Wednesday, December 14, 2011

What is Placenta Medicine?

I currently encapsulate placentas for clients to use in their postpartum period as medicine.  So what is placenta medicine you say????? First let me explain the basics and then we will go into all the detail
                 My daughter wearing her I love placentas T shirt when I did my very first placenta!

Placentophagy: is the act of mammals eating the placenta of their young after childbirth. Almost all mammals eat their placentas with the exception of some sea mammals and camels.

Ok so that definition sounds like a terrible cannibalistic description, its much nicer than that I promise! Most people can't get past the thought of eating their placenta, soooo I offer an encapsulated version. We in the western world will take almost anything if its in pill form. So in Short I steam, chop, dehydrate, grind, encapsulate and voila you have placenta in pill form!

So now that you know the how, I bet your next question is WHY? Our placentas are amazing gifts provided by our bodies, they nourish and sustain life. Without them growing our beautiful babies would be impossible. They transfer nourishment, oxygen, blood, hormones, minerals, vitamins and he list goes on..... So all the wonderful things that transfer through our placenta are still there when they cease to function. If you have ever been pregnant or your wife has you know that hormones be raging! but shortly after birth those hormones plummet leaving us fragile and fatigued and for some women depressed :( Have no fear placenta medicine is here! The most common use for the medicine is to ease or ward off postpartum depression or baby blues and increase energy. However the number of other benefits are numerous, lets see what all your placenta can do!

 Your placenta is full of your own bio-identical hormones and healing properties:
  • Gonadotropin: the precursor to estrogen, progesterone and testosterone.
  • Prolactin: promotes lactation.
  • Oxytocin: The Love hormone. Promotes feelings of love and connectedness /bonding; produced during breastfeeding to facilitate bonding of mother and infant.
  • 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 
Pretty cool huh?
I process most placentas  according to Traditional Chinese Medicine. In TCM the way the placenta is transformed into placenta medicine is meant to bring heat back to mom. Steaming and warming herbs are necessary steps for that to happen. Without steaming the placenta it has a cooling effect. When baby and placenta are born, the sudden “space” created in her body throws her into a state of yin/yang imbalance, with an excess of yin (cold). So by steaming the placenta with lemon, ginger, jalapeno and dehydrating before transforming it into capsules is all meant to restore this balance. 
Not all of our clients believe or care about what method is used and some feel that by cooking the placenta in any way deteriorates the vital nutrition in the placenta and prefer the "raw" method which is the same minus the steaming. All placentas regardless of method are then ground, dehydrated ground again and encapsulated.

The finished product!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Magic Umbilical Cords

I saw this and thought it was a great article with neat pictures, its from the Nurturing Hearts Birth Services website. Enjoy!!!!

Magic Umbilical Cords

I am amazed by just about everything having to do with birth….mothers, the creation of babies from a sperm and egg, the childbirth process, the placenta, the umbilical cord…
Aaahhhh….that umbilical cord. That magical connection that grows life. It filters, it provides, it knows when to start and it knows when baby no longer needs it.
I’ve often tried to explain to people the incredible changes that happen at birth – including to the umbilical cord – but I’ve had a hard time finding images to demonstrate what I’m trying to explain.
Until now! I recently attended a birth and asked the mother permission to take photographs of her baby’s umbilical cord to document the changes it goes through after the birth – and she said yes!
Umbilical cords have two arteries and a vein that run the length of it. Those three vessels are surrounded by a special substance called Wharton’s Jelly. This jelly is thick and gelatinous when functinoal – this is to prevent the baby from accidentally causing it to kink and stop functioning (even true knots in the cord rarely cause problems because the Wharton’s Jelly prevents it from being able to tighten down and occlude blood flow to baby!)
When baby is born, this cord continues to function, providing the baby with not only blood and oxygen – but providing baby TIME! Time to transition to air breathing, experiencing the changes that babies go through at birth. As long as that cord is pulsing, it’s working for the baby the exact same way it did before the baby came out.
Once baby’s breathing and the cord is no longer needed, it goes through its own transformation. The Wharton’s Jelly in the cord begins to liquify…tightening down on those vessels…clamping them off naturally. The cord slowly becomes thin, white, limp – dramatic changes from the thick purple pulsing entity it was when the baby was born!
Not clamping or cutting the cord until this transformation has occurred provides the baby with the benefit of extra blood, oxygen, gentleness and time!
Here you can see the magical changes of the cord! These pictures are ALL of the same umbilical cord…progressively taken over time.
Brand new! Right after birth the cord is thick, pulsing. We could actually SEE it thumping with the baby's heartbeat.

There's already a difference!! Look at how much thinner it is - less purple, less 'tight'...

Less purple...thinner....

same piece of cord, same MUCH whiter, much thinner. But still not done with the transformation! You might think so though, huh! No...just wait.

NOW we are pretty much finished with the transformation. Compare this to the top picture of the same piece of cord....

Completely done, Wharton's Jelly has liquified, the cord is not is thin, white, and very limp. Amazing!

And here they are all in a row for you to see.....

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Placenta of love :)

Here is a heart shaped placenta. Why a heart shape you ask? Well some women have a "heart shaped" uterus. A bicornate uterus, commonly referred to as a "heart shaped" uterus, is a type of uterine malformation where two "horns" form at the upper part of the uterus. Sometimes if the septum is severe it can cause fertility problems. So if have a "heart shaped" uterus and the placenta attaches at the top of your uterus you will have a placenta that could look like this. This woman obviously did not have a severe septum but it is noticable.

Crazy placentas!

Here are some crazy looking placentas! You will see some velamentous insertions on these bad boys. In a velamentous cord insertion, the umbilical cord inserts into the fetal membranes (choriamniotic membranes), then travels within the membranes to the placenta (between the amnion and the chorion). The exposed vessels are not protected by Whartons Jelly and hence are vulnerable to rupture.

Normal placentas for your viewing pleasure!

Here are some great examples of normal healthy placentas! These placentas have a central insertion and are of a normal size. Enjoy! 
Note: there are duplicates of some of the pics

Have you ever seen a placenta?

Hello My name is Jennifer and I live in Southern Oregon. I am married with two beautiful children and a third we are expecting any day! I have been part of our Midwifery community for the last couple years as an apprentice helping women deliver their babies safely at home and at our beautiful birth center. About two years ago I decided to start encapsulating placentas into medicine because of a presentation I had seen at a Midwifery Today conference that I had went to the year before. I love being able to offer the service to women and use this beautiful gift that our bodies have provided for our babies. I have only recently started taking pictures of the placentas I encapsulate but am hoping that they can be a useful tool some how to woman and practitioners. Plus I think we need more exposure as women to seeing this beautiful gift that our bodies provide to take some of the "icky" or "gross" out of it!