What is birth like for them? How long do they have with their babies before they’re separated? Why do some birth in shackles? And is it possible for incarcerated mothers to breastfeed?
To answer these questions we spoke with Marianne Bullock, co-founder of The Prison Birth Project, a non profit organization providing support, education, advocacy, and activism training to women at the intersection of the criminal justice system and motherhood.
We’re very happy to share a podcast interview on trauma from childbirth, with Dr. Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, health psychologist and trauma expert.
Dr. Kendall-Tackett is health psychologist, and Clinical Associate Professor of Pediatrics. She is president-elect of the Trauma Division of the American Psychological Association, and the incoming editor-in-chief of the Journal of Psychological Trauma. She has authored more than 300 articles and 24 books on maternal depression, trauma, family violence and breastfeeding, including Depression in New Mothers and Breastfeeding Made Simple.
Dr. Kendall-Tackett discussed what trauma looks like, what experiences tend to cause trauma, partners and trauma, strategies for healing from trauma, ideas for preparing for a subsequent birth, and post-traumatic growth. She also discusses the relationship between trauma and breastfeeding, and answers your questions submitted on Facebook.
We’ve got a salve for that!
Motherlove’s line of protective and soothing herbal salves provides natural and effective relief to get you through many skin problems:
Motherlove’s Pregnant Belly Salve is an all natural way to prevent and soothe stretch marks. Certified organic herbs added to a scar-healing base of shea butter do wonders to prevent, soothe, and minimize stretch marks. You can use our Pregnant Belly Salve on dry heels, elbows, your c-section scar, even chapped lips. The stars of this salve are marshmallow, which softens skin and soothes skin irritations; rosehips, which helps prevent scarring and hydrates the skin; calendula, an an all purpose skin healing herb; and chamomile, an anti-inflammatory herb which softens skin.
Motherlove’s Green Salve is all-purpose, multi-tasking soother and healer. This organic, all natural salve is the perfect remedy for rashes, and chapped or irritated skin, including eczema. In winter it’s great for dry, chapped skin; in summer it’s great for taking the itch out of bug bites, bee stings, and poison ivy. Green Salve contains extra virgin olive oil, beeswax, plantain herb, comfrey herb, marshmallow root, and calendula flower. Plantain herb is known as “nature’s band aid” because it is excellent for healing wounds and drawing out toxins. Comfrey herb is nicknamed “knitbone,” as it quickly heals wounds and prevents scarring. Marshmallow and calendula soothe, heal, and soften skin.
Motherlove’s Nipple Cream is made with all certified organic ingredients which heal and soothe sore, cracked nursing nipples. Motherlove’s Nipple Cream contains extra virgin olive oil, beeswax, shea butter, marshmallow root, calendula. All ingredients are safe for ingestion, so it does not need to be washed off prior to nursing. Have leftover Nipple Cream? Here are 13 more ways to use our Nipple Cream including using it on chapped lips, dry elbows, and even to tame frizzy hair!
Motherlove’s Diaper Rash & Thrush is an all-natural salve made with certified organic ingredients for persistent, inflamed diaper rash. It contains healing herbs oregon grape root to clear up skin conditions, yarrow to soothe rashes, myrrh to fight bacteria and yeast overgrowth, and calendula to soothe skin. If you’ve been treating diaper rash unsuccessfully with other products, your baby may have a yeast infection which requires a product with antifungal properties. Our Diaper Rash & Thrush salve is diaper safe and compatible with all diapers including cloth. This salve can also be used on nursing nipples, and does not need to be washed off nipples prior to nursing.
Motherlove’s Tattoo Care is a certified organic salve which provides optimal moisturizing and healing properties for a new tattoo, yet retains a consistency that is comfortable to apply while tattooing or to a fresh tattoo. Unlike petroleum-based products, Motherlove Tattoo Care allows the skin to breathe, and allows ink to fully penetrate the skin. Made with calendula flowers and marshmallow root, infused in extra virgin olive oil, beeswax, and shea butter, it keeps pores from getting clogged and promotes a quicker healing time.
Motherlove’s Rhoid Balm is a certified organic balm which provides immediate relief for inflamed tissues. It contains a soothing combination of herbs including witch hazel, recommended by moms and doctors alike to reduce swelling, slow bleeding, and ease the discomfort of hemorrhoids
As many as 18% of all women experience trauma related to childbirth, one third of whom experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Yet despite its widespread nature, the experience of birth-related trauma can be an isolating one, as mothers are encouraged to focus on their babies and quickly “get over” their birth experience. Trauma can affect a mother – and a partner’s – ability to connect with their baby, carry out normal activities, and can also impair breastfeeding.
Fortunately there are some good resources available to mothers who are experiencing birth-related trauma, which we are happy to share below. But first, some common questions about birth-related trauma.
Do you have PTSD related to your birth? Here are some common characteristic features, according to the Birth Trauma Association:
What are some common triggers for birth-related PTSD? Again, according to the Birth Trauma Association:
What are some resources for help for mothers and partners experiencing birth-related PTSD?
Connect with other moms. Connecting with other moms helps you see that you’re not alone. There are a number of online communities for mothers experiencing birth-related trauma, including Solace for Mothers, Birth Trauma Association’s Facebook page, and Baby Center.
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) therapy is considered by trauma experts, including the U.S. Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense and the American Psychological Association, to be a front line treatment for PTSD. EMDR involves thinking about the traumatic experience while experiencing a stimulus engaging both sides of your perception. This might mean moving your eyes back and forth, listening to a tapping sound in alternating ears, or feeling a tapping on alternating knees. EMDR typically reduces symptoms after just a few sessions. To find a certified EMDR professional, see the EMDR Institute or the EMDR International Association.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a form of therapy which addresses beliefs caused by trauma and helps to counter conditioned-fear responses related to the traumatic experience. To find a CBT therapist, search the websites of the National Association of Cognitive Behavioral Therapist’s or the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies.
Medications. You may want to discuss medication options with your healthcare provider. A summary of medication options is provided here.
Care for partners. Partners can experience trauma related to childbirth as well. Encourage partners to seek help if they are experiencing trauma.
Herbs can be a huge help in maintaining the health of your skin during pregnancy, soothing and preventing stretch marks. But did you know that they can also help heal and minimize your cesarean scar?
Here are some herbs which can applied topically – once your incision has fully healed and your health care provider approves – to assist in the healing and minimizing of your c-section scar.* You may also want to listen to our podcast on caring for your c-section.
And when looking for products which contain these ingredients, be sure not to choose ones with body care ingredients to avoid.
Aloe vera is a classic skin healer, used for nearly thousands of years to soothe burns, moisturize, and condition skin.
Calendula, an herb we use in our Pregnant Belly Oil, Pregnant Belly Salve, Nipple Cream, Diaper Rash & Thrush, Rhoid Balm, is an an all-purpose skin healing herb used to stop bleeding, wash wounds, heal cuts, abscesses, rashes, boils, chapped skin, and eczema.
Sea buckthorn is an orange berry heralded for the its rare omega 7 fatty acids, high Vitamin C content, and its anti-inflammatory properties, all of which can condition the skin.
Jojoba seed oil was first used by Native Americans in order to heal and condition skin and hair. It’s also useful as a treatment for burns.
Gotu kola has been used for centuries to heal wounds and treat skin conditions.
St. John’s Wort is better known for its effects on mood, but it’s also a useful herb for skin healing and burn care.
* This information is provided for educational purposes only, and is not medical advice. Consult your health care provider before using this information, and never apply topical agents to your c-section scar before it has healed.
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What can you do in pregnancy to keep your baby in the anterior position? And can you change the position of the baby once labor has started?
Our podcast guest, Michelle L’Esperance answers these questions and more. Michelle is a certified professional midwife, doula and doula trainer, and runs workshops on creative movement for birth which help parents encourage optimal fetal positioning.Pin It
What are hemorrhoids, and why are we more likely to get them during pregnancy?
Hemorrhoids are a result of increased blood flow in pregnancy, particularly to those below your uterus. These veins can become dilated and swollen, and itch, burn, and bleed.
How can you prevent hemorrhoids in pregnancy?
The key to preventing hemorrhoids is avoiding constipation, which puts extra pressure on your rectum during bowel movements. To prevent or reduce constipation, you can:
If you have hemorrhoids, what can you do to treat them?
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Many herbs can help ease the pain of contractions:
Other herbs help with emotional balance during labor:
See our Plants page for photos and more detailed information on several of these herbs.
* This information is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. Please consult with your health care provider for medical advice related to any of these products.
Witch Hazel is an herb many mothers come to swear by after pregnancy and childbirth, and we thought we’d take a moment to share some details about this powerful (some mothers might say sanity saving!) plant.
But first, what does this plant have to do with witches? It’s likely an etymological mix-up, stemming from the Middle English term “wiche,” which means pliant or bendable and has nothing to do with witches. Or perhaps the use of the branches of the plant as divining rods is related the name.
Witch hazel is a shrub or small tree growing in the rich soils of the eastern part of the United States. The star shaped leaves become brilliant colors in the fall while the round fruits, which have projections, shoot their seeds several feet as they ripen.
Witch hazel leaves and bark contain astringent tannins which stop internal and external bleeding. Both the bark and leaves are used to treat hemorrhoids, varicose veins, swelling and bruises, and sore nipples. Internally it stops diarrhea, vaginal discharge and excess menses. Witch hazel is an ingredient found in eye drops and many skin ointments. It was used widely by Native Americans for medicinal purposes.
And of course it’s used widely after childbirth to soothe sore perineal muscles, reduce swelling, slow bleeding, and help ease the discomfort of hemorrhoids. Used in a bath, as a spray directly on tissues or on a pad, or as a balm on hemorrhoids, it’s an effective herbal remedy recommended by moms and doctors alike.
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons
You’ll want to listen to our latest podcast on Maya Abdominal Therapy.
Tanya spoke with Catherine Gregory, a certified practitioner of the Arvigo Techniques of Maya Abdominal Therapy. She explained the origins of the therapy, how it can help women for anything from infertility, to painful menstruation, to incontinence and digestion. She explained what it’s like to have the therapy, how women can learn to do it for themselves, and how to find a certified practitioner.
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