“We labored at home for six intense hours, went to the hospital, and he was born forty minutes later. J did such a good job coaching the doctor asked, “Have you taken a birth preparation class?” We got a lot out of your class — thanks a million!!” — A, J & E
“We both feel we had a beautiful birth story that was made up of well educated decisions. From the entire birth team, even though it was not at all what we had envisioned. Thanks Ann for your instruction and class that equipped us for such success!” — O.A .& S.Q.
“We’re happy to report our baby was born on Saturday at 12:31 am…our exercise classes were ESSENTIAL in the later part of labor — the doctor and nurse described me as a “natural” at pushing, but I had to admit I’d been practicing my c-curves twice a week!” — G.S.
“We arrived at the hospital at 8pm on Friday and I was 6 cm dilated…I delivered by 1 am without pain meds. It was an amazing experience. You really do focus inward. I found sitting in the shower holding the sprayer to be helpful. Definitely try different positions. I used the bar for when it can time to push. Just know that there is an end in sight and just holding your baby at the end is the most wonderful, amazing feeling in the world!” — P.E.
We have long known that vaginal birth and breastfeeding are key factors in the development of a healthy immune system in infants. Passing through the vagina exposes the baby to an array of bacteria that help stimulate its unchallenged immune system. Breast-fed babies receive anti-bodies, proteins and other molecules that protect it from infection and teach the immune system to defend the infant.
Breastfeeding is key for long-term health.
Recent research at UC Davis has shown that a strain of the bifido bacteria — acquired from the mother — thrives on complex sugars (largely lactose) that were previously thought to be indigestible. The bacterium coats the lining of the immature digestive tract and protects it from noxious bacteria.
This combination of interactions affects the composition of bacteria in the infant gut as it matures. Another example of how evolution has “invented” the perfect nutrition for infants, this research contributes to the notion that evolution has selected for many genes that serve normal birth and breastfeeding by protecting the newborn. Intervening with the normal progression of birth and breastfeeding — while occasionally necessary — interrupts these beneficial adaptations and contributes to allergies and autoimmune disorders.