A Doula’s Theory on Netflix’s “Bird Box”

Image from Netflix’s “Bird Box”

While watching Bird Box for the second time on New Years Day with some friends, one friend  asked, “Why do Malorie and Olympia start labor at the same time?” My birth nerd self was able to excitedly share a theory as to why.

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Nothing You Cannot Do

“You do realize now that there is NOTHING you cannot do.”

I recently overheard this statement said to a woman during the golden hour after delivering her breeched son vaginally. It was said to her by her provider.

This statement goes beyond birth as it can speak to different areas of life. There’s nothing too scary or new that you cannot walk through and come out on the other side. Seasons of disappointment, victory over trials, new beginnings, it’s all apart of the journey. Your birth…your life doesn’t have to be perfect or always go according to plan in order to believe in yourself.

We live in a culture of fear. Fear of missing out (hello, FOMO anyone?!), fear of failure, fear of pain, fear of change, fear of the unknown…fear in general. Many fears can manifest in our bodies, the building up of anxiety and the increase of stress hormones. Positive words, positive thinking, positive touch all play a part in reducing the stress and increasing the oxytocin which is the comfort, love and trust hormone in your body. Which is why this provider’s verbalized belief in this other woman’s body was so moving.

Take away points:
-build a birth team that speaks life, that helps draw out the hope and confidence that’s inside of you. It’s okay to have moments of fear and doubt, and that’s why surrounding yourself with those know birth and believe in your capabilities is crucial. Birth is intense. No matter which way your child decides to arrive. That same birth team will be with you through up and down… the easy and the hard moments.
-believe in yourself. You can do this. Your body innately knows how.
-You, my friend, are powerful.

#birth #birthwithoutfear #midwife #midwifelove#doulamagic #doulalife #doulalove #babylove#twincitiesmoms #justdoulait #birthtwincities#mndoula #vaginalbreech #breechbirth#variationofnormal #breechisnormal#phenomenalwoman


Shining Light on GBS and Placenta Encapsulation

 

Recently I’ve been asked a lot of questions on testing GBS+ and what that means for placenta consumption. Here’s additional information to help you make a more informed decision for you and your family.

 

Am I able to encapsulate my placenta if I test positive for GBS?

Yes! A GBS positive test result is not a contraindication for encapsulation unless there is an active infection in birthing parent or baby immediately following birth. Providers test at around 36 weeks for GBS colonization in the vagina/rectum and 1 in 4 women will test positive. Testing positive for colonization does not mean testing positive for an active infection in your baby (which occurs post birth) which is a lot more rare, especially after the use of antibiotics during labor. 

Birth Twin Cities maintains a high standard of practice that prepares placentas in a separate at home work space, requires the TCM (steam method) and dehydrates at 160 degrees. This method follows food preparation and blood borne pathogen safety guidelines and is effective in reducing bacterial counts, including potential Group B Strep.

 

What’s the bad rap with placenta encapsulation and testing GBS+?

Last summer the CDC released a single case where a baby was infected at birth and then reinfected later. The mother tested negative for GBS during pregnancy (however her status changed by the time birth occurred) and therefore did not receive antibiotics during labor. The baby contracted GBS, an active infection formed and was treated with antibiotics. The hospital released the placenta and the encapsulator improperly prepared the placenta using the raw method and dehydrated it only at 115 degrees (it should not have been dehydrated under 160 degrees to effectively kill bacteria). The baby became reinfected and had to receive a second dose of antibiotics. Thankfully the baby fully recovered. Additional tests showed that the placenta pills tested positive for Group B Strep while it’s important to note, the breast milk tested negative for Group B Strep. The CDC recommended that placenta encapsulation should be avoided however it did not point out a link between the pills and reinfection or explain how baby was reinfected.

-How was the baby reinfected with GBS in this case?

The case isn’t clear since GBS was not found in breastmilk but it may have been from the mother touching the improperly prepared pills that were not up to food prep standards and then touching the baby. Others in the home may have had GBS colonization on their skin and then passed on to baby (as per the CDC pointing out).

 

Takeaways from this study are:

1) If there is an active infection post birth, encapsulation should not happen. And we already know that… Birth Twin Cities will not encapsulate placentas from birth persons/babies that have chorio or an active infection from GBS.

2) CDC case notes that the placenta in question may not have been dehydrated at a high enough temperature to reduce bacterial counts. That’s why at Birth Twin Cities we encapsulate at 160 degrees and steam any placentas from persons who test positive for Group B Strep during pregnancy as an additional safety precaution.

3) Group B Strep has not been found in breast milk, therefore the assumption that GBS can be passed from mother to baby via breast milk is inaccurate according to the information we have available to us.

4) Proper hygiene and hand sanitization is necessary, especially around newborns as potential reinfection may have been from other persons in home who had GBS on their skin.

 

TLDR:

If you test positive for GBS (and do not have an active infection) and you chose to encapsulate your placenta, you can be confident in Birth Twin Cities’ high standard of preparation which includes a  separate at home work space, quality sterilization practices, steaming (212 degrees) and dehydrating your placenta at 160 degrees which is the requirement for food preparation safety.

 

References

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/66/wr/mm6625a4.htm

https://placentaassociation.com/group-b-strep-placenta-encapsulation-safety-gbs/

 


Esther’s Birth Story

Every birth is unique… no two are the same. The story below is my first birth and what set the foundation of my journey in becoming a doula.

 

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Goat Life

We have a lot we can learn from nature. A week ago today I visited a friend who had a baby goat born in last Sunday’s snowstorm at some point. Twin goats showed up the previous weekend to the surprise of my friend who didn’t even know the mama goat was pregnant! Throughout my personal journey of motherhood, that has so easily transitioned into birth work and supporting families, I’ve continuously been comforted (and always amazed) to know that nature is REALLY good at birth. It’s my hope that birthing parents can gain confidence as they see that birth happens all around them. Birth is a natural part of life. And it’s normal.

Here’s to all the spring babies yet to come.

Check out the umbilical cord in the pics below!

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“Birth”-Date Recipes

I recently stumbled upon this research article showing how dates are a magical superfood for labor preparation. A study at Jordan University of Science and Technology showed women who ate 6 dates per day in the last 4 weeks of pregnancy had:

-higher cervical dilation upon admission to birth location (3.5cm vs 2 cm).
-less premature rupture of membranes (83% vs 60%).
-higher rate of spontaneous labor (96% vs 79%).
-less use of pitocin (28% vs 47%)

Last but not least, a shorter 1st stage of labor time!! 8.5 hours compared to 15.1 hours to go from 0-10cm!!

The  moral of the story is that consuming dates towards the end of pregnancy can be a major game changer in labor. And c’mon, we all want that “dream” labor, am I right?

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Get to know your doula: Ariel

What is your favorite family tradition?

Hands down –  it’s the tradition of every year on my kid’s birthday we eat where we went while I was in the labor. For example, with my oldest I was first following the no eating in labor policy at the hospital,   so my mom and husband ordered in Davanni’s pizza. With my 2nd, we were at the birth center, went for a walk to grab breakfast at a local breakfast diner (at the recommendation of our midwife) and came back to the birth center to have our baby roughly an hour later. I make it a point to tell my kids their birth stories on their birthday and we give a toast of blessings and love over their life and share why we are so thankful for them. It’s my FAVORITE. They’re my favorite.

What’s the last book you read?

Demons and Angels by Dan Brown. I read it on the airplane on my way to Italy at the recommendation of a fellow birth worker who lived in Rome (my Rome doula). I’m in a monthly book club so I’m always excited to see what new topics and books we will read.

What’s a secret talent?

I sing and play the piano. I used to do some songwriting in college as well. As a kid, it was always my dream to be a performer like Selena.

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Becoming One Strong Mama!

Birth Twin Cities is excited to announce a new partnership with a Minnesota based organization – One Strong Mama!

One Strong Mama is an online program designed specifically for women during their pregnancy and postpartum period. The blend of exercise and education emphasize core strength, pelvic floor strength, and breathing in preparation for birth and postpartum recovery. This program offers training, tips, and videos for the everyday woman so that she can have her best pregnancy, birth and postpartum experience. And the best part – it’s attainable for anyone at any stage of their journey with no prior fitness experience necessary!

If interested in learning more, use the link below to get more information about the program.

SiteOne Strong Mama

Coupon Code Click here for $10 off