Virginia’s Law Regarding Placentas [FORMS]

QUESTION: is the placenta the mom’s or the baby’s? I feel like it is the baby’s. For this post, I tried to keep the language general and refer to it simply as “the” or “a” placenta.

A Placenta is a remarkable organ; it is the only organ the body disposes of, after its purpose is served, and another grown when needed.

Perhaps because of its miraculousness, mothers and cultures have used the placenta for many things. American women who choose to keep the placenta; either bury it and plant something special over it, encapsulate it, or ingest it (raw and cooked!).

Dr. Rixa Freeze made a beautiful “V” shaped garden over the placenta of her second child. *click on photo for link


Virginia has no law or regulation concerning what happens to a placenta after birth, but hospitals (Virginia Hospital Center, I know) will tell mothers there is a law restricting them from taking it home.

Hospitals are allowed to classify the organ as medical waste and a biohazard, but moms can still take steps to get it.

1- Ask and tell everyone that you want it! Nurses, your OB, the OB who is present at birth. Tell everyone you want it and ask them to put it in your file.

2- Put it in your birth plan.

3- Bring a large zipper bags with you to bring it home in. One less reason they have for saying no. Also, bring a cooler if you can, for the same reason.

4- Bring many copies of a signed release and waiver with you, and ask it to be put into your file.


Here is a sample from Placenta Baby:



Natural Birth Networks NOVA

Check out this great website that has everything you ever wanted to know about how to have the best birth experience for you and your baby!

The goal of Natural Birth Networks of Northern Virginia (NoVA) is threefold: to educate families on the benefits of natural birth and the ease with which it can fit into their modern lives, to connect NoVA parents with local mother-baby friendly providers and local businesses through a comprehensive business and provider directory, and to unite all natural birthing and parenting proponents in Northern VA through online forums and regular events in the community.


New contributing writer, Hanna Neas, was my Bradley Birth Coach and I highly recommend her!!!

Check out these great articles:


How to time Contractions

There are two numbers to tally when timing contractions:

Duration– the length of a single contraction for start to finish

Frequency– the time from the start of one contraction to the start of the next

BUT, there’s an App for that:

The most recommended was FullTerm a free app by the folks at Apple. Second was Contraction Master which has apps for iProducts and Androids, cost is $2.

 If you are old school, get out a sheet of paper;  

  • Have columns titled “time contraction starts” and “time contraction ends”
  • Next to them have a column titled “duration of contraction”
  • Have a signal worked out with mom so you know when the contractions start and end
  • Have a column titled “time between contractions”
  • But don’t forget-contractions are timed from the start of one to the start of the next. A common timing mistake is to calculate from the end of one to the start of the next. For example, if the first contraction starts at 8:40 and the next contraction starts at 8:50 they are 10 minutes apart.

Types of Contractions:

  • Regular contractions are when the duration and frequency are stable over a period of time. An example is contractions lasting 60 seconds and coming five minutes apart for an hour.
  • Irregular contractions don’t have a stable pattern. An example is a series of three contractions lasting between 30 and 45 seconds and coming 10, seven and then 15 minutes apart.
  • Progressing contractions are lasting longer and getting closer together. Over the course of labor, contractions get longer, stronger and closer together.
  • Nonprogressing contractions. Contractions that are not getting longer, stronger and closer together. This means that the contractions are not opening the cervix. It usually means that other work is being done, such as turning your baby to a different position, softening or thinning the cervix.

For more baby related applications, has a list of the Top 9 Pregnancy Apps they recommend.

Replace Child Carseat After and Accident

The wife and 6 month old daughter of a friend of mine were in a car accident today, EVERYONE IS SAFE, and it was brought up that she now needs to replace her childs car seat. Something I had never thought of.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has changed their position about replacing car seats that have been in a MINOR accident, usually 10 MPH or less. A child seat involved in a MINOR accident is safe for reuse if it meets ALL of the following criteria:

  • A visual inspection of the child safety seat, including inspection under any easily movable seat padding, does not reveal any cracks or deformation that might have been caused by the crash;
  • The vehicle in which the child safety seat was installed was capable of being driven from the scene of the crash;
  • The vehicle door nearest the child safety seat was undamaged;
  • There were no injuries to any of the vehicle occupants; and;
  • The air bags (if any) did not deploy.


  • Recent studies demonstrate that child safety seats can withstand minor crash impacts without any documented degradation in subsequent performance.
  • The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia ( ICBC ) subjected nine new and used child seats restraining 3-year-old dummies to a series of 50 consecutive 15 km/h sled tests into a 40% offset barrier. Three seats were inspected visually; no damage was apparent as a result of the impacts. Three seats underwent x-ray inspection; no damage was detected. Three seats were tested in accordance with Canadian federal standards (CMVSS 213) and were found to be in compliance with all standards.
  • ICBC performed four vehicle crash tests at 48 and 64 km/h, with two child seats restraining 3-year-old dummies in each vehicle. Each seat was subjected to multiple impacts and visually inspected. Defects were noted and the seats were re-tested. Seats always performed as well in subsequent tests as they did in the first test.
  • The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) performed 30 mph vehicle crash tests with dummies from six months to three years in a variety of child restraint systems (CRSs). Most seats sustained minor damage (e.g., frayed webbing, small cracks in the hard plastic shell, strain-whitening on the plastic shell or chest clip) but all dummies remained well secured by the restraints. Four of the damaged seats were subjected to three additional 30 mph crash tests. Although additional minor damage was observed in subsequent tests, the seats met all federal standards.
  • The agency searched for, but was unable to find any cases in which a child safety seats were damaged in a minor crash (as defined in NHTSA Position).

Of course, NHTSA recommends that child safety seats be replaced following a moderate or severe crash in order to ensure a continued high level of crash protection for child passengers. 

For questions regarding your child’s car seat, before or after an accident, contact the seat manufacture and your insurance agent. And don’t forget to check NHTSA (or your local Fire Department) to check the seat is always installed correctly!

Affordable Care Act and Pregnancy

Let me say, this is not my strong suite. Insurance, copays, deductables…huh?

The new Affordable Care Act has new benefits for woman and pregnancy.

Gestational diabetes screening: This screening is for women 24
to 28 weeks pregnant, and those at high risk of developing gestational diabetes.
It will help improve the health of mothers and babies because women who have
gestational diabetes have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the
future. In addition, the children of women with gestational diabetes are at
significantly increased risk of being overweight and insulin-resistant
throughout childhood.

Breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling: Pregnant and
postpartum women will have access to comprehensive lactation support and
counseling from trained providers, as well as breastfeeding equipment.
Breastfeeding is one of the most effective preventive measures mothers can take
to protect their health and that of their children. One of the barriers for
breastfeeding is the cost of purchasing or renting breast pumps and nursing
related supplies.

Start dates vary: Depending on your plan, coverage may not  really begin this week. Confused? Some private health insurance plans will  not begin offering the new preventative care benefits until your plan  renews. So if your plan renews on January 1, 2013, that’s when you’ll be able to  reap the breastfeeding benefits.

Grandfathered plans are exempt:     If your health insurance plan was in  place before March 23, 2010 when the Affordable Care Act was signed, it is not  required to comply with the new breast pump and breastfeeding support  provisions. That said, you may still have some coverage, and will only have to  come up with a co-pay or deducible out of pocket. Not sure if your plan is  grandfathered? Call and ask.

You might need a prescription:     Sometimes your  insurance will require a prescription from your health care provider, but many  simply need your doctor or midwife’s name and phone number.

You can choose your pump:      Think your health care plan  will only cover inexpensive handheld pumps?  Wrong! You should be able to get a top of the line, double electric breast pump through your insurance company. Alternatively, your plan will cover the  rental of a hospital grade breast pump.

You need to find out where to buy it:      Many insurance  companies will connect you to a medical supply company that can ship your  desired breast pump directly to you.

Bottom line: Start by calling your insurance company.  They’ll be able to tell you exactly what your plan covers. But don’t take “I  don’t know” for an answer. Since this s a new policy, some customer service  representatives may not be aware of the specifics yet, but you shouldn’t stop  asking until you get a clear answer about what’s covered and how to get  it.

From iVillage


Check out the info from Breastpumps Direct



The website for Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn has a list of questions to ask your health insurance provider:

Find out what your insurance covers: Check your written policy guidelines, contact your insurance company, or check with your employer’s human resources department to find out the answers to these questions.

  1. Does your insurance cover pregnancy and birth?
  2. What types of care providers are covered: OB? Family Practice? Midwives?
  3. Is there a specific list of providers you must choose from?
  4. What birthplaces are covered: Hospital? Birth Center? Home birth?
  5. Are there certain facilities you must use?
  6. Are there set copayments?
  7. Do you need to pay a percentage of the costs?
  8. Will they cover routine prenatal care?
  9. Will they cover prenatal tests, including ultrasound, amniocentesis, etc.?
  10. Will they cover prescription medications?
  11. Is there a copay?
  12. What do you need to do to inform them of the pregnancy and birth?
  13. Will they cover childbirth preparation classes?
  14. Will they cover birth doula services?
  15. Will they cover pain medication and anesthesia fees?
  16. How long can you stay at the hospital after the birth?
  17. What newborn care will they cover? Routine care? Special Care? Circumcision?
  18. Will they cover lactation consultants to help with breastfeeding?

If you do need to pay out of pocket, or pay a portion of the costs:

Call the patient account office at your birthplace or call your caregiver to find out what to expect.

  1. What is the typical charge for prenatal and postpartum care?
  2. What is a typical charge for a vaginal delivery with a one-day stay?
  3. What is the typical charge for a cesarean with a three-day stay?
  4. What are the costs for pain medication for labor, or for a cesarean?
  5. Will you be charged for nursery care for your baby, even if your baby stays in your room with you?
  6. What will happen if your baby needs any special care?
  7. Can you prepay the costs?
  8. If you prepay for pain medication, can that money be refunded if you choose not to use pain medication?

After the birth, plan to contact your health insurance company within thirty days of your child’s birth, adoption, or placement for adoption and request a special enrollment to cover the event.

Check out the website for more (and better) information.

Fit for Birth

Check out my new favorite website, Fit for Birth!

While perusing birth videos on YouTube, I saw a thumbnail for a water birth with dolphins. I had to check that out!!

Kim was so beautiful, I had to learn more!

James, Kaden, Kim and newborn Naiya

Kim and James met while she was participating in a fitness class James was teaching. They now run Fit for Birth, specializing in maternal fitness.

During the birth, one of the Midwifes uses a flash light on Kim’s back  to check for dialition. She mentions being able to guess how far dilated a mom is with out a vaginal exam. What she was looking for is a purple line that ‘grows’ up the natal cleft (butt crack) which can be an indicator of cervical dilatation.

The line begins at the anal margin at the start of labour and rises like a “mercury thermometer”. When it reaches the top, the woman is fully dilated. Authors of a study in The Lancet Journal propose that an “increase in intrapelvic pressure causes congestion in the … veins around the sacrum, which, in conjunction with the lack of subcutaneous tissue over the sacrum, results in this line of red purple discoloration”.

  • Tuffnell DJ, Bryce F, Johnson N, Lilford RJ: Simulation of cervical changes in labour: Reproducibility of expert assessment. The Lancet 1989, 334(8671):1089-1090.
  • Bryne DL, Edmonds DK: Clinical method for evaluating progress in first stage of labour. The Lancet 1990, 335:122.

Fully dilated woman and her purple line. Via Babies and Bellies, click photo for link


In 2010 article by BioMed Central they found that 76% of women displayed a purple or red line during labor and it’s length correspond with estimated dilation via vaginal exam 36% of the time. The study also reported an overall accuracy for determining the exact cervical diameter dilation of 50% (which improved to 90% when an error of ± 1 cm was allowed).


La Leche League

Mission: to help mothers worldwide to breastfeed through mother-to-mother support, encouragement, information, and education, and to promote a better understanding of breastfeeding as an important element in the healthy development of the baby and mother.

There are 18 LLL groups in Northern Virginia:

There are 7 LLL groups in the DC Metro area:


Many more resources through La Leche League at their website here


NOVA Birth Center

They have four beautiful birthing rooms with private restrooms and tubs.

NOVA Natural Birth Center is a community of support for your journey. As midwives, we are passionate about helping women birth as their bodies were designed to do – naturally, with loving support, and in their own way.

In addition, NOVA Natural Birth Center’s community includes a wide variety of childbirth professionals and wellness practitioners.  Along the way, you’ll have the opportunity to work with doulas, childbirth educators, chiropractors, lactation consultants, massage therapists, and other wellness experts.

NOVA Natural Birth Center also is a gathering place where you’ll develop lasting friendships with other people planning to birth and live life naturally.  We offer a wide variety of opportunities for families to connect with one another.  In addition to your visits with our midwives, there are many classes and birth center events.

NOVA Birth Center

All of our birth classes and Midwife appointments are at NOVA BC so I will be seeing a lot of it!