One of the key aspects of the involvement of doula support is that they provide emotional and other support by maintaining a “constant presence” throughout labor, providing specific labor support techniques and strategies, encouraging laboring women and their families, and facilitating communication between mothers and medical caregivers. Studies examining the impact of continuous support by doulas report significant reductions in cesarean births, instrumental vaginal births, need for oxytocin augmentation, and shortened durations of labor (Campbell, Lake, Falk, & Backstrand, 2006; Klaus & Klaus, 2010; Newton, Chaudhuri, Grossman, & Merewood, 2009; Papagni & Buckner, 2006; Sauls, 2002). Continuous support also has been associated with higher newborn Apgar scores (greater than 7) and overall higher satisfaction by mothers with the birthing process (Sauls, 2002). Others report that many of these effects occurred when support was provided by someone other than an attending nurse (Rosen, 2004; Sakala, Declercq, & Corry, 2002; Sauls, 2002).
The evidence suggests that it is likely more than the emotional, physical, and informational support doulas give to women during the birthing process that accounts for the reduced need for clinical procedures during labor and birth, fewer birth complications, and more satisfying experiences during labor, birth, and postpartum (Meyer, Arnold, & Pascali-Bonaro, 2001; Wen, Korfmacher, Hans, & Henson, 2010). Klaus and Klaus (2010) argue that the modern hospital birthing process tends to be highly interventionist, taking away decision making from mothers. This results in many unwanted and, in many cases, unwarranted procedures. Medical providers sometimes prefer women to be compliant and recommend procedures to ward off pain and discomfort. However, these actions may actually interfere with birth outcomes, with mothers counseled to focus on their comfort and not necessarily on the possible implications of those interventions on the birth of their baby, the baby’s immediate health, or on later complications from these procedures. A doula serves as a mother’s advocate, providing a woman a sympathetic but informed ear for the choices that the birthing staff may ask her to make during the birthing process (Hazard, Callister, Birkhead, & Nichols, 2009; Papagani & Buckner, 2006). The doula empowers decisions that are made in the best interest of both the mother and her child (Breedlove, 2005; Deitrick & Draves, 2008).
Studies that examine the relationship between birthing mothers and their doulas report consistently positive experiences (Deitrick & Draves, 2008; Hazard et al., 2009; Koumouitzes-Douvia & Carr, 2006). Other studies have noted positive effects into the postpartum period. Newton et al. (2009), for example, found among a sample of Latina women giving birth at a Boston hospital that mothers supported by doulas were more likely to breastfeed their newborns and to delay first infant formula feed. Similarly, Nommsen-Rivers, Mastergeorge, Hansen, Cullum, and Dewey (2009) reported that in comparison to a group of women receiving standard care (n = 97), a doula-paired group of women (n = 44) experienced significantly shorter periods of labor, less instances of instrument-assisted birth, and better Apgar scores (greater than 7) at 1 minute postpartum. The doula mothers also experienced earlier onset of lactogenesis (within 72 hours postpartum) and were more likely to breastfeed their babies at 6 weeks. In a study of 2,174 expectant mothers receiving doula services compared with a sample of 9,297 receiving standard care, Mottl-Santiago and associates (2007) also found higher rates of breastfeeding and early initiation rates among the doula-supported mothers.
Few studies have investigated the birth outcomes associated with and without the support of a doula. Campbell et al. (2006), in a study of 300 doula-supported and 300 nondoula-supported low income women giving birth between 1998 and 2002 at a perinatal care hospital in New Jersey, found that doula mothers had significantly shorter lengths of labor, more cervical dilation, and higher Apgar scores at 1 and 5 minutes. No differences were reported in birth weight or in rates of cesarean births or epidural anesthesia.
The purpose of this study is to present a comparative analysis of birth outcome results of two groups of mothers served by the same childbirth education program. The groups are defined by one receiving pre-birth assistance from a certified doula and the other representing a sample of birthing mothers who elected not to work with a doula birthing coach.
Placenta Opioid Enhancing Factor - enhances the effectiveness of opioids, so pain relief is more effective and less is needed
Oxytocin - known as the "love hormone," produces feelings of happiness and aids in bonding with your infant
Human Placental Lactogen (HPL)- prepares the mammary glands for milk production
Cortisone- releases cortisol to combat stress and increase energy
Interferon- stimulates the immune system
Hemoglobin- stimulates iron production
Prolactin- stimulates milk production
Urokinase Inhibiting Factor- reduces bleeding
High levels of nutrients found....
The placenta is the only disposable organ in the human body. It fulfills the functions of lungs, kidney, gut and liver for babies while in utero.
The placenta begins to form around week 6 of fetal development and has completed its formation by around week 12.
The average size of a full term placenta is around 9 inches in diameter and around 0.8 inches in thickness. Placenta size can vary drastically. Sometimes they are small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, sometimes they will be over 10 inches in diameter. Some are larger in diameter but thin, some are small in diameter but very thick. The important part is that it does the job it was intended to do. On average, the placenta will occupy around 30% of the uterine wall. The average weight of a full term placenta is around 1-1.5 lbs.
It plays critical roles in facilitating nutrient, gas and waste exchange between the physically separate maternal and fetal circulations, and is an important endocrine organ producing hormones that regulate both maternal and fetal physiology during pregnancy.
The placenta connects to the baby via the umbilical cord. The umbilical cord has three separate functions. Primarily, it serves as a blood source for your baby. This is especially important because the fetus is unable to breathe (having neither functioning lungs nor an oxygen source) and allows the fetus to obtain the oxygen it needs to live.
"We surveyed 189 females who had ingested their placenta and found the majority of these women reported perceived positive benefits and indicated they would engage in placentophagy again after subsequent births. When asked to describe any positive effects experienced, the majority of women in the sample claimed that they experienced improved mood as a result of consuming their placenta postpartum (40%). The second most frequently given response to this question was increased energy/decreased fatigue (26%). Women also reported benefits related to improved lactation (15%) and alleviated postpartum bleeding/discharge (7%)."
Selander, J., Cantor, A., Young, S. M., & Benyshek, D. C. (2013). Human Maternal Placentophagy: A Survey of Self-Reported Motivations and Experiences Associated with Placenta Consumption. Ecology of food and nutrition, 52(2), 93-115.
"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.... 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). Placenta as a Lactogen. Gynaecologia, 138(6):617-627.
“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. (1993). Chinese Materia Medica. Eastland Press, 549.
“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. (1997). Jade Remedies. Snow Lotus Press, 352.
"The maternal ingestion of desiccated placenta produces an increase in the rate of growth and growth capacity of the breast-fed infants above that normally occurring."
Frederick S. Hammett. (1918). The Effect of the Maternal Ingestion of Desiccated Placenta Upon the Rate of Growth of Breast-Fed Infants. J. Biol. Chem, 36:569-573.
"The ingestion of desiccated placenta has an effect upon the factors concerned in the regulation of the chemical composition of milk. There is a stimulation of the sugar- and protein-producing mechanism with an apparent depression of the function of the fat-secreting apparatus."
Frederick S. Hammett and Lyle G. McNeile. 1917. The Effect of the Ingestion of Desiccated Placenta on the Variations in the Composition During the First Eleven Days After Parturition of Human Milk. J. Biol. Chem. 30:145-153.
It was reported that 80–100 mL of blood transfers from the placenta to the newborn in the first 3 minutes after birth and up to 90% of that blood volume transfer was achieved within the first few breaths in healthy term infants.
Delayed cord clamping offers the most benefits to preterm infants, but it also benefits full-term babies and mothers.
A 2015 study looked at 263 4-year-olds. Overall, the children whose cords were clamped three or more minutes after birth scored slightly higher on an assessment of fine motor skills and social skills than the children whose cords were clamped 10 seconds or less after birth.
Delayed clamping may reduce the need for blood transfusions and improve circulation in premature babies. It helps lower the risk of bleeding in the brain and necrotizing enterocolitis, an intestinal disease that affects almost 5 to 10 percent of premature infants.
Does your birth plan consists of a drug free birth? Looking for alternative pain relief and wondering if a TENS Unit is safe to use during labor?
Short answer, YES!
Check out the Evidence Based Birth video for a detailed explanation and breakdown of studies.
Certified Placenta Encapsulation Specialist
Certified Birth, Postpartum and a Loss & Bereavement Doula
Certified Young Parent Support Specialist
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