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The Pregnancy Wellness Guide: Eating your own placenta

The Pregnancy Wellness Guide: Eating your own placenta

Posted January 20, 2015

The Pregnancy Wellness Guide: Part #7 – Eating Your Own Placenta Did that title grab your attention? Have you already heard of (and perhaps chosen to) consume your own placenta? Or is this so foreign and totally whack that you don’t even want to read on!? Well, surprisingly consuming your own placenta has become alot more palatable over the last few years. And yes, PUN intended. It is now becoming more popular and common to ‘eat’ your own placenta… and it’s now much easier to do. You’re probably not surprised to hear that this is something I hae chosen to do… but before you freak out I won’t be cooking up my placenta with some diced onion and garlic. I’ll be encapsulating it and taking it daily, post birth. Rather than me pretend to be the ‘placenta’ expert I’ve called on Erika Elliot from MotherBirth to do some explaining for you! Firstly let me introduce Erika. Erika Elliott began her professional life as a birthworker in 2005 when she founded MotherBirth.  The MotherBirth service provides loving support, contemporary knowledge, traditional wisdom and a decade of experience supporting Sydney’s birthing community. Erika is dedicated to supporting families as they find their way during pregnancy and birth. Erika is a mother, doula & childbirth educator offering calmbirthⓇ weekends and Birthing from WithinTM classes. Her qualifications also include prenatal massage therapy, birth photography, post natal doula support, birth story healing and placenta encapsulation. I was lucky enough to ask Erika a few questions on Placenta Consumption that I hope will really help you understand WHY this is such an important health practice and something that I can’t wait to try. Obviously I’m completely new to this too, so I will provide an update in the post-partum months of my experience, but I figure there is no harm (considering I grew the placenta in the first place!) Why do you recommend women ‘consume’ their placenta? What are some of the benefits (mental, emotional, physical?) Firstly, I would like to say that nothing benefits a new mother more than continued one on one support at home as she recovers from labour and birth and as she begins to integrate all that is required of her as a primary carer of new life.  Unfortunately, in our culture, most of the time this is not possible as family may not be close by or the art of caring for the mother as she cares for her baby is not in the familial tradition. When this continued one on one care is not possible, or even if it is, the placenta capsules are a way of powerfully boosting the new Mothers’ system as she turns her attention to the tasks at hand. “Baby blues” is a common occurrence –80% of mothers experience it in the first days and weeks after giving birth. Because it is so common, nothing is typically done about it until it may worsen into a diagnosis of postpartum depression, at which time anti-depressants may be prescribed. Antidepressants, like almost all drugs, are passed to the baby through breast milk, and mothers who don’t want to expose their babies to these medications are often faced with the decision to either stop breastfeeding or struggle with depression. Women suffer through the baby blues almost as a rite of passage to motherhood – but it doesn’t have to be this way. Placenta consumption has been reported for decades to help stop the baby blues and diminish postpartum fatigue. Some women have cooked the placenta in a stew, mixed it into a smoothie, or even taken it raw to tap  into its powerful effects. For many who feel squeamish about this or want to reap the benefits of  their placenta for more than just a day or two, there is another option; encapsulation. What is Placenta Encapsulation and what can it provide? Placenta encapsulation is the transformation of a nutrient dense organ into powerful, palatable food as medicine for post pregnancy and birth recovery. Powdered placenta has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for  centuries. In the early postpartum period, placenta capsules can provide: Faster milk production due to the high levels ofhormones including prolactin Shorter postpartum bleeding due to oxytocin and urokinase inhibiting factor and factor XIII Energy boosts thanks to the high iron content A sense of well being from the natural progesterone and cortisone content A possible reduction in or total elimination of post partum depression due to the many hormones at play but specifically the corticotropin-releasing hormone which drops significantly after the birth of the placenta Reduction of pain due to oxytocin which has an opioid like effect Historically, have human beings ever consumed their placenta? Is this a lost tradition or a relatively new one? We have no evidence of women consuming dehydrated, encapsulated placenta historically, but there is documentation of women consuming their placenta raw, immediately after birth, or cooking it and eating it as a meal.  I believe this form of encapsulating pure placenta is a relatively new one which is growing in popularity incredibly quickly.  I have been encapsulating for just over 4 years now, and this part of my business is one of the busiest! Have their been any tests/studies to prove the validity of this practice? There is no evidence based, scientific study out yet, although I have read that the results of one study are due out around May 2015.  As with all things, science and evidence based information can be helpful, but we are also at will to connect with our intuition and turn our attention to other mammals and what they do with their placentas.  For me, the evidence lies with the Mothers’ I work with. Do you find that most hospitals/birthing centres are willing to help with proper care/handling of the placenta? Yes, absolutely.  I also provide the couple with a sheet of information for themselves and their caregivers as to how the placenta needs to be handled immediately after birth so it is […] Read more

The Pregnancy Wellness Guide: The books I’ve loved

The Pregnancy Wellness Guide: The books I’ve loved

Posted January 14, 2015

Welcome to The Pregnancy Wellness Guide – Part 6 – Books and Education In the very early weeks of this pregnancy I didn’t really feel moved to read too much… in fact, that feeling has remained somewhat. But let me explain because I do have a few books to recommend. I didn’t feel called to dive into a lot of information written by experts on pregnancy, childbirth etc.  There was something within me that felt that, at that particular stage, too much information might actually get the better of me. It was almost like the only oracle and guide I needed was this baby and my body. And to this day I still see that as the foremost source of knowledge and information. Intuitively, every woman out there, knows what’s going on in their own body. When you tune in you are able to sense what’s right or not. Despite that, I love to read and I love learning… so I did get my hands on a few books that resonated with me. And since then, that pile has grown. Some are more spiritually minded, others are much more practical, but I’m using them as a resource, a back-up, a way ‘in’ when something feels cloudy or confusing. But if, at any point, anything I’m reading makes me feel anxious or stressed then I quickly put that book down and explore WHY. Am I resisting something truthful that this book is presenting, or is this book saturated in fear, that I don’t wish to buy into? The books I want to share with you today are not necessarily books that I’ve been told are ‘the best’… I know there are 1000000000 books out there that will tell you everything you need to know about pregnancy, motherhood, babies etc. But for me, I have gravitated towards books that give me a sense of confidence, trust, connection and most importantly knowledge that what is unfolding within me and the next stage of motherhood is one that I will figure out and I WILL get better at, day by day. I also should mention here that some of these books I’ve not yet finished, but I dip into – certain chapters satisfy certain queries. Other sections might be aligned to how I am feeling at that particular time. The one piece of advice that I personally think is important here is this: find the balance between getting educated and armed up with knowledge with learning and knowing too much. Sometimes a little ignorance is bliss, as long as you are instead firing up your own inner wisdom and intuition – use THAT as your main source of knowledge. Remember this. You literally have the wisdom of the ages – generations of woman who have birthed and raised children – threaded within your soul. You’ve got this. BOOKS I’VE READ + LOVED (Some of these have found me, been passed on or recommended by friends – trust that the books and resources you are meant to discover will show up!) v Magical Beginnings, Enchanted Lives – Deepak Chopra  Anything Deepak and I’m in… he creates a level of understanding on both the spiritual, physical, emotional and mental planes that I connect with and just ‘get’. It’s a perfect blend of advice and tips with spiritual and holistic perspective Parenting with Soul – Sally Collings This book isn’t hard to read and if you’ve been on this spiritual path for a while it’s simple an affirmation of how to take the way you lie into parenting. If you are relatively new on this journey then I think you’ll find this quite an easy yet eye opening book. Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth – Ina May Gaskin This woman, Ina May, is the most incredible Midwife, Pregnancy and Birthing advocate. You MUST read this book. (Yep, that’s an order). The stories of birth are positive, inspiring and damn-right encouraging. They frequently move me to tears. Not to mention that Ina’s insight and advice comes from HUNDREDS of birthing experiences. Bountiful, Beautiful, Blissful – Gurmukh By far my favourite book so far. Pregnant or not, this is one incredible guide. It’s permanently by my bed and I dip into it for reassurance. It wraps me in a warm hug of truth – that if I can grow this baby I can birth it. And if I can lie a conscious, spiritual life, I can bring that into this pregnancy and beyond. Not to mention the Kundalini meditations threaded through eery chapter. Love! Also a HUGE must for you beautiful mamas out there. Birth Skills – Juju Sundin with Sarah Murdoch I found this book interesting as the perspective on birthing is a little different to the Calm Birth mentality, but yet still supportive and really important to understand. It focuses more on active, moment-based techniques to work through the stages of labour (pain, contractions, transitions etc). The natural way to a better pregnancy – Francesca Naish + Janette Roberts Informative. Jam-packed. Natural/Holistic Focused. It has a wealth of natural-based knowledge which I found useful, but sometimes overwhelming. However by dipping in and out I’ve been able to get guidance when and how I need it. Baby Love – Robin Barker Honestly, I haven’t yet tucked into this one much but it’s more of a bible of knowledge. Recommended to me from a few friends who have said this book really helped alot with the first three months of baby’s life. The Child Within the Lotus – Margaret Stephenson Meere Being slightly obsessed with Chakras and Energy systems I was super eager when a friend recommended this book as it works through developmental stages of your baby via the development of the Chakras, from base to crown. I really love knowing the connection between the different stages to how the energy system is activating. Baby on board – Dr Howard Chilton This book came to me by my guides. Someone mentioned his name on some random facebook post, and […] Read more

Golden Nuggets from Gabrielle Bernstein

Golden Nuggets from Gabrielle Bernstein

Posted January 12, 2015

I’m only now coming out of my little #sundaysurrender hibernation. After a powerful day at Gabrielle Bernstein’s Sydney event (thank you Earth Events!), I spent Sunday, gratefully in a cocoon with my husband… *Meditation. Kundalini Yoga. Journalling. Movies. Chai. Cuddles. Walks in the rain* I had to be in that space… the weather called it for me, but I was also still processing, absorbing and doing some personal shifting after the incredible one-day workshop with Gabby B. A day shared with hundreds of like-minded women and men talking all things spirit and soul. Gabby guided us through powerful meditations, peeled off layers of ego and cracked us open. Truly, after one particular meditation I think almost everyone was wiping mascara filled tears off their face. There is an absolute treasure trove of golden nuggets I wish I could share with you… but I think it would take you a whole week to read that post. Instead I’m going to share with you FOUR things that jumped out at me. These might not be my only hero take-aways, but they are the ones coming through right now… so I’m going to trust that it’s these nuggets you are meant to read. 1) Coming back, over and over and over. This is a message I have been living by and sharing with my own clients. So it felt so good to hear Gabby reaffirm this and share it. It’s not about being ‘spiritual’ or ‘conscious’ all the time… we all get caught up in scrawling, mindlessly through instagram, or judging yourself and others, or reacting with anger instead of pausing and processing. BUT it’s about how quickly, and with awareness you return back to your centre, your presence. To your truth. To what you KNOW. To who you really are (and want to be). I often say that over time, the gap between being aware, conscious and living in presence with the more ego-driven, unconscious states becomes smaller and smaller. And how is this done…? As we continue to chip away with our spiritual practices and higher states of thinking, feeling and being, we close that gap. We keep coming back, as Gabby puts it. 2) Be reverent. Do the work. Devote. How do you become more conscious? How do you feel more instead of think more? How do you change your world from the inside out? How do you live, breathe and be from love, instead of fear? How do you tap into your own inner wisdom and guidance? This is how… MEDITATE! Create sacred space. PRAY. Be reverent with your time and create daily rituals. DEVOTE. Tap into commitment. There is no quick fix. Firstly, there is nothing to fix. This is about tuning in to who you already are and what you already have. Secondly, nothing great happens easily and over night. You want to live consciously, from your heart, with love and be guided daily? Then do the work. Don’t be apathetic about it. Make it sacred. 3) Your power is so much bigger than you realise. This message came to me – well it felt like I downloaded it – during one of the meditations on Saturday. Gabby had been drilling the truth home; that our power is in our presence and as we meditated my own inner wisdom whispered to me that my personal power is SO much bigger than I could ever realise or measure. It came to remind me to stop playing, thinking, being, doing SMALL. Whether I’m a mother or a blogger or a sister or a wife or a coach… BIGNESS is who I am. It wasn’t long before I realised that message was for everyone in that room and beyond. As questions were asked and personal stories were shared, I found that almost everyone in that room needed to hear that message too. So today I pass it on to you. It wasn’t just meant for me, it is OUR COLLECTIVE TRUTH. YOUR power is so much bigger than you realise! What does that really mean? It means YOUR HIGHER SELF is infinite, HUGE, immeasurable, expansive…. and that the small you – your little ego based, limited self can never fully know this. So stop trying to KNOW it from your logical, left-brain. Your ego-mind doesn’t have the tools to KNOW this power. But the BIG YOU, the REAL YOU can feel it. Because it is IT! So feel into your power baby, go there… it’s an endless source of love, wisdom, knowledge, abundance, joy and divinity. 4) When things get good, work harder. This hit me over the head, quite comically. It was a light-hearted moment of realisation for me. Things are SO good right now. I feel physically amazing, mentally clear, emotionally balanced and energetically open. I don’t have anything major I’m processing – spiritually I’ve been ‘working’ on myself for years and today I am awash with a sense of lightness, freedom, balance and contentment. And you know what, I’ve been happy to be in that space  – surrendered to it. Being pregnant has called for alot of surrender into the HERE AND NOW because I know that many challenges, awakenings and shifts are still to come as motherhood is just around the corner. However, when Gabby said ‘when things get good, work harder’… I actually laughed out loud. I laughed in unity with her message, I laughed in understanding and acceptance… There is NO perfection. There is never a time when our work is ‘done’. And truthfully, this is what I love the MOST. The journey of self-exploration is my own personal drug of choice. Addicted to the work. So here I am, recommitting again to working harder on myself. To look at my own shadows with love, respect and gratitude and to do what I need to do to be the fullest version of my truest self and the best guide to this soul baby! ++ I hope these four little nuggets have come to you […] Read more

Claire Obeid

Hello there, I’m Claire

What am I about? Oh-so-much. A soul-centered and heart-driven life. Inside-out wellness. Shadow work (from the darkness comes the light!) Truth-seeking. Leaning into the joy of life.

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