Monday, November 7, 2011

NBC 10 Placenta Encapsulation Interview

First I would like to thank Kathie McDermott, Health Producer for NBC 10 News for being open minded enough to take on a story on placenta encapsulation.  I think they did a great job of representing all sides of the debate.  If you would like more information on placenta encapsulation services, please visit my website at Jennifer Hendrickson Doula Services.

NBC 10 Placenta Encapsulation Interview

Don't forget to watch me make my TV debut tonight at 11pm.  I gave an interview and demonstration on placenta encapsulation to Kathie McDermott, Medical Producer for NBC 10 News a few weeks ago and they are airing the news report tonight.  I am a little nervous to watch it because it's my first news interview and I have no clue what they are going to include in the actual story.  I will post more after I view the interview.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Ina May's Guide to Childbirth Book Review

I've been reading a lot of childbirth related books lately, both on and off the recommended reading list for my doula certification, and have decided to start listing reviews here on my blog.  As much as I did my "homework" while pregnant, I can't help but feel like my own childbirth experience may have been different depending on the information that I was able to read during my pregnancy.  With that being said, here is the first of what will hopefully be many helpful reviews for expecting families.  (Yes dads, that means I expect you to be doing some reading too!)

Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin

This book has so much information in it, it may make your head spin!  It starts off with real birth stories from Ina May's experiences as a midwife in rural Tennessee.  These birth stories made me laugh and cry as I pictured the experiences unfolding.  Some of the stories were very informative and I found myself wishing I wasn't reading a library book so that I could highlight parts for later referral.  (I will definitely be adding a copy of this book to my lending library as soon as possible.)

It is amazing how much knowledge Ina May has on childbirth and the functions of a woman's body during pregnancy and labor.  She is able to share her knowledge in a simple, easy to understand manner.  She goes into detail to explain what exactly happens to a woman's body during each stage and phase of labor as well as what a midwife vs. obstetrician can or will do to help things along.  The information that she gives on common hospital practices in labor and delivery is invaluable.  I kept finding myself thinking, so that's what they were doing when I was laboring with my son, or that's why my labor turned out the way it did.  If only I had read this book while I was still pregnant, I may have had the courage to advocate for better maternity care for myself.

Ina May gives women the knowledge and courage to trust their bodies to do the work they were born to do.  She shares with us not just that woman can give birth naturally and with little or no medical intervention, but also that it is the safest and most enjoyable way to give birth.  Who knew that by refusing medical intervention, we could choose our own destiny and have a much easier, less painful, and more rewarding birthing experience?  In the words of Ina May Gaskin, "Your body is not a lemon!"

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Rebozos: What are they and how do you use them?

I've recently been doing some research on Rebozos and how to use them to help women in labor.  This is one of the tools that I am including in my doula bag for labor.  Here is some of the information that I have found on Rebozos.

What is is a Rebozo?
A Rebozo is a long shawl used in Mexican culture (as well as others) for warmth, for assistance in pregnancy and labor, as a child carrier, and for carrying heavy loads.

How is a Rebozo used in pregnancy and labor?
Rebozos have multi-purpose functions as pregnancy and labor tools. They can be used to help support a very pregnant belly, as a massage tool for lower back pain, and help with changing the position of a posterior positioned or even a breech baby. During labor a Rebozo is more commonly known to be used during the second stage, helping the mother push effectively and be in a position that can widen the pelvis. In not so technical terms it is called the "tug-of-war" position.

 Using the Rebozo in Pregnancy and Labor:

Article on using Rebozo to turn a breech baby.

Pulling on a Rebozo to aid in pushing during delivery.

Using Rebozo to support belly and relieve back pain during pregnancy (can also be used for belly binding in the postpartum by wrapping directly over belly and hips):

"Sifting" with the Rebozo to move baby into an optimal position for delivery:

"Hip Squeeze" using the Rebozo as a comfort measure in labor:

Using the Rebozo for baby wearing:
The Rebozo is also often used in the postpartum as a baby carrier.  Below are a few instructional videos on useful ways to wrap the Rebozo for baby wearing.

Tying a Rebozo slip knot:

Basic baby carry using the Rebozo:

Hip carry for bigger kids using the Rebozo:

Newborn Front Cross Carry with Legs out:

Nursing Front Cross Cradle:

Nursing Upright Front Cross Carry:

Reinforced Rear Rebozo Rucksack Carry:

Additional ways to use the Rebozo for baby carrying can be found at

Share your favorite use for the Rebozo or link to a video or instructions for its use in the comments section.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Let's take a closer look at IUDs.

Before I had my son, IUDs were just an unknown form of birth control in one of my sorority's songs from college.  Yes, we had a song about birth control, drinking, and boys.  Would you expect any less?  But after my son's birth in 2009, I went through a dark period.  I was medicated for postpartum depression and was treated by both a psychiatrist and a psychotherapist.  When it was time for me to go back on birth control, I decided to talk to my doctor about all of my options.  I had tried a few different brands of the pill and even the patch before but I was looking for something that wouldn't make my already hormonally imbalanced body even worse. My doctor recommended ParaGuard.  Like all responsible physicians, my doctor gave me all the positive and negative sides of using ParaGuard.  And then like most patients, I made a decision, had the IUD inserted, and then obsessed about checking the strings, making sure it didn't pierce through my uterine wall or fall out, and that it wasn't poking my husband when we had sex.  I know, it's in my uterus and can't poke him but I was paranoid.

Anyway, now that I've had my IUD for over a year, I am starting to wonder why I didn't get one sooner.  I don't have to remember whether or not I took my pill, changed my patch on the right day, or pray to God that I don't get pregnant when I did forget.  I've also started to lose the weight I gained during my depressed period.  I gained weight when I went on the pill 13 years ago and I'm hoping that some of that will come off as well.

I'm starting to wonder if maybe IUDs could be the answer to our teen pregnancy epidemic.  Yes, they are expensive to have inserted but I'm sure there is some anti teen pregnancy group or government agency who is willing to raise funding for helping to pay for it.  It would definitely be an answer to the "too lazy or too irresponsible to remember my pill" excuse that some teens give.

For a recent article by NPR on IUDs click here.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Hospital Release of Your Placenta

If you are birthing at a hospital, you will find that the rules and regulations regarding the release of a healthy placenta will vary from one institution to another.  Some hospitals will release it immediately without a fuss and some have protocols about keeping placentas in pathology for anywhere from 5 to 15 days.  They do this in case the baby or mother gets sick at which point they would go back and autopsy the placenta to look for the source of infection or abnormalities.  However, the argument can be made that if the mother and baby are well enough to go home, then it should be fine to send the placenta home as well.   The following are some suggestions for navigating the system in general as well as some information on individual hospital policies.

Who and How to Ask

~ Talk to your care providers about your wishes before hand and write them in your birth plan.  Make it clear that you would like it to be released to you immediately.  If the hospital's policy is to keep it for longer than 2 or 3 days, make it clear that you want it to be frozen immediately and returned to you after the holding time is up.  You do not need to tell them what exactly you want your placenta for: "Personal Beliefs" should, legally, be reason enough and if you do chose to tell them, their personal beliefs should not stand in the way of your rights to your own organ. 

~ Frequently the doctors do not know what the hospital policy really is regarding placental release so you will need to clear everything with your nurse or the head nurse since they are the ones held responsible for where the placenta goes.  Sometimes though, your care provider may be willing and able to just sign off on your chart that you can have it released to you.

~ Make it very clear that UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD IT BE TREATED WITH THE HARMFUL CHEMICAL FORMALIN OR FORMALDEHYDE!  If your placenta will be stored in the pathology department, then ask your nurse to clearly write your wishes on the outside of the placenta container so that there is no mix up.

~ When filling out your admission or pre-admission paperwork, pay attention to anything regarding "products of conception," "care of the afterbirth," or "products of birth."  By signing this, you are basically signing over your placenta to the hospital.  Instead, you may write "I do not consent" on that part of your paperwork.

~ The hospital may be more comfortable releasing your placenta if you have a "Release of Liability" waiver.  You can find one online or if you plan on using my services I can send one to you.

~ If your current hospital is not willing to release your placenta to you, you can think about switching to a different hospital with more open release policies or use a homebirth or birth center midwife instead.  Feel free to contact me for referrals.

~ As a latter resort, you might consider the threat of going to the media or to court or.  

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Beautiful Cervix Project

 This is a photographic look at the cervix and how it changes during a menstrual cycle.  A doula and student midwife took photos of her cervix every day for an entire cycle to show the changes in the cervix and cervical fluid.  WARNING: These are actual photos of her cervix so if you are squeamish or easily offended, you might want to think twice before clicking on the link.

Beautiful Cervix Project Website

Meet Jennifer Hendrickson

Hello and thank you for visiting my blog.  I am a wife and mother living in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.  My life's journey changed direction in 2009, after the birth of my son turned out to be not what I had expected.  After a long and eye opening challenge, I was inspired by my own doula to help other women in having the very best birth experience possible.

I provide labor doula and placenta remedies services to Southeastern Pennsylvania as well as Central/Southern New Jersey.  I look forward to working with you and meeting your new addition to your family.