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.

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