INTERVIEW— SHANAY HALL
5 questions with BIRTH DOULA
& mother SHANAY HALL
Benefits of placenta capsule
Consuming your placenta after baby is a natural way to ease the hormonal let down and support transition into becoming a new mother. Many benefits include balancing your hormones, replenish iron levels, preventing “baby blues” or postnatal depression, reduce post natal bleeding, increase energy levels, increase milk supply, and minimise stress levels which means a happy mum. Some of the biggest risk factors for post natal depression is lack of sleep, exhaustion and support. Having low iron can also cause this too. I’ve had women with low milk supply take their pills and seen it help instantly.
Of course woman are going to see different benefits but the main one is feeling more energy and an increase in milk. High levels of CRH (corticotropin releasing hormone) are found in the placenta. Oxytocin, prolactin, estrogen, progesterone are also found within the placenta. High levels of iron, protein and vitamin B6 are also found in recent studies. There has been little studies but the studies that are out there are enough for us to want to encapsulate them for the mother. Also if you’re wanting to find out more, I highly recommend Placenta Benefits online study. You can choose which modules you want to read more about.
Consuming your placenta after baby is a natural way to ease the hormonal let down and support transition into becoming a new mother.
The pros of having a doula attend your birth —
My role as a birth doula is to support the mother continuously thought out labour. Helping her emotionally, physically, mentally, spiritually and guiding the new parents so they can make informed decisions. Having someone during labour that knows the physically of birth and doesn’t change shifts brings a calm presence in the room. It helps the fathers also to be fully comfortable and participate at his own comfort level. Doulas lower C section rates and the need for pain relief. It strengthens the woman to find her internal confidence to birth their baby in the way they wish. Doulas understand that birth is a sacred rite of passage for women and a life altering experience that brings knowledge, growth and discovery.
By trusting birth and knowing the basic needs during labour this can help the new parents during their special time. Doulas don’t make decisions for you and they don’t judge you for decisions you make. We’re not medical professionals, we don’t deliver your baby and don’t replace your partner. Having someone massage your back for 8 or more hours is pretty heaven. My longest birth was 24 hours— all natural a lot of back massages there, encouraging words and patience!!
My aim in the end is to have a happy mum and baby and to know that she had choices throughout the whole thing, was respected by everyone in that room and loved by her birth partners.
Your number 1 aftercare tip—
Patience!! Patience with your baby and your body. Be kind to yourself and don’t forget to take care of you. The baby is warm and has food, they are fine! You need to get strong and eat good nourishing food to produce milk for the baby, so if you’re unhappy, baby is too. We forget sometimes as a new mother that we have to be onto it all the time. It’s ok for you to call your friend or loved ones to come over to hold the baby so you
can have a shower and sleep for a full hour or two. Ask for help. You’re so fragile during the postpartum period and it takes a village to help you, it really does. The longer you put off asking for help, that’s when it’s too late and you’re beyond tired and exhausted to get help from the start. Organising a food roster with your friends and family, they can then drop food off everyday so your man and you can focus on this new precious creature.
How do you approach birth?
I have been obsessed with birth ever since a young age and after Iyla was born I couldn’t stop thinking about how awesome women are and the power your child can have to transform you into a mother. Not only that, but for a woman to grow a baby inside her— that’s just the most magical power anyone can have. I see birth as a normal thing that woman have to go through and I trust the whole process. If woman don’t trust themselves and their body, their baby will be at this constant battle with themselves during labour.
Trusting, letting go and surrendering! I like to use these words a lot during the births. It goes in stages too, first comes the trust that my body knows what to do during this time and my baby knows what to do so we are working together, then comes the letting go of fears, doubts and the ‘pain’. Letting each surge and wave take over you because you are the surge. Nothing is higher. Focus your mind on breathing and surfing that wave. It’s all you— surrendering to becoming a mother and surrendering in the now, and once you surrender, which is the last stage, but once you do this your baby will be born shortly after. Another thing I do with my clients is we are going to take one wave/surge at a time, that’s all you can do.
I also think a lot of these fears from women come from the unknown of what’s going to happen and the false way it’s portrayed in the media and movies. We live these safe lives now and the thought of not knowing what’s going to happen is scary, but it’s teaching us something really beautiful about living in the now and the present, which is key. During birth it’s all you have to do.
Doing your own research and getting informed information on birth and how it works instead of listening to your friends traumatic stories will create your own story and your own journey. Whatever happens to your mum or friend is not going to happen to you, every woman’s birth is different— no two the same. There are tools out there that can help you but you have to be willing to try and really understand what birth is. It’s very basic and requires a lot of self discovery before baby comes!
letting each surge and wave take over you because you are the surge, nothing is higher, focus your mind on breathing and surfing that wave
How to stay grounded when you go past your due date —
Distraction is key— keep busy!! I was two weeks overdue with Iyla so I know the feeling when clients are ‘overdue’ and by me saying overdue it’s really just a guess date. Don’t get too caught up in dates when you find out, either baby decides when they want to come and to get it right on the date is very rare. It should be called a ‘guess date’.
One thing I recommend highly is to get a massage to soften all your muscles. Basically don’t stop living, keep doing what you were doing before. If you want to go for a swim or that big walk with your friend… great!
I visited so many art galleries in New York and walked around central park with my mum and little sister. It was super tiring but I knew if I was at home waiting it would drive me insane.
Also have a birth project like baking, knitting, painting or cooking meals for ‘after’ and freezing them. Another one of my clients made a birth wall at her home which was super lovely. It had a massive impact on her positive birth. She collected all the inspiring images of birth and sayings she liked, it was almost like a guru shrine. It’s such a nice idea for when you go into early labour. You can look at it in your home and you can bring to the hospital or wherever you want to give birth— you have to make that room yours!