Amish Birthing Paper

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The religious and cultural beliefs of the Amish, have led to variations in health

care practices that are different from main stream American culture. The Amish believe

in simple lifestyles and being "separate from the world," this is hallmark for the Amish.

They don't use modern conveniences that we do, such as electricity, computers, cars, and

phones. They travel by horse and buggy, and grow their own gardens and raise their own

cattle for food/milk. Their days are filled with hard work and simple pleasures.

Babies are a welcomed gift in the Amish culture and are viewed as a blessing

from God. They believe the # of children they have should be left in God's hands, this is

why it's forbidden to use birth control, because it would interfere with God's will. Amish

families tend to be large; 6-10 kids is common, and occasionally there are families with

up to 20 children born to one mother. When a woman gets pregnant; therapeutic

abortions, amniocentesis, and other invasive prenatal diagnostic testing (that some of us

may use) is not acceptable. They are happy "to take what God gives them." The Amish

usually have homebirths or give birth at birthing centers with a midwife. The only time

they do hospital births, is when there is risk to the mother or the child. At the hospitals,

routine interventions of labor and delivery are not used. IVs are available, but optional.

Fetal heart rate monitoring is done intermittently by doppler. Amish women usually labor

quietly while husbands support them by rubbing their backs, cooling them with hand fans,

and holding their hands. Labor tends to be shorter than average and happen peacefully

with controlled pushing. Most mothers breastfeed and are anxious to feed the baby after

delivery, but some produce no breastmilk at first, because of the huge workload and stress

of a large family, and can't feed the baby until the next day. So in the mean time, they

give the baby things like jello water or watermelon seed tea, which is supposed to be

good for preventing jaundice. Also, they usually don't pick out names before the

delivery; they wait and see "who the baby looks like" before they name him/her.

Amish folk wisdom is also an integral part of their prenatal practices, such as

walking under a clothes line will result in still birth, or crawling through a window or

under a table will cause the umbilical cord to be wrapped around the baby's neck.

Complications such as pregnancy-induced HTN and diabetes (which is higher in

Americans) is low in the Amish culture, most likely due to the well-nourished state of the

mom, because she eats home-cooked and self-preserved foods (instead of fast food,

which is convenient for us.) The greatest risk factor for the pregnant women is

development of painful varicose veins because of all the heavy work they do.

In preparing for the childbirth process, a 5 week formula is sometimes used in the

last 5 weeks of pregnancy to tone and calm the uterus, quiet the nerves, ease pain, and

help make labor easier and on time. This formula has also been known to help with

menstrual disorders, morning sickness, and hot flashes. It has been passed down from

one generation to the next. This formula consists of 5 herbs including: 1. Red Rasberry

leaves: relieves nausea and pain in labor. 2. Butcher's Broom Root: this herb is used for

hemorrhoids, varicose veins, and thrombosis. 3. Black Cohosh Root: relieves spastic

muscles, dilates peripheral blood vessels, and helps reduce B/P. These actions help the

uterus and other muscles during labor. 4. Dong Quai Root: it is an anti-inflammatory

and diuretic effect and helps to treat swelling prior to labor. During labor it eases smooth

muscle contractions and gives a general sedative effect. 5. Squaw Vine Root: Used to

prepare the uterus for childbirth and speed up delivery...
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