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Virginia Apgar was a slender energetic woman; one of her favorite quips was “do what is right, and do it now.” When she graduated from Columbia University in 1933, almost no strategies for newborn care had been standardized; the prevailing attitude was that either they breathed when they came out or else they didn’t. Doctors gave them a good slap on the bum, but if that didn’t induce their first gasping cry “it was considered better not to be aggressive”. Dr. Apgar was horrified; she felt many of the babies left on the tables to die could have survived. And tired of arguing with her male collogues over individual cases, and endless accusations of feminine sentimentality, she decided to do something about it. Dr. Apgar created the first standardized criteria for evaluating newborns that included scores for “heart rate, respiration, muscle tone, color and reflexes. After testing the score on more than 1,000 newborns, Dr. Apgar presented it at a conference in 1952 and it caught on quickly.” Apparently men liked scoring systems and began to actually observe and assess each baby with a score of 0- 2 in each category. “Then, as now, few babies get a perfect 10 one minute after birth, since most have bluish toes and fingers until oxygenated blood starts circulating fully. Some doctors became competitive about the scores, and many hospitals began repeating the test at five or 10 minutes to measure whether newborns had improved. Most importantly, babies who needed care started to get it, gradually spurring the development of newborn-size resuscitation tools, infant heart-rate monitors and neonatal intensive-care units. Thanks to all those efforts, and the philosophy that came with them, U.S. infant mortality dropped from 58 per 1,000 in the 1930s to 7 per 1,000 today. And despite other innovations, The New England Journal of Medicine concluded in 2001 that the Apgar score ‘remains as relevant for the prediction of neonatal survival today as it was almost 50 years ago’.” By the 1970s, it was said, “every baby born in a hospital around the world is looked at first through the eyes of Virginia Apgar.”
Virginia Apgar was a slender energetic woman; one of her favorite quips was “do what is right, and do it now.” When she graduated from Columbia University in 1933, almost no strategies for newborn care had been standardized; the prevailing attitude was that either they breathed when they came out or else they didn’t. Doctors gave them a good slap on the bum, but if that didn’t induce their first gasping cry “it was considered better not to be aggressive”. Dr. Apgar was horrified; she felt many of the babies left on the tables to die could have survived. And tired of arguing with her male collogues over individual cases, and endless accusations of feminine sentimentality, she decided to do something about it. Dr. Apgar created the first standardized criteria for evaluating newborns that included scores for “heart rate, respiration, muscle tone, color and reflexes. After testing the score on more than 1,000 newborns, Dr. Apgar presented it at a conference in 1952 and it caught on quickly.” Apparently men liked scoring systems and began to actually observe and assess each baby with a score of 0- 2 in each category. “Then, as now, few babies get a perfect 10 one minute after birth, since most have bluish toes and fingers until oxygenated blood starts circulating fully. Some doctors became competitive about the scores, and many hospitals began repeating the test at five or 10 minutes to measure whether newborns had improved. Most importantly, babies who needed care started to get it, gradually spurring the development of newborn-size resuscitation tools, infant heart-rate monitors and neonatal intensive-care units. Thanks to all those efforts, and the philosophy that came with them, U.S. infant mortality dropped from 58 per 1,000 in the 1930s to 7 per 1,000 today. And despite other innovations, The New England Journal of Medicine concluded in 2001 that the Apgar score ‘remains as relevant for the prediction of neonatal survival today as it was almost 50 years ago’.” By the 1970s, it was said, “every baby born in a hospital around the world is looked at first through the eyes of Virginia Apgar.”
In 2003, Christy Turlington Burns was educated, entrepreneurial, and at the height of one of the most historically successful modeling careers when she gave birth to her first child. Though the birth itself was an empowering experience, a complication following the delivery propelled Christy into the reality of maternal mortality—a reality she’s been challenging ever since. Every day, an estimated one thousand women die in childbirth or from birth-related causes. After Christy realized how close she had come to not surviving her birth, she dedicated her life to remaining in unity with these mothers through international efforts aimed at lowering maternal mortality.

Christy founded Every Mother Counts (recognized as one of Fast Company magazines Top 10 Most Innovative Not-For-Profit Companies), an advocacy and activist organization that believes no mother should die in their effort to bring forth life. “This really is her life’s work,” says husband Edward Burns. “And 13 years in, I know that if Christy says she’s going to do something, it happens.” Christy has been recognized as one of Time’s ‘100 Most Influential People’, and Glamour Magazine’s ‘Woman of The Year’. Christy explains her passion for safer birth worldwide: “At the birth of my first child, I learned that hundreds of thousands of pregnancy and childbirth-related deaths occur around the world every year. Yet, up to 98 percent of those deaths are preventable. Once I knew about these shocking statistics, I had to know why this was happening. This led me to make a documentary film, “No Woman, No Cry,” which examines the state of maternal health in four countries Tanzania, Guatemala, Bangladesh and the United States. While making the film, I learned that while 99% of these global deaths occur in developing countries, we lose three women per day in the U.S. too.” If you're passionate about birth and babies, ending maternal mortality, come study at the academy that not only equips students to engage with competitive ideas that are philosophically complex enough to guide the strategic institutions that shape our society’s handling of birth; check out or innovative programs today.
In 2003, Christy Turlington Burns was educated, entrepreneurial, and at the height of one of the most historically successful modeling careers when she gave birth to her first child. Though the birth itself was an empowering experience, a complication following the delivery propelled Christy into the reality of maternal mortality—a reality she’s been challenging ever since. Every day, an estimated one thousand women die in childbirth or from birth-related causes. After Christy realized how close she had come to not surviving her birth, she dedicated her life to remaining in unity with these mothers through international efforts aimed at lowering maternal mortality. Christy founded Every Mother Counts (recognized as one of Fast Company magazines Top 10 Most Innovative Not-For-Profit Companies), an advocacy and activist organization that believes no mother should die in their effort to bring forth life. “This really is her life’s work,” says husband Edward Burns. “And 13 years in, I know that if Christy says she’s going to do something, it happens.” Christy has been recognized as one of Time’s ‘100 Most Influential People’, and Glamour Magazine’s ‘Woman of The Year’. Christy explains her passion for safer birth worldwide: “At the birth of my first child, I learned that hundreds of thousands of pregnancy and childbirth-related deaths occur around the world every year. Yet, up to 98 percent of those deaths are preventable. Once I knew about these shocking statistics, I had to know why this was happening. This led me to make a documentary film, “No Woman, No Cry,” which examines the state of maternal health in four countries Tanzania, Guatemala, Bangladesh and the United States. While making the film, I learned that while 99% of these global deaths occur in developing countries, we lose three women per day in the U.S. too.” If you're passionate about birth and babies, ending maternal mortality, come study at the academy that not only equips students to engage with competitive ideas that are philosophically complex enough to guide the strategic institutions that shape our society’s handling of birth; check out or innovative programs today.
Perineal massage is a gentle stretching of the skin and muscle layer at the base of the vaginal canal that many first time mothers choose to do as part of their preparation for birth. Perineal massage can begin around 6 weeks before birth and take place every day for at least 5-8 minutes. This is the best preventative measure for reducing tearing at birth, and also will acquaint the mother with the sensation of stretching so she is confident of what her body is capable of (the body’s capacity to stretch is much more impressive than one might imagine). The following technique is the most effective method to stretch and prepare the tissues for birth reducing the chance of perineal tears. Sheila. Kitzingerin Rediscovering Birth shares many cultural traditions with this practice: “The expectant mother may bathe her perineum (the area around her vagina and anus) in an infusion of avocado leaves and salt to make the tissues strong, soft and flexible…In Jamaica the oil of the wild castor oil plant and the juicy pulp of toona leaves are used.” Perineal Massage Technique
·  Breathe deeply to increase relaxation and release.
·  Wash hands carefully to avoid transmission of infection.
·  Choose a lubricant; natural oils such olive oil are ideal, but personal lubricants also work. Pour oil a small amount into a separate container to not contaminate the larger supply then discard after use.
·  During the stretch, the mother should visualize the head emerging and gently stretching the vagina without harming the tissues.
·  Insert lubricated fingers 2-3 centimeters into the vagina while pressing down towards the rectum.
·  With steadily increasing pressure, slide fingers back and forth in a half circle (or U shaped motion), stretching the rim and warming up the tissues inside the perineum.
·  After the tissue is warmed up, have the mother deeply relax and slowly apply steady downward pressure to stretch the tissue to the point of resistance and even slight discomfort. Hold this deep stretch for a minimum of 30 seconds.
·  Apply the deep 30-second stretch to the full circumference of the lower vaginal opening. 
#doula #naturalbirth
Perineal massage is a gentle stretching of the skin and muscle layer at the base of the vaginal canal that many first time mothers choose to do as part of their preparation for birth. Perineal massage can begin around 6 weeks before birth and take place every day for at least 5-8 minutes. This is the best preventative measure for reducing tearing at birth, and also will acquaint the mother with the sensation of stretching so she is confident of what her body is capable of (the body’s capacity to stretch is much more impressive than one might imagine). The following technique is the most effective method to stretch and prepare the tissues for birth reducing the chance of perineal tears. Sheila. Kitzingerin Rediscovering Birth shares many cultural traditions with this practice: “The expectant mother may bathe her perineum (the area around her vagina and anus) in an infusion of avocado leaves and salt to make the tissues strong, soft and flexible…In Jamaica the oil of the wild castor oil plant and the juicy pulp of toona leaves are used.” Perineal Massage Technique · Breathe deeply to increase relaxation and release. · Wash hands carefully to avoid transmission of infection. · Choose a lubricant; natural oils such olive oil are ideal, but personal lubricants also work. Pour oil a small amount into a separate container to not contaminate the larger supply then discard after use. · During the stretch, the mother should visualize the head emerging and gently stretching the vagina without harming the tissues. · Insert lubricated fingers 2-3 centimeters into the vagina while pressing down towards the rectum. · With steadily increasing pressure, slide fingers back and forth in a half circle (or U shaped motion), stretching the rim and warming up the tissues inside the perineum. · After the tissue is warmed up, have the mother deeply relax and slowly apply steady downward pressure to stretch the tissue to the point of resistance and even slight discomfort. Hold this deep stretch for a minimum of 30 seconds. · Apply the deep 30-second stretch to the full circumference of the lower vaginal opening. #doula #naturalbirth