Monday, October 6, 2014
Open letter by Donal Kerry
Justice Campaign for Dr. Ágnes Geréb
Today, the 5th of October, 2014 marks the 4th anniversary of the arrest of Dr. Ágnes Geréb. An arrest which led to her imprisonment for 70 days followed by house arrest for a further 3 years and 2 months. Then, in late February, 2014 the Court of Appeal ruled that her confinement conditions should be relaxed for health reasons. Consequently, house arrest restrictions were removed and Ágnes can now move freely around the city of Budapest and also throughout the immediate county within which the capital is situated. She is not permitted to go beyond this area nor is she allowed to advise or consult with pregnant women.
The relaxation of conditions around Ágnes's detention came as a great relief to her and her family but it still leaves Ágnes facing enormous difficulties in her personal and professional life. This greater freedom of movement has, at least, allowed her secure some non-midwifery related work and with it a small but critical income towards supporting herself and her two school-going children. Since 6th, December, 2012 she has been defending herself in the criminal court regarding the birth case which caused her arrest and imprisonment 4 years ago, and a further 4 cases which the Hungarian State Prosecution Services added to the charge list. In the birth case incidents currently before the court all the birthing mother's involved support Ágnes and it is now expected the court verdicts will be delivered sometime in 2015.
Ágnes also has a 2 year prison sentence set against her since 2012, related to a fatal birth outcome involving a shoulder dystocia complication. She appealed to the President of Hungary in the matter and he has publicly stated his intention to decide upon Ágnes's request once final verdicts have been handed down in the other cases presently before the criminal courts. Recently, two further developments have occurred in the shoulder dystocia case. The first, concerns the parents involved who commenced a civil action to sue Ágnes for damages related to her professional negligence surrounding the death of their baby. The second, concerns a Hungarian medical expert who has come forward to defend Ágnes's professional actions at this birth, something which didn't occur when the original case was prosecuted through the courts. His medical statement is now being reviewed by the court and if it is found to have merit then one option is for the case to be reopened.
In the meantime, national and international support has remained consistently strong for Ágnes and for the rights of birthing mothers and midwives in Hungary. In late November, 2013, four Hungarian NGO's made an oral presentation to the EU Petitions Committee in Brussels concerning the Hungarian Government's failure to fully implement an EU Directive supporting midwifery-led-care in hospitals. As a consequence, the EU is now in dialogue with the Hungarian Government in the matter. We are hopeful this will be another step leading to the implementation of the legislative changes required to allow birthing mothers’ choose the type of birth experience which suits them best. The time of Ágnes's confinement has also shown a slow but perceptible move by the political and medical communities to be more pragmatic in dealing with the wider birthing issues raised by Ágnes’s actions and confinement. This trend is a welcome one even though it remains frustratingly slow.
Ágnes continues to show great diginity under circumstances of incredible duress. With her legal team she is defending her professional actions and reputation in all cases before the court with great fortitude and tenacity, in order to secure the justice which all campaign supporters believe she has been deprived of to-date. We will continue to keep all supporters updated on the situation of Ágnes as her treatment is also rightly seen to be inextricably linked to the future rights of birthing mothers and midwives in Hungary. I would like to finish by thanking you on behalf of Ágnes and the campaign team for the massive support you have offered her and Hungarian birthing mothers and midwives throughout these 4 years.
Posted by Elena Skoko at 6:10 AM
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Check it out and let me know your valuable impressions.
Posted by Elena Skoko at 2:47 PM
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Join me for 25+ compelling conversations with health professionals, doulas, midwives, and other birthing experts!
Orgasmic Birth with Debra Pascali-Bonaro - a FREE virtual conference streaming October 13-17, 2014!
Don't miss the fun I share with Debra on "Singing Birth: Sing Your Baby to Earth" interview, on Tuesday, October 14 at 4pm PT / 7pm ET!
Through this conference, you will learn about the hormones of childbirth and the similarities they have to our sensuality and sexuality. We will let you in on the Best-Kept Secrets to finding pleasure and orgasmic bliss in birth and beyond.
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Posted by Elena Skoko at 8:25 AM
Posted by Elena Skoko at 8:19 AM
Monday, September 8, 2014
Human Rights in Childbirth
Saturday 20 September 2014
9:30 am - 01:00 pm
Sala Convegni del Complesso logistico Pio IX,
Circolo Ufficiali dello Stato Maggiore dell’Esercito,
Viale Castro Pretorio n. 95,
9.30: “Human Rights in Childbirth and the International Movement”
Alessandra Battisti, lawyer and Legal Advocacy Coordinator in
for Human Rights in Childbirth Italy
9.40: “Grass-roots Activism for the Promotion of Human Rights in Childbirth and the Role of the Scientific Documentary “Microbirth”
Elena Skoko, writer and Political Advocacy Coordinator in
for HRiC Italy
10.00: “The Human Dignity in the Contemporary Constitutionalism”
Salvatore Bonfiglio, Professor of Comparative Public Law and Constitutional Italian and Comparative Law,
, Faculty of Political
Sciences Roma TRE University
10.20: “The Informed Consent in Obstetrics”
Vania Cirese, lawyer at the Court of Rome and Responsible for the National Legal Office of the AOGOI, Advisor for the Register of Midwives of Milano-Lodi
10.40: “Active Participation of Mothers in Pregnancy and Childbirth Health Care: the Example of Castelli Romani”
Michela Cericco, Legal Responsible for “La Goccia Magica”, volunteer organization for the support of breastfeeding
11.00: Coffee break
11.15-12.15: World premiere screening of the scientific documentary “Microbirth”
by Toni Harman and Alex Wakeford
12.15: Discussion and question time
Conducted by Ivana Arena, midwive
The participation at the Convention is free but the seats are limited, therefore previous registration is mandatory. Formal outfit is required. Parking is available after prior notice.
Posted by Elena Skoko at 2:46 PM
Wednesday, July 2, 2014
Human Rights ~ Infant Rights at Birth
Robin Lim CPM
7 June, 2014, Public Letter
7 June, 2014, Public Letter
Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, families, midwives, doulas, doctors, nurses, hospital administrators and legislators… we are BirthKeepers. It is our responsibility to ask the next and the next question, for as BirthKeepers, it is we who are given the sacred responsibility to protect our incoming humans, the newborns, at birth and as they grow, for they are the future EarthKeepers. My question now is: “Are we allowing our health providers to rob our babies, of their full potential of health, intelligence, immunity and longevity, at birth?”
According to the Red Cross, children under the age of 17 (16 with parental consent in some States) are not eligible to donate blood. Blood donations are generally no more than 1 pint, which is 1/10th of the average adult blood volume. Blood donors must weigh at least 110 lbs (49,895 kg). http://www.redcrossblood.org/donating-blood/eligibility-requirements
Yet, all over the world, in nearly every single medical institution where babies are born, Newborn infants (usually weighing only between 2 and 5 kilograms) are being denied up to 1/3 of their blood volume.
At the moment of birth newborn infants are estimated to have a blood volume of 78 ml/kg (X 3.5kg = 273 ml) with a venous hematocrit of 48%.
When the umbilical cord-clamping was delayed for 5 minutes the blood volume increased by 61% to 126 ml/kg (X 3.5 kg or 7.7 lbs. = 441 ml). This placental transfusion amounted to 168 ml for an average 3,500 g infant, one-quarter of which occurred in the first 15 seconds, and one-half within 60 seconds of birth.
Is taking 1/3 of a mammal’s blood supply harmful? How then can it be legal, for hospital protocols and practices to harm newborns, by robbing them at birth, of so much of their blood? I have reviewed the research and the evidence, and found absolutely NO benefits for newborn babies, when their umbilical cords are immediately clamped and cut at the time of birth. In fact the studies prove this to be a harmful practice. I am quite sure that if I went removed 1/3 of even one adult patient’s blood, without his or her consent, it would be considered a crime. There would be media outcry against me, and I would be prosecuted. How then is it that people tolerate the same unfair treatment of human neonates?
A mountain of research does point to the fact that by simply delaying the clamping and cutting of babies’ umbilical cords, our newborn children would suffer less trauma, fewer inner cranial hemorrhages, have higher stores of iron at 4 months of age, and even up to 6 and 8 months after birth.1,2, 3 The nutrients, oxygen and stem cells present in the blood transfused into babies by the placenta, when cord severance is delayed ensures the bodies’ tissues and organs are properly vitalized, supplied with energy, and nourished. This translates into improved health, heightened immunity, more intelligence and perhaps, potential for increased longevity.
In addition, by not severing the umbilical cord at birth, the baby must stay skin to skin with mother. This eliminates or greatly reduces the potential for birth trauma. Research has proven that babies born without trauma enjoy an intact capacity to love and trust. (Michel Odent OBGYN “The Scientification of Love”.)
The simple, natural, common-sense practice of giving the placenta time to do its job, of delivering to the baby, his or her full blood supply, has been criticized and NOT implemented by the very doctors and hospitals who have taken an oath, to “Never Do Harm.”
An intervention, by definition is an action or process of intervening, or interfering, and so, the clamping and cutting of human babies’ umbilical cords is an intervention. However, in the medical literature, I have repeatedly seen the delay of umbilical cord severance called, an “intervention.”
Surgery is an intervention, in some cases a life saving one. I wonder, how not interfering with a natural, healthy process may be deemed an intervention. The imposed medical habit of immediately clamping and cutting babies’ umbilical cords has not been with us so long (just over 200 years) and yet, it is considered “normal” and “necessary.”
“Another thing very injurious to the child, is the tying and cutting of the navel string too soon; which should always be left till the child has not only repeatedly breathed but till all pulsation in the cord ceases. As otherwise the child is much weaker than it ought to be, a portion of the blood being left in the placenta, which ought to have been in the child.”
Erasmus Darwin, Zoonomia, 1801
The habitual practice of immediate umbilical cord clamping and cutting began in the 1960s when a hypothesis arose among physicians thinking that immediate cord severance would prevent jaundice. If this was true why do so many babies who had their cords immediately clamped and cut, need phototherapy for pathological jaundice? Research has proven that there is no greater risk of pathological jaundice for newborns whose cord clamping and cutting was delayed.
Another theory was that early cord clamping would prevent Polycythemia, or too much hemoglobin. Some research does show an increased concentration of hemoglobin in the delayed cord clamping group, but it has not harmed babies, nor is it a significant argument for immediate cord severance.4
When immediate umbilical cord clamping and cutting was introduced, it was never questioned. NO research was conducted to determine if it was a safe practice. It was just done for convenience. Doctors, nurses and midwives began to follow the trend, like sheep wearing blinders. Later, they justified it with myths about delayed cord severance causing jaundice. Few asked the questions I am asking today; “What about the Baby?” “What are the Babies’ human rights?” “Is the practice and protocol of immediate umbilical severance harming our children?” “Is it sabotaging breastfeeding and bonding?” “Is it impairing our children’s birthright to their full potential of health and intelligence?” At this junction on herstory and history, many BirthKeepers are asking these very questions.5
The research proves that immediate or early umbilical cord severance is detrimental to our newborn children, but no one seems alarmed? Are we hypnotized? Why are we trusting medical professionals, who profit from denying our offspring their very blood?
Thinking, caring parents and grandparents have concluded that OBGYNs and midwives, who insist on habitually severing the umbilical cords of newborn babies, immediately, are simply protecting their right to practice with impatience, and what they deem ‘efficiency,’ with no regard for the rights of the baby, who cannot protest.
Due to imagined Fear of litigation. In 1995 the American Academy of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) released an Educational Bulletin (#216) recommending immediate cord clamping in order to obtain cord blood for blood gas studies in case of a future lawsuit. They did this because deviations in blood gas values at birth can reflect asphyxia, or lack of. Lack of asphyxia at birth is viewed as proof in a court of law that a baby was healthy at birth.
Following an unpublished letter sent to ACOG by Dr. Morley, ACOG6 withdrew this Educational Bulletin in the February 2002 issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the ACOG journal. This action released them of liability resulting from their previous bulletin #216 of 1995. Parents and all BirthKeepers must ask; WHY, if ACOG has withdrawn its erroneous instruction to doctors, to immediately clamp and cut babies’ umbilical cords, is it still universally and dangerously practiced?
Midwives and doctors who propose to preserve the healthy process of placental transfusion at birth, by delaying umbilical cord clamping and cutting, are criticized and charged with the burden of proving that letting nature take her course is, safe!
At Bumi Sehat we have received nearly 7,000 babies safely into the world, in high-risk, low resource settings. ALL of them enjoyed delayed umbilical cord clamping and cutting. Normally we wait 3 hours before doing anything with the Babies’ umbilical cords, and many parents choose cord non-severance, or, “Full Lotus Birth.” My grandsons, had what is called, “Full Lotus Birth” their placentas were left intact. Full Lotus Birth is simply allowing the baby, umbilical cord and placenta to stay intact, until the cord naturally dries and falls away, with no violence. Partial Lotus Birth happens anytime we see the baby, cord and placenta trinity. This means we do not clamp or cut the babies’ umbilical cords, before the placenta has been safely born. Certainly we would never clamp and cut a baby’s cord, until all pulsation has stopped.
At Bumi Sehat we have experienced NO ill effects for the babies, even though we do not immediately sever their umbilical connection to the placenta. A small study was done which compared a small sample of 30 babies from Bumi Sehat (greatly delayed cord severance) and 30 babies from a local hospital with immediate cord severance. There was NO increased rate of Jaundice and the delayed cord severance group from Bumi Sehat enjoyed higher hemoglobin.
Our MotherBabies enjoy a breastfeeding rate of 100% upon discharge from all of our three Childbirth centers, in Indonesia and the Philippines. We attribute the success of Mother’s to breastfeed to the bright, enthusiastic way in which babies, born at our birth centers, bond wide-eyed, and go directly to the breast to self-attach and feed. Also the support of our midwifery team, for each MotherBaby, protects breastfeeding start-up. There is absolutely NO infant formula supplied or promoted at Bumi Sehat.
Babies who are compromised by newborn anemia, caused by the immediate or early clamping and cutting of their umbilical cords, are withered in comparison, and have more difficulty finding the energy required to self-attach and robustly feed at Mother’s breasts. After all, babies who suffer the routine medical habit of immediate cord severance, only seconds after birth, have been denied up to 1/3 of their divine right to their natural blood supply and stem cells, of course they have trouble breastfeeding. Sever anemia makes any and all newborn activities; gazing, crawling toward the breast, nuzzling, staying awake, latching and suckling, nearly impossible. I sing praises to the determined mothers who manage to bond and breastfeed their infants, in spite of immediate cord severance. Humans are super resilient, but that is no excuse to abuse them at birth.
No other Mammal, except humans, routinely interferes with bonding and breastfeeding by quickly severing the umbilical cords of their offspring.
No matter if you are rich or poor; educated or not; brown, black, white, red, yellow or of mixed race, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Pagan, Catholic, Jewish or Agnostic, very young or getting older, if you go to a medical institution for childbirth, your baby will be robbed of up to 1/3 or 33% of his or her natural blood supply.
Why? Stem cells are valuable, blood is valuable, some hospitals sell babies’ blood for transfusions and for research7. Many parents are asked to donate their babies cord blood to science or to help others. Is this blood not meant to help the baby it belongs to? If adults may only donate up to 10% of their blood, why are doctors taking up to 33% of our babies’ blood, without consent. There are hospitals and clinics who impede the natural transfer of blood from placenta to baby, only to throw it away as medical waste. Umbilical cords are marketed for transplants. Placentas have been sold to cosmetic companies to be used in beauty supplies.
Just say “NO, I will not allow anyone to abuse my newborn by immediately clamping and cutting my Baby’s umbilical cord!”
If you were born in a hospital or clinic, it happened to you. If you plan to have your birth in nearly any medical institution on earth, it will happen to your baby, unless YOU stop it.
We must be very clear. This blood is not "CORD" blood, it is BABY blood! When we ask mothers to give away cord blood, they are under an illusion. This blood belongs to the BABY, not to the umbilical cord.
Immediate or early clamping and cutting of babies’ umbilical cords is the biggest most widespread, medically sanctioned Human Rights issue on Earth!
1. BMJ. 2011 Nov 15;343:d7157. doi: 10.1136/bmj.d7157.
2. Indian Pediatr. 2002 Feb;39(2):130-5.
3. JOURNAL OF TROPICAL PEDIATRICS, VOL. 58, NO. 6, 2012
4. J Perinat Neonat Nurs r Vo 2012
Rethinking Placental Transfusion and Cord Clamping Issues, Judith S. Mercer, PhD, CNM, FACNM, Debra A. Erickson-Owens, PhD, CNM
Posted by Elena Skoko at 4:26 AM
Saturday, May 31, 2014
And yet, every day, we receive reports from women around the globe that their human rights have been violated during childbirth. From denial of pain relief and support during labour to episiotomies, cesareans, and other interventions performed despite the mother’s objection.
Women should not be coerced into compliance, through threats that medical care will be completely withheld or that their children will be taken away by social services. Women should not have to travel across state and country borders to find support in childbirth. And doctors and midwives should not be persecuted for providing rights-based maternity care.
We believe that much suffering can be prevented through the clarification and upholding of the fundamental human rights of birthing women. And we are committed to promoting those rights, in law and practice, until they become a reality for birthing women everywhere.
Posted by Elena Skoko at 1:03 PM
Thursday, April 10, 2014
My midwive Ibu Robin Lim sang a Gayatri mantra as a joyous welcome to our newborn daughter Koko in the birth center Bumi Sehat (Bali). This is a very old and powerful mantra in the Hindu tradition. Performed here by Elena Skoko in the sequence of 8.
"Oṃ bhūr bhuvaḥ svaḥ
tát savitúr váreṇ(i)yaṃ
bhárgo devásya dhīmahi
dhíyo yó naḥ pracodáyāt"
Posted by Elena Skoko at 9:02 AM
Sunday, April 6, 2014
Friday, April 4, 2014
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
"Elenina radionica nas uči jednoj od najbitnijih istina za vlastiti porod a tako i život, a to je dobivanje osjećaje za sebe i svoje tijelo te slušanje istog. Putem pjevanja, masaže, muzike ili pokreta, žena u svakom trenutku može stupiti u kontakt sa sobom i slobodno izraziti svoju najdublju prirodu. Na taj način porod može biti snažna i moćna inicijacija svake žene u njenu žensku snagu i potpuno drugačije iskustvo od onoga kojeg nam servira moderna kultura. Dobivanje povjerenja u vlastito tijelo i žensku snagu omogućuje ženama da svjesno donose odluke koje su najbolje za njih i njihove bebe, te da dožive ispunjavajuće pa čak i orgazmične porode. Radionicu preporučam svim ženama koje žele proširiti znanje o porodu te dobiti vrijedno iskustvo kroz praksu. Elena je upravo ono što i predaje, utjelovljenje prekrasne ženske energije i snage, koju putem radionice želi probuditi u svima nama." Ivanka Mabić Gagić, mom, Zagreb
"Radionica s Elenom podsjetila me je koliko je važno naći svoj glas, svoj ritam i pokret da bih se povezala sa vlastitim tijelom i njegovom mudrošću. To povezivanje je trenutak iz kojeg donosim mudre odluke, iz kojih stvaram svoj život, iz kojeg izvire moja kreativnost. Za ženu pri porodu je važno naći vlastiti glas i ritam da bi se mogla lakše "utjeloviti" i vođena mudrošću tijela ugodnije proći kroz porod." Tatjana Ljuština Milaković, doula, Rijeka
"Elena's workshop teaches us one of the main truths for our life and birth, that is the importance of tuning into ourselves and into our bodies and listening. Through singing, massage, music and movement, a woman can get in touch with herself at any moment in order to express her deepest nature. This way, birth can be an empowering and mighty initiation for every woman into her own strength, and a whole different experience from what modern culture serves us. Gaining trust in their own bodies and into their feminine power allows women to make conscious decisions that are best for themselves and their babies, and thus experience fulfilling and even orgasmic births. I recommend this workshop to all the women who want to widen their knowledge about birth and gain valuable experience through practice. Elena is exactly what she teaches, the embodiment of a beautiful female energy and power that she wishes to awaken in all of us through her workshop." Ivanka Mabić Gagić, mom, Croatia
"Elena's workshop reminded me how important it is to find my own voice, my rhythm and movement so to get in touch with my own body and its wisdom. This connection is a moment when I take wise decisions from which I build my own life, the source of my own creativity. For a woman who is giving birth it is important to find her own voice and rhythm so that she may "embody herself" and, guided by her body wisdom, go through the experience of childbirth in a more pleasant way." Tatjana Ljuština Milaković, doula, Croatia
Posted by Elena Skoko at 12:42 PM
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
|Mama & Koko, photo by Ognjen Maravic and Paul Prescott|
Zajedno sa svojim partnerom Robom Bluebirdom Ruggerijem, također glazbenikom, i četverogodišnjom kćerkicom Koko, Elena Skoko živi nomadskim životom između Balija, Rima i Pule, a ovog vikenda, 1. i 2. ožujka, u Zagrebu, u Bodyelement studiju u Tratinskoj 49 ima radionicu 'Singing Birth'."...
Read the entire interview:
Posted by Elena Skoko at 4:03 PM
Monday, February 10, 2014
Sunday, January 5, 2014
|Koko & mama with Ibu Robin Lim|
“Where is the land where midwives like her grow?”, I used to ask myself. Is she unique or are there more? My great-grandma was a lay midwife and healer. But in my world she belonged to the past, as there is no lay or traditional midwives in Croatia anymore. Ibu Robin is Philipino-American. There are still midwives who have not abandoned the path of traditional midwifery, instead they have implemented it with new midwifery skills that include the obstetric science and medical knowledge of birth. This is the ground where Ibu Robin, as well as other amazing midwives, come from.
|Jan Tritten from Midwifery Today,|
Debra Pascali-Bonaro and other participants
I was wondering... If my midwife sang at the birth of my child, do others from the Land of Midwives sing to birthing women? Sometimes, when I tell the story of my experience of childbirth people look at me in a strange way when I say that my midwife sang to us. “Oh, how romantic...”, they sigh, like if this belonged to a Fairy Land, while they were living in the realm of the Orks. So, I asked some of the midwives if they sang at birth. And they answered: “Yes, of course!” “Would you sing to me so I can record it and share?”, I dared. “Sure, darling”, they answered spontaneously. They were ready, right away. I grabbed my smart phone and said: “Go...”. My first singing midwife was Betty-Anne Daviss, a Canadian world-renowned midwife, teacher and co-author of the most downloaded study about home birth: "Outcomes of planned home births with certified professional midwives: large prospective study in N. America” (2005). She sang a song she learned from traditional Guatemalan midwives. The second was Carol Gautschi, from California. She's also a songwriter, and she sang one of her own songs inspired by birth. Please, note how even in the middle of the buzzing crowd their voices sound so peaceful and calm.
Posted by Elena Skoko at 3:13 PM