Friday, May 31, 2013

Placenta Encapsulation

When my husband asked if I was going to do placenta encapsulation my first reaction was the same as when asked by my patients.  “Well, it isn’t something I feel strongly about either way.”  Truth be told, I hadn’t done all my research. So I hit the books and did a significant amount of placental reading!  
To begin, here is a list of the hormones that exist inside the placenta and their benefits:
·      Gonadotrophin: the precursor to estrogen, progesterone and testosterone
·      Prolactin: promotes lactation
·      Oxytocin: for pain and bonding; produced during breastfeeding to facilitate bonding of mother and infant. In pharmaceutical form this is a very addictive drug.
·      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
List Based on Benefits of Placenta

When most people think about consuming the placenta, they think of either primitive women frying it up over a fire or farm experiences (like mine) where the animal eats it.  Most cultures throughout history have some sort of history where the woman consumes the placenta, either raw or with cooking.  The culture that most often uses the placenta for mom’s nourishment today is Chinese traditional medicine, but it is also gaining popularity in the world of athletics as a way to recover from athletic events.  Athletes not only consume human placenta, which can be purchased, but also bovine placenta. This does however increase disease risk, as the origin of the placenta is unknown.
Personally, I have decided to encapsulate. I have selected the raw method of preparation over the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) preparation.  Raw doesn’t mean like sushi. Instead it is dehydrated at 118 degrees Fahrenheit.  The TCM Method is steamed then dehydrated with chili and herbs to make it more warming on the body’s system.  I am using the raw method since this is slightly cooler and my body tends to crave cooler foods and things when I am in recovery.  Heat and cool are based on the acupuncture healing methods of heating and cooling.  Raw will produce more capsules than TCM and tends to be slightly more potent as well.
Doulas and Midwives are usually responsible for encapsulation. Here are some local providers for this service. The price is usually around $250-$300.

Paula Calhoun
Delivery Doula

Mireille Cervelli
Blessed Birth
Mendy Thijssen
Elements of Magic
Param Matharu
A Labor of Love Doula Care
Viji Natarajan
Divine Journey
Sabine Omvik
TLC Doulas
Angela Hartley
Felissa Hay
Your Birth Doula
Rowen Holland
Lotus Midwifery
Sunshine Tomlin
Sunshine Midwifery

Monday, May 20, 2013

Feathering My Nest with a First Aid Kit

This kit is useful for home as well as on the go for vacations or sporting events.  I have become obsessed with the assembling of first aid kits! It seems to be my way of preparing for the baby and the first bumps and scrapes.  Some clean. Being the good doctor, I prepare great first aid kits!

This is loosely based on the first aid kit described in one of my favorite organization blogs:
  • Large tackle box
  • Band-Aids (assorted sizes), medical tape, 4×4 pads, cotton swabs, gauze (many sizes), ace wrap gloves, hand sanitizer
  • Neosporin, wound spray, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, Betadine swabs, scissors, tweezers, Steri-Strips
  • Acetaminophen, ibuprofen (adults & children), aspirin
  • Bee sting kit, Snake bite kit, Benadryl (adult & children’s), anti itch cream
  • Anti diarrheal, stool softener, activated charcoal
  • Glucose tablets (For low blood sugar)
  • Digital BP cuff, stethoscope, thermometer

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Birthing Class: Hospital or Not?

When preparing for labor, most new moms, myself included, want to take some sort of class for preparation.  You know, the one where you learn to breathe and watch a ton of videos of all types of births.  Since I work at an integrated health office I am getting adjusted regularly, taking all the right herbs, and exercising.  But even though I am a doctor, this time I am the patient and it is super important that I get mentally prepared.

I really like the classes that are offered at Harmony and Blossom Birth.  Harmony Birth is located in Campbell and Blossom Birth is located in Palo Alto.  They both have amazing instructors.  I chose the “Birthing from Within Class” based on the book by Pam England.  The book is inspiring and has many quirky tales.  First of all, I like the philosophy of accepting your birth experience no matter how it goes and not beating yourself up about what may or may not happen. Secondly, the teacher, Rowen Holland is a mid-wife with an excellent reputation and lots of experience. I wanted a class that went over all the scenarios so I could mentally prepare if my birth doesn’t go according to plans.  The class is 6 weeks (2.5 hours a week) on Wednesday nights. If you do choose this non-hospital affiliated class, read Pam England’s book “ Birthing from Within”, at least parts of it.

I like to be taught when I am not the doctor, but instead the happy patient.

To check out the local class list visit:

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Dr: Walker:Pregnant and exercising

So of course you probably know that you should exercise and that I am a fan of exercise as a family practice Chiropractor.  But something you may not know is that it is still important to be pregnant and exercising.  Here are my reason’s why:

1.     Help maintain a health weight:  women need to gain around 25-35lbs during 9 months with exceptions.
2.     Make Labor easier:   No labor is easy but labor is like running a ultra-marathon as far as energy expended so being fit can help.
3.     Banish prenatal mood disorders: Otherwise know as the baby blues or mood swings some woman have, your partner will be glad you exercise.
4.     Reduce number of backaches:  As relaxin hormone floods the system your body joints destabilize causing muscle aches and pains.  Keeping moving can help create stability and make you feel more comfortable.
5.     Staying Healthy and Preventing Pregnancy complications: Pre-eclampsia, Gestational diabetes are less common in women that exercise regularly.

So My program for exercise has been the following:

1.     Walk every morning with the Dog, if you have bad morning sickness as I have had you will want to eat breakfast first so that your blood sugar is stable.
2.     Squats as many times through out the day as I can possibly fit in.  I use my electronic toothbrush cycle of 2 minutes to do them as fast as I can.
3.     Lunges after the morning walk.
4.     Walking on hills like Quicksilver Park for 3-5 miles 2-3 times a week with the dog Bailey of course.
5.     Tracy Anderson pregnancy video that involves stretches and strength training 1-2 times a week for periods of 20minutes
6.     I now am adding in Biking on my personal trainer instead of the run’s I was doing.  I stopped running at 26 weeks as your pelvis and hips become unstable and start to have problems. 

For saving on clothing I recommend getting a new bra if you have to, but using your husband’s basketball shorts, Work out shirts and some cheap yoga pants from Target.   Remember to drink lots of water and follow the rule of being able to speak while you are working out you don’t want to deprive you or baby of oxygen.