What is a birth doula?
A doula is a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and educational support before, during and after childbirth to you and your partner.
So what does all that really mean?
It means I’m there with you and your partner every step of the way. Your family is my only focus during birth, often times your support team of doctors, midwives and nurses have a lot going on monitoring the medical aspect of your birth and may have other patients they need to see. Where as I am there for you, by your side. The great thing is we’ve gotten to know one another prenatally, I know your hopes and dreams for birth. We’ve discovered together some techniques and cues for releasing the tension you often hold in your shoulders and I know your favorite verse from the hypnobaby cd you’ve been listening to all pregnancy that helps you focus. I know to offer different position changes in labour and can show your partner how to do the double hip squeeze that helps you get through those tough contractions and I’m there to tell you how wonderful you’re doing and what incredible strength you have. I’m there when your partner gets hungry, tired or needs to grab a cup of coffee, so they know you’re in good hands and taken care of, while they refuel.
One of my most read blog posts is on exactly what a doula does, check it out!
Does a doula replace my partner?
No definitely not, I like to explain it this way; a doula knows birth intimately, while your partner knows you intimately. My hope is that your partner and I work together to provide you with the ultimate support for a great birth experience! I find that the presence of a doula takes the pressure of partners, so they can relax and be fully present for mom!
Or you can look at it this way, “Asking your husband to be your sole guide through labor is like asking him to lead the way on a climb of Mt Everest. He may be smart and trustworthy, you may love him, but in the Himalayas you’d both be a lot better off with a Sherpa!” – Pam England
What are the benefits of a doula?
Doula’s help mama’s have:
- Shorter labours
- Feel empowered by their birth experience
- Reduce the use of interventions
- Help partners be involved
- Reduce need for cecarean
- Feel more confident as mothers
- Have better breastfeeding relationships
- Have less anxiety and depression postpartum
Evidence shows that the most important thing is for women to have continuous labor support from someone– whether that person is a nurse, midwife, partner, or doula. However, with several birth outcomes, doulas have a stronger effect than other types of support persons. -Evidence Based Birth
What training have you taken in order to offer this service?
I have been trained to encapsulate through Full Circle Placenta, who have a thorough and rigorous program. As well I have training from both the BC Food Safe Program and OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens and am certified through both.
How do you sterilize the equipment you use?
Your safety is extremely important to me. I have take multiple steps to ensuring your safety, including a thorough cleaning protocol, and maintaining my certifications. All my equipment is properly sterilized and stored between clients. All my reusable equipment is washed and then sanitized in a 1:10 bleach:water ration and soaked for 20 minutes minimum and all work surface areas are also scrubbed and sprayed down with the same solution and left to “stand” for 20 minutes until sterile. As well I only ever have one placenta on premises, so there is never a concern of a mix up in placentas.
Where do you process the placenta?
I have a designated work space in my home.
What is the research behind placenta consumption?
Placentophagy protocol in management of postpartum care
”Giving…placenta to a new mother following birth has become standard protocol among a growing number of midwives in the United States. By nourishing the blood and fluids, endocrine glands and organs, Placenta will …reduce or stop postpartum bleeding, speed up recovery, boost energy and relieve postpartum blues.” Homes, Peter. 1993. Jade Remedies, Snow Lotus Press, 352.
The Effect of Ingestion of Desiccated (dried) Placenta on Milk Production
“All patients were given desiccated placenta prepared as previously described (C.A. II, 2492) in doses of 10 grains in a capsule 3 times a day. Only those mothers were chosen for the study whose parturition was normal and only the weights of those infants were recorded whose soul source of nourishment was mothers milk. The growth of 177 infants was studied. The rate of growth is increased by the ingestion of placenta by the mother… the maternal ingestion of dried placenta tissue so stimulates the tissues of the infants feeding on the milk produced during this time, that unit weight is able to add on greater increments of matter, from day to day, than can unit weight of infants feeding on milk from mothers not ingesting this substance.” Hammett, Frederick. S. 1918. The Journal of Biological Chemistry, 36. American Society of Biological Chemists, Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, original press: Harvard University.
The American journal of obstetrics and diseases of women and children
”It has been shown that the feeding of desiccated placenta to women during the first eleven days after parturition causes an increase in the protein and lactose percent of the milk… All the mothers were receiving the same diet, and to the second set 0.6mg of desiccated placenta was fed three times a day throughout the period. Certain definite differences in the progress of growth of the two sets of infants are to be observed. It is evident that the recovery from the postnatal decline in weight is hastened by the consumption of milk produced under the influence of maternally ingested placenta.” McNeile, Lyle G. 1918. The American journal of obstetrics and diseases of women and children, 77. W.A. Townsend & Adams, original press: University of Michigan.
Placenta as Lactagagon
“Powdered Placenta Hominis was used for 57 cases of insufficient lactation. Within
4 days, 48 women had markedly increased milk production, with the remainder
following suit over the next three days.” Bensky/Gamble. 1997. Materia Medica, Eastland Press, 549.
“An attempt was made to increase milk secretion in mothers by administration of dried placenta per os. Of 210 controlled cases only 29 (13.8%) gave negative results; 181 women (86.2%) reacted positively to the treatment, 117 (55.7%) with good and 64 (30.5%) with very good results. It could be shown by similar experiments with a beef preparation that the effective substance in placenta is not protein. Nor does the lyofilised placenta act as a biogenic stimulator so that the good results of placenta administration cannot be explained as a form of tissue therapy per os. The question of a hormonal influence remains open. So far it could be shown that progesterone is probably not active in increasing lactation after administration of dried placenta.
This method of treating hypogalactia seems worth noting since the placenta preparation is easily obtained, has not so far been utilized and in our experience is successful in the majority of women.” Soykova-Pachnerova E, et. al.(1954). Gynaecologia 138(6):617-627.
Placentophagia: A Biobehavioral Enigma
KRISTAL, M. B. NEUROSCI. BIOBEHAV. REV. 4(2) 141-150, 1980.
“Although ingestion of the afterbirth during delivery is a reliable component of parturitional behavior of mothers in most mammalian species, we know almost nothing of the direct causes or consequences of the act. Traditional explanations of placentophagia, such as general or specific hunger, are discussed and evaluated in light of recent experimental results. Next, research is reviewed which has attempted to distinguish between placentophagia as a maternal behavior and placentophagia as an ingestive behavior. Finally, consequences of the behavior, which may also be viewed as ultimate causes in an evolutionary sense, are considered, such as the possibility of beneficial effects on maternal behavior or reproductive competence, on protection against predators, and on immunological protection afforded either the mother or the young.”
Placenta for Pain Relief
Placenta ingestion by rats enhances y- and n-opioid antinociception, but suppresses A-opioid antinociception
Jean M. DiPirro*, Mark B. Kristal
Ingestion of placenta or amniotic fluid produces a dramatic enhancement of centrally mediated opioid antinociception in the rat. The present experiments investigated the role of each opioid receptor type (A, y, n) in the antinociception-modulating effects of Placental Opioid-Enhancing Factor (POEF—presumably the active substance). Antinociception was measured on a 52 jC hotplate in adult, female rats after they ingested placenta or control substance (1.0 g) and after they received an intracerebroventricular injection of a y-specific ([D-Pen2,D-Pen5]enkephalin (DPDPE); 0, 30, 50, 62, or 70 nmol), A-specific ([D-Ala2,N-MePhe4,Gly5-ol]enkephalin (DAMGO); 0, 0.21, 0.29, or 0.39 nmol), or n-specific (U-62066; spiradoline; 0, 100, 150, or 200 nmol) opioid receptor agonist. The results showed that ingestion of placenta potentiated y- and n-opioid antinociception, but attenuated A-opioid antinociception. This finding of POEF action as both opioid receptor-specific and complex provides an important basis for understanding the intrinsic pain-suppression mechanisms that are activated during parturition and modified by placentophagia, and important information for the possible use of POEF as an adjunct to opioids in pain management.
D 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Enhancement of Opioid-Mediated Analgesia: A Solution to the Enigma of Placentophagia.
KRISTAL, M.B. NEUROSCI BIOBEHAV REV 15(3) 425-435, 1991.
Two major consequences of placentophagia, the ingestion of afterbirth materials that
occurs usually during mammalian parturition, have been uncovered in the past several
years. The first is that increased contact, associated with ingesting placenta and amniotic
fluid from the surface of the young, causes an accelerated onset of maternal behavior
toward those young. The second, which probably has importance for a broader range of
mammalian taxa than the first, is that ingestion of afterbirth materials produces
enhancement of ongoing opioid-mediated analgesia. The active substance in placenta and
amniotic fluid has been named POEF, for Placental Opioid-Enhancing Factor. Recent
research on both consequences is summarized, with particular attention to POEF, the generalizability of the enhancement phenomenon, its locus and mode of action, and its
significance for new approaches to the management of pain and addiction. Read the full
“The placenta contains high levels of prostaglandin which stimulates involution (an inward curvature or penetration, or, a shrinking or return to a former size) of the uterus, in effect cleaning the uterus out. The placenta also contains small amounts of oxytocin which eases birth stress and causes the smooth muscles around the mammary cells to contract and eject milk.
The most general benefit of placentophagy, according to recent research, is that placenta and amniotic fluid contain a molecule (POEF, Placental Opioid-Enhancing Factor) that modifies the activity of endogenous opioids in such a way that produces an enhancement of the natural reduction in pain that occurs shortly after and during delivery.”
Effects of placentophagy on serum prolactin and progesterone concentrations in rats after parturition or superovulation
Blank MS, Friesen HG.: J Reprod Fertil. 1980 Nov;60(2):273-8.
In rats that were allowed to eat the placentae after parturition concentrations of serum prolactin were elevated on Day 1 but concentrations of serum progesterone were depressed on Days 6 and 8 post partum when compared to those of rats prevented from eating the placentae. In rats treated with PMSG to induce superovulation serum prolactin and progesterone values were significantly (P < 0.05) elevated on Days 3 and 5 respectively, after being fed 2 g rat placenta/day for 2 days. However, feeding each rat 4 g placenta/day
significantly (P < 0.02) lowered serum progesterone on Day 5. Oestrogen injections or bovine or human placenta in the diet had no effect. The organic phase of a petroleum ether extract of rat placenta (2 g-equivalents/day) lowered peripheral concentrations of progesterone on Day 5, but other extracts were ineffective. We conclude that the rat placenta contains orally-active substance(s) which modify blood levels of pituitary and ovarian hormones.
The placenta is composed of beneficial hormones, chemicals, iron, and proteins. These healing substances include:
- Estrogen, Progesterone, Testosterone: Contributes to mammary gland development in preparation for lactation; stabilizes postpartum mood; regulates post-birth uterine cramping; decreases depression; normalizes and stimulates libido.
- Prolactin: Promotes lactation; increases milk supply; enhances the mothering instinct.
- Oxytocin: Decreases pain and increases bonding in mother and infant; counteracts the production of stress hormones such as Cortisol; greatly reduces postpartum bleeding; enhances the breastfeeding let-down reflex.
- Placental Opioid-Enhancing Factor (POEF): Stimulates the production of your body’s natural opioids, including endorphins; reduces pain; increases well-being.
- Thyroid Stimulating Hormone: Regulates the thyroid gland; boosts energy and supports recovery from stressful events.
- Corticotropin Releasing Hormone (CRH): Low levels of CRH are implicated in postpartum depression. Regulation of CRH helps prevent depression.
- Cortisone: Reduces inflammation and swelling; promotes healing.
- Interferon: Triggers the protective defenses of the immune system to fight infection.
- Prostaglandins: Regulates contractions in the uterus after birth; helps uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size. Anti-inflammatory effects.
- Iron: Replenishes maternal iron stores to combat anemia, a common postpartum condition. Increases energy; decreases fatigue and depression.
- Hemoglobin: Oxygen-carrying molecule which provides a boost in energy.
- Urokinase Inhibiting Factor and Factor XIII: stops bleeding and enhances wound healing.
- Immunoglobulin G (IgG): Antibody molecules which support the immune system.
- Human Placental Lactogen (hPL): This hormone has lactogenic and growth-promoting properties; promotes mammary gland growth in preparation for lactation in the mother. It also regulates maternal glucose, protein, and fat levels.
Source: Placenta Wise
What are the benefits to using a TENS Machine?
Each unit is compact and attaches to your belt or around your neck. Some of the benefits are:
- It is safe, non-invasive and entirely free of unwelcome side effects
- Safe for mother and baby
- Does not impair your body’s natural response to labour
- Can help with pain relief during labour and in the postpartum period, including pain related to recovery from cesarean birth
- Can be used while moving
- Can be used for as long as you like, may be removed and replaced as desired
- You are in control of it
- It’s simple to use
Can TENS be used in hospital?
Absolutely. TENS is frequently used by birthing mothers in hospitals as well as at home.
Can I use the TENS with pain medication?
Yes the TENS may be combined with analgesics during labour
Can I use the TENS during my water?
Yes, but not in the water itself. TENS must be removed prior to entering the water including the shower. It is the perfect compliment to any home OR hospital birth.
Can anyone use a TENS machine?
TENS should be used in accordance with the accompanying instructions and guidelines. If you have a cardiac pace maker you should NOT use TENS. If you suffer from epilepsy or undiagnosed pain, you should consult your medical care provider prior to use.
How do I reserve my TENS rental unit?
Simply contact me for availability
What else should I know about the TENS?
- TENS machines are quite often claimed under your Extended Health Benefits so the rental fee is refunded to you through your insurer.
- The Obi TENS, the Elle TENS and Elle TENS Plus are available for a four week rental.
- Take the pads off at least every 12 hours.
- If the pads feel less sticky, add a few drops of water and rub into the gel side of the pad before reapplying them. This ensures that they stick well and make good contact with your back.
- Keep moving! Moving around during labour helps you to feel in control and will make TENS more effective.
- If you don’t think the TENS is helping you, take it off. You are in control of your labour and what is working for you. All other forms of pain relief, both medical and non-medical, are still open to you.
These fees reflect the cost of the services individually, discounts are given on bundling services