Seaweed Instead of Sutures?!

I was amazed when I read the story on Midwifery Today’s website written by two birth professionals. Denise Gilpin-Blake, a licensed midwife and owner of Accouche Waterbirth Centers in Southern California, and Summer Elliott, a registered nurse and student midwife at the time the article was printed, explained { here } how they have integrated using seaweed instead of sutures for tears caused by vaginal delivery.

One of the women authors (presumably Denise, given that she was the licensed midwife at the time) also explains the situation that led her to originally try it. It fell back to a matter of necessity after the mother who had just delivered refused sutures for a second-degree tear. At that birth, which took place in 1986, she recalled a time when she had studied with a shaman on an Indian reservation. The shaman used seaweed to heal burns and deep lacerations. The new mother agreed to try that treatment and the next day the midwife was stunned at the healing that had taken place. Since that birth, she integrated it as an alternative to sutures regularly in her practice.

While a simple Google search of using seaweed for wound care will make light of this practice and call it just short of poppycock. I couldn’t help but notice a wound care dressing by Johnson and Johnson is a polysaccharide dressing derived from seaweed which at a price of around $20-$30 per 4 inch square. The indications for its use is to put it directly on the wound, and then to cover it to avoid it drying out. It apparently can also stop bleeding and creates an air tight water tight gel when it comes into contact with fluids from the wound.

I’m not suggesting you use seaweed yourself and this isn’t intended to be medical advice. I just thought it was fascinating. Any midwives in our community familiar with this treatment? Any moms ever been treated this way?

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