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Entries in hormones (4)


November Salon Series: This Hormonal Life 2

When: Wednesday, November 6th from 7PM - 9PM
Location: Langton Labs 32 Langton St. SF, CA 94103
Just three blocks from Civic Center BART!
As always, light refreshments will be served.
Cost: Free
$5-$15 suggested donation for BADP, no one will be turned away for lack of funds
Accessibility: The space is wheelchair accessible (but the restroom does not have grab bars). Babes in arms are welcome. Please email salon_fund [at] bayareadoulaproject [dot] org or send us a note on facebook if you have any questions about accessibility. 

RSVP here on Facebook!

Tatiana will cover the incredible ways that hormones affect our health, mindset, and energy levels -- and the technologies that allow us to track them. 

The mass media story on our hormones is unfortunate. It focuses on PMS (read: weakness) as a central component of what makes us who we are. The real scoop is that for most of the month, hormones enhance our performance in predictable and measurable ways. If you feel like your hormones are a mystery that make you feel out-of-control rather than empowered, please join us for this talk.
Speaker Bio:
Tatiana Josephy lives in San Francisco and has built multiple successful apps that help women understand their hormones and fertility.

Notes From the Salon: All About The Placenta

- Sarah W., BADP Doula and Blogger

The final salon in the BADP’s series celebrating women’s history month was an unmitigated success.  The room was packed and so was the agenda, with scientific information, medicinal wisdom, a film screening, and even a real placenta. 

The evening’s presentations began with Barby Zeldovich, a researcher at UCSF studying women's health, who talked about what scientists have learned about the human placenta.  She said that pregnancy presents a paradox: “How do we carry and nourish a genetically distinct embryo/fetus?”  The old hypothesis was that pregnant individuals are immune-suppressed, but more recent research says this is not true.  A newer, better answer is that the problem is managed by the placenta.

Barby talked about how a layer of cells that will become the placenta has already formed on a fertilized egg by the time it reaches the uterus and how that placenta then invades the uterine wall, enabling the exchange of both nutrients and waste.

Adapted from Maltepe E, Bakardjiev AI et al. J. Clin. Invest. 2

A lot of pregnancy complications can be traced back to the point of placental implantation, including ectopic pregnancy, preeclampsia, intrauterine growth restriction, miscarriage, and preterm labor.  Barby’s research on how the placenta functions has demonstrated just how marvelous an organ it is, showing that the “placenta is an amazing barrier to infection.”

Barby’s talk was followed by Amber Dawn Hallet of Moon Belly Doula who spoke about placenta as medicine, which she joked is “the most fashionable form of cannibalism.”

Amber described how nearly all mammals eat their placentas after giving birth, even when it’s inconvenient or time-consuming to do so.  Nobody’s certain why mammals are so intent on eating their placentas, but Amber believes that they do it because the placenta’s hormonal make-up makes it so utterly beneficial for the mother’s health.

She described how she has observed that a mother hemorrhaging immediately postpartum can put a small piece of placenta inside her cheek and the hormones go into her body and immediately stop the bleeding. 

Amber offers a placenta encapsulation service, that turns a placenta into medicinal pills for mom.  As she put it, “after you give birth you have this giant bucket of vitality.” Rather than discarding it as hospitals do routinely, a mother can make use of its supply of iron and hormones for replenishing the body after giving birth, increasing milk supply, and decreasing postpartum depression. 

In addition to encapsulation, mothers wanting to consume their placentas sometimes also choose other ways such as stir-frying it, chopping it up and freezing it in an ice cube tray for smoothies, or making a tincture. 

The discussion of placenta as medicine was followed by a viewing of the birth film Birth Day including the supplemental section “La Placenta” in which midwife Naolí Vinaver Lopez delivers her own placenta and the family uses it to make an art print.

A placenta print by Kelly This created a fitting transition into the final activity of the evening.  Kelly produced a real placenta birthed less than two weeks before and a lot of sterile gloves and invited the audience to participate in a live demonstration of making art prints from placentas. 

The conclusion to the salon series could not have been more packed with useful information, good humor, creativity, and loving care.  A huge thank you is due to Liz Donnelly for all her work in coordinating this series.


Notes From the Salon: This Hormonal Life

- Sarah W., BADP Doula and Blogger

Did you know that a woman’s hormonal cycle can affect her productivity at work, skin health, sexual response, and much, much more?  If you attended “This Hormonal Life” last Wednesday then you know all that.

The event, which comfortably filled the Million Fishes Art Collective on Bryant Street in San Francisco’s Mission district, was the first of four salons celebrating Women’s History Month and raising much needed funds for the volunteer-run Bay Area Doula Project.Million Fishes Art Collective

Tatiana Josephy and Amber Dawn Hallet teamed up to create the fantastic multimedia presentation on women’s amazing hormonal cycles and how we can work with them when we educate ourselves about how our bodies work.

Tatiana, who founded TrueCycle and recently released the free iPhone app Hormone Horoscope talked about her own history of feeling disconnected from her body and how much it changed her life when she learned about how her hormones worked in her own cycle. 

Amber, a full-spectrum doula, had a similar sort of story of feeling disconnected from her own cycles while she was on the pill, and coming back to herself as she learned to experience those cycles.

So what happens during a woman’s hormonal cycle?  Many of us think of PMS and menses as the primary events, but both presenters encouraged women to think of ovulation as the central event. 

Amber discusses cervical fluidThe changing quality of cervical fluid is one of the best indicators we have to observe when ovulation is taking place, but most of us are never taught how to notice these or any other signs of ovulation.  Amber said that learning to read the signs “make[s] it possible for you to become very body-literate.”

Tatiana focused more on the effects of estrogen and progesterone, about which there is a lot of new research.  Sexual desire, pain threshold, productivity, creativity, metabolic rate, skin health, sleep cycles, and more are linked to these changes in hormonal levels.

 Tatiana said that it’s valuable to be able to live with an understanding of all these cycles and that she’s “able to see the world in a different way” now that she recognizes what’s happening. 

Tatiana and Amber described the information they shared as having both personal and political power.  The huge number of women who have spent at least part of their reproductive years on hormonal birth control have also spent that time disconnected from some of the valuable experiences of a fully functioning cycle, such as periods of pronounced extroversion and sexual desire.  Because of this disconnect, Tatiana questioned the narrative that links women’s liberation with the development of the pill, and she thinks there’s a movement coming that will reconnect women with their bodily cycles.The presenters recommended Taking Charge of Your Fertility

Amber stated, “I wish that women had more education, more body-literacy.”  The technologically savvy can get more information from True Cycle or Hormone Horoscope.  Both presenters also recommended the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility, for information on how to track cycles and use that knowledge for contraception or pregnancy achievement.

The next three salons on women’s reproductive health are also a great way to gain more knowledge about our own bodies.  Join us this week on March 14th @ 7pm for:


Orgasm Outside the Box

How do our preconceptions, relationships and emotional experiences influence our sexual and sensual experiences? Join us for engaging presentations and lively discussion on how two women are uncovering orgasms in unexpected spaces.

Shelby Devlin-Hailey is an erotic-fiction author with a background in Human Sexuality. She is currently researching the importance of sexual play in female communities as well as the emergence of bi-sexuality in heterosexual women. How Letting Go of Labels Can Improve Your Orgasms is an informal conversation about her current explorations.

Carrie Flemming is a hypnotherapist with a background in HypnoBirthing and reproductive justice, and an interest in expanding our perceptions of how we birth our humans. Illuminating the Intersections between Passion, Sexuality & Birth is an experiential talk bringing together women-centered birth wisdom, sensual birth stories and a deep relaxation experience to facilitate dialogue around the sensual and sexual possibilities of birth.

 Million Fishes Art Gallery

2501 Bryant Street, San Francisco, CA

$10-20 suggested donation. No one turned away for lack of funds.  All proceeds go to the Bay Area Doula Project 




Join us for a salon series on reproductive health

Here's a great way to meet some of the BADP doulas, support our organization's work, and celebrate Women's History Month:

Join us for a Salon series in honor of Women's History Month -- a month of thought-provoking, playful discussions on sex and the reproductive experience. Please share this with all your networks!

Million Fishes Art CollectiveEvery Wednesday night in March @7pm

Million Fishes Art Gallery,

2501 Bryant Street SF


March 7th: This Hormonal Life

March 14th: Orgasm Outside the Box

March 21st: What is a Full Spectrum Doula Anyway?

March 28th: The Science, Art and Eating of the Placenta


$10-20 suggested donation. 
No one turned away for lack of funds. 

All proceeds go to the Bay Area Doula Project.