Monday, March 30, 2009

Birthplace to workplace-Breastfeeding & Feminism Symposium

Birthplace to Workplace (EUC Cone, Thurs 3/26-Fri 3/27) - It's been several years since I attended a conference in one of my liaison areas, I'm now wondering why I waited so long :)

It was nice to see faculty and students from SoN, NTR, and PHE and my poster got raves (woo-hoo!). Too many presentations to list, here are a few -

York University anthropologist Penny Van Esterik on how modernity disrupts birthplaces and workplaces. I admire her approach (participatory, applied) and especially her wake up call to health professionals. The Q&A turned to recent popular backlash against breastfeeding such as Hanna Rosin's Atlantic Monthly essay, The Case Against Breastfeeding. Van Esterik delivered several telling points:
  • There's no one right way to breastfeed
  • We need to start embracing bottle-feeding mothers
Didn't seem as if conference attendees were ready to hear this last message.

Dr. Ana Parrilla-Rodriguez, MPH, on Medicalization of Birth as Violence Against Women. Content was compelling even to a mainstream conference attendee. This was a qualitative study of birth experiences in Puerto Rico. The rate of induced labor in Puerto Rico was reported at over 50%, with induced labor being 4x more likely to result in C-section. Ouch!

Ami Goldstein, CNM, FMP on Women's Experiences with Birth: Promoting Positive Experiences and Outcomes. Hands-down best presentation. Great speaking style and fabu content. Common birth practices that lack evidence vs. evidence based practices. Interactive, brief, pithy, well-referenced.

Dr. Alison Stuebe on Empowering Women from the Birthplace to the Home. Great review of transition challenges (postpartum depression, low self-efficacy) to breastfeeding, suggestions for practice, plus a reference to a classic research study The let-down reflex in human lactation that was pubd in the J of Pediatrics in 1948. Apparently these researchers measured how much milk a research subject was able to give while having her feet dunked in ice water, then while having her toe pulled, then while being asked math questions and receiving electrical shocks. Not surprisingly, all of these interventions had serious effects on let-down.

Dr. Deborah Dee of the CDC on the Nationary Survey of Maternity Practices in Infant Nutrition and Care (mPINC). Responses to questions on best practices in labor and delivery (maternal-newborn skin to skin contact), breastfeeding support, etc. Detailed results only provided to the hospitals who responded to the survey, but more aggregated info will be made available in state reports.

Jake Marcus on Lactation, Law, and the Workplace. Don't cringe, fellow librarians, but I'm linking to this lawyer's non-refereed open Web article Pumping 9 to 5. It's well referenced and includes a link to a nifty map summarizing states with breast pumping laws. Twitter hashtag #bfing

Dr. Miriam Labbock's Evolutionary, Biological and Economic Perspectives on Maternity Leave had an interesting cost-benefit analysis on health system and household savings for paid maternity leave. Data were illustrative estimates, though.

I was wishing that Rachel, our esteemed HR librarian, could have listened to presentations and participated in discussions on benefits (Barbara Carroll, NCSU Associate Vice Chancellor and Chief HR officer) and on work-life balance research (Dr. Marian Ruderman of the Center for Creative Leadership).

One of Steve's faculty gave a nice talk - Dr. Yu-Chin Hsieh on Lodging Manager's Coping Strategies for Balancing Work and Family Life.

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