You can't pour from an empty cup: A list of postpartum resources

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The adjustment to life with a new baby is one of the hardest transitions you will ever make in your life. There is no complete step-by-step guidebook you can follow once your new baby arrives. The care of a newborn can sometimes overwhelm all aspects of daily life, especially your own postpartum care. One common problem woman face during postpartum is finding time to care for themselves. Unfortunately, in today's culture, there is no village behind you once your baby arrives. A lot of mothers find themselves alone with their new baby (and other children) once their partner has to return back to work, often within just a few days of birth. The task of caring for your new baby, while healing from birth yourself, can sometimes overwhelm a new mother to the point that she needs outside help.

We believe at With Love Placenta that the mother also needs to be mothered immediately postpartum. No mother should feel alone. Even after our services have been completed, we still encourage our clients to use us a research for all of your postpartum and mothering needs. If you ever need someone to talk to, we are here, anonymously and without judgement. 

Included in this list are references to professionals who specialize in helping woman during their postpartum period. If you feel you are struggling with day to day life after your new baby, crying excessively, feeling withdrawn from your family or friends, having trouble sleeping, having trouble caring for your new baby, or having thoughts of hurting yourself or baby/children, we urge you to contact one of these professionals immediately. 

 

Postpartum Doulas

Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorder Center at Monmouth Medical

300 second avenue, Long Branch, New Jersey 07740 - (732) 923-5573

Postpartum Support Groups

  • Natural Beginnings “Accepting the Unexpected” - Manasquan - (973) 876-4283
  • A Circle of Moms - Toms River - (732) 557-8034
  • New Mom Discussion Group - Freehold - (901) 308-0570
  • New Parent Mornings - Hamilton - (609) 303-4140
  • The Riverview Medical Center Postpartum Support Group - Red Bank - (732) 706-5173
  • Postpartum Depression and Anxiety Support Group For Pregnant and New Mothers - Long Branch - (732) 923-5573
  • New Moms…New Babies:  A New Mother’s Support Group - New Brunswick - (732) 253-3871        
  • New Mom’s Network - Jackson - (732) 776-4281

 

NEW JERSEY POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION HELPLINE:  “Speak Up When You’re Down”  24 hours a day 7 days a week hotline:  1-800-328-3838  www.njspeakup.gov

 

Any of these resources can recommend a licensed therapist that specializes in postpartum therapy.

Which encapsulation method we recommend and all the reasons why!

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Placenta encapsulation is the number once method of preparing a placenta for consumption post birth, but it is not a one type fits all service! Encapsulating your placenta comes with a number of different method choices. The number one question that we, as placenta specialists, are asked is which method is best?

There are two main types of encapsulation: the Traditional Chinese method (also known as TCM) and the raw method. Each method has its own unique benefits, and only you can decide which is best for you. 

TRADITIONAL Chinese Method

This is the preparation method developed by Raven Lang, a midwife and TCM practitioner, in accordance with TCM principles and the specific needs of the postpartum period. This is the most commonly used placenta preparation method, and the one we strongly suggest for most of our clients. The main differentiating factor in this form of preparation is the step in which the placenta is gently steamed. In Traditional Chinese Medicine theory, birth leaves an open, empty space within ones self, which is very yin, or cold. The practice of gently steaming the placenta creates a warm energy, or yang. This method is most recommended for long term use, which is appropriate as clients usually take their placenta capsules over a six week period. By incorporating steam and warming herbs in the process, the final result is warming, tonifying, and nourishing during the initial postpartum period. The method of steaming also is known to balance the hormones of the placenta which allows the body to more easily absorb the nutrients.

Raw Method

The raw method is just as it states. The raw placenta is dehydrated and then encapsulated. This method aligns with the Raw Diet, where food is not to be heated about 118 degrees Fahrenheit. Some believe that heating food above this temperature kills off vital nutrients. In reference to the placenta, people often argue that this method yields a medicinal remedy with more hormones and nutrients than the TCM method.

But which do we recommend? 

We recommend the Traditional Chinese Method form of encapsulation to all of our clients, especially those with any history of depression or anxiety. We have found through studies and other woman's experience that the Raw method of prep if much too strong for most new mothers. Most woman with any history of mental illness or anxiety report that taking capsules created using the Raw method make their symptoms worse. It has even been reported to have caused mothers to develop symptoms of postpartum depression. The TCM method creates a much more balanced experience, gently warming the mother and not overwhelming the system. For those interested in Raw prep, we recommend consuming the placenta via smoothies  for no more than a one week period postpartum. After that, capsules created using the TCM method will gently allow the body to wean off of any hormones it has come accustomed to over their pregnancy. Smoothie cubes immediately post birth are fantastic for blood building and returning iron stores, while capsules using the TCM method are more appropriate for long term affects such as increased milk supply, decreased PPD depression symptoms, and overall nourishing of the new mother.

Each person is drawn to the method they feel will be best for their postpartum period, and there is no right or wrong decision! We, as placenta specalists, make it our main goal to give every new mother a more blissful postpartum period. We will gladly share any and all knowledge we have to help you make a more informed decision!

What's the rush? The real reasons why delayed cord clamping is so important!

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"When I am asked, "Why don't you cut the babies' umbilical cord?" I say, "Isn't the real question: Why do you cut?" It's interesting that those of us on the path of nonviolence are being asked to justify our peaceful non-interventions by the perpetrators of intemperate protocols." - Ibu Robin Lim, CPM

What is delayed cord clamping?

According to the International Childbirth Education Association, which is that “Delayed cord clamping (DCC) is a practice by which the umbilical cord is not clamped or cut until after it stops pulsating. It may also include not clamping or cutting the umbilical cord until after the placenta is delivered.” 

Most midwives have been practicing delayed cord clamping as routine practice for decades. Midwife Amanda Burleigh has spent the last decade campaigning for babies to have more time attached to umbilical cords before they are cut and clamped. Recently, most mainstream health organizations have revised their guidelines regarding the practice of immediately clamping the cord. 

Each health organization has its own opinions on the exact length of time that is beneficial. The ACOG states "Given the benefits to most newborns and concordant with other professional organizations, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists now recommends a delay in umbilical cord clamping in vigorous term and preterm infants for at least 30–60 seconds after birth." The World Health Organization recommends 1-3 minutes. Ultimately, everyone seems to be in agreement that the more time attached to the placenta, the better the outcome for the infant. 

What are the benefits?

"There is growing evidence from a number of studies that all infants, those born at term and those born early, benefit from receiving extra blood from the placenta at birth," said Dr. Heike Rabe, a neonatologist at Brighton & Sussex Medical School in the United Kingdom. Rabe's editorial accompanied the study published  in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.

Delaying the clamping of the cord has allows more blood to transfer from placenta to the infant. Studies show that up a third of the infants blood still remains within the placenta and cord immediately after birth.

"The extra blood at birth helps the baby to cope better with the transition from life in the womb, where everything is provided for them by the placenta and the mother, to the outside world," Rabe said. "Their lungs get more blood so that the exchange of oxygen into the blood can take place smoothly."

In term infants, delayed cord clamping increased hemoglobin level and improves infant iron stores, as stated by the ACOG.

  • “Physiologic studies in term infants have shown that a transfer from the placenta of approximately 80 mL of blood occurs by 1 minute after birth, reaching approximately 100 mL at 3 minutes after birth (163132). This additional blood can supply extra iron, amounting to 40–50 mg/kg of body weight. This extra iron, combined with body iron (approximately 75 mg/kg of body weight) present at birth in a full-term newborn, may help prevent iron deficiency during the first year of life (33).” 

Sufficient iron levels are important to healthy brain development in children. Iron deficiency in the first year of life have been linked to impaired cognitive, motor, and emotional development as found in a clinical trial published in the journal of JAMA pediatrics

The ACOG also revised their recomendations regarding preterm infants and delayed cord clamping, stating "In preterm infants, delayed umbilical cord clamping is associated with significant neonatal benefits, including improved transitional circulation, better establishment of red blood cell volume, decreased need for blood transfusion, and lower incidence of necrotizing enterocolitis and intraventricular hemorrhage."

Even infants born via cesarean section can benefit from delayed cord clamping, as stated in a position statement made by The American College of Nurse Midwives;

  • "The usual practice at cesarean delivery is immediate cord clamping; however, infants born by cesarean can benefit from placental transfusion resulting from delayed cord clamping or umbilical cord milking. Researchers initially reported that placental transfusion did not occur at the time of cesarean delivery, but this was most likely associated with uterine atony and the use of general anesthesia.  In a small observational study, Farrar and colleagues recently demonstrated that a full placental transfusion does occur at cesarean delivery, but the optimal timing of delayed cord clamping remains unclear. Ogata et al. reported that a 40-second delay in clamping provided the infant with a partial placental transfusion. Concerns were raised that blood would flow back to the placenta if the cord was clamped after 40 seconds, but this reverse flow has not been demonstrated."

 

Are there any risks?

Some studies have demonstrated mildly higher levels of bilirubin (cause of jaundice) in delayed cord clamping babies.

"... but jaundice requiring phototherapy was less common among those newborns who had early umbilical cord clamping (2.74% of infants in the early cord clamping group compared with 4.36% in the late cord clamping group; RR, 0.62; 95% CI, 0.41–0.96). However, the authors concluded that given the benefit of delayed umbilical cord clamping in term infants, delayed cord clamping is beneficial overall, provided that the obstetrician–gynecologist or other obstetric care provider has the ability to monitor and treat jaundice." the ACOG states.

In the 2013 Cochrane review, the study found "that the difference between early and late cord clamping for clinical jaundice did not reach statistical significance.” 

Another concern is the risk of polycythemia, or blood that is too thick to oxygenate properly.  "Neonatal polycythemia has not been observed at higher frequencies among infants in the delayed cord clamping group in several systematic reviews, and in large randomized controlled studies" as published in a paper written by Tonse N. K. Raju, M.D, D.C.H.,and Nalini Singal, M.D., D.C.H.

its worth the wait!

Science has clearly proven the amazing benefits of delayed cord clamping. If you choose a hospital birth, be an advocate for your baby! You don't get a second chance once the cord has been cut, so be sure to express you desire to your health care provider before the day comes. Adding delayed cord clamping to your birth plan is a great way to make sure everyone is on the same page. The connection between baby and placenta is as sacred as birth itself. There is no better way to honor this connection than to leave the baby attached for as long as possible!

Image courtesy of An Infinite Moment Photography

Image courtesy of An Infinite Moment Photography

So, you don't think placenta encapsulation is for you?

So, you don't think placenta encapsulation is for you?

Are you on the fence about encapsulating your placenta? Have some nagging questions in the back of your mind? We get it! Placenta encapsulation isn't quite mainstream these days so to some people, it is still mostly viewed as "weird". We find it far from weird, as technically, we are the only mammal that does NOT routinely consume their placenta post birth. Your placenta is full of valuable hormones that have created just for your body, by your body. Why would you want to throw such a perfect hormonal supplement in the trash?