Mind in Labor: Effects of mind/body training on childbirth appraisals and pain medication use during labor

An abstract for Larissa Duncan, Michael Cohn, Maria Chao, Joseph Cook, Jane Riccobono, and Nancy Bardacke’s randomized controlled trial, testing the impact of Mind in Labor (MIL) weekend intensive workshops, is now available in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

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Results: After receiving the intervention, MIL participants showed increased childbirth self-efficacy (p=.04) and a trend towards lower pain catastrophizing compared to controls. Epidural anesthesia rates were comparable across conditions, but fewer MIL participants used systemic opioid analgesia during labor (Fisher’s exact test p=.119).  MIL participants had significantly lower depression symptoms post-course than controls; the difference grew in magnitude postpartum; (p=.04).”

 

Duncan, L., Cohn, M., Chao, M., Cook, J., Riccobono, J., & Bardacke, N.  (2014).  Mind in Labor: Effects of mind/body training on childbirth appraisals and pain medication use during labor.  The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 20(5), A17.

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Mindful Birthing: Training the Mind, Body, and Heart for Childbirth and Beyond receives the ACNM Best Book of the Year Award for 2014

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Mindful Birthing: Training the Mind, Body, and Heart for Childbirth and Beyond by Nancy Bardacke, CNM, MA, has received the American College of Nurse-Midwives’ Best Book of the Year Award for 2014.

The Best Book of the Year Award honors work that presents midwifery in an accurate and positive manner and in doing so helps to promote the profession of midwifery. 

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Mindfulness meditation linked to epigenetic changes

A study published in  Psychoneuroendocrinology investigated the effects of a day of intensive mindfulness practice in a group of experienced meditators, compared to a group of untrained control subjects who engaged in quiet non-meditative activities. After eight hours of mindfulness practice, the meditators showed a range of genetic and molecular differences, including altered levels of gene-regulating machinery and reduced levels of pro-inflammatory genes, which in turn correlated with faster physical recovery from a stressful situation.

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“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first paper that shows rapid alterations in gene expression within subjects associated with mindfulness meditation practice,” says study author Richard J. Davidson, founder of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds and the William James and Vilas Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Read the entire press release from the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds.
Link to article in February 2014 Psychoneuroendocrinology.

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Mindfulness in maternity

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The University of Oxford Mindfulness Centre in conjunction with the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust (OUH) maternity service have an ongoing collaboration to develop the introduction and evaluation of Mindfulness-Based Childbirth and Parenting (MBCP) throughout the UK.  This innovative project involves the development of an MBCP-focused training programme and, for the first time, the delivery of MBCP to antenatal groups in the UK.

Read the July 2013 British Journal of Midwifery report.

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Greater Good Science Center

Greater Good Science Center:
Practicing Mindfulness and Compassion Conference

8 March 2013
Nancy Bardacke, CNM
Mindfulness-Based Childbirth and Parenting: An Introduction

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Building Adult Capabilities to Improve Child Outcomes: A Theory

A wonderful video from the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard.

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“Being With What Is” by Jenna Leta

“As would be expected, many expectant parents enter the MBCP program with a myriad of hopes and fears about childbirth and parenting. They may worry about the pain of childbirth, the health of their baby or themselves, where to deliver, what provider to choose, whether that particular provider will be on-call when they are in labor, and what life will be like as a new parent. Sometimes very tangible, real life concerns, such as their financial situation or relationship tensions can overshadow the joy and excitement of this momentous change. Key to the MBCP program is to offer expectant parents the opportunity to train in mindfulness so that they may have some skills to navigate this new terrain of birthing and parenting—working with kindness and compassion for whatever arises in this profound journey into the unknown.”
Nancy Bardacke, RN, CNM, MA

New mom and MBCP graduate, Jenna Leta, recently shared with us how she used her mindfulness practice during her pregnancy, childbirth and life after birth.

“I took two classes to prepare for childbirth: yoga and the Mindfulness-Based Childbirth and Parenting course. In our yoga class, the teacher would encourage us to do just a few arm and shoulder workouts for “all those women having 9lb babies,” and I would think, ‘Those poor women. I’m so glad I’m average-sized with an average baby.’ And then, in our MBCP class, Nancy mentioned a few times how birthing a baby who is in a posterior position could result in back labor and make the strategies that we were learning to cope with pain more challenging. Mentally, I responded, “Thank god MY baby is in the correct position so I will have those perfect little pain waves.” (The ones with the big contraction wave with the smaller wavy breath wave on top of it. The one with total euphoria and the 1960s drugged-out ecstasy in between the gut-wrenching pain.)

Well, my little man arrived in our lives promptly on his due date, November 21. He was posterior and 9lbs 4 oz. Even though I can’t imagine worse pain, I have a few good things to say about the experience. It was liberating. There is something primal about lying in the dark completely naked and screaming louder than you knew you could. I felt fierce.

My biggest fears were giving birth in a hospital and being forced to lie on my back. In the end, after 3 hours of pushing, and with a frenzied plea of encouragement from my husband, I found my last ounce of resolution and energy and pushed our big baby into the world while in trendelenberg (on my back with the bed tilted so my head was lower than my pelvis). It just goes to show, just like we learned in class, you never know what will happen and anything is possible. I am convinced that without my brilliant midwife, I would have had a C-section.

maceo and jennaMaceo is now 6 months old and AWESOME!!!

Everything is the exact opposite of how I planned and imagined it.

He sleeps in our bed.

I am still on maternity leave.

He had a mango, right off the pit, as his first food and now slurps away black beans.

But, I am happy to report that even though I wasn’t the Zen person I imagined I would be during labor, I have managed to develop a regular mediation routine postpartum. The biggest challenge was finding time. What I have found works for me is to immediately stop whatever I am doing when he falls asleep for his first nap (usually leaving dishes or laundry undone) and do a sitting mediation. I use Nancy’s app on my iPhone; it is only 20 minutes, but it is working miracles on my life.

I am learning how to accept things as they are and spend less time worrying about the past or the future. I am less reactive and in general, happier. I feel I am more in control of my mood/emotions and at the same time, I am very at peace with how much I cannot control. My relationships, both at home and with my close friends and family, are stronger. My hair has been falling out, I haven’t slept for 3 consecutive hours in half of a year, my jeans will probably never fit me again, and I’m ok with it. Meditation is becoming my religion, of sorts. I can see now how accurate and important Nancy’s instruction about practice was (which we were told over and over again): “Just do it.”

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MBCP in Mindful Magazine

Mindfulness-Based Childbirth
and Parenting featured in the
August 2013 edition of Mindful Magazine.

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MBCP Pilot Study Results

Results of a pilot study about MBCP in Journal of Child and Family Studies

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Inquiring Mind Review

Mindful Birthing: Training the Mind, Body and Heart for Childbirth and Beyond is reviewed in Inquiring MindMindful Birthing Review

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