June 18, 2014
Volume 16, Issue 13
Midwifery Today E-News
“Placentophagy”
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In This Week’s Issue



AU conferenceLearn about midwifery skills from around the world

Come to our conference in Byron Bay, Australia, this November. You’ll be able to choose from classes such as Spinning Babies with Gail Tully, Prolonged Pregnancy with Gail Hart, Rebozo Techniques from Mexico with Angelina Martinez Miranda and Placenta as Medicine with Jodi Selander. Plan now to attend.

Learn more about the Byron Bay, Australia, conference.



Quote of the Week

Birthing is the most profound initiation to spirituality a woman can have.

Robin Lim


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The Art of Midwifery

For all moms I recommend ingesting the placenta in a warm broth. At some point in my midwifery journey I learned that cold is not good for a mother right after birth, so I stopped using smoothies and started using a soup of mother’s choice for her to drink at birth and in which to prepare the placenta for the first three days postpartum.

Celesta Rannisi
Excerpted from “The Gift of the Womb,” Midwifery Today, Issue 109
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ALL BIRTH PRACTITIONERS: The techniques you’ve perfected over months and years of practice are valuable lessons for others to learn. Share them with E-News readers by sending them to mtensubmit@midwiferytoday.com.


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Editor’s Corner

Accountability

Doctors and hospitals must be held to the same standard of accountability as homebirth midwives. Unfortunately, midwives are often treated harshly and scrutinized to a traumatic degree as their homes are invaded and their computers and files are taken (sometimes at gunpoint); some midwives have even been put in jail. After talking with my friend Ágnes from Hungary, who was put in jail and brutally treated, I realized that our sisters are suffering and continue to suffer even after huge outpourings of letters and help. Let us not forget them!

Unnecessary cesareans are leading to mother and baby deaths. Ethically practicing midwives are the best practitioners for keeping birth normal, including twins and breeches. Out-of-hospital birth offers the safest environment for most births.

My friend Sister MorningStar tells me to use the term “out-of-home birth” to begin renormalizing homebirth. No matter what we call it, we need to get to the place where hospital-based practitioners and midwives are held to the same high standards.

— Jan Tritten, mother of Midwifery Today

Jan Tritten is the founder, editor-in-chief and mother of Midwifery Today magazine. She became a midwife in 1977 after the amazing homebirth of her second daughter. Her mission is to make loving midwifery care the norm for birthing women and their babies throughout the world. Meet Jan at our conferences around the world, or join her online, as she works to transform birth practices around the world.

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Featured Article

The Placenta Encapsulation Movement: An Overview

When I became a mother for the first time, I was surprised at the difficulties I had in transitioning to motherhood. The physical and hormonal changes alone were challenging, and I felt that they had been glossed over during our childbirth preparation class. Beyond that, I was wholly unprepared for the effects of sleep deprivation, loss of income as we struggled to make ends meet during my three-month work leave and the toll having a baby would take on my relationship with my husband.

When I spoke with female friends and family who were already mothers, I would say, “Why didn’t you tell me it would be this hard?” It seemed as if the negative aspects of motherhood were swept under the rug and not discussed, leaving many women (including me!) believing that if they struggled with negative emotions, depression or feelings of being completely overwhelmed by their new life, there was something wrong with them.

I wasn’t brave enough to openly discuss how I felt in the early months of my daughter’s life. I figured I just wasn’t very good at the whole mothering thing—other women were meant to be mothers, but I wasn’t. Thankfully, over time I recovered from the physical and hormonal effects of pregnancy and birth—I fell into a rhythm and gained confidence in my mothering abilities. I still felt, however, that my postpartum recovery could have been different if I had had a better idea of what to expect.

When I got pregnant again a few years later, I wanted a different experience. I felt more prepared mentally for the chaos having a new baby would bring into our lives, but I wanted to have an easier physical recovery as well. I spoke to a friend of mine, a practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), and asked if there was anything I could do after the birth that might help me recover more quickly. She suggested eating the placenta. That simple conversation changed my entire life.

I thought that eating placenta (also called placentophagy) sounded a bit crazy, but I was willing to do anything to help get through my postpartum recovery and transition period. With my TCM practitioner’s instruction and advice, I prepared the placenta after the birth of my second daughter. The effects astounded me. I had so much energy, I never once felt overwhelmed and I could keep up with my older daughter (who was then 3 years old) and still take care of my newborn. I was amazed. My postpartum experience was completely different!

I could not understand why women were not talking about placentophagy. I wanted to share what I knew—that the placenta was not supposed to be discarded after the birth, but was actually meant to nourish the mother. We were throwing this amazing organ in the trash out of ignorance! It seemed a travesty. So in 2006, I created and launched PlacentaBenefits.info, a website where I put together all the known research regarding placentophagy, my story and testimonials from other mothers who had ingested their placenta.

Jodi Selander
Excerpted from “The Placenta Encapsulation Movement: An Overview,” Midwifery Today, Issue 109
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Featured Products

Placenta rituals, remedies and recipes…
Placenta: The Gift of Life

…are what you’ll find in Placenta: The Gift of Life by Cornelia Enning. Read this book to discover the various ways placentas have been used by people around the world and throughout the ages. You’ll also find 15 recipes that will show you how to use the placenta in ointments, essences and other remedies for a variety of ailments. Placenta: The Gift of Life is a book from Motherbaby Press, an imprint of Midwifery Today. Get the book.


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Shoulder Dystocia e-book cover Our e-book, Shoulder Dystocia, features top-notch information from the brightest minds in natural childbirth. When you buy this book, you’ll be able to read articles such as “Shoulder Dystocia: The Basics” by Gail Tully, “Preventing Shoulder Dystocia” by Michel Odent and “How Being a Homebirth Midwife Enabled Me to Learn about Shoulder Dystocia” by Ina May Gaskin. Available on Amazon or on Smashwords in a variety of formats.

Midwifery Today Back Issues have the information you need!

Midwifery Today back issuesFrom second stage and prematurity to birth change and natural remedies, back issues of Midwifery Today print magazine are packed with informative articles that will help you improve your practice. You’ll also find inspiring birth stories, birth news, poetry and stunning black and white photography. Choose from these available back issues.


Discover the essentials of supportive touch.
Touch Techniques for Birth

In Touch Techniques for Birth, Leslie Piper, LMT, and Leslie Stager, RN, LMT, show you how to make touch a part of your midwifery practice. You’ll learn about contraindications, acupressure, reflexology, hydrotherapy, general comfort strokes, pain relieving techniques and more. A special feature includes a midwife’s story of the use of belly rub and emotional support to encourage labor. This DVD belongs in your midwifery library! Get the DVD.


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Website Update

Read this article excerpt from Midwifery Today magazine, now on our website:

  • Honoring Placenta Wisdom—by Sister MorningStar

    Midwife Sister MorningStar shares her love and admiration of placentas in this beautifully written article. Excerpt: “I spent hours poring over my first placenta as an apprentice. I had watched farm and domestic mammals give birth but barely saw their placentas as the mother consumed them as quickly as they birthed. … I was fascinated by the puzzle pieces: the fat lobes making a pie-shaped disc; the way it felt heavy in my hand; the smooth side for baby; the veins running like rivers meeting at a center; the cord insertion; the smell. I turned it over and over and looked again.”


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Birth Q&A

Q: Would you recommend placentophagy? Why or why not?

— Midwifery Today

A: As a placenta specialist, for the vast majority of women I would recommend placentophagy. They experience some benefits. There may be 15% of women or less that don’t experience benefits, even possibly a negative result. However, I would suggest saving your placenta regardless. You may need it immediately postpartum, years down the road to remedy a health crisis or for menopause. It’s better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.

— Cindy Collins

A: I had my placenta encapsulated after the birth of my daughter almost five months ago. I knew I was at risk of struggling with postpartum depression. I believe placentophagy helped me so much. I had several friends comment on how great I looked for having just had a baby. I also had a few caplets made into a tincture and that has been a blessing to stretch the use of it. It was a great choice we made and I am very happy our doula offered the service.

— Heather Paish

A: I was curious about how much placentophagy would really change things. I had discussed this with a local doula. I had milk supply issues with my first two children and also had major bleeding issues that resulted in transfusions. Prior to having my youngest via cesarean, my doctor said I had low iron levels, so I knew this would be an uphill battle for me following this birth. I started my placenta pills less than 24 hours after my son was born. At first I didn’t really attribute anything to them, however, everyone kept telling me how great I looked and how quickly I seemed to be recovering with very few pain medications. I started breastfeeding as soon as possible and that all seemed to go very well. Once I got home I seemed to have very few “blue days” and if I felt overwhelmed or down, I took a pill, asked for a bit of break and then was able to come back to my tasks feeling stronger. My iron levels have been good and I generally just feel a lot better. Having had two previous postpartum experiences without placenta medicine, I tell everyone I can to encapsulate!

— Jenn Beck

A: I was so disappointed when my homebirth ended at the hospital and they told me I would have to get a court order in order to be able to bring my placenta home. I feel this should be known ahead of time for women and word should be spread because I didn’t get my placenta due to this.

— Delacey Martin


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