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Category Archives: After Birth

Placenta Encapsulation and Newborn GBS Case Study: Response

On June 29, 2017, the CDC published an article about a case study in Oregon describing a situation wherein a newborn of a woman that had her placenta encapsulated, developed early and late-onset Group B Strep infection. You can read the original article here. The newborn developed early-onset GBS sepsis shortly after birth (before the mother started taking her placenta pills) and was treated for 11 days and then sent home. Several days later the baby was brought to another hospital with symptoms of irritability and later diagnosed with late-onset GBS sepsis. You can read about the difference between early vs late-onset GBS sepsis here. Early-onset sepsis is contracted during the birth process and develops within the first few days. Late-onset can be transmitted during the birth process but also through physical contact by nursing staff, doctors, family members, friends, etc., and develops after the first week.

In this case study, the article’s conclusion, regardless of the fact that baby was already diagnosed with early-onset sepsis and treated, is the late-onset GBS sepsis was contracted secondary to her placenta pills that were tested and confirmed to have been contaminated with GBS.  However, it states that transmission via physical contact with others could not be ruled out. “Although transmission from other colonized household members could not be ruled out, the final diagnosis was late-onset GBS disease attributable to high maternal colonization secondary to consumption of GBS-infected placental tissue.” The mother’s breastmilk was tested and no GBS was found, so ingestion of the pills by the mother could not be the cause of transmission to baby. It is concluded that handling of the contaminated pills increased colonization on the mother and therefore transferred to baby. “Consumption of contaminated placenta capsules might have elevated maternal GBS intestinal and skin colonization, facilitating transfer to the infant.”

The article explains that the company that processed the placenta dehydrates at temperatures ranging from 115-160 degrees F, which is a very wide range and so it is unclear how this specific placenta was processed. According to the CDC article, placental tissue needs to be dehydrated with at least 130 degrees F for 121 mins to reduce bacteria.

Unknown factors in this case study

  • How the placenta was handled/processed, and the sanitation protocol of the equipment by the encapsulation company
  • Could someone else have transmitted GBS to the baby such as a family member, friend, nurse, etc.
  • Could the late-onset sepsis be a recurrence of the original infection that wasn’t completely resolved after treatment
  • Could the mother unknowingly have contaminated the pills herself after bringing them home because she herself was still highly colonized. We know that she had previously been colonized to have transmitted it to baby initially during the birthing process because the baby already had early-onset GBS sepsis

Keep in mind, this is just ONE case study, it is unknown how the placenta pills became contaminated, or how the GBS was transmitted to baby the second time, but we do know that safety protocols, proper sanitation, and eligibility requirements in the encapsulation process is paramount.

My Standards:

  • See my sanitation protocol here
  • I give specific and detailed instructions on how to handle/store placenta after birth until I can pick up, as well as instructions for after you receive your pills. See my instructions/responsibilities of client here
  • I instruct clients they must inform me of any symptoms of infection or diagnosis, during or after birth
  • I dehydrate every placenta at 155-165 degrees F for at least 24 hours and up to 48 hours to ensure complete dehydration
  • I also offer a steaming method of encapsulation before dehydrating, should a client choose this, which is known to be even more effective (aside from proper sanitation/handling and dehydrating at 155-165 degrees F) at killing bacteria, see article here

I am always happy to answer any questions about my process. I pride myself on safe practices and I want my clients to be comfortable and confident with your decision to hire me for placenta services. The safety and health of my clients are top priority.

 

Written by Rebecca Burkett

June 30,2017

Posted in After Birth, General, Placenta Encapsulation.

Getting Past the Ick Factor: Placenta Encapsulation for the Every-Woman

Lions do it. Bears do it. Even some Kardashians do it. Placenta encapsulation has generated much hype in recent years and celebrities, mommy bloggers, and maybe even some of your friends have touted the benefits of placental consumption left and right: energy producer! mood booster! milk supply enhancer! You might be thinking, “could there really be a magic pill to address all difficulties of new motherhood?” Or perhaps you’re caught up on the contents of the little brown pill, asking, “is it safe?” or, “can I really stomach it? It grew IN my body!” Fear not, every-woman. I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to be a wild animal, nor a millionairess to consume your placenta. I’m here to give you some tools to get past the ick factor.

Placenta Encapsulation

If in the end you think it’s right for you, (this is YOUR choice, after all!), or if you find you have more questions, give me a call. We might all be mammals, but I want you to have the information you need before deciding to take this primal step.

Here are some tools to get you started:

1. Understand that placenta encapsulation is not regulated, but it CAN be safe! Ask your encapsulator (yes, metoo!) what their sanitation protocol involves. I make sure mine is public because I want to be transparent with my clients and I want them to have all the information they need. Without mandated regulations (and I would argue, even with!), you must take responsibility for your own peace of mind when consuming products – internally or otherwise. Feel free to view my sanitation protocol here.

If it’s important to you to feel safe with my services (beyond just reading about them), or to feel safe with my character (beyond what you can find in my bio), perhaps it’s best we meet inperson or talk on the phone about how, exactly, I will treat your placenta. I promise that it will always be safe and sanitary, but if you have concerns, let me meet you where you’re at.

Regardless of who you choose to encapsulate your placenta, make sure you ask questions and make sure your questions are answered! Some of my frequently asked questions include:

• When will you pick up my placenta?
• How do I need to store it before you arrive?
• What if there is meconium staining on the placenta?
• What if I test positive for Group B Strep?
• How do I talk to the hospital about having you take my placenta?
• Where do you encapsulate my placenta?
• How long will it take?
• What is the recommended dosage?
• How should I store my capsules?

Feel free to visit my FAQ page for answers to these questions and more, or email, text, or call me for more information.

2. Take heart: you can outsource the “gross” part. Look, I’m a self-described placenta nerd. I’d love to show you all the parts of the magnificent, you-grown organ that sustained your child’s life inside the womb. I understand that isn’t for everyone. It kind of looks like blood-soaked beef covered in membranes. No part of that sounds beautiful or appetizing. The great part is, you don’t have to deal with the raw materials because I will do it for you!

By the time your placenta gets back to you, it’ll be in the form of 80-300 brown little pills that look like multivitamins, stored in an amber glass bottle. Your capsules may smell a little earthy and they may taste slightly of blood-rich meat, but if you take and swallow the capsules quickly without letting them sit in your mouth, you probably won’t be bothered by the taste. Take them with juice or flavored water to mask the metallic taste even more. It goes without saying that sometimes what’s good for us isn’t entirely appetizing. Think fish oil, or green vegetables for kids.

If you absolutely cannot get over the thought of consuming your own body’s material, let’s talk. Maybe a healing salve infused with placenta is right for you, maybe you can have the capsules prepared and decide later if you want to take them, or maybe you could just bury your placenta and plant a tree with it. There are several ways you can give yourself this gift and I’m here to help you find which way is best for you.

3. Do your research and do so creatively. I’ll be frank: you won’t find much in the way of academic research on the benefits/hazards of placenta encapsulation. And if it’s important to you to have the AMA’s stamp of approval on placental consumption, maybe my services aren’t right for you. Though mammals and humans have been consuming their placentas for millennia, and though more modern women are choosing to consume these precious organs, the medical and academic communities haven’t quite been able to get past the ick either and they don’t want to spend much money on the research, and thus we lack studies that show hard evidence of the benefits of placental consumption.

This doesn’t mean you can’t make an informed decision. Become the investigator. Uncover the answer yourself. To date, most of what you will find regarding the benefits of placental consumption is anecdotal — so use it! Ask your friends or friends of friends what their experience was like. Ask them how taking placenta capsules made them feel, if they experienced negative side-effects, if it tasted super gross, if their encapsulator seemed informed, if they experienced some or all of the touted benefits, and if they would do it again! If you’re nervous, start by reading my testimonials. And if you’re struggling to find someone in your own circle who has consumed their placenta, let me know. I might be able to put you in contact with a few women who have.

Following are some commonly held beliefs about the benefits of placental consumption. Feel free to test these against the anecdotes you gather:

• Balances hormones
• Increases energy
• Increases and enriches milk supply
• Decreases postpartum bleeding
• Helps increase iron levels
• Helps with sleeping problems
• Helps tone your uterus back to normal size

The placenta is rich in nutrients and filled with natural hormones you quickly lose after childbirth. Ingesting the placenta helps balance that immediate loss and allows your body to slowly adapt to such a change. Read more about the “ingredients” that give the placenta its healing properties here.

4. Prepare to tell your family. Or not. If you have a partner on your parenting journey, you’ll probably discuss your placenta encapsulation decision with them. And if you’re super close with some relatives, it may seem natural to tell them too. Be prepared for backlash. Our parents grew up and grew us in a time of hyper-sterilization, and the decision to consume your placenta may seem ridiculously new-age to your loved ones. Remember, this is your decision to make and if negativity from others will do nothing but put stress on you as a new mom, you don’t have to tell!

The benefits may be so great for you that you want to shout it to the world! If you’re anything like me, you’ll even bring it up at the dinner table (warning: not for the faint of heart). If that’s the case, and I hope it is, be sure to go prepared. Bring with you the anecdotes you’ve gathered and the research you’ve done. Let them know you were once wary, too, and show them why you changed your mind.

5. Remember that placenta pills are not a cure-all. Many of my clients endearingly refer to their placenta capsules as “mama’s happy pills.” I love hearing this! I believe in the benefits of placenta capsules because I’ve seen them work. But a note of caution: though the nutrients and hormones in your placenta may help stave off the baby blues and though the pills may help establish and enrich your milk supply, your pills are not a cure-all!

Before you have your baby, make a postpartum plan. That you’re reading this blog is an indication you already are! But beyond answering the questions, “what will I do with my placenta,” and “can I really consume that?” be sure to set up your support network. Think about who will help you initiate breastfeeding. Arrange for childcare if you have younger children. Fill your freezer with ready-to-go meals. When allowing visitors over (everyone loves a new baby!) kindly ask if they can complete a chore for you or throw a meal in the oven. Your job is to love and feed and nurture yourself and the new life you’ve birthed. Don’t play host. Let others care for you in the way you want to be cared for. Make specific asks. What do YOU need to mother the way that you envision? I’d be so happy if placenta encapsulation is part of that vision for you, but remember that other acts of self-care are just as important.

Placenta encapsulation is for the every-woman because every woman is a mammal. But we have the unique ability as humans to choose which primal behaviors to allow and which seem icky and animalistic. If you think you can move past the ick factor, or if you need further information to be convinced, call me, read through my website, email me or text. Allow me to meet you where you are.

 

By: Rebecca Burkett, Originally posted on Gold Coast Doula‘s Blog

Posted in After Birth, Natural Remedies, Placenta Encapsulation.

Research Checklist Ideas for Pregnancy, Labor, Birth and the Postpartum Period

Looking for ideas on things to know about pregnancy, labor, birth and the postpartum period but don’t really know where to start? Here is a great research checklist to give you a starting point for the things you should research for your pregnancy, labor, birth and postpartum care. Just click on the link below:

Research Checklist

 

Research Checklist

Posted in After Birth, Home Birth, Hospital Birth, Labor, Pregnancy.

Delayed Cord Clamping

Immediate or early cord clamping after birth is considered a common practice in today’s obstetric care. I question these practices because studies have shown delayed cord clamping can be of benefit for newborns. Delayed cord clamping can allow between twenty and fifty percent of the baby’s blood volume to return from the placenta after birth (Enkin et al., 2000). A study published in the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group found that early cord clamping compared to late cord clamping resulted in no significant difference in postpartum hemorrhage of the mother and that babies with delayed cord clamping had a higher birth weight, higher hemoglobin levels, and had a decreased risk of anemia later in life (McDonald, Middleton, Dowswell, & Morris, 2013). Another obvious benefit of delayed cord clamping is that because the baby is still attached to the mother, through the cord to the placenta, before the end of the third stage, it allows immediate and longer skin-to-skin contact just after birth if the baby is placed on the mother. Granted, there may be an emergency requiring an immediate cutting of the cord so the newborn can be attended to, based on the evidence, in a normal, safe, non-emergency birth, I believe delayed cord clamping is in the best interest of the baby and mother.

 

 

References

Enkin, M., Keirse, M. J. N. C., Neilson, J., Crowther, C., Duley, L., Hodnett, E., & Hofmeyr, J. (2000). The Third Stage of Labor. In A guide to effective care in pregnancy and childbirth (Third., pp. 300–309). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

McDonald, S. J., Middleton, P., Dowswell, T., & Morris, P. S. (2013). Effect of timing of umbilical cord clamping of term infants on maternal and neonatal outcomes. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 7, CD004074. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD004074.pub3

Paddock, C. (2013). Delayed Cord Clamping After Birth Better for Baby’s Health. Retrieved from www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/263181.php

Posted in After Birth.

What is a Doula?

doula baby

 

 

Definition: a woman who is trained to assist another woman during childbirth and who may provide support to the family after the baby is born.

The word “doula” comes from the Greek meaning “a woman who serves”.

Studies show that in doula attended births:

*Labors are shorter

*Babies are healthier

*There are fewer complications

*Breastfeeding is more successful

*Spontaneous vaginal birth is more likely

*Less likely to need or ask for pain medications

*Less likely to have a Cesarean Section, vacuum or forceps-assisted birth

 

There are 2 different types of Doulas: Birth Doula and Postpartum Doula

Birth Doulas – Offer education and assist women in planning and carrying out their birth plans and expectations. They stay with the women throughout labor and offer emotional support, help with physical discomforts, creats an open line of communications between the women, her partner, and her care provider.

Postpartum Doulas – Offer education and support on things related to after birth such as breastfeeding, physical and emotional recovery, newborn care, bonding, light housekeeping and meal preparation. Research shows that families transition much easier with a good support team including a doula.

 

DOULA DO’S AND DONT’S

Do’s:

*Prepare and educate women and families for birth

*Help create a birth plan that includes expectations, wants and needs, and things you are uncomfortable with

*They help create a safe space allowing comfort, open communications between families and care providers, and emotional support

*They are advocates for mothers and partners during labor and childbirth

 

Dont’s:

*They are NOT medical professionals and therefore do NOT offer or perform any medical services such as exams, fetal heart monitoring, medical diagnosis, deliver babies, etc.

*They do NOT judge you or decisions you make

 

How much does a Doula cost?

Fees can be anywhere from $400-$1000 depending on the individual doula and the services she provides.

 

 

RESOURCES

http://www.dona.org/mothers/

http://americanpregnancy.org/planningandpreparing/postpartumdoula.html

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-11595/what-is-a-doula-and-why-you-should-have-one-during-after-birth.html

http://ssbdoula.weebly.com/birth-services.html

http://evidencebasedbirth.com/the-evidence-for-doulas/

 

 

Posted in After Birth, Home Birth, Hospital Birth, Labor, VBAC, Water Birth. Tagged with , , , , , , , , , , .

Circumcision…Is it really necessary?

Intact America has a nice little article about the myths and facts about circumcision. I posted a few of them below but you should definitely view the whole article.

http://www.intactamerica.org/learnmore

Newborn male circumcision is the most common surgical procedure performed in the U.S. It’s a common misconception that there are tangible health benefits to male circumcision, but the truth is no medical society in the world recommends it. This invasive procedure carries serious health risks, including infection, hemorrhage, surgical mishap, and death, as well many ethical considerations.

Myth – Circumcising baby boys is a safe and harmless procedure.
Fact – Surgically removing part of a baby boy’s penis causes pain, creates immediate health risks and can lead to serious complications. Risks include infection, hemorrhage, scarring, difficulty urinating, loss of part or all of the penis, and even death. Circumcision complications can and do occur in even the best clinical settings.

Myth – Circumcision is routinely recommended and endorsed by doctors and other health professionals.
Fact – No professional medical association in the U.S. or anywhere else in the world recommends routine circumcision as medically necessary. In fact, leaving boys intact is now the norm in the U.S., with circumcision rates well below 40%.

Myth – The baby does not feel any pain during circumcision.
Fact – Circumcision is painful. Babies are sensitive to pain, just like older children and adults. The analgesics used for circumcision only decrease pain; they do not eliminate it. Further, the open wound left by the removal of the foreskin will continue to cause the baby pain and discomfort for the 7-10 days it takes to heal.

Myth – Circumcising newborn baby boys produces health benefits later in life.
Fact – There is NO link between circumcision and better health. In fact, cutting a baby boy’s genitals creates immediate health risks. The foreskin is actually an important and functional body part, protecting the head of the penis from injury and providing moisture and lubrication. Circumcision also diminishes sexual pleasure later in life.

Myth – Male circumcision helps prevent HIV.
Fact – Claims that circumcision prevents HIV have repeatedly been proven to be exaggerated or false. Only abstinence or safe sex, including the use of condoms, can prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS.

 

Posted in After Birth.

6 Benefits of Ingesting Your Placenta

www.adventuresinchildbirth.com

 

I know what you are thinking, ‘Do people really eat their own placenta?’. The answer is YES, the practice is called placentophagy.

Benefits of Ingesting Your Placenta

1. Decreases postpartum depression

2. Increases energy

3. Increases and enriches milk supply

4. Decreases postpartum bleeding

5. Helps increase iron levels

6. Helps with sleeping problems

 

Interesting Fact: Almost all mammals, with a few exceptions, will naturally and instinctively ingest their placentas after childbirth.

The placenta is rich in nutrients and filled with natural hormones that you quickly lose after childbirth. Ingesting the placenta helps balance that immediate loss and allows your body to slowly adapt to such a change. It is such a great way to help with postpartum healing naturally.

 

 

The known ingredients that give the placenta its healing properties (taken from placentabakery.com):

*Gonadotrohin – the precursor to estrogen, progesterone and testosterone

*Prolactin – promotes lactation

*Oxytocin – for pain and bonding; produced during breastfeeding to facilitates bonding of mother and infant. In pharmaceutical form this is a very addictive drug because it promotes a feeling of connectedness with others.

*Thyroid Stimulating Hormone – boosts energy and helps recovery from stressful events

*Cortisone – combats stress and unlocks energy stores

*Interferon – stimulates the immune system to protect against infections

*Prostaglandins – anti-inflammatory

*Hemoglobin – replenishes iron deficiency and anemia, a common postpartum condition

*Urokinase Inhibiting Factor and Factor XIII – stops bleeding and enhances wound healing

*Gammaglobulin – immune booster that helps protect against postpartum infections

 

There are a few ways people go about ingesting their placenta:

*Raw Dehydrated Method: The raw placenta is gently rinsed of blood clots. The cord and membranes are removed from the placenta. The placenta is sliced into small pieces and placed in a dehydrator at low temperatures between 110-120 degrees for 8 – 10 hours. Once completely dehydrated, the pieces are ground up into powder form and packed into capsules.

*Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Method – The raw placenta is gently rinsed of blood clots. The cord and membranes are removed from the placenta. It is steamed with ginger and lemon organic herbs. The placenta is then sliced into small pieces and placed in a dehydrator at low temperatures between 110-120 degrees for 8-10 hours. Once dehydrated, the pieces are ground up into powder form and packed into capsules.

*Placenta Tinctures – A small pieces of the raw placenta is cut and placed in a jar of alcohol for 6 weeks. The jar is given a swirl once a day for those 6 weeks helping along the process of the medicinal qualities being drawn out of the placenta into the alcohol. After six weeks, the contents of the jar is strained of the solids into a bottle using some kind of filter. The result is a tincture.

*Placenta Ice Cubes – Small pieces of the placenta is placed in each cube section of an ice cube tray with water. The tray is placed in the freezer and once frozen, the cubes can be used for smoothies or anything else you’d like to put the ice cubes in.

*Dehydrated Placenta Powder – Just like the raw dehydrated method and TCM method, the placenta is placed in a dehydrator and ground up into powder. Instead of encapsulating the powder, it can be sprinkled while cooking, into teas, for smoothies, etc.

 

 

Here are some other websites for more information on ingesting your placenta and ways to do it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Placentophagy

http://www.bellybelly.com.au/post-natal/placenta-encapsulation-benefits-of-eating-your-placenta#.UvGpEvldVdM

http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2013/03/how-to-cook-and-eat-a-placenta/

 

 

Posted in After Birth. Tagged with , , , , , , , , , , , , .