Placental Thinking for Mother-Centred Birth


  • Nané Jordan


This essay forwards the notion of “mother-centred” birth by engaging with contemporary placenta practices in a North American context, as grown from the revival of midwifery-based care. As a midwifery advocate and birth scholar, I want to reevaluate “birth” as a central category for social philosophy and human thriving. I want to see respectful, compassionate care for mothers’ wellbeing and quality of experience become central to the birth-giving and postpartum period. Enacting social philosophy through placental thinking, I extend the literal and metaphoric power of placentas toward the empowerment of mothers. Placentas have a tree-like structure and relational design that is a literal and metaphorical tree of life— nourishing roots that gestate the earliest gifts of mothering. Placental thinking for mother-centred birth considers mothers to be at the centre of birth, and seeks to empower mothers by highlighting the importance of the lived qualities of mothers’ birth and postpartum experiences.

Author Biography

Nané Jordan

Dr. Nané Jordan is a birth-keeper, scholar, artist, community worker and mother who has been active in the midwifery and mother-centred birth movement for over 30 years, having worked as a home-birth apprentice in pre-regulation Canadian midwifery and as a postpartum doula. Nané completed a PhD in education at the University of British Columbia, and was a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow in women’s and gender studies at the University of Paris 8, France. She recently published the anthology Placenta Wit with Demeter Press, and continues her birth-based projects and writing on themes of mothering, midwifery, placentas, feminist art practices, women’s spirituality and goddess studies.


How to Cite

Jordan, N. (2018). Placental Thinking for Mother-Centred Birth. Journal of the Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement, 9(2). Retrieved from