Melbourne Doula

Welcome to 'Melbourne Doula', the place where I share what birth work is teaching is me, and what I am learning from the wonderful families who have invited me to share this most special season of their lives. Here you will find information about me and the doula services I provide, birth stories from remarkable women and their loved ones, as well as all kinds of resources to enrich your own journey of discovery. And welcome also to BLISSFUL HERBS, the home of beautiful herbal teas and bath herbs to support wellness through every season of life.

After Birth Bliss Tea and Placenta Wisdom

This herbal tea is ideal for use with a normal, physiological third stage of labour. (This means no injection of syntocinon, no pulling on the cord and no rushing of the placenta. During an un-rushed, un-medicated birth, when the balance of birth hormones is not tampered with, this is a perfectly normal and safe option.)

The After Birth Bliss tea blend contains nourishing herbs to support a safe Third Stage of labour and the birth of the placenta. It strengthens the endometrium and contains a haemostatic to prevent excess bleeding, plus nourishing herbs to boost the new mother's iron and other nutrients. It also settles afterpains and helps the placental site to heal.

Avoid using metal implements with herbal teas. Use a glass or ceramic pot or jug, and a wooden or plastic spoon and strainer. Have the herbs ready when second stage begins, and add the hot water just as the baby is born. Let steep for about 10 minutes, then serve warm to the mother - a bendy straw may be helpful, as she will likely be holding her baby.

Say something encouraging to the mother, such as "This will help you release your placenta all in one piece." You can add lemon and honey for taste if you wish – I use Active Manuka Honey which is a natural anti-biotic. A warm drink with honey for energy is ideal soon after birth, even better when it contains herbs to enhance the third stage.

Be sure that ministering the drink to the mother does not disturb the most important thing of all: skin-to-skin cuddles and the miracle of bonding that is unfolding between mother, baby and father. It would be better to delay the warm tea for a while if there is any chance bringing it could disrupt such a once-in-a-lifetime experience that is so vital for the new family. When the time is right, it should be easy to quietly offer the tea through a straw, let her drink, then quietly fade into the background again, leaving the family to continue falling in love.

Warmth, soft lighting, quiet, privacy, gentle voices, loving care and unhindered skin-to-skin cuddles are the things that optimise the flow of hormones that cause the placenta to detatch, the uterus to involute and the placenta to be born, and the bleeding to be minimal. This important stage of the birth process is often rushed in hospitals, where time is money. Usually they want that placenta out within an hour - or even half an hour. But if blood loss is normal, the mother's vital signs are good, she is not pale or shocky, and her after pains are not too severe, there is no need for rush. The placenta will come. I have been at perfectly safe normal homebirths where it took 4 hours or more for the placenta to come away, and it did, in the fullness of time - when the mother was physically and emotionally ready.

Gloria Lemay writes here about the '30 minute third stage' - in her experience, when the third stage is unrushed and the mother and baby are kept together and warm and quiet, the mother feels ready to release the placenta around the 30 minute mark, the great majority of the time.

One of my doula friends tells me that she encourages the women she serves to not only visualise themselves giving birth but also to visualise themselves holding their baby, having after pains that herald movement of the placenta, and then see themselves birthing that placenta, catching it, the cord still attached to the soft, warm little body in their arms. That's a good idea.

I have heard of women who've been told that their placenta won't come unless the cord is cut. (I can't believe women get told this stuff, it's right up there with one woman who was told by hospital staff that unless they broke her waters, the baby couldn't be born!) No, you do not need to cut the cord for the placenta to be born, and there is no need to routinely cut it. In fact, the cord does not need to be cut at all - some people choose to have a Lotus Birth, when the placenta is dried, wrapped and kept with the baby (in a special placenta bag, or a modern cloth nappy (MCN) will do) until the cord dries up and falls off naturally. More about Lotus Birth here

There is sound scientific wisdom to support an un-rushed Third Stage and delayed cutting of the cord. Read more here and here

In the modern, medicalised culture, we don't often recognise the value of the placenta - it is routinely discarded as waste material, merely a mess to be cleaned up. I feel that this is part of the de-valuing of the glory of birth. I encourgage you to take the time to think about what the placenta means to you. It has nourished your baby for 9 months and its value continues after the baby is born and no longer needs it. The placenta is extremely rich in hormones and nutrients that can be of great benefit to the mother. Perhaps you would like to find out more about Lotus Birth. Perhaps you would like to investigate placentophage - the consumption of a tiny bit of placenta. It is said to be very useful for preventing or ceasing blood flow after birth. Sometimes merely holding a small bit of placenta to a mother's lips will prevent PPH. Some people make capusles of dried, ground placenta. Others make tinctures from the placenta. Placenta can be helpful for boosting a low milk supply and also for preventing post natal depression. All that we can learn about the continuing benefits of the placenta are unlikely to be widely appreciated when the usual practice is to chuck it out. The placenta can be easily rinsed, then put in the freezer in a big ice cream container (great excuse to buy a family-sized amount of ice cream) until you decide what you'd like to do with it.

Your After Birth Bliss tea contains the following herbs:

Cramp Bark – acts on the uterus to help it involute and birth the placenta. Relieves after pains.

Red Raspberry Leaf – tones and nourishes the uterine muscle, rich nutritionally

Nettle – rich in nutrients, including iron & Vitamin K

Peppermint – supports the absorption of the nutrients in the above two herbs

Lady's Mantle – a hormone-balancing herb with calming effects

Parsley – a uterine tonic that reduces bleeding

Shepherd’s Purse – nature's haemostatic, helps prevent bleeding

For more information on the use of common herbs, go to:

Disclaimer: This information is of a general nature and does not constitute medical advice. It is not intended to diagnose or treat any condition. Any medical condition should be referred to your health care practitioner. Always check with your health care practitioner before commencing to use any herbal preparation.

To order: email and include your postal address, or phone Julie Bell on 03 5966 5980

15g in 4 x individual tea bags = $3.50
25g = $5.00
50g = $8.50

plus postage of $8.00 up to 500g gross, Australia-wide. Choose this option if you wish to add other items in with your After Birth Bliss tea.

I can also post the 15g or 25g packets for just $2.00 postage, as "large letters". Choose this option if you just want 15g or 25g of any single tea.

This article by Dr. Sarah Buckley is an excellent resource for anyone considering a natural third stage and wanting to understand more about the hormones involved.
Leaving well alone - a natural approach to the third stage of labour

Another helpful site: The Third Stage Website

Enjoying the After Birth Bliss tea. A special moment captured by Angela Gallo of Womb Warrior Photography

Tracey and her newborn, having her After Birth Bliss tea
Natalie and babe, with the After Birth Bliss tea beside her on the bed. Photo by Captivated Photography


Anonymous said...

I went into spontaneous labour at 38 weeks. It was a beautiful, gentle build up and it took me hours before I was sure it was labour. When I finally conceded reality, it was only 2.5 hours later and my baby was born in water at home. My midwife arrived in time to catch the placenta and help clean up the pool! But my birth support team had me drinking ‘After Birth Bliss’ tea soon after she was born - after sipping on cool water during labour, the warm tea was very refreshing and energizing.

After the birth of my third daughter, the after pains were more than uncomfortable. I was taking paracetamol regularly during the first week to deal with them. I was concerned about how painful they would be after my 4th baby was born. But during the early days with this baby, I alternated between the After Birth Bliss tea and the No Bleed Bliss tea. I don’t recall experiencing a single pain after my recent birth.
- Kylie

Anonymous said...

I ordered some teas from you a couple of months ago. I don't know if you remember me contacting you or not, but I had two post partum hemorrhages in the past and I just had my third baby. I used your Birthing Bliss tea, Pregnancy tea, No Bleed tea and After Birth tea. I also took Polly Jeans 5 Week pills. I'm very happy to say that this birth (my second VBAC) went incredibly well! I did not hemorrhage, the baby was born after only about 8 hours of real labor (as opposed to 24-70 hours with my previous two babies), I had no painkillers or other drugs and the placenta came out easily. It was great! - Amanda

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to let you know of the great feedback I had on your No Bleed tea and After Birth Bliss tea. One of my customers asked me to tell you she loved the tea and also found the little tea bags those two teas came in as really helpful because she and her support people didnt have to fiddle around with loose tea during the whole process.
- Shona

Hazel said...

Dear Julie,

A few months ago I had a client with a history of PPH and we discussed
the use of your teas as a preventative. We made some up as she went
into labour and then she drank them cooled as soon as the baby was
born. I am happy to say this was her first home birth and first birth
with no PPH!

Thanks again!


Sophie M said...

I recently birthed my second, and last, baby at 42+3 weeks. It was a smooth and easy birth however I ordered your After Birth Bliss tea in anticipation of not being able to 'let go' of my placenta due to this being our last baby. My husband made a cup of this tea soon after our little girl arrived. It was instantly warming & nourishing - just what I needed! My placenta came away easily after a 20-25min physiological third stage and then we cut our babies cord together with her big sister about an hour later. It truly was After Birth Bliss! I believe your tea played a big role in honouring this precious time after birth and I will be recommending it to other families. Thank you :)

Sophie M said...

I recently birthed my second, and last, baby at 42+3 weeks. It was a smooth and easy birth however I ordered your After Birth Bliss tea in anticipation of not being able to 'let go' of my placenta due to this being our last baby. My husband made a cup of this tea soon after our little girl arrived. It was instantly warming & nourishing - just what I needed! My placenta came away easily after a 20-25min physiological third stage and then we cut our babies cord together with her big sister about an hour later. It truly was After Birth Bliss! I believe your tea played a big role in honouring this precious time after birth and I will be recommending it to other families. Thank you :)

treebytheriver said...

I have waited 7 hours for a placenta. My Irish midwife said sometimes they'd pop the loose hanging cord inside a pair of undies and maternity pads and tell the mama not to worry, and check back the next day. (This is of course in the absence of any signs of shock or infection - they do leave the mothers with a check list!) Here's one story. Lovely homebirth. Mother exited DV mid-pregnancy. Gorgeous strong mama, but of course, loads of emotional burdens and not much time to be able to process it all. Laboured beautifully and easily, baby born into water and caught by mama. A few hours pass - no placenta. We are almost 2 hours away from the nearest hospital. Midwife is trying to continue to wait patiently and not pressure the mother - but the mother is getting frustrated and fed up with her body. A decision is made to try the injection. It's been about 3 hours now. Then I remembered about the "midwife tai chi" idea - of "reversing the energy" - kind of like the whole reverse psychology thing. I went into the cramped bathroom where the mother was sitting on the toilet, looking pretty bummed out. I asked if she would mind if we tried something different. She was open to pretty much anything at this point! So I asked her to place her hand on her womb, and then I placed my hand over hers. I started to "bless" her womb and said things like, "you've done so well, we bless you womb, we say you have done a really great job and safely birthed this child, we thank you womb, we say you're a beautiful womb, so precious, holding this babe safe all this time" and the mother began to spontaneously say kind positive things about her birthing self and her body and the mood just .... changed! In the midst of this, the midwife quietly entered, CARRYING THE SYRINGE! - and came to a halt, immediately recognised that something pretty sacred was afoot, and literally BACKED OUT of that cramped toilet - without the mother even knowing she was there. And guess what - placenta. "Oh! It's coming .... it's here ...." This mother had been holding it all together for so long, and just a little love and affirmation, from self as well as other, was all it took. Coincidence? I don't know. Evidence-based? Sadly, no. But it sure didn't do any harm, right? Nil nocere.