Birthowl’s natural childbirth

Postpartum Care

Under no circumstances should the umbilical cord be cut until it has stopped pulsing.  Babies whose cords are cut immediately have a tendency to become jaundiced or anemic because they did not receive all the blood from the cord and placenta that they needed.

Some mothers prefer not to cut the umbilical cord at all to separate it from the placenta.  After the placenta is expelled, it remains attached until the cord falls off naturally at 5 to 7 days after birth.  This is called lotus birth.  Mothers who use lotus birth believe that the drying up and falling off of the cord is part of the natural process of birth that they do not want to interfere with.  The typical procedure is to rub the placenta with salt and rosemary, store the placenta in some kind of carrier, a small bag of some kind, and it remains attached to the baby until it falls off.  The placenta is then disposed of in a variety of ways. Some parents keep the placenta and bury it underneath a young tree planted in honor of the new child.  Some parents cook the placenta and eat it as a way of strengthening the new mother physically and symbolically.  If you are giving birth in the hospital, you will not be allowed to keep your placenta.

In the hospital, the normal amount of time that is allotted for expulsion of the placenta is 30 minutes.  During home births, the time is much more flexible.  I have known of women whose placentas were expelled anywhere from one hour after birth to 2 days after birth with no ill effects.  There is no reason to necessarily rush the placenta.  However, if the placenta is not expelled within the first couple of hours, I would periodically check the mother’s temperature to make sure there is no infection setting in.  It would also be a good idea to take 250 mg of vitamin C every hour until the placenta is delivered.  This helps to prevent infection.

After the placenta comes out, it will be inspected to make sure all the pieces were expelled.  It is a symmetrical piece of material, and all the lobes should match up. If a lobe is missing, a piece of placenta may still be inside the uterus.  In the hospital, the doctor will probably administer a shot of pitocin or methergine to cause the uterus to contract and hopefully expel and loose pieces of placenta.  If this does not occur, the doctor will go in manually and explore the uterus to find the missing piece of placenta.  Home birthers have found that if a piece of placenta is not expelled on the first day, if will often be expelled within the next couple of days as the uterus begins to return to its normals size.

mom and baby

If bleeding continues to be heavy, the herb Shepherd’s Purse is often given in tincture form, and is usually very successful at stopping bleeding.  Also, the Homemade Cayenne Tincture, 15 to 20 dropperfuls squirted into the vagina, will stop bleeding in seconds.  In the hospital, your uterus will be massaged manually and another shot of pitocin and methergine will be given.  However, home birthers have found Shepherd’s Purse to be quite effective.  You should also use Positive Belief Suggestions to suggest to yourself that the bleeding should begin to lessen.

If you gave birth in the hospital and you have any tears, they will be repaired surgically.  If you had an episiotomy, a surgical procedure to widen the birth canal, this will also be repaired.  You would not have had an episiotomy without first having a shot of local anesthesia into the tissues.  Or if you had an epidural during your birth, you would not have felt the episiotomy, or the repairs.   At home, any minor tears can be repaired with superglue until the tissues grow together.  Women with extremely small tears should stay in bed and lie as much as possible with their legs together, and usually any small nicks or tears will heal without any repairs.

Many doctors prefer episiotomy to letting the tissues tear naturally.  They feel that a cut heals better than a tear.  However, there are no studies or clinical evidence that this is true.  In fact, there have been no studies done which show episiotomy to be of benefit at all during birth, yet it is a routine practice.  If you are remaining upright during your labor and delivery, you will not need one, and you will probably not tear either.
Judie C. Rall and The Center for Unhindered Living

Photo by Chris and Jennie


3 Comments so far
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At my sister’s last birth, the doctor pulled the placenta out one minute after the baby was born, and then reached up and did manual exploration of her uterus “just to make sure”. She had never had a C-section, so he couldn’t have been checking to see if a previous scar held, and I don’t think there were any missing pieces from her placenta. He seemed to just do this stuff completely out of routine. He didn’t even tell her what he was doing! She’d had an epidural, but she still felt his hand inside her. She said she could only imagine what it would have felt like had she not had the epidural numbing her, if she could feel it with an epidural!


Comment by womantowomancbe

That is a fantastic and very important blog! I love it!

Comment by birthsong

Our own physical body possesses a wisdom which we who inhabit the body lack.

Comment by James

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