Resources from Global Prenatal Initiative

Prenatal Education 9 Months to Save the World : Education begins before birth

Pregnancy

Precious moments spent in the womb represent the foundations for long-term health, emotional security, brain construction, creativity and even behavioral characteristics for every human being.

During pregnancy, it goes hand in hand with what a mother is experiencing and after delivery. We can hardly turn the clock back. Today, it is largely proved by scientific studies that it no longer has to do with any faith-based theses.

Discovering that mother’s emotions can directly influence a baby’s development in the womb is a turning point in the adoption of a new paradigm : the archaic vision of pregnancy in which the baby was just « a thing » unable to have his own feelings, is clearly behind us.

Such a vision is fully refuted by Dr. Barbara Findeisen, a psychotherapist with over 28 years of experience, in her book Womb Prints : « The psychology of the womb and birth is such a neglected subject ». She has been closely working with Dr. Burce Lipton, Ph.D., who is internationally recognized as a pioneer in New Biology. He is the main author of The Biology of Belief. He received the 2009 prestigious « Goi Peace Award » (Japan) in honour of his scientific contribution to global peace by freeing humanity from the fatalistic dogma of genetic determinism, bringing knowledge that is empowering us on the path of our self-determination. In Nature, Nurture and the Power of Love, his research has led to the fact that environmental signals are responsible for selecting the genes produced by the fœtus. Our DNA is no longer seen as rigid, but as flexible and constantly modified by nurture and how we perceive it, by giving shape to our body and our psychological attitude. Given that our perception has the final say as regards physical ressources, it is no doubt our responsibility to choose our filters of reality to regenerate ourselves so that we have a direct impact on our « genetic data base ». Thus, our fate is no longer determined by our genetic heritage and if we keep this as a postulate, to get to the bottom of things, it leads us to the concept of Maternal Empowerment : Mothers are able to build a better world !

I. What does it mean?

Scientific studies show a fetus receives chemical signals from its mother that could have a negative impact on how a baby develops after birth.

The psychological state of a mother has a direct impact on the health of a baby after birth.

Therefore would it not be wise to start feeling at peace with oneself before deciding to have a baby? It can become a way of life, a way of being. Moreover it would be easier to keep experiencing peace during pregnancy. Simple things should be done during pregnancy to stimulate your own secretion of hormones such as endorphins (well-being hormones) and oxytocin (the love hormone). For example, talking to your baby while in a state free of stress, would permit the releasing of these two chemical signals which are shared with the fetus through the umbilical cord. On the one hand, it is believed that these two hormones are crucial for development of the fetus, but on the other hand, stress hormones may play a terrific role. One of the hormones our brain releases when we are under the influence of stress is adrenaline. It can be highly useful in an emergency situation in which our survival instinct is needed but in everyday life it may be responsable for the increase of blood sugar levels, artery pressure, breathing rate, blood flow to skeletal muscles and heart rate. Moreover these hormones are addictive and both the body and mind become used to secreting one group more than the other. Our whole vision of life might be determined by this habit our mother gives us while in her womb. If a universal rule could then be found, it would sound like « the more you stay positive, the more you will prepare your baby to be so as well ! »

II. Who are the players in the field?

Global Prenatal Initiative

The GPI, known as the Global Prenatal Initiative, is a citizens organisation from the UK which has decided to gather and share scientific knowledge on prenatal issues and which has organized events all around the world. Its main aims are simple :

To raise awareness in all sectors of society on the long-term impact of the 9 months of pregnancy thereby attaining individual and global peace, sustainable development and poverty eradication.

To emphasize the impact of parenting, and especially the key role of the mother during pregnancy and birth, for the future of humanity.

To advocate putting Prenatal Education at the heart of all education, health, social development and policy making. This is about to be done in the UK through the legislative validation process of the 1001 critical days Manifesto and in China where senior authorities are searching for new programmes to better anticipate pregnancy.

III. What are the alternatives ?

1. Home birth

homebirthSeen as a good alternative The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) in the UK, support home birth for women who have uncomplicated pregnancies.

Women may choose home birth because they prefer the intimacy of a home and family or desire to avoid an over-medically centered experience, which hospitals offer. There is no reason why home birth should not be offered to women at low risk of complications and it may confer considerable benefits for them and their families. It is common sense in Northern European Countries such as the Netherlands, where the rate of home birth is one of the highest in the Western World. Some 30 percent of Dutch women deliver at home while around 60 percent do so in hospital, mostly for medical reasons, and another 10 percent deliver in special out-patient birthing clinics. In other European countries such as Germany, France, Britain, Belgium and the Scandinavian countries home deliveries account for no more than two percent. Thanks to the empowerment of midwives and doulas, it is far from being difficult to give birth at home, compared to France, where midwives have no insurance if anything should happen during labour. Should something go wrong during labour, a midwife in France would find him or herself solely responsable and would face a prison term or pay a considerable sum of money. Thus a pregnant woman is left with one option : deliver her baby at hospital in the emergency service, where she would be « warmly welcomed ». Can you imagine the beautiful cocktail of stress hormones and then pain ? However, in those countries in which midwives are appreciated for their wonderful work, families enjoy follow-up from the beginning, even before birth, up to delivery, and midwives or doulas work with the woman to win her trust in order that she should feel comfortable and safe on d-day, thanks to exercices aimed at warding off stress and suffering. Training in hypo-birthing, sophrology or yoga is highly useful to control your body pain and give birth in a natural way without epidural anesthesia.

There are other options for your pregnancy : Birth centers are good alternatives to hospitals as you are able to stay there, with your relatives, from one to nine months. These are places in which staff cares about you and your family by offering you the best conditions through workshops, training and artistic activities.

2. Breastfeeding

BreastfeedingA crucial thing on a mother to-do-list is definitely to breastfeed her baby.

In 2012, UNICEF announced that the increasing of breastfeeding rates in the UK could save the NHS money through improving health outcomes.

Thanks to the Infant Feeding Survey, done every five years and published by the NHS Information Centre, figures show that there were real improvements from 2005 to 2010. The proportion of breastfedbabies at birth rose by 5%, from 76% to 81%. The initial breastfeeding rate in 2010 was the highest in England at 83%, compared with Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Breastfed-babies are less likely to be subject to gastroenteritis, respiratory infections, sudden infant death syndrome, obesity, type 1 and 2 diabetes and allergies such as asthma or lactose intolerance. Its entire immune system is stimulated by the four types of breast milk at different stages of his development. Breast milk is constantly changing to satisfy a baby’s need. The first type is colostrum, followed by transitional milk, then foremilk and finally hindmilk. There are numerous benefits in breastfeeding for mothers as well. The longer a mother breastfeeds, the greater she will be protected against breast or ovarian cancer, and hip fractures in later life. The UNICEF report showed that for only five illnesses, moderate increases in breastfeeding would translate into cost savings for the NHS of £40 million and tens of thousands of fewer hospital admissions and consultations.

In conclusion, thanks to this research, we can no longer afford to ignore the deep implications of our behavior on our baby’s development. Finding time to truly work with your body and your mind during pregnancy, by transmitting positive energy to your baby is synonymous with acting as a responsible citizen. Let us do our best to build a better world together!

Author: Marie Cier

Editor: Ioana Frandes

The Youth and Its Role In Prenatal, Birth and Better Maternal Care

Fred and Moffat (Fre-Mo)

Today’s Youth is tomorrow’s parent. His role is critical in overcoming the obstacles on the path to better maternal care. The world should have faith in it and so should be the organizations that are part of women’s pregnancy journey. The youth has the goodwill, the opportunity and the critical roles to play. I have been there and I know it’s a challenge, but with energy, passion and a spirit of adventure big things are on the way.

We started a medical and birth centre in my mid-twenties with no resource, goodwill or experience in the world of medicine worse still, I myself didn’t possess  medical background. It was risk-taking but worth enduring in the end. It carried a lot of expected failures and that is why I regard it to be the best ride in this adventure. Who believed in us? Pretty not sure but we did our best to be ourselves. I anchored my dreams on service to humanity, passion for serving and youthfulness energy. To serve with passion full of energy, that is what it means. If you find the calling as a youth challenging, take a little time and look at my experience. I assure you it will take precedence to challenge yours. Most of you are younger than I was, more experienced than I am. You are more enlightened and intellectually correct which put my involvement in this noble organization into humility but with so much pride to be part and parcel of.
We have attended facilitated and served women’s care at prenatal level, birth room and postnatal at homes from our simple birth centre and how I stand with conviction with surety knowing the benefits will outlive many of the challenges ahead.  We call it focused amiable conceived care. The outcomes are encouraging. The whole care sets at prenatal level. Information is power and the positive prenatal information is empowerment. Witness the challenges of this informal settlement woman, (poverty, ignorance, drug abuse, HIV, Anemia, domestic violence, disease, dirty water to name but a few), so horrific to imagine to digest but they come out strongly to overshadow the threats in every possible way banking on the guaranteed support of encouragement, information, resources, recognizing dignity and the incorporation of compassion all throughout care.
Empowerment to an expectant woman is to lighten a dark alley in the journey by pulling down the fears, countering unnecessary complications, creating understanding between caregivers and families and the need for the expectant woman to learn to listen and keep her pregnancy safe by all means at will.
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FreMo Birthroom

At our birth centre here in the slum of Kawangware the challenges faced with these women and their families are myriad woven with social, economic and cultural system dysfunctional yet most of them have been overcome by a culture in service delivery packaged and practice adhering to the woman’s needs; the midwifery model of care that works magical and befits well to every low-risk pregnant woman.

The youth given information and opportunity is an enlightened mass who are seizing the opportunity to a brighter life of birth and pregnancy. On their part, they are incorporating science, culture and ethics to propel the agenda of their cause to higher levels. They know that Science has got its part, that path to propel positive prenatal towards successful and possible results. Culture has its part to overcome the obstacles that bring about fantasies of the modern era where civilization ridicules decency. Ethics calls on care to adhere to the true basic virtues of practice to do the best including providing right and timely information, respecting and honouring client’s body and participation and putting into practice proper care full of satisfaction.
The youth of today is tomorrow’s parent. They know, understand and are aware of their defiant environment. The prenatal process forming the backbone of their childbearing and development should be put into focus. They know their world so well, its challenge and its positives.

Irvinta

I married in my mid-twenties and my son came two years later. We had already opened our Medical and Birth center to care for local pregnant women. The culture was not the one we pride with but with the gracious Midwife Vicki Chan, incorporating the safety, compassion, support and dignified care during birth all changed. Unfortunately, my son will be born in a public facility where my wife endured a lot of loneliness and anxiety that came following. I love my son dearly, but I understand well his birth-care was not the beautifying one. Two years later my daughter was born. She is a princess who was welcomed into this world by loving, compassionate and dignified care. Irvinta now 3 years old was born at home with my wife Judith, Son Frank, Midwife, Doctor and I, a choice we took because it was a low-risk pregnancy. The birth was simple, easy and sacred so to say but little. This care received by my daughter perhaps is the greatest gift any caregiver; parent or community would ever adorn their babies. The journey was walked with love, care and support. All fears buried, love was in the air to empower the whole care. I reaped what I had sown by caring women with the standard basic care that is full of safety, compassion and social justice. Many of the families we serve have had the privilege and opportunity to experience the same. As a youth, I stood for what is right and I earned a place in my daughter’s life by giving her the care she needed and deserved.  If all the youths are brought aboard to identify how critical their involvement in prenatal and birth, we will all see the beauty of the world that God foresaw after creation. It was all beautiful. The youths will make the difference and our life will be beautiful.


Author: Moffat Osoro
Founder Member FreMo Medical and Birth Centre.
Nairobi- Kenya.
Editor: Ioana Frandes

GPI Youth delegation – Activities Report (September 2014- March 2016)

September 2014

o Lubiana Gosp-Server went to the annual meeting conference of the Secretary General of the UN and the NGOs

o Ioana Frandes has been writing a blog since 2014 on prenatal education named “Prenatal Bliss”

October/November 2014:

o Interventions in India with Julie Gerland, François Gerland, Lubiana Gosp-Server and Marie Cier at

o Palampour – In a primary school named “Mother’s touch School”

o Bangalore (National Institute of Mental Health) and Bangalore Birth Network

o Action India (NGO financed by the UN) o Mumbai with a midwife o Mumbai during a local biological market o Mumbai at the Bhakti Vedanta Hospital All these exchanges have been well received and multiple contracts have been formed to establish partnerships and to continue our work in India. One person, Sanghamitra Sau, friend of Julie and François Gerland, is starting an association for “Maternel Empowerement” in India.

December 2014

o Lubiana Gosp-Server, Elie Evencho, Julie and François Gerland went to China.

o They went to Zhuhai to participate in the 11th Family Summit, invited by the World Family Organisation (WFO) and the Chinese Ministry of Health. They collaborated with other activists for a preparation of a document adressed to the United Nations concerning the Agenda Post 2015. Lubiana-Gosp Server was invited to give a talk infront of the NGOs during the first day of the meeting. They had the chance to speak a lot with the Chinese participants and others from around the world. Elie (who’s focusing her Masters degree on Prenatal Education in China) helped us communicate with the Chinese people by translating for the group. There has been much interest on the subject of Prenatal Education in China. Important contacts for the futur have been put in place.

o Meeting with midwifes in Hong-Kong with Julie Gerland. Elie Evenchoen gave a short presentation in Shenzen to parents during a pre-natal visit. December 2014 – January 2015: o The GPI was reprised as a project by the Youth Delegation. Marie Cier accompagnied Julie and François to Hawaii to “relight the torch” in the njame of the delegation on sunrise on the 1st of January 2015. Subsequently, the GPI had a partnership with the international Year of Light with the U.N that year.

o  They visited the “Birth stones” where ancient royals from all of the south Pacific came to give birth.

January 2015:

o Lubiana Gosp-Server and Ioana Frandes represented the GPI at the opening of the International year of Light at the UNESCO center in Paris.

February 2015:

o Ioana Frandes accompagnied Julie and François Gerland to the 1001 critical days conference in the British Parlement in London. Julie was invited to give the opening speech at the last day of the conference. It was a very good opening on working together with parlementary representatives and various NGOs present.

January – June 2015:

o Lubiana represented the “Maternal empowerement” cause at the U.N in Geneva.

June 2015:

o Lubiana Gosp-Server was invited by the NGO coalition give a presenation on the conclusion of OMDs and futur ODD at a conference at the UN.

o Lubiana Gosp-Server also had the chance to give a presentation on the work of the Youth Delegation at the ONUG in the context of a conference of the NGO coalition for the OMDs at the NGO meeting.

August 2015:

o Meeting of 10 members of the Youth Delegation in the south of France.

September – December 2015

o Lubiana Gosp-Server represented the “maternal empowerement” cause at the UN.

November 2015:

o Marie Cier went to the ONUG open day to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the UN

December 2015:

o Lubiana Gosp-Server and Maxime Goupil represented the GPI and the NIEP at a NGO coalition meeting for the ODDs with various partners.

o Yasmine El Kettani, Ioana Frandes, Pilar Vizcaino, Julie and François Gerland were invited to the World Family Summity in Cairo in Egypt. The presence of the Youth Delegates was noted in the report sent to the U.N

January 2016:

o A new partnership with the Noble Institution for Enviromental Peace NGO was formed with the GPI

o Lubiana Gosp-Server became it’s main representative at the UN in Geneva

February 2016:

o Lubiana Gosp-Server and Julie Gerland participated in the preparatory skype meeting for “Women Deliver”. The GPI sponsored Lubiana Gosp-Server to represent the importance of maternal empowerement in May 2016

o Amelie Paterne participated in the event “Teaching peace in school summit” online and wrote an article which linked to the GPI.

March 2016:

o Lubiana Gosp-Server represented the GPI at the 31st session of the Human rights council.

o Lubiana Gosp-Server was invited by the NGO coalition for the ODDs and the UNESU to talk about “Feminin leadership: a necessary condition for the objective of gender equality”. As such, she will speak about the importance of mothers and their role in Humanity.

o Lubiana Gosp-Server was invited to the 31st session of the Human rights council’s closing ceremony, organised by the Mission of Great Britain with the UN

It would be too long to write about all the different activities and initiatives by different delegates here, but please contact us if you want more specific informations.

 

 

Men and Maternal empowerment

Today, I’d like to share a story with you.

As you may know, the Global Prenatal Initiative is campaigning for “Maternal Empowerment“. Every day, more people understand that mothers have a massive impact on their children’s health, well being and faculties as early as the moment of conception, all through pregnancy, during the birth process, early childhood and well beyond.

It’s been known for centuries that mothers build their baby’s body using their own physical resources, the food they eat, the liquids they drink and the air they breathe. There has been a huge focus on babies health based on nutrition and toxic behaviours to be avoided such as smoking and drinking. But what about the construction of what’s now referred to as mental health: The emotional, intellectual and spiritual well being of the new born and the adult he or she will become…

Well, this is precisely what the story I want to tell you is about:

Many years ago, in 1952, Hélène, a young French woman fell in love with a man from the neighbourhood. Born in a very catholic family, she knew that marriage was serious business. Her parents had very strict ideas on this matter. She also had a loving, yet rather conflictual relationship with her mother who, by the way, was very clear on the fact that her daughter’s beloved didn’t match the social level expected from a potential son in law. There also was an obvious untold rule stating that no man would ever touch this young beauty out of the holy sacrament of marriage…

Well, life had another plan… One day Hélène had yet another passionate fight with her mother. She left the house crying and went to her beloved for consolation, which he provided with all the love he could give. The outcome fell like a bomb on the whole household: A young and pure single catholic student had just got pregnant in the middle of her studies and the father was not considered an acceptable match.

All hell got loose… shame had landed on a proud and “respectable” family. The sinner would never become the brilliant graduate her parents had wanted. Instead, she had to get married in emergency and disappear for a while, far from the eyes of the dreaded public opinion.

The least I could say is that her pregnancy was far from blissful or even peaceful.

The baby was born premature, long before the acceptable 9 months after the wedding. He was quickly sent to his father’s mother so that an appropriate birth date could be announced to the family and friends!

Decades later, a sixty years old baby boomer accustomed to monitoring his emotional state was experiencing once again a very unpleasant feeling which had never really left him since early childhood. Someone close to him had just triggered the dreaded sense of low self esteem and rejection he knew so well and for so long. Years of personal development had allowed him to go through these emotions without drowning completely. Yet the pain was far too strong to be the result of a slightly disharmonious conversation. Something much deeper was happening. It was time to act.

Men and maternal empowerment

“Expecting” (Allan Foster)

All his life he had happily told his birth story as being the result of pure love, unspoilt by conventions and rigid dogma. After all, his parents were deeply in love with each other when they conceived, which should be the recipe for a happy child! This indeed was the truth, but only a part of it. Trying to source his painful emotion to its origin, he went further and further back in time, and found himself reliving the dreadful time of his mother’s pregnancy. After the few romantic moments of his conception, he had been very bad news for virtually everyone involved, especially his mother, whose life was literally put upside down by his early arrival.

Sixty years of unnecessarily painful experiences suddenly found their origin in a pregnant young woman’s environment. Had she lived in a loving society, the news of her pregnancy would have been celebrated by the community. She would have received full attention and care from her parents and family. She would have been so proud of bringing a new human being to life. She would have spent precious time talking to her baby, telling him how much she loved him and how impatient she was to hold him in her arms. Her partner would have assisted her in her magical task and his peaceful, joyful voice would have accompanied their child’s harmonious development.

A completely conscious being whose arrival should have been celebrated found himself growing in a war zone where his presence was less than welcome. His whole life was going to be tinted with a deep feeling of abandonment and rejection the smallest event could trigger, until he was able to address the problem and take the necessary healing steps.

This little story shows once again how much power mothers have on their unborn and young babies, a power most of them are unaware of, which can be used to the detriment or the best advantage of their children. It is their role to use it consciously, knowing that they hold their child’s wellbeing in their hands and it is the responsibility of their partners families, friends as well as the society they live in to provide the best conditions for their tremendous work.

By now, you may have worked out that this story is my own one. As you know, there is so much resilience in the human being that even a difficult start in life can be healed and sometimes transcended. Yet I dream of a world where babies would be born happy, balanced, peaceful, healthy, physically and emotionally safe. A world where it wouldn’t take so long to realise how wonderful life can be. If we want to live in such a world, there is only one way: Maternal Empowerment is the way. Today, not only do I spend a lot of time helping lots of people to heal their prenatal trauma but I actively support the Global Prenatal Initiative.

At this point, you may wonder if men have a role to play in Maternal Empowerment. They surely do, especially the child’s father. He is his wife or partner’s provider and primary care taker. With him, she should feel safe, respected, loved and important.

Women hold the future of society. What they live during pregnancy affects the whole life of everyone of us. It is time to empower them to concretise the safe, peaceful and blossoming world we all want. We must surround them with all we have to give them, this masculine, loving and tender presence they love and need so much especially during pregnancy.

François Gerland, co-Director of the Global Prenatal Initiative

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