Birthing Bliss, Birthing Trauma, and the Role of the Perinatal Patient


KellyBroganMD.com
Dr. Kelly Brogan
February 8, 2020

I remember looking out of my living room window, drawing on my connection to all the women in the world who had felt this energy before, all that were in that moment, and all that would in time to come. This energy, this incredible power, was like a wave that I was riding for a brief window of my life, and sharing with my baby to move us through time into a new type of union. To me, this wasn’t anything to resist, to be afraid of, or to suppress. All I had to do was be there to witness, and keep my mind from getting in the way.

I came to a place of strong advocacy for homebirth because I am a tireless student of research, opinions, and “radical” theory espoused by critical thinkers. I believe in being an informed individual first and a patient second and surrendering my decision-making to a physician trained to perceive childbirth as a pathological process requiring management was not consistent with that perspective.  I knew that there were caregivers out there who believed in supporting the body’s natural process in a gentle way and who knew how to provide that support, actively and passively.  These are midwives.  They are the primary birth attendants in most of the 40+ nations in the world with more favorable maternal and infant mortality rates than our own.

So, how does a woman get to a place where she can turn her back on a society that teaches birth is a painful nuisance at best and a horror show of danger at worst?

Through active engagement in informed consent.  A careful review of some of the epidemiologic literature and an excellent book on the subject called Pushed by Jennifer Block will inform that prospective mother of the fact that countries with the best maternal/infant outcomes have 20-30% of their babies at home, and a caesarean rate of no higher than 15%.  In these healthy births, labor begins spontaneously, the woman is free to move about for whatever duration necessary, and she pushes in an intuitive position.

This soon-to-be-birthing reader might be prompted to question some of the casually accepted “rules” of hospital birth including induction of labor post-dates, the ban on eating and drinking, and active intervention after 24 hours after rupture of membranes.  She might note that continuous electronic fetal monitoring is a ubiquitous mandate in the hospital setting despite an absence of randomized, controlled studies demonstrating any benefit with regard to maternal/infant outcomes (and a noted higher association with caesarean section given the attendant immobilization and anxious interpretations of “the strip”).  Here is the informative Lamaze-sponsored handout I give my patients which highlights the discrepancy between known evidence (including Cochrane reviews, and even ACOG recommendations) and common practice, often militantly imposed.

Pushed discusses a WHO study which identified that only 10% of maternity care is justified by scientific evidence (as opposed to insurance constraints, convenience, liability, and habitual practice).  This wouldn’t be such a concern if the risks associated with interfering in a physiologic birth weren’t so troubling.  Here are some tidbits she reviews:

  • Infants born by caesarean are 3x more likely to die in the first month, and mothers are 2x more likely to die.  Caesarean carries risks of infection including necrotizing fasciitis, organ damage, adhesions, hemorrhage, embolism, hysterectomy, dehisance, poor respiratory adaptation for the baby, and future development of a major undesirable – placenta acreta (at an incidence of 1/533 in 2005 births from 1/19,000 births in 1970)
  • Epidurals decrease blood pressure, slow contractions, and lengthen labor, increasing the likelihood of tearing, fever, and instrumental delivery
  • Vaginal birth after caesarean has a rate of rupture of 1/200 which is comparable to the rate of miscarriage with an amniocentesis, but is all but impossible to obtain given the reflexive second, third, and fourth caesarean birth plans
  • Homebirth is comparably safe with lower intervention rates according to common sense and seminal studies.

The problem with the application of these interventions is that they serve to disempower the laboring woman, and force her to cope with the unintended consequences of the intervention domino effect.  Wresting autonomy from an individual in the interest of a questionably-evidenced system has feed-forward implications for generations.  Perhaps both psychiatry and obstetrics are guilty of pathologizing processes that scare us, and in our effort to subdue, we use crude and inexact implements in acute settings without consideration of the collateral damage.

Even the donning of a hospital gown on arrival puts a woman in the role of a sick patient rather than a conduit for life’s most transcendent contact with creation.  I hear frequent reviews from my patients, stating, “the room looked like a battle ground”, “I felt like I was drugged…like it wasn’t my baby”, “I was offered an epidural so many times, I thought I really needed one”.  This is not an arena in which we can expect Ina May Gaskin’s “sphincter law” to play out successfully – a woman needs a sense of calm, safety, and privacy open her body to the world and bring forth a baby.

Interfering with the sophisticated process of a physiologic birth may have unintended short, medium, and long-term effects.  Studies like this allude to the role of vaginal birth in the foundational seeding of the infant’s microbiome, but are there any benefits with regard to mom’s postpartum mood?  Does mode of delivery influence the risk of postpartum depression?  To my mind, it certainly seems possible that disruption in oxytocin feedback loops through interference with the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal-gonadal axis would set a woman up for near-term difficulty buffering the transition to new motherhood.  If a physiologic birth is interfered with, the woman is left to go through the motions unaided by appropriate hormonal cascades – like walking across hot coals without shoes.

Despite the intuitive connection between a mother’s birth-related trauma and postpartrum depression, data addressing the question of whether mode of delivery influences risk is equivocal: some propose no risk associated with caesarean, like this study in which depressive symptoms after caesarean were resolved by 6 months and this that suggested being a housewife with a history of depression were primary risk factors, and this metanalysis. Others, like this Armenian study, suggest that caesarean, and particularly elective caesarean, may put a woman at greater risk for postpartum mood disturbance.  A prospective cohort study in China found that, at two weeks, by Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS), women were 2x more likely to be depressed if they had a surgical birth. Myriad confounders compromise this data, and I would argue that a woman’s psychological orientation toward self-empowerment – what an empowered birth looks like to her – may be more important than the disruption of the hormonal cascade.

The mind is a powerful filter.  Perhaps the most provocative study I have come across is an fMRI evaluation of women responding, in multiple brain regions, to their own baby’s cry, and how this response is blunted after a surgical birth.  Could this evolve to be corrected for?  I would imagine so, but it suggests that surgical birth should be reserved for the <10% of true emergencies that could not otherwise have been prevented by allowing a woman to labor at her own pace, in her own comfort zone, without any interventions… the way it’s been done for millions of years.

Read More At: KellyBroganMD.com

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This post originally appeared on Mad in America as Birthing Bliss, Birthing Trauma and the Role of the Perinatal Patient.

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Kelly Brogan, MD

Kelly Brogan, M.D. is a Manhattan-based holistic psychiatrist, author of the New York Times bestselling book, A Mind of Your Own, and co-editor of the landmark textbook, Integrative Therapies for Depression. She completed her psychiatric training and fellowship at NYU Medical Center after graduating from Cornell University Medical College, and has a B.S. from MIT in Systems Neuroscience. View full bio. Want to share this article on your own blog? View our reposting guidelines.

Book Review: Tavistock Institute – Social Engineering The Masses by Daniel Estulin | #SmartReads #SocialEngineering

“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. …We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. …In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons…who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.”
– Edward Bernays, Propaganda

BreakawayIndividual.com
Zy Marquiez
February 5, 2020

Social Engineering is a pervasive issue that plagues everyone in society, but it is not covered as often or in-depth as it needs to be.  Thankfully, this book helps shed light upon this complex subject from many angles.

Tavistock Institute – Social Engineering The Masses by Daniel Estulin is as disturbing in its implications as it is comprehensive in scope. The book is a veritable crash course into many of the most powerful aspects of social engineering of society.

Estulin details many of the most sophisticated social engineering tools in an incisive way. This alone in and of itself is power, because it allows the incisive/inquiring individual to do their due diligence in seeing what’s what in this esoteric subject.

Various topics are discussed, spearheaded by the actual Tavistock Institute, the Nazis, MK Ultra, Mind Control, Music, Media, the killing of JFK, Drugs, and much more.

More precisely, it touches upon “social turbulence”, which is whittling down the population through a variety of modalities, with increasing intensity, to soften up a population and lead them into psychosis.

There is also the aspect of disassociation touched upon from many angles which is highly intriguing although very disturbing.

Estulin also covers how victimology, which “is premised upon the theory that individuals can be put through trauma by being exposed to shockingly visual accounts of violence”.  Also noted is what role in how Wikileaks is part of the social engineering agenda, and how that directly ties to mass media.

Mass media’s control mechanism is also sifted through with a fine-tooth comb, as well as aspects of it such as “idiotspeak”, which is when the media oversimplifies complex subjects so much, literally covering them only in one or two sentences that  could be called ‘sound bytes’, that it serves to dumb down the population by default.  This is further implemented by no direct and thought-provoking discussion followed up.  And when that does follow, it’s nigh always to suit some government and corporate agenda via the propaganda machine.

One unexpected, but vital component introduced by Estulin was the subject of music, and how it plays a role in the mental manipulation of the population. Although not exhaustive, it is quite a meaningful area that goes oft-overlooked even in the alternative media.

Science fiction, the work of H.G. Wells, as well as many other authors/writers’ work is analyzed creating a broad landscape of research that only strengthens the blatancy of the dilemma.

And anchoring all that, there is also an analysis of the subject of Edward Bernay’s and Walter Lippmann’s work with on propaganda and public opinion.

Beyond that still, there are still many other subjects that get touched upon, most of which are still employed, today, at this very moment.

This book by Estulin allows you to see the careful web of deception, manipulation and control that has been weaved over a mostly unsuspecting populace.

The main strength of this book is the veritable enormity of footnotes/references that allow those inquiring minds to see where he is coming from, whist leaving crumbs for those that wish to follow up on their own research, which I highly appreciate.

Credibility is a vital, and credibility in a subject like this is even more so.  Estulin has done an absolutely outstanding job in piecing this together.

This is a book that needs to be part of everyone’s library.  Period.  You need to know this stuff.  It’s not only being used against you, but your children, and future generations as well. Subjects covered in this book are way too important to gloss over.  The research that has taken place into social engineering, which Estulin discusses was done for a reason, and that was to employ it, and there are signs of this everywhere if you know what to look at.

You are implored because nobody else is looking out for your well being.  This book gives your mind range and versatility in order to deal with what’s already here, and what’s worse, what’s coming.

Be mindful, because social engineering is nigh everywhere. No, that’s not exaggeration, that’s a fact. This book makes that very crystal clear.

Buy it because you will not regret it.

Buy it because you need to know.

Buy this book because everything discussed in this book is being used against you, your family, and kith/kin.

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Suggested Reading & Viewing:

Logical Fallacies Employed In Every Day Life
The Minds Of Men [Documentary] | Social Engineering & Mind Control
Socratic Logic V 3.1 by Peter Kreeft PhD
Getting Things done by David Allen
Dumbing Us Down by John Taylor Gatto
Lesson’s From Orwell’s 1984
Against Public Schooling – How Public Education Cripples Our Kids By John Taylor Gatto
Social Engineering 101
The Emergence Of Orwellian Newspeak & The Death Of Free Speech
What Is An Elite Curriculum?
A Mind Of Your Own – The Truth About Depression by Dr. Kelly Brogan
Social Engineering 101
What Is An Elite Curriculum?
Invisible Influence by Kevin Hogan

Psycho-Neuro-Immunology: Uncovering the Roots of Mental Illness

KellyBroganMd.com
Dr. Kelly Brogan
Holistic Psychiatrist & Author Of A Mind Of Your Own
February 4, 2020

Nine months after the birth of my first daughter, I felt off. Flatness, forgetfulness, cold, and tired. If I hadn’t discovered my formal diagnosis of an autoimmune thyroid condition, I could easily have been offered an antidepressant. Instead, I delved into the complex physiology of the immune system and its relationship to seemingly unrelated areas like the gut and brain. I learned pathways and the role of nutrients in their optimization. I changed my lifestyle, and my life changed as a result. What if this diagnosis wasn’t just a result of chemical exposure, lack of sleep, and a horrendous diet? What if it meant something, specific, to me, for me, and about me?

• • •

Psychoneuroimmunology: Gut-Brain Science

According to my credentials, I have fellowship-level expertise in Psychosomatic Medicine. What does that phrase mean to you? Undoubtedly, it conjures notions of hysteria and attention-seeking illness fabrication. Almost in an effort to escape these implications, this advanced medical training has, at some sites, been rebranded as Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry, to invoke the seemingly more legitimate study of psychiatric symptoms emerging in medical and surgical patients.

Psychiatry has been seeking to scientifically substantiate itself for the better part of a century, and we have all fallen prey to the allure of the biological explanation, the organic cause, the mechanistic descriptor for a given pathology. Many a patient has felt relief at being told that they have a “chemical imbalance.” A chemical imbalance is, by definition not your fault. In fact, there’s nothing you can do about it, except, of course to fill your prescription and take it forever, like a good patient.

The Physical Origins of Mental Illness

Even with my left turn from conventional psychiatry, I have spent a decade steeped in vanguard biomedical models of depression, bipolar, and schizophrenia. Models that explore the contributions of various systems including endocrine, immune, and neurochemical. I have even been criticized by other psychiatry-dissenters as simply substituting one physiologic illusion for another that continues to pathologize what is appropriate human angst and response to trauma. These critics say, it’s all mind, not body.

What if there is a new conversation happening in the medical literature – one that encompasses the whole person, all at once?

Entitled Symbolic Diseases and “Mindbody” Co-Emergence. A Challenge for Psychoneuroimmunology, Broom et al take the progressive field of Psychoneuroimmunology to task and demand an even more nuanced and sophisticated approach to the human experience.

Gut-Brain: Just The Beginning

On many levels, psychoneuroimmunology is an exciting revelation simply because it decimates false boundaries between different systems and allows more cohesive assessments to be made. No longer are there many blind men feeling parts of the elephant describing a rope and a tree trunk. We begin to understand that the immune and endocrine systems appear to be mediating a dialogue – bidirectional – between the gut and the brain.

In this model, the gut influences the brain and the brain influences the gut but they are still two separate entities communicating through biochemical signals. Where are YOU in this relationship? Where are the elements of the human experience that reflect your deeply held beliefs, thoughts, and relationships? What about your history and experience of yourself up until this point? Are we still just reducing humanity to bubbles of substances?

Gut-Brain-Mind: Adding Another Dimension

The mind is invited into gut-brain physiologic conversation in the form of stress. Stress has been used as a cause-all vector of bodily illness, a perspective that still reigns in the literature including data that demonstrates that perceived stress mobilizes inflammatory immune cells in the bone marrow. But the mind is more than stress, isn’t it? Is the personal meaning of the stress relevant?

Dr. Candace Pert has confirmed as much through her discovery of the bodily opiate receptor and research on neuropeptides demonstrating that that emotions are literally encoded throughout organs and tissues. Her perspective seems to elucidate why and how one person could weep after 8 minutes of raised arms in a kundalini yoga class and another might barely find it challenging. We get closer to a more personal experience of the physical body that blurs the boundaries between mental and physical.

In fact, the interpretation of the physical by the mind can actually then lead to changes and shifts in the physical – this is called the placebo effect. An emergent phenomenon, the placebo effect is physical and mental and both in the context of your personal beliefs, history, and expectations. It is not a mental factor. It is not a physical factor. It is a totality of you brought to the experience of healing.

So if it’s not just a broken body, why do we get sick?

Since the dawn of the microbiome, exosomes, and placebo research, no longer can we hold onto the cold comfort of our genes. We weren’t simply “born with” our illnesses and struggles. They have been co-created by us in our environment. But are they meaningful beyond that? Purposeful, even? Teleology is the study of purpose as a driving force of nature. It flies in the face of the mechanistic, reductionist perspective that life is random, nature is meaningless, and that force, effort, and exactitude dictate all outcomes.

The attunement of the organism to the world is reciprocated by the action of the world on us. The world or environment is not something inert, passive, something waiting to be acted upon. – Maurita Harney

Far from being new age woo, this field is supported by burgeoning disciplines such as quantum physics and biosemiotics, non-linear exploration of top-down informational exchange in web-like matrices. The one gene-one pill-one ill model of random bad luck is a skin this snake has shed.

The Meaning of Your Illness Matters

I firmly believe that there is a personal invitation in every diagnosis, and even every symptom. It is an invitation to examine everything and anything from diet to spiritual beliefs, but could illness carry personal symbolism and meaning? Broom et al, the authors of the previous paper, suggest that:

“Some persons will represent their meanings and “stories” clearly in language, some in behavior, some in the body, and some (maybe most) in multiple ways.”

To appreciate the relevance of symbolism, the whole person must be assessed in a global view with sensitivity to the meaning for a given individual of their symptoms. They pull cases from the literature including;

“A woman developed the precancerous condition oral leukoplakia (and, later, oral cancer requiring seven surgical interventions/reconstructions) at age 33. After 22 years of disease she entered therapy, and, in the first session, it emerged that her dentist father had died by suicide when the patient was age 6 and when he was 33. At age 12, the patient had been told by her alcoholic mother that she, the daughter, had caused the father’s death because she had refused to sit on his knee! There was a profound shame at having “caused” his death. Brief therapy led to a rapid and, thus far, 15-year remission.”

This made me wonder if my postpartum thyroiditis symptoms of cloudiness and fatigue so many years ago were representative of my feeling suppressed and oppressed by my unexpressed self. Perhaps I developed exactly what it is that I needed to become more myself in this life, and that healing it rather than fighting it was the integration that rendered me one with my very personal process.

Broom et al might say yes. They propose a co-emergent framework. This is one in which mind and body are not causing effects in one another but are a part of an unbroken continuity of internal body processes and external interpersonal meanings and influences. In other words, it is a model that takes into account the person, their story, and their environment as all a part of a web that includes the body and its systems.

More Than the Sum of Our Parts

How can we can enter on all of these levels at once – body, mind, and meaning? With the launch of my course, Vital Mind Reset, I have witnessed that self-healing is possible when we escape the reductionist magic pill/magic bullet model and honor our weblike complexity. Medical meditation, examination of beliefs, engagement in community, detox, and nutritional medicine all synergize to bring about results that might not have otherwise been possible. In fact, Bloom states:

“It appears that a co-emergent framework commonly allows recovery from chronic illnesses unresponsive to biomedical treatments.”

When we use this multi-signal, personalized (by you, for you) approach, participants marvel at the simplicity of the interventions yet the robustness of the shift:

FullSizeRender (2) (2)

In fact, we don’t even need to know why this multilevel approach to healing works, or how. We can move beyond the chemical theories, the complex analysis, and simply be in the process of sending the bodymind a signal of safety. Safety looks like ease. Trust. Curiosity. And even surrender. It’s not a fight. It’s not a battle. It’s a cooperative exchange and an exploration. It’s becoming more of our whole selves because we are becoming less fragmented and self-evasive. We stop hiding parts of our personhood from our awareness. We embrace it all in order to heal.

I now look for the story in any physical symptoms that arise in me, and in the physiologic specifics of my patient’s conditions. Exploring these stories often reveals the key to true wellness.

Read More At: KellyBroganMD.com