I love continuing education opportunities and wanted to take some time to report on a few of the excellent sessions I attended at the Partners In Perinatal Health 24th Annual Conference in Norwood, Massachusetts last month. This event featured a really impressive slate of presenters and session topics.
Diane Wiessinger, MS, IBCLC was the keynote speaker for the morning session and gave a talk entitled “What Would Mammals Do?” where she discussed normal mammalian maternal-infant behavior as well as some of the common interventions many human mothers encounter and how they may interfere or introduce difficulties to the birth experience. Sophie Godley, MPH provided a pre-conference evening presentation called “Fifty Shades of Real” on the topic of authentic sexuality and strategies for promoting sexual health. I was unable to see either of these presentations (although I have seen Diane Wiessinger in the past and she is always great!) but if you click on their names above you can redirect to those links and learn more about these speakers and subjects.
The first session I got to was “Heal the Mother/Heal the Baby: Microbes, Gut Health, and the Enteric Nervous System & Breastfeeding”, by Jennifer Tow, IBCLC, Founder of Intuitive Parenting Network. WOW! This session was really jammed packed with incredible info: neither I, nor the nurse sitting next to me, could take notes fast enough! It was really interesting to hear about all the cases where she has been able to trace back and /or treat various breastfeeding issues by addressing gut health. This topic is also part of a broader set of conversations around discoveries many health care practitioners are starting to discuss widely in terms of the links between gut health/flora and many chronic health issues that children and adults of all ages experience. Jennifer lists some upcoming webinars on her website linked above if you are interested in this topic.
I then listened to a presentation called “Pre-Birth Acupuncture-A New Standard of Care” by Kathy J. Seltzer, BA, Licensed Acupuncturist. Learning about the simple, yet extremely beneficial, care that a pregnant mother can receive using Chinese medical theory/acupuncture was fantastic. She shared that this type of prenatal care is very common in places like Germany and something that more and more women are looking for. Kathy is the Co-Founder of Acupuncture Birthing Associates along with Sharon J. Levy. This presenter was very well organized and did a great job of explaining this interesting topic. I plan to research more about this area of care as I know many women might not seek it out as they may not be aware of the benefits that acupuncture in pregnancy can be outside of moxibustion for turning a breech baby.
Kajsa Brimdyr, PhD, CLC, Director of Operations, Healthy Children Project, Inc. was the presenter of the last session I attended. Her topic was “Supporting Newborns-The 9 Stages During Skin to Skin. She highlighted her work in a number of places including Egypt, Sweden and the US and outlined the 9 stages all babies experience if undisturbed and skin to skin with their mother in the hour or so after birth. The video The Magical Hour is a great resource for parents and this link also highlights a similar DVD geared toward hospital or birth center staff. It was quite fascinating to watch the footage of babies working their way through the 9 steps. Also good food for thought on how typical hospital procedures can sometimes interfere with a baby cycling through these stages undisturbed. The baby then will need to attempt to start again from the beginning which is possible but never as simple or ideal as in that first hour immediately after birth.
There were many other really wonderful presenters and topics and I will definitely be planning a return trip next year for the 25th Annual PIPH Conference!