure. However, during the summer of that year I began visiting a natural mothering website for information on how to cloth diaper. During my visits there, I noticed there were many women who did not believe the current c-section rate in the U.S. was medically justified. I began researching the issue, which led to conversations with my obstetrician. When I approached the issue of being allowed to go into labor for the benefit of the baby and me, he became very defensive and stated many reasons why I should schedule the c-section and not attempt a “trial of labor”. I soon became suspicious that my doctor’s primary concern was not me and my baby when he listed his availability on the day of my labor as a justification for scheduling a c-section. I also began to have problems with pain in my lower abdominal ligaments which resulted in the doctor suggesting that we schedule the c-section for early December since I was in so much pain. My questions regarding the chance to have a vaginal delivery after my 2 c-sections (a VBAC) was met with the statement “you won’t find a doctor in this country that will allow you to have a VBAC”. These events led me to contact a local midwife and change my medical care provider when I was about 32 weeks pregnant.

I knew the path we were going to take when I first met my mid-wife. I was too nervous to have a homebirth and didn’t want a hospital birth, since I had read that many attempted VBACs in hospitals end up as c-sections. My mid-wife owned a birthing center and it was the perfect solution for us. I was very nervous in the beginning. Putting my trust in a mid-wife instead of a medical doctor was not something I had ever done before. The more I read the more I trusted in my body and in its ability to know what to do. I knew this was my last baby and had always desired a natural childbirth. This was the last time I was going to have a chance for that dream to come true.

Early December came and went. I had constant contractions and believed the entire month of December that I would go into labor any day. If I had scheduled my c-section, my baby would have been born the first week of December. This pregnancy was very uncomfortable and I became very impatient. I wanted so much to meet my son. I really didn’t want a Christmas baby. I was so nervous when Christmas came and went and there was no baby. I began to doubt my body was ever going to go into labor. I kept thinking that if I had trusted my OB, I would have been holding a 3 week old baby on Christmas Day!

December slipped by slowly and finally on Saturday, December 31, labor contractions became sufficient enough that my mid-wife told me to come to the birthing center. My contractions had been consistently within 10 minutes of each other since 6am that morning. I waited until around noon to go to the birth center, knowing that my labors were usually long but hoping that we could get through this labor quickly. When I arrived at the birthing center, we spent an hour or so setting up everything. I had index cards with inspirational quotes for my husband to read to me. I had posters with my two sons to place in the room for inspiration. I had food and drinks. Yes, midwives allow you to drink or eat anything during labor, which helped me to maintain my strength and kept me hydrated. I made several phone calls and had to breath through contractions all through Saturday, but things did not progress very rapidly. I actually ate dinner on Saturday evening with my husband and mid-wife. My mid-wife was wonderfully patient and came into the birthing room often to check on us but mostly remained in the background and allowed my labor to progress naturally and without interference. It was an amazing experience. Finally, the contractions began getting more and more intense and I lost the ability to joke around very much. However the contractions did not become shorter in length or longer in duration. I was very worried about this but my mid-wife and husband were very supportive. I knew around midnight on Saturday night that both my mid-wife and husband were very tired. Another mid-wife was called to assist around 5 am on Sunday morning. My contractions were very intense at this point. My midwife and husband then took a nap for a few hours while the new midwife helped me. I was attempting to birth in the birthing tub, but the water seemed to slow my contractions. I would be in the tub with very little pain and no progress or out of tub and into the shower or in the bathroom with painful contractions. Of course, I chose the tub more often than not! Around 7 am, while in the tub, I felt my water breaking! I had never experienced that before. It was an incredible experience and I knew I would deliver my baby shortly thereafter. Of course, he wasn’t quite ready to enter the world yet, so it was several more hours of contractions before Ethan Benjamin Joseph arrived at 4:05pm. The experience of actually birthing a baby was everything that I ever dreamed of. It was the most incredible experience I have ever had. The expression on his face was one of extreme alertness. Both of my other boys had been a bit groggy when born due to the epidural that I had received. Ethan was very inquisitive right away. My midwife handed Ethan to me immediately and waited for the umbilical cord to cease pulsating before asking my husband to cut it. In the hospital, all that had been done by the doctors. In this birthing center, we were in control of the birth of our son. He was in my arms immediately without any intervention. His cord was cut calmly. There were no bright lights, no unnecessary noises or medical equipment, and no sense of urgency.

When I finally moved from the birthing stool I had delivered Ethan on to the bed, he nursed. He weighed in later at 8 lbs and 4 ounces, approximately 8 ounces smaller than my other 2 boys. The midwife gave us a few minutes alone to cherish our new joy and quietly and gently performed the APGAR test. Since we wanted Ethan’s birth to be as peaceful as possible, we chose not to have any further medical procedures done at that time, so he was left to coo and nurse without any injections or pricks of the heel for blood tests. His eyes were very open, alert and inquisitive. He was placed by my side and I as I felt entirely exhausted after all that had happened in the last 30 plus hours, I just could not get over how much better I felt after this birth than I had with my last 2 births. I felt absolutely no pain from the birth (I had a memory of the pain of birthing, but I had no pain from a c-section as I did previously). I did not feel sleepy at all. I felt elated at the joy of my son’s birth and very thankful for my midwife and her willingness to take a chance on me and my baby knowing what to do when the time came.

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Infant Carriers and Spinal Stress

by Rochelle L. Casses, D.C.

UPDATE: This article was written in the 1990s when the all of the popular upright baby-carrier designs had the harmful characteristics described below. Today, several new and improved upright carrier designs are available. The gold standard for carrying your baby should be your own arms. In other words, an upright carrier should hold your baby the way your arms would, e.g., facing you with legs in a frog-like, spread-squat position with the baby’s weight supported across the buttocks and thighs. —Ed.

As we are finally realizing the benefits of “wearing” our infants while we perform our daily activities, we must be careful not to compromise the integrity of our child’s spine through the use of improper carriers. Spondylolisthesis (specifically, Type II/isthmic) is a condition that can result from excessive stress in the low back, such as a baby’s spine might experience in certain carriers on the market today. It is relatively uncommon, but when aggravated is extremely painful. This article explains which styles of baby carriers promote healthy spine development in an infant and describes the unnecessary stress and resulting spinal condition that can result from using certain carriers.

A healthy adult spine has four curves when viewed from the side, located in the neck (cervical spine), mid-back (thoracic), low back (lumbar) and base of the spine (sacrum). Upon entering the world, a newborn has only two curves in her spine: the mid-back and the base of the spine. These two curves are called the primary or kyphotic curves. They have an apex or “hump” at the back of the body. The curves in the neck and low back develop later and are termed secondary or lordotic curves. The curve in the cervical spine develops as the child begins to lift his head and the neck muscles are strengthened. The curve in the lumbar spine results as the child starts to crawl. The lordotic curves have an apex at the front of the body. These four curves — two primary and two secondary — are extremely important in the spine (both adult and child), for this is how the body handles the stress of gravity. If these curves do not exist, the body’s center of balance is shifted, causing undue stress on the spinal column and spinal cord.

A baby’s spine is placed in a compromising position in many of today’s popular carriers. If the carrier positions the infant upright, with the legs hanging down and the bodyweight supported at the base of the baby’s spine (i.e. at the crotch), it puts undue stress on the spine which can adversely affect the development of the spinal curves and, in some cases, cause spondylolisthesis.

Spondylolisthesis is defined as the forward slipping of a vertebra on the one below it. The degrees of severity are determined using the Meyerding grading scale, with grade 1 being the least amount of slippage and grade 5 being complete slippage off the vertebra below. This condition may have a related stress fracture at the pars interarticularis, a structure at the back of the vertebra that takes most of the stress inflicted on the spine when it is arched backwards. When present, a spondylolisthesis occurs at the fifth lumbar vertebra 90% of the time and at the fourth lumbar vertebra 9% of the time.

Spondylolisthesis is documented in approximately 5% of white males, but is prevalent in native Eskimos (as high as 60% of the population is affected). There has been much discussion on the high percentage of affected Eskimos as to whether it is a genetic predisposition or related to environmental factors (i.e., papoose carriers). Knowing how dynamic and vital the biomechanics of the spine are, I believe that environmental factors are the cause. If the trend continues in the U.S. to carry infants in carriers (or place them in walkers, jumpers, etc.) that place their spines in a weight bearing position before the spine is developmentally ready to do so, I believe we will see an increase in the incidence of spondylolisthesis.

Spondylolisthesis has been referred to as congenital anomalies of the spine, but there is no supporting embryological evidence for this assumption.1 There are factors that predispose a person to this condition, such as weakness in the posterior structures of the vertebra, failure of muscles and ligaments to absorb forces, anomalies of the lubosacral spine, and activities that place high stress on the posterior structures of the spine. Little is known about spondylolisthesis. More research needs to be done specifically addressing the weight bearing position of some carriers. In the meantime, we can take preventative steps by choosing alternate carriers, both for ourselves and as gifts for others.

What I have found to be the ideal carrier is the sling. There are many variations of the sling, but one should look for the following in any type of carrier:

  1. Before an infant can hold her head on her own, the carrier should support the neck. A sling cradles the infant just like your arms would, unlike vertical carriers which can actually allow a whiplash type injury.
  2. The carrier should not place the infant’s spine in a weight bearing position too early. (The young baby should be horizontal or inclined, with the spine supported along its length.)
  3. When a baby wants to be more upright to see the world around him (usually around age 4 to 5 months), the carrier should allow him to sit cross-legged, so his weight is dissipated through his legs and hips, as opposed to the style that has the legs hanging down, where the young spine has to bear the entire weight.

When considering the purchase of a baby carrier, you can often just ask yourself if you would be comfortable in it. Would you feel like you were in a hammock (a sling), or in a parachute harness, with your legs hanging down? Laying in a hammock is better for all of us.

Other benefits of sling type carriers include easy accessibility to breastfeeding, ability to wear baby facing toward or away from wearer, ability to wear sling on back, front or side.

You may be wondering, “What about backpacks? Are they bad? At what age or stage of development is it okay to carry a child in a backpack? What should you look for when buying one?” Wait until your child can sit alone well before carrying him in a backpack. The seat of the backpack should support the child’s entire bottom — not just between the legs, leaving the legs to dangle. One that has a foot rest is preferred.

The choice of infant carriers is a small thing when compared to all the other concerns that face parents, but it is a decision that can have lifelong effects. By choosing a sling type carrier for your baby, you may be preventing a lifetime of backaches and other spinal stresses.

Rochelle and Scott Casses own a chiropractic clinic in Carslisle, Pennsylvania, USA. Their 11-month-old son Palmer has accompanied them to work since he was born. Rochelle and Scott schedule their appointments so that while one of them is with a patient, the other handles reception duties and cares for Palmer. Rochelle says, “The patients really enjoy seeing Palmer, and he enjoys the interaction each day.” A section of their office serves as a playroom for Palmer as he becomes more mobile. (1996)


  1. Hensinger, R. N.; Spondylolysis and Spondylolisthesis in Children and Adolescents; Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, August 1989 71A: 1098-1107
  2. Shahriaae, H.; A Family with Spondylolisthesis; Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, December 1979 61A: 1256-1258
  3. Tower S. S. and Pratt W.; Spondylolysis and Associated Spondylolisthesis in Eskimo and Athabascan Populations; Clinical Orthopedics, January 1990
  4. Wiltse, Leon; Fatigue Fracture: The Basic Lesion in Isthmic Spondylolisthesis; Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, January 1975 57A: 17-22

This article was originally written for The Continuum Concept Letter (now defunct) and has been edited for this website.

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Copyright ©1996 by The Liedloff Society for the Continuum Concept, All Rights Reserved. www.continuum-concept.org

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A friend recently asked me why our family drinks Raw Milk (unpasterized, unprocessed).  For one, its a way to get back to the root of our food and eliminate processed foods from our diets.  But there is more to it than that.  Though my babies will drink only mommy milk for AT LEAST 2 YEARS as recommended by the World Health Organization, after 2 years, if they are not drinking breastmilk, I do consider milk to be of good nutritional value.  However, I consider raw milk to be substantially better for our health.  Yes, raw milk is more expensive but like everything, you get what you pay for.

Here is a bit of information about why raw milk is good for you, and more importantly, why store bought milk is not as healthy.

realmilk.com is one source to view some slideshows re: the rebuttal to the FDA warning against raw milk.  There is alot on that website to digest.

Just for the record, I do NOT support this organization financially, mainly b/c they have some statements on their website re: breastfeeding that I find unsupportive of the WHO’s recommendation of breastfeeding for at least 2 years.   However, the scientific dates regarding the benefits of raw milk is compelling.

The following article is from Mercola.com, one of the few medical websites I trust to provide accurate information re: health issues.   Doing a search on Mercola.com with “milk” in the search bar will yield several more articles on Real Milk also.

Don’t Drink Your Milk!

Processing Is the Problem

The path that transforms healthy milk products into allergens and carcinogens begins with modern feeding methods that substitute high-protein, soy-based feeds for fresh green grass and breeding methods to produce cows with abnormally large pituitary glands so that they produce three times more milk than the old fashioned scrub cow. These cows need antibiotics to keep them well.

Their milk is then pasteurized so that all valuable enzymes are destroyed (lactase for the assimilation of lactose; galactase for the assimilation of galactose; phosphatase for the assimilation of calcium).

Literally dozens of other precious enzymes are destroyed in the pasteurization process. Without them, milk is very difficult to digest. The human pancreas is not always able to produce these enzymes; over-stress of the pancreas can lead to diabetes and other diseases.

The butterfat of commercial milk is homogenized, subjecting it to rancidity. Even worse, butterfat may be removed altogether. Skim milk is sold as a health food, but the truth is that butter-fat is in milk for a reason.

Without it the body cannot absorb and utilize the vitamins and minerals in the water fraction of the milk. Along with valuable trace minerals and short chain fatty acids, butterfat is America’s best source of preformed vitamin A.

Synthetic vitamin D, known to be toxic to the liver, is added to replace the natural vitamin D complex in butterfat. Butterfat also contains re-arranged acids which have strong anti-carcinogenic properties.

Non-fat dried milk is added to 1% and 2% milk. Unlike the cholesterol in fresh milk, which plays a variety of health promoting roles, the cholesterol in non-fat dried milk is oxidized and it is this rancid cholesterol that promotes heart disease.

Like all spray dried products, non-fat dried milk has a high nitrite content. Non-fat dried milk and sweetened condensed milk are the principle dairy products in third world countries; use of ultra high temperature pasteurized milk is widespread in Europe.

Other Factors Regarding Milk

Milk and refined sugar make two of the largest contributions to food induced ill health in our country. That may seem like an overly harsh statement, but when one examines the evidence, this is a reasonable conclusion.

The recent approval by the FDA of the use of BGH (Bovine Growth Hormone) by dairy farmers to increase their milk production only worsens the already sad picture.

BGH causes an increase in an insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) in the milk of treated cows. IGF-1 survives milk pasteurization and human intestinal digestion. It can be directly absorbed into the human bloodstream, particularly in infants.

It is highly likely that IGF-1 promotes the transformation of human breast cells to cancerous forms. IGF-1 is also a growth factor for already cancerous breast and colon cancer cells, promoting their progression and invasiveness.

It is also possible for us to absorb the BGH directly from the milk. This will cause further IGF-1 production by our own cells.

BGH will also decrease the body fat of cows. Unfortunately, the body fat of cows is already contaminated with a wide range of carcinogens, pesticides, dioxin, and antibiotic residues. When the cows have less body fat, these toxic substances are then transported into the cows’ milk.

BGH also causes the cows to have an increase in breast infections for which they must receive additional antibiotics.

Prior to BGH, 38%of milk sampled nationally was already contaminated by illegal residues of antibiotics and animal drugs. This will only increase with the use of BGH. One can only wonder what the long term complications will be for drinking milk that has a 50% chance it is contaminated with antibiotics.

There is also a problem with a protein enzyme called xanthine oxidase which is in cow’s milk. Normally, proteins are broken down once you digest them.

However, when milk is homogenized, small fat globules surround the xanthine oxidase and it is absorbed intact into your blood stream. There is some very compelling research demonstrating clear associations with this absorbed enzyme and increased risks of heart disease.

Ear specialists frequently insert tubes into the ear drums of infants to treat recurrent ear infections. It has replaced the previously popular tonsillectomy to become the number one surgery in the country.

Unfortunately, most of these specialists don’t realize that over 50% of these children will improve and have no further ear infections if they just stop drinking their milk.

This is a real tragedy. Not only is the $3,000 spent on the surgery wasted, but there are some recent articles supporting the likelihood that most children who have this procedure will have long term hearing losses.

It is my strong recommendation that you discontinue your milk products. If you find this difficult, I would start for several weeks only, and reevaluate how you feel at that time.

This would include ALL dairy, including skim milk and Lact-Aid milk, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream. If you feel better after several weeks you can attempt to rotate small amounts of one form of milk every four days.

You probably are wondering what will happen to your bones and teeth if you stop milk. The majority of the world’s population takes in less than half the calcium we are told we need and yet they have strong bones and healthy teeth.

Cows’ milk is rich in phosphorous which can combine with calcium — and can prevent you from absorbing the calcium in milk. The milk protein also accelerates calcium excretion from the blood through the kidneys.

This is also true when you eat large amount of meat and poultry products. Vegetarians will need about 50% less calcium than meat eaters because they lose much less calcium in their urine.

It is possible to obtain all your calcium from dark green vegetables (where do you think the cow gets their’s from?). The darker the better. Cooked collard greens and kale are especially good. If you or your child is unable to take in large amounts of green vegetables, you might want to supplement with calcium.

If you can swallow pills, we have an excellent, inexpensive source called Calcium Citrate, which has a number of other minerals which your body requires to build up maximally healthy bone.

It is much better than a simple calcium tablet. You can take about 1,000 mg a day. For those who already suffer from osteoporosis, the best calcium supplement is microcrystalline hydroxyapatite.

It is also important that you take vitamin D in the winter months from November to March. Normally your skin converts sunshine to vitamin D, but the sunshine levels in the winter are very low unless you visit Florida or Mexico type areas.

Most people obtain their vitamin D from milk in the winter; so if you stop it, please make sure you are taking calcium with vitamin D or a multi vitamin with vitamin D to prevent bone thinning.

Most people are not aware that the milk of most mammals varies considerably in its composition. For example, the milk of goats, elephants, cows, camels, wolves, and walruses show marked differences, in their content of fats, protein, sugar, and minerals. Each was designed to provide optimum nutrition to the young of the respective species. Each is different from human milk.

In general, most animals are exclusively breast-fed until they have tripled their birth weight, which in human infants occurs around the age of one year. In no mammalian species, except for the human (and domestic cat) is milk consumption continued after the weaning period. Calves thrive on cow milk. Cow’s milk is designed for calves.

Cow’s milk is the number one allergic food in this country. It has been well documented as a cause in diarrhea, cramps, bloating, gas, gastrointestinal bleeding, iron-deficiency anemia, skin rashes, atherosclerosis, and acne.

It is the primary cause of recurrent ear infections in children. It has also been linked to insulin dependent diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, infertility, and leukemia.

Hopefully, you will reconsider your position on using milk as a form of nourishment. Small amounts of milk or milk products taken infrequently, will likely cause little or no problems for most people.

However, the American Dairy Board has done a very effective job of marketing this product. Most people believe they need to consume large, daily quantities of milk to achieve good health. NOTHING could be further from the truth.

Public health officials and the National Dairy Council have worked together in this country to make it very difficult to obtain wholesome, fresh, raw dairy products. Nevertheless, they can be found with a little effort. In some states, you can buy raw milk directly from farmers.

Whole, pasteurized, non-homogenized milk from cows raised on organic feed is now available in many gourmet shops and health food stores. It can be cultured to restore enzyme content, at least partially. Cultured buttermilk is often more easily digested than regular milk; it is an excellent product to use in baking.

Many shops now carry whole cream that is merely pasteurized (not ultra pasteurized like most commercial cream); diluted with water, it is delicious on cereal and a good substitute for those allergic to milk.

Traditionally made creme fraiche (European style sour cream), it also has a high enzyme content.

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