While this infographic is California specific, it goes to show how an individual person, having a low-risk pregnancy with a first baby, is likely to have a very different birthing experience depending on the norms of the hospital/practice they choose. I know people are limited by location, insurance coverage, and other needs, but doing some research into the intervention rates at local hospitals can make a big difference in setting expectations. So can working with a local doula who knows what the norms of various local birth sites are!
I recently finished Jen Kamel’s class The Truth About VBAC and learned, among other things, how hard it can be for an individual provider to calculate their own rates of cesarean section. While an individual may have a low rate of intervention, those rates may double during the weekends when that particular provider is non on-call. Ideally, any consumer of OB/Midwifery care should get to know the rates of intervention between every provider in a practice they choose.
I frequently make up batches of nourishing galactagogue herbal tea blends for postpartum clients. Galactagogue is a kooky herbalist term for plants that encourage the production of breast milk. My most recent batch was this:
It contains goat’s rue, nettle, linden (leaf and flower), marshmallow (root), moringa and fenugreek. Should be steeped overnight (or however long you can manage, because really, whatever you manage to do postpartum is appropriate!). Maximum mineral extraction happens the longer the tea is steeped, and the cooled water allows the mucilaginous components of both the linden and marshmallow to come through. These are extra moistening, and extra soothing to frayed nerves of under-slept new parents. Many folks rely on herbs to support nursing, and this blend is much stronger and more effective than its grocery store counterpart. I had a client exclusively breastfeeding her twin boys with the help of a blend like this!
I also made this new mom an herbal postpartum sitz bath:
This recipe includes plantain and comfrey leaves, calendula blossoms, rose petals, lavender flowers and yarrow. I love making these baths because the calendula, rose and lavender give it such beautiful color. Plantain contains the tissue proliferant allantoin, which gently encourages skin to heal (especially nice if stitches were needed). Other herbs encourage healing (yarrow), are antimicrobial (lavender), and gently astringent to tighten and tonify tissue back to its comfortable state. These herbs can be steeped for 20 minutes, like a tea, strained well, and added to a sitz bath or used in a peri-rinse bottle.