Certified nurse midwife to discuss hormones’ role in labor, childbirth

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    LOUISVILLE, Ky. – A pregnant woman’s body undergoes a complex set of interconnected, mutually beneficial phases that prepare her and her baby for childbirth. The hormonal actions occurring in one phase anticipate and usher in subsequent phases.

    These phases are known collectively as the hormonal cascade of childbirth, and a Certified Nurse Midwife at the University of Louisville Center for Women & Infants will present a continuing education session on the topic for nurses, midwives, lactation consultants and other professionals involved in childbirth.

    “Normal Physiologic Birth and Supporting the Hormonal Cascade of Childbirth” will be presented by Damara Jenkins Tuesday, May 3, at Babyology, 3934 Dutchman’s Lane, beginning at 6 p.m. The presentation is sponsored by Kentuckiana Lactation Improvement Coalition, a chapter of the United States Lactation Consultant Association that provides support and education on breastfeeding in Kentucky and Southern Indiana.

    Jenkins will discuss practices that encourage normal physiologic birth, the role of certified nurse midwifery in supporting normal childbirth and the phases of hormonal childbirth:

    • Late pregnancy and early labor: There is an increase of hormones and receptor systems in the woman’s body that prepares her for an efficient labor and birth; efficient lactation that leads to bonding and attachment with the baby; and the well-being of the fetus during labor and the transition to a newborn.
    • Active labor: Hormonal processes during active labor prepare the body for effective postpartum contractions and hemorrhage prevention; the health transition of the newborn; and breastfeeding and bonding.
    • Birth and the hours that follow: The process of giving birth and skin-to-skin contact between mother and baby immediately after birth promote a hormone release that is thought to further reduce hemorrhage risk, initiate mother-baby bonding and help establish success in breastfeeding.

    “The hormonal cascade of childbirth shows us how the body perfectly times the release of hormones in each phase and ensures that labor, birth and breastfeeding all happen according to the body’s design,” Jenkins said.

    Jenkins, who also is an Advanced Practice Nurse, is one of three Certified Nurse Midwives who practice with UofL Physicians-Certified Nurse Midwife Program in tandem with the UofL Physicians-OB/GYN & Women’s Health practice. While pregnancy and childbirth care is her primary practice, she provides care to women across the entire lifespan, partnering with them to enable them to live their healthiest life.

    Jenkins received her undergraduate degrees from the University of Louisville in 1999 and Bellarmine University in 2000 and received her MSN degree from Frontier Nursing University in 2009. She is president of the Kentucky Affiliate of the American College of Nurse Midwives and received the Frontier Nursing University 75th Anniversary Pioneer Award in 2014. She is on the board of the Friends of the Louisville Birthing Center and a member of the Kentucky Coalition of Nurse Practitioners and Nurse Midwives.

    Continuing education credit will be provided for some disciplines, and pre-registration is requested but not required for the presentation. For more information, contact Kentuckiana Lactation Improvement Coalition member Peggy Rinehart at rinehart.peggy@gmail.com.

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    Jill Scoggins is proud of her role as an academic communications professional with more than 25 years’ experience with universities in four states. At UofL, she manages communications for several departments, divisions, institutes and centers within the School of Medicine. Her areas include women’s health, pediatrics, family medicine, geriatric medicine, cardiology and cardiovascular surgery and oncology/hematology, among others.