Monday, October 22, 2012

Funny Birth Poem

Sharing from The Birthing Site... unknown author. Reads like Green Eggs and Ham. Cute!

Can I labor over there?
Can I labor on the chair?
No! No labor over there!
Don’t labor on the chair!
Sit there, sit there, you will see,
You must labor with this IV!
I do not like this sharp IV!
I need to move, to dance, to pee!
Doctor, Doctor, let me be;
Say, get your pesky hands off me!
No! You can’t move, or dance, or pee!
You must labor with this IV!
Not over there, not on the chair,
Not with the ball, you’ll have a fall!
Can I labor with a doula?
Can I use some calendula?
Can I labor on hands and knees?
Can I birth just how I please?
No! Not with a doula! No – what’s calendula?
Lay back, lay back, count to ten,
Breathe – he he hoo – push again!
No thank you, doctors, nurse, and crew,
I’ll go and labor without you.
I’ll labor here, I’ll labor there!
In the shower – everywhere!
I’ll labor standing, squatting, sitting
I’ll labor on my couch while knitting!
I’ll have a doula – I’ll have three!
They’ll let me eat and bring me tea.
Try them! Try them! You will see!
You can go shove that darn IV.

Slippery Slope of Intervention

Friday, October 19, 2012

Care and Keeping of Placentas For Ingestion

Little thought is often given to the placenta, unless it is going to be prepared for ingestion. If this is the case, the placenta will require attention and care to ensure it is suitable for ingestion. As soon as the decision is made to utilize the placenta for postpartum recovery, it becomes a food item and must be treated as such.

After birth, the placenta should be placed in a food safe container. If you're birthing in the hospital, they will give you a special container for it. If you're birthing at home, you should have either a special bowl or several gallon zip lock bags set aside for the placenta.

I've had placentas given to me to prepare wrapped in towels or chux pads. This is not an appropriate container for the placenta.

After birth, the placenta needs to be refrigerated as soon as possible. If you plan to birth in the hospital, bring a small cooler with you and have the nurses put ice in it once the placenta is born. The placenta can stay on ice in the cooler for up to 12 hours, but the sooner it gets in the fridge, the better. If you choose to birth at home, put the placenta in the fridge as soon as possible.

The preparation process of the placenta should ideally begin within the first 24 hours after the placenta is birthed. If the process is begun within 48-72 hours after birth, that is still okay, but the potency of the capsules may be lessened. I recommend that if the placenta preparation process cannot begin within 72 hours, then the placenta should be frozen to retain maximum freshness and can be thawed before the process begins.

You're placenta encapsulation specialist should give you any additional information specific to your situation to ensure your placenta remains edible.

For a great article on the subject, visit

Birth Quote

"Childbirth is a profound experience in a woman's life in which she is transformed into a mother and learns how to bond with and care for her offspring. For most women, it need not be a medical procedure."

~ Sheila Kitzinger

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Should I Let My Placenta Be Encapsulated In The Specialist's Home?

As placenta encapsulation is a growing trend, more women are wondering about the etiquette of having their placenta encapsulated. Since this is a newer trend, industry standards amongst various specialists is not too well established, yet hopefully over time, women will come to know what to look for in a professional specialist.

An issue arising amongst encapsulation specialists is the desire to complete the encapsulation process in their own home. Therefore, many women are faced with the question of whether or not they should allow their placenta to be encapsulated somewhere other than their home.

I discourage this practice. I understand the appeal for other specialists. Of course, it's easier to do the encapsulation in your own home. Many specialists are other moms who do this as a small side business. It can be a pain to get child care. It's more convenient to be in your home, but that's not the point. The point is that a service is being offered, and that service needs to be professional. If you can't make the commitment to be available to do the encapsulation in an environment that is best for everyone, then don't offer the service.

Another thing some specialists are doing is offering their services at a reduced rate if the client allows the process to take place in their own home. This encourages the client to be persuaded to do something they may not feel completely comfortable with just to save some money. Yes, it can be tempting and the specialist knows this.

I would encourage women who want to have their placentas encapsulated to seek out a specialist who will come to their home and insist on this professionalism. Most professionally trained specialists should be willing to keep this an industry standard for the health and safety of all involved. This is something you're going to be ingesting into your body and you want to ensure it's quality. There are no standardized measures of quality at this point and no governing body to make sure you're getting what you should be getting. This is why you want it done in your home. You can watch the process. You can have the specialist explain to you the process. You can make sure you are comfortable with the quality of service she provides. You'll know exactly what is in your capsules. You'll know it is definitely your own placenta, prepared properly. You can ensure the cleanliness of your kitchen and the sanitation process the specialist uses. While there is no true industry standard, many specialists will be trained and certified in proper food handling, which is an exam you study for and take to become certified. OSHA also has standards of sanitation and the handling of body fluids. A professional specialist should be familiar with both.

I believe in this process so strongly that I feel it is important to offer a quality professional level of service. I want women to feel confident in the services I provide since this is a new process for many women. I would hope other specialists feel the same, but it may be up to women in some circumstances to expect and demand this level of service. Moving forward in the future, this is my hope to see.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Risks (and Common Occurrences) of A Cesarean

While I've been at it sounding the risks of the epidural, I thought why not go ahead and comment of the risks of a C section. It should be noted, however, that while maternal death may be a more rare and drastic risk, many of the others on this list are expected outcomes.  Enjoy!

Accidental surgical cuts to the baby, surgical mistakes, complications from anesthesia, infections, blood clots, hemorrhage, rupture of the uterus, emergency hysterectomy, pain at the site of the cut, internal pain, long-term pain at site of wound, chronic pelvic pain, chronic bowel obstruction, decreased sex drive, poor overall functioning, poor birth experience, psychological trauma, less early contact with baby, unfavorable reaction to baby, failure to breastfeed, lack of bonding with baby, postpartum depression, longer stay in hospital, a need to return to hospital from complications, longer recovery time, greater risk of complications in future births, likelihood for future Cesareans, infertility, low fetal birth weight, preterm birth, malformation, placental abruption, fetal drowsiness, reduced mobility, respiratory problems, poor fetal breathing, childbirth asthma, adulthood asthma, and maternal death. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Risks of an Epidural

In light of my recent post about the meningitis issue surrounding epidurals and other medications (see post here), I wanted to post a list of complications that can happen from epidural use. I feel that not only does an epidural potentially rob a woman of a significant part of her birth experience (not to say you can't have a good experience with an epidural, but it does take away part of the experience and if you have experienced both, you know what I mean), the epidural is also extremely overused and an expected part of labor in our country. Many women do not think twice before they get an epidural, and hospitals certainly do not give truly informed consent. Therefore, it's up to women to question epidural use and educate themselves. Epidurals should not be taken lightly and women should know the risks. Without further ado, here they are:

Toxic drug reaction, rash, itchiness, fever, allergic shock, infection, severe headache, nausea, frequent vomiting, frequent shivering, difficulty breathing, unconsciousness, convulsions, septic meningitis, fecal and urinary incontinence, bladder catheterization, bacterial meningitis, hypotension (can lead to emergency C-section), seizures, trauma, prolonged labor, weaker uterine contractions, inability to push baby out, increased likelihood of augmentation via Pitocin, increased likelihood of instrumental delivery, increased likelihood of episiotomy, increased likelihood of C-section, misplacement of the epidural catheter, accidental injection of anesthetic into the blood stream, post epidural headache, feelings of emotional detachment, decreased maternal-infant bonding, fetal drowsiness, fetal allergic reaction, fetal respiratory insufficiency, fetal distress, fetal hyperthermia, abnormal fetal heart rate, neonatal jaundice, poor fetal muscle strength, death of the baby, increased likelihood of post-partum depression, neurological complications, permanent nerve damage, chronic back pain, chronic migraines, chronic tingling sensation, prolonged numbness in lower limbs, chronic bladder dysfunction, loss of sensation and sexual function, damage to spinal cord, paraplegia, cardiac arrest, and maternal death.

It should also be noted that many of these risks are not remote possibilities, many of them are expected outcomes. 

If you'd like more information on the hidden risk of epidurals, check out this great article:

Is This What the Hospital Will Think?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Placenta Poem


At the beginning of your world, I was part of you.
Made of the same luminous fabric, flesh of your flesh, of our father and mother’s being.
As we grew, we were separated but united. I fed you, breathed for you, 
became a pathway for the flushing currents of our mother’s blood.
As you slept, I was your cradle and your guard; when you awoke I was your companion.
Together for that last day I leashed you the very limits of our linking line before
releasing you to the touch of others – lovers, yes – but surely none will hold
you as nearly, as sweetly or as softly as I did.
As our connection was severed you wept for me once, then were gone.

Carry me deep in your heart as you bury me in the soil of our home, for I am the earth of your making.

placenta earth
Kate Alice 2002

Whenua is a Maori (New Zealand) word meaning both land-environment, and placenta.


What Gave Me Away

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Could Getting an Epidural Give You Meningitis?

As if getting an epidural needed even more cause for concern, the FDA is now expanding its list of recall medications to include epidural medications as an outbreak of meningitis continues to expand. Experts state the number affected has reached 47 people, though authorities are still investigating what type of fungus has caused the outbreak. So far 34 different types of medications have made the list, all being administered by being injected into the spine. There are seven states affected so far, which include Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland, Florida, Indiana, and Michigan.This outbreak has caused the deaths of five people.

If you have gotten an epidural since July 1, 2012, health authorities state it is important to watch for potential symptoms of meningitis including worsening headache, fever, stiff neck, trouble walking or falling, and progressing back pain.

You can reference the full article as well as the full list of recalled medications here:

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday to me! Today is my birthday and so I am taking a day off from all things placenta. Look for another post tomorrow!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Twin Placentas

I have yet to have the honor of encapsulating a twin placenta, and someday when one comes along, I will be sure to post my own pictures. Until then, here is a great resource with excellent pictures if you feel curious about seeing what a twin placenta looks like.

There are great pictures of a twin placenta, the maternal side, the fetal side, how the umbilical cords are arranged, the amniotic sac, the layers of the amniotic sac: the chorion and amnion. It is pretty fascinating!

Water Birth Art

Gosh, isn't this beautiful?

Friday, October 5, 2012

Eating Your Own Placenta: Priceless

Placenta Found to Contain Marker for Autism Risk

Researchers have found the placenta may contain a marker for autism. They found that placentas with unusual folds trap a certain type of cell called trophoblasts. These trappings can be seen via microscope and are called inclusions. Researchers have found children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder have more than three times the amount of inclusions versus children who aren't. This research could be utilized as an early detection tool once more research in this area has been completed.

You can read the full article here:

I think that even if this research were to become a tool for early detection, I still feel it is important to remember that autism, like all disorders of the body, are multi-faceted. They often have multiple causes and multiple treatments. This is why western medicine fails so miserably at curing many conditions because there simply isn't a pill or drug that can be taken to fix every problem. Autism more than likely has more than one cause, especially since each person is so individual, and the key will be addressing the cause for each person. Of course, this research shows how important the placenta is becoming as we find out more information about it. But I don't believe for a second that all cases of autism can be linked simply directly to the placenta. We also know autism is linked to allergies. It is more than likely linked to vaccines. So, while this research may prove worthwhile and having a healthy placenta is certainly important, it may turn out that not all cases of autism will be able to be detected from the placenta and early diagnosis is not at all the same as a cure.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Placenta Prints

At some point, I would like to give a tutorial on how to make placenta prints, but until I do that, I have found a great article on how to make good prints of the placenta.

Depending what you choose to use to make the print, you can still have your placenta encapsulated! The best medium to use is the actual blood from the placenta. You can also use foods such as crushed blueberries. The main medium you do not want to use if you do intend to have your placenta encapsulated, however if you are not at all considering having your placenta encapsulated then paint can turn out very lovely placenta prints.

Prairie Midwife

This picture is really inspirational to me. This is what midwives stood for and I believe shows why we really need them.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Ryan Gosling Hey Girl

Virginia Di Orio Birth Quote

" Just as a woman's heart knows how and when to pump, her lungs to inhale, and her hand to pull back from fire, so she knows how and when to give birth." Virginia Di Orio

Beautiful Natural Birth

I found a birth video yesterday that was so moving, I had to share. Please visit the birth video here:

Her birth is so quick and effortless, and I feel it is so important for women to see this other side of what birth can be like. The video comes on a great website about natural birthing.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Placenta Article

I found a good article on the placenta that I wanted to pass along.

This article gives information on what the placenta is, why it is special, and what you can do with it after birth. There's also references to how other cultures respect the placenta. It's quite a good overview.

Paid Maternity Leave?

Obviously, our economy has bigger problems than paid maternity leave, but it certainly is telling where our priorities lie, isn't it? Why don't we value the postpartum period as a society? There are so many countries doing so much better than we are at pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. Come on, America, isn't it time we change?