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Blog

A collection of notes on the topics of classical Chinese, medicine, and traditional culture.
 

This blog is a collection of ruminations, translations, and personal opinions by Sabine and some guest authors. Reflecting my own personality, some posts are academic, some clinical, and some personal, some are excerpts from existing books and some may become part of future books. Please leave comments with feedback, questions, constructive criticism, and differences of opinion as long as you argue your reasons for disagreement logically. Any personal attacks, uncivil remarks, or self-promoting comments will be deleted.

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Posts tagged fertility
A Lactation Consultant's Perspective on Placenta Encapsulation

Guest blog by Sarah Hollister, RN, PHN, IBCLC: As a nurse and an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), I have the opportunity to work with nearly every pregnant woman and new mom and baby at a group of four primary care health centers in Northern California. I would like to share my experience, concerns and request for collaboration to closely examine the new practice of placenta encapsulation, as it has grown to become a component of the postpartum experience for the new moms who I work with and throughout the United States. I have encountered assumptions that placenta consumption increases milk production, is a prevention for postpartum depression, and has existed in history as an ancient human practice. I will provide a summary here of the work I do and what I have found with my clients involving this practice.

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Placentophagy and Chinese Medicine

Disclaimer: The following blog is merely a collection of notes and not a serious scientific research paper. There is obviously a pressing need for more research. My intention with this blog post is not to make any conclusive statements about the practice of placenta encapsulation or placentophagy, which I am not qualified to do anyway, but merely to offer the classical Chinese perspective as an urgently-needed correction to some misinformation promoted in popular and Chinese medicine circles. 

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Fertility and Gynecology - Biomedicine, Chinese Medicine, and Common Sense

Let me start  by quoting the obvious (from Sun Simiao’s  Bei Ji Qian Jin Yao Fang, vol. 5 on Pediatrics:

故今斯方先婦人、小兒而後丈夫、耆老者則是崇本之義也。

“Now the present collection of treatments is arranged by placing the treatments for women and children first, and those for husbands and the elderly afterwards. The significance of [this structure] is that it venerates the root.”

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How to Map the Classical Chinese "Ten Months of Pregnancy" onto the Biomedical System of Counting Gestational Age

In conclusion, the simple answer to the seemingly simple question on how to map modern gestational age to the ancient Chinese way of counting pregnancy in ten months is therefore anything but simple and frustratingly vague: While modern biomedicine begins counting the gestational age of the embryo or fetus from the ONSET of the last menstrual period, classical Chinese texts begin counting roughly a week later, ideally one or two days after the CONCLUSION of the last menstrual period. In other words, the first month of pregnancy in traditional China would start from what we count as the second week of gestational age, or a week before biomedicine would consider ovulation to have taken place. How exactly you translate this information into your clinical practice shall be left to your discretion.

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