Friday, December 28, 2012



Placentophagy (from 'placenta' + Greek φαγειν, to eat) is the act of mammals eating the placenta of their young after giving birth.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Benefits of Placenta Encapsulation

There are many benefits of placenta encapsulation or placentophagy. While each woman's experience is unique, you may experience:

  • decreased incidence of postpartum baby blues
  • increased milk supply
  • elevated amounts of energy
  • decreased fatigue
  • decreased bleeding time
  • faster shrinkage of the uterus
  • replacement of hormones and nutrients lost during birth
  • a gentle transition into life as a new mom

For more complete information, please visit the benefits page on my website. . .

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Vegetarianism and Placenta Encapsulation

If You are a vegetarian and considering encapsulating your placenta, you may be wondering if this is an acceptable practice due to your health convictions or food preferences. I wanted to give my take on this today.

I will start by saying I am a strict vegetarian, not vegan, and I feel it is perfectly acceptable to encapsulate your placenta. I have also encapsulated the placentas of other vegetarians and some vegans, who made the exception to consume their placentas. This will be a personal choice for you and there is not a right or wrong choice, but let's explore the potential issues.

Why are you a vegetarian? This is the main deciding factor. Here's the possible reasons I am aware of...

1. Health concerns or benefits of not eating meat

Recent studies have shown excessive meat consumption can be harmful to our health. Meat consumption should according to the research be kept at a minimum of only several times a week and viewed more of as a condiment than an essential nutrient. I agree with this stance as it is documented and thoroughly well researched in the book Eat to Live.

Placenta encapsulation is not typical meat consumption however. It replaces vital nutrients that are lost during birth. The hormonal and nutritional makeup of the placenta is different than any other type of meat, and while the placenta looks once cooked like a medium sized steak, it is actually an organ. It is also not excessive consumption as it's only a specific amount that's gone once you run out and lasts only a short time. The studies on meat consumption are purposed to include meat eating on a long term basis, not short term as in consuming the placenta.

2. Quality of the meat available in the U.S.

Yes, there are still some good sources of meat available, but they are becoming more and more slim. Organic or grass fed meat or wild caught fish are harder to purchase in regular grocery stores and often cost more. It takes effort to find good sources of meat, an effort some are willing to choose to forgo altogether. This is a main reason why I choose not to eat meat. I worry over the quality and what I'm putting into my body.

This is obviously not a concern with placenta encapsulation. You know where your placenta came from and while you may have some concerns over bacteria in the placenta ( or if it stores toxins (, it's not the same issue as the state of our farmed meat and how the animals are treated.

3. It's not necessary to eat meat to get enough protein, so you'd rather not

Yes, this is true and one of the best reasons why being vegetarian is a healthful diet choice. You would not be, however, choosing to encapsulate your placenta due to protein intake. This is not one of the benefits of placenta encapsulation (for benefits: With all the benefits of encapsulation, there are very compelling reasons for vegetarians to consider encapsulating their placentas.

4. Don't feel an animal should die for your food or don't want to support how the animals are currently treated

I personally feel this is great reasoning for being a vegetarian. I share both convictions. The state of how our farmed animals are cared for is appalling and eating meat and purchasing meat products supports and encourages these practices. As humans who are charged with caring for the creatures of the earth, I do not feel this is acceptable. I also feel that in our society if meat consumption is not only not necessary for health, but may potentially be unhealthier, I believe that it is not necessary for an animal to die simply because I would like to eat it. This is why I choose to forgo eating dead animal flesh.

The placenta is different however as it was arguably designed for consumption, evidenced by every mammal, besides the camel and most humans, consuming placenta following birth. No animals are harmed nor have to die during placenta encapsulation. Also, be sure your specialist uses vegetarian capsules inside of gelatin made capsules.

5. Simply don't enjoy meat

This is why I initially stopped eating meat. I didn't like it and got tired of forcing myself to eat it. I have never once missed it. I occasionally only miss certain condiments, particularly tartar sauce. Meat has always somewhat grossed me out. It had to be cooked nearly burnt for me to eat it. I couldn't cut it myself or cook it myself and actually eat it. It just made sense for me to explore vegetarianism as an adult. So, I can admit, eating meat grosses me out. So did the thought of eating my own placenta, and I probably won't be consuming it raw or making smoothies with it the next time. I probably won't be frying it up to make a stew out of or serving it cooked in a lasagna. I think all of these ideas are kind of cool once I warmed up to them, but being vegetarian, I just don't need to.

This is why encapsulation is so brilliant. If eating meat grosses you out, this is the perfect solution. You don't have to prepare it yourself or taste it. You get all the benefits, but don't have to feel grossed out. Encapsulation is also preferred because it lasts longer than consuming it all at once in a smoothie or other recipe. You spread out the capsules over a period of weeks and can feel the benefits over an extended period of time.

As you can see from the reasons I've outlined above, while being vegetarian or vegan certainly has many valid reasoning, there's also valid reasoning for a vegetarian to explore placenta encapsulation. The common reasons for choosing vegetarianism don't extend to the placenta, making it an acceptable practice probably for most vegetarians or vegans.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Placenta: It's What's For Dinner

If you haven't read the Time magazine article about placenta encapsulation that was published several years ago, I am posting a link to it today. It's entertaining and one of the most popular articles about encapsulation.

Do yourself a favor and read it!,9171,1908442,00.html


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Thinking of the Recent Connecticut Shootings

I just wanted to take a moment to acknowledge the families of the recent Connecticut school shootings. Our thoughts and prayers are with them. There's a beautiful poem circulating on Facebook and I wanted to repost it here.

Twas' 11 days before Christmas,
Around 9:38
When 20 beautiful children stormed through heaven's gate. Their smiles were contagious, their laughter filled the air.
They could hardly believe all the beauty they saw there.
They were filled with such joy, they didn't know what to say. They remembered nothing
of what happened earlier that day.
"Where are we?"
Asked a little girl,
as quiet as a mouse.
"This is Heaven".
Declared a small boy.
"We're spending Christmas at Gods house."
When what to their wondering eyes did appear,
But Jesus, their savior, the children gathered near.
He looked at them
and smiled,
and they smiled just the same.
Then he opened his arms and he called them by name.
And in that moment,
There was joy,
That only heaven can bring
Those children all flew
Into the arms of their king
And as they lingered in the warmth of his embrace,
One small girl turned to
Jesus's face.
And as if he could read all the questions she had
He gently whispered to her, "I'll take care of mom and dad."
Then he looked down on earth, the world far below
He saw all of the hurt,
The sorrow,
And woe
Then he closed his eyes and he outstretched his hand,
"Let my power and presence re-enter this land."
"May this country be delivered from the hands of fools"
"I'm taking back my nation. I'm taking back my schools."
Then he and the children stood up without a sound.
"Come now my children, let me show you around."
Excitement filled the space, some skipped and some ran.
All displaying enthusiasm that only a small child can.
And I heard him proclaim as he walked out of sight,
"In the midst of this darkness, I am still the light."

Thanks for That Placenta!

Can't say I've heard this from my kids yet!

Monday, December 17, 2012

How Does Group Beta Strep (GBS) Affect Placenta Encapsulation

Another common question I get asked is how having Group Beta Strep, also known as GBS, present in the vaginal track during delivery affects encapsulation of the placenta.

With up to a third of women testing positive for GBS near the time of birth, the good news is a woman can still safely encapsulate her placenta for postpartum use even if she tests positive. In this case, the Traditional Chinese Method should be used because the steaming process will kill any GBS the placenta may pick up as it makes the trek down the birth canal. In this case, the Raw method of encapsulation would be contraindicated.

Another concern of women is the antibiotics that are used to treat GBS during labor and how the capsules maybe affected. The amount of antibiotics filtered by the placenta that remain in the placenta at birth in unknown, however, many women have still encapsulated their placentas following antibiotics use without any adverse effects.

Another bit of good news is that the medication used most commonly to treat GBS is Penicillin. Penicillin has a very short half life, which means that it gets eliminated by the body more quicker than many medications. Your body won't be holding onto the Penicillin with more and more adding up at every dose. Your body will be actively getting it out of your system, which more than likely means any amount in the placenta at birth will be relatively minimal.

Birth Day

In honor of my daughter's birthday that we recently celebrated. :)

Friday, December 14, 2012

Will Getting An Epidural Affect My Placenta Capsules?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions I receive. I don't hide the fact that I am not an epidural fan, but I do think this is a valid question.

There's not enough research to determine how much of the epidural is processed by the placenta, and how much of it reaches the baby. We do know that babies are certainly affected by the epidural, such as affecting the newborn's sucking reflex for breastfeeding and making a baby more sleepy, so it would naturally make sense that some of the medication reaches the baby, but by what route?

The epidural medication is put into the epidural space near the spine. It is not injected into the bloodstream, that would be a huge no-no! So, does some of it get picked up by the bloodstream? It's not supposed to, but there are many who feel it does. I personally am undecided. If the medication does not get into a mother's bloodstream, how does it get to the baby and affect the baby? This is where I feel more research is needed because we simply don't have an answer.

Even though science is not quite there, we do not treat an epidural as a contraindication to having your placenta encapsulated. The truth is that most of my clients do get an epidural during labor. An epidural does not seem to decrease the benefits of the encapsulation, and I have never heard of even one complication from taking placenta capsules.

If there is a small chance that some of the epidural medication is lingering in the placenta when the encapsulation takes place, the benefits of the encapsulation process remain, and therefore should not stop a woman from choosing her method of pain relief and still encapsulating her placenta as desired.

I will make one small note though that while every woman has a right to choose how she wants her birth to go, it truly is so much more amazing, better for the mom and baby, if a woman chooses to forgo the epidural and have a completely natural labor. It can be done and it is incredible! I have never heard anyone who had a planned, relaxed natural birth regret it, but I have heard plenty of epidural horror stories and even have one of my own. Do your research first!

Who Will Know The Strength of Our Love?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

How Am I Doing?

Well, this blog is certainly starting to get a decent number of hits since I started it several months ago.

So, I thought I'd ask, how am I doing?

What topics did you enjoy the most? What would you like to see more of? What information has been most helpful? Feel free to leave me a note about what you thought.

Feedback is very much appreciated!

Beautiful Birth Quote

Birth, like love, is an energy and a process, happening within a relationship. Both unfold with their own timing, with a uniqueness that can never be anticipated, with a power that can never be controlled, but with an exquisite mystery to be appreciated.” ~  Elizabeth Noble

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

How Long Do the Capsules Typically Last

Many clients wonder just how long their "happy pills" will last them throughout their postpartum? Here's my best guess if you were wondering too.

Most placentas yield between 100-150 capsules with a good average for a full term placenta being about 130.

We recommend taking 2 capsules about 2 times a day, more or less as you feel you need. There is not a wrong way to take the capsules!

Therefore, the average amount of capsules is going to last about 4-5 weeks postpartum if you maintain that same dosage throughout. Some moms use more capsules in the beginning and then taper off as needed. Some moms have some capsules left over and freeze them for special circumstances such as a stressful event or even menopause.

Since the amount of capsules is variable and the amount taken per day will vary amongst women, each women will have a different length of time hers lasts, but I do believe 4 to 5 weeks is a good estimate.

Enjoy those Happy Pills!

Where is it Safer to Birth?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Making Placenta Smoothies

Placenta smoothies can be a great option for the first 48 hours postpartum. They can give an infusion of energy and vitality to the new mother. After 48 hours postpartum, it is best, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine, to consume the placenta is encapsulated form.

Please see previous post about the Raw vs. Traditional methods of encapsulating here:

To make a placenta smoothie, save a small chunk (about 2" to 3" in diameter). It should be placed in a blender with the other ingredients you wish to use. You can use virtually any other ingredients you wish, there are no right and wrong ways to make a placenta smoothie. Many women prefer fruit, and if you use strawberries, it will mask the color of the placenta (if so much red makes you feel a little squeamish). Blend until smooth and enjoy immediately.

It is good to be aware that having the smoothie will provide immediate benefits, however, it will also decrease the amount of capsules available in the postpartum weeks. In my experience, it decreases the capsules by about 20-25 capsules. That is about 1/5 of the capsules a typical full term placenta yields.

Brag About Your Uterus

Birth Quotes

Attending births is like growing roses. You have to marvel at the ones that just open up and bloom at the first kiss of the sun but you wouldn’t dream of pulling open the petals of the tightly closed buds and forcing them to blossom to your time line. 
~ Gloria Lemay

The power and intensity of your contractions cannot be stronger than you, because it IS YOU.
~ Unknown

Monday, December 10, 2012

Can I Have A Lotus Birth If I Encapsulate My Placenta?

A lotus birth is a ceremony honoring the connection between baby and placenta and allows baby a gentle separation into the world. During a lotus birth, the placenta is left attached to the baby, allowing for a natural separation in the several days that follow. The placenta is typically salted to aid it in drying out more quickly.

A traditional lotus birth is not compatible with placental encapsulation as it renders the placenta unfit for consumption.

There are two alternative options, in which case, benefits could be obtained from each method.

The first option is to leave the baby attached to the placenta for up to four hours, allowing the baby a gentle transition. The cord could then be cut at that time, and the placenta refrigerated. It is important not to leave the placenta out of the refrigerator for more than four hours. Also, the placenta should not be salted in this circumstance.

The second option would be to cut the portion of the placenta you intend to encapsulate and place it in the refrigerator. The rest of the placenta could then be followed through with the lotus birth ceremony. You would not, however, have full benefits of either method with this option. You would end up with less placenta capsules, no cord keepsake, and not a full lotus birth. However, if both a lotus birth and encapsulating your placenta is important to you, this could be a viable solution.

Give Ryan Gosling a Break, Bring In Patrick Dempsey

Friday, December 7, 2012

Optimal Timeline for Encapsulation

Ideal Timeline: 
Birth - 3 hours3 hours - 48 hours
You can prepare the placenta fresh. It will hold the most benefits at this point.You can prepare the placenta fresh, as long as it's been refrigerated.

Alternate Timeline:
If placenta can not be prepared within first 48 hours
48 hours - 2 weeks2 weeks - 4 weeksAfter a month
Double-bag placenta and freeze within first 24 hours of the birth. Thaw in the refrigerator (takes about 24 hours) prior to encapsulation.Placenta may still be encapsulated, however the longer it is in the freezer the less effective it may be to the mother.The placenta may be at risk for freezer burn and the longer its stored in the freezer, the less benefit it has to the mother.

If The World Doesn't End

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Does the Placenta Store Toxins?

This is a very valid questions and one I hear often. Women who have had to take some type of medication during their pregnancy are often worried if they'll be getting the dosage again if they ingest their placenta. This has lead me to research this area, and I'd like to share my findings.

The placenta acts as a filter for toxins, keeping potentially harmful substances from the baby. The placenta does not typically store the toxins. The toxins the placenta filters are sent back through the mother's bloodstream to be removed by the body's mechanisms.

This is good news for mothers considering encapsulating their placentas for consumption. Medications taken during pregnancy and any other toxins exposed to the placenta do not remain indefinitely in the placenta.

One thing that can be stored in the placenta is heavy metals, just the same as heavy metals are stored in our own bodies, which is what makes them so detrimental to health. Most people are not exposed to heavy metals in such a degree that I would consider the risk of having some heavy metals in the placenta to outweigh the benefits of ingesting the placenta after delivery. However, mothers who smoked during their pregnancies will have exposed themselves to more heavy metals than the average woman, and in these circumstances, ingesting the placenta may not be appropriate.

I Am Doula

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Traditional Chinese Method Vs. Raw Encapsulation

There are two methods of preparation for placenta encapsulation. My hope here is to give a brief description of both including my preference of when to use one over the other.

Raw placental encapsulation is less popular than the Traditional Chinese Method. In fact, I don't typically offer this method of preparation in my business, unless a client feels strongly about this method. There are several reasons why this method is favorable to some. People with a raw food approach like this method because it leaves out the steaming process and goes straight to the dehydration of the placenta. The belief behind this method of preparation is that by choosing not to steam it, essential nutrients are not damaged due to the steaming. The placenta is then not heated over 118 degrees F and the integrity of the nutrients is left intact.

This is not the method I prefer for several reasons. I believe the steaming process included as part of the encapsulation has specific benefits. Firstly, there is bacteria in the vaginal tract that the placenta will contact as it is birthed. Some women test positive for Group Beta Strep, a particular kind of bacteria that can cause illness to the mother or the baby. Also, there is an issue of some babies who pass meconium, the first stool, while still in the womb. When these issues are present, raw preparation should not be used. If the placenta is steamed, any bacteria present would be killed, and it is a safe method of preparation for any issues that may arise.

The Traditional Chinese method of preparation is based on thousands of years of ancient wisdom. The Chinese have very specific beliefs about warming and cooling methods of the body. Childbirth is a cooling or yin process for the body because once the baby leaves the womb, it leaves a lot of open space. Raw placenta is considered very cool and therefore, in the Chinese philosophy, not suitable for long term use postpartum. This is why the process of steaming and warming herbs are added to aid the the warming of the body with yang energy to bring the body back into balance.

I do not believe essential nutrients are lost during the steaming process. Raw foodists believe proteins are denatured when food is heated. I don't believe this is necessarily the same for the vitamins and hormones that are in the placenta. What I do know, however, is that when using the TCM method, the benefits women experience are no less than women who use the raw method. The TCM method yields many benefits and I do not believe the effectiveness is diminished in any way. I believe the steaming process is an important component to the preparation process.

While I don't favor the raw method, there is some benefit in immediately (within several hours to a day) consuming small pieces of raw placenta, either fresh or frozen. Tinctures are also beneficial and are made from raw placenta. Raw placenta can help in the immediate postpartum hours to revitalize and increase energy. It also helps decrease the chance of a postpartum hemorrhage. It is thought, however, not to be used in the long term, which is one of the reasons why encapsulation is so popular.

If you would like more information on this subject, here are two references I used and enjoyed:


Interesting Article

I enjoyed reading this article, so I thought I would share if you're interested.

It's about the growing trend of encapsulation and is well written.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Funny Birth Poem

Sharing from The Birthing Site... unknown author. Reads like Green Eggs and Ham. Cute!

Can I labor over there?
Can I labor on the chair?
No! No labor over there!
Don’t labor on the chair!
Sit there, sit there, you will see,
You must labor with this IV!
I do not like this sharp IV!
I need to move, to dance, to pee!
Doctor, Doctor, let me be;
Say, get your pesky hands off me!
No! You can’t move, or dance, or pee!
You must labor with this IV!
Not over there, not on the chair,
Not with the ball, you’ll have a fall!
Can I labor with a doula?
Can I use some calendula?
Can I labor on hands and knees?
Can I birth just how I please?
No! Not with a doula! No – what’s calendula?
Lay back, lay back, count to ten,
Breathe – he he hoo – push again!
No thank you, doctors, nurse, and crew,
I’ll go and labor without you.
I’ll labor here, I’ll labor there!
In the shower – everywhere!
I’ll labor standing, squatting, sitting
I’ll labor on my couch while knitting!
I’ll have a doula – I’ll have three!
They’ll let me eat and bring me tea.
Try them! Try them! You will see!
You can go shove that darn IV.

Slippery Slope of Intervention

Friday, October 19, 2012

Care and Keeping of Placentas For Ingestion

Little thought is often given to the placenta, unless it is going to be prepared for ingestion. If this is the case, the placenta will require attention and care to ensure it is suitable for ingestion. As soon as the decision is made to utilize the placenta for postpartum recovery, it becomes a food item and must be treated as such.

After birth, the placenta should be placed in a food safe container. If you're birthing in the hospital, they will give you a special container for it. If you're birthing at home, you should have either a special bowl or several gallon zip lock bags set aside for the placenta.

I've had placentas given to me to prepare wrapped in towels or chux pads. This is not an appropriate container for the placenta.

After birth, the placenta needs to be refrigerated as soon as possible. If you plan to birth in the hospital, bring a small cooler with you and have the nurses put ice in it once the placenta is born. The placenta can stay on ice in the cooler for up to 12 hours, but the sooner it gets in the fridge, the better. If you choose to birth at home, put the placenta in the fridge as soon as possible.

The preparation process of the placenta should ideally begin within the first 24 hours after the placenta is birthed. If the process is begun within 48-72 hours after birth, that is still okay, but the potency of the capsules may be lessened. I recommend that if the placenta preparation process cannot begin within 72 hours, then the placenta should be frozen to retain maximum freshness and can be thawed before the process begins.

You're placenta encapsulation specialist should give you any additional information specific to your situation to ensure your placenta remains edible.

For a great article on the subject, visit

Birth Quote

"Childbirth is a profound experience in a woman's life in which she is transformed into a mother and learns how to bond with and care for her offspring. For most women, it need not be a medical procedure."

~ Sheila Kitzinger

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Should I Let My Placenta Be Encapsulated In The Specialist's Home?

As placenta encapsulation is a growing trend, more women are wondering about the etiquette of having their placenta encapsulated. Since this is a newer trend, industry standards amongst various specialists is not too well established, yet hopefully over time, women will come to know what to look for in a professional specialist.

An issue arising amongst encapsulation specialists is the desire to complete the encapsulation process in their own home. Therefore, many women are faced with the question of whether or not they should allow their placenta to be encapsulated somewhere other than their home.

I discourage this practice. I understand the appeal for other specialists. Of course, it's easier to do the encapsulation in your own home. Many specialists are other moms who do this as a small side business. It can be a pain to get child care. It's more convenient to be in your home, but that's not the point. The point is that a service is being offered, and that service needs to be professional. If you can't make the commitment to be available to do the encapsulation in an environment that is best for everyone, then don't offer the service.

Another thing some specialists are doing is offering their services at a reduced rate if the client allows the process to take place in their own home. This encourages the client to be persuaded to do something they may not feel completely comfortable with just to save some money. Yes, it can be tempting and the specialist knows this.

I would encourage women who want to have their placentas encapsulated to seek out a specialist who will come to their home and insist on this professionalism. Most professionally trained specialists should be willing to keep this an industry standard for the health and safety of all involved. This is something you're going to be ingesting into your body and you want to ensure it's quality. There are no standardized measures of quality at this point and no governing body to make sure you're getting what you should be getting. This is why you want it done in your home. You can watch the process. You can have the specialist explain to you the process. You can make sure you are comfortable with the quality of service she provides. You'll know exactly what is in your capsules. You'll know it is definitely your own placenta, prepared properly. You can ensure the cleanliness of your kitchen and the sanitation process the specialist uses. While there is no true industry standard, many specialists will be trained and certified in proper food handling, which is an exam you study for and take to become certified. OSHA also has standards of sanitation and the handling of body fluids. A professional specialist should be familiar with both.

I believe in this process so strongly that I feel it is important to offer a quality professional level of service. I want women to feel confident in the services I provide since this is a new process for many women. I would hope other specialists feel the same, but it may be up to women in some circumstances to expect and demand this level of service. Moving forward in the future, this is my hope to see.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Risks (and Common Occurrences) of A Cesarean

While I've been at it sounding the risks of the epidural, I thought why not go ahead and comment of the risks of a C section. It should be noted, however, that while maternal death may be a more rare and drastic risk, many of the others on this list are expected outcomes.  Enjoy!

Accidental surgical cuts to the baby, surgical mistakes, complications from anesthesia, infections, blood clots, hemorrhage, rupture of the uterus, emergency hysterectomy, pain at the site of the cut, internal pain, long-term pain at site of wound, chronic pelvic pain, chronic bowel obstruction, decreased sex drive, poor overall functioning, poor birth experience, psychological trauma, less early contact with baby, unfavorable reaction to baby, failure to breastfeed, lack of bonding with baby, postpartum depression, longer stay in hospital, a need to return to hospital from complications, longer recovery time, greater risk of complications in future births, likelihood for future Cesareans, infertility, low fetal birth weight, preterm birth, malformation, placental abruption, fetal drowsiness, reduced mobility, respiratory problems, poor fetal breathing, childbirth asthma, adulthood asthma, and maternal death. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Risks of an Epidural

In light of my recent post about the meningitis issue surrounding epidurals and other medications (see post here), I wanted to post a list of complications that can happen from epidural use. I feel that not only does an epidural potentially rob a woman of a significant part of her birth experience (not to say you can't have a good experience with an epidural, but it does take away part of the experience and if you have experienced both, you know what I mean), the epidural is also extremely overused and an expected part of labor in our country. Many women do not think twice before they get an epidural, and hospitals certainly do not give truly informed consent. Therefore, it's up to women to question epidural use and educate themselves. Epidurals should not be taken lightly and women should know the risks. Without further ado, here they are:

Toxic drug reaction, rash, itchiness, fever, allergic shock, infection, severe headache, nausea, frequent vomiting, frequent shivering, difficulty breathing, unconsciousness, convulsions, septic meningitis, fecal and urinary incontinence, bladder catheterization, bacterial meningitis, hypotension (can lead to emergency C-section), seizures, trauma, prolonged labor, weaker uterine contractions, inability to push baby out, increased likelihood of augmentation via Pitocin, increased likelihood of instrumental delivery, increased likelihood of episiotomy, increased likelihood of C-section, misplacement of the epidural catheter, accidental injection of anesthetic into the blood stream, post epidural headache, feelings of emotional detachment, decreased maternal-infant bonding, fetal drowsiness, fetal allergic reaction, fetal respiratory insufficiency, fetal distress, fetal hyperthermia, abnormal fetal heart rate, neonatal jaundice, poor fetal muscle strength, death of the baby, increased likelihood of post-partum depression, neurological complications, permanent nerve damage, chronic back pain, chronic migraines, chronic tingling sensation, prolonged numbness in lower limbs, chronic bladder dysfunction, loss of sensation and sexual function, damage to spinal cord, paraplegia, cardiac arrest, and maternal death.

It should also be noted that many of these risks are not remote possibilities, many of them are expected outcomes. 

If you'd like more information on the hidden risk of epidurals, check out this great article:

Is This What the Hospital Will Think?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Placenta Poem


At the beginning of your world, I was part of you.
Made of the same luminous fabric, flesh of your flesh, of our father and mother’s being.
As we grew, we were separated but united. I fed you, breathed for you, 
became a pathway for the flushing currents of our mother’s blood.
As you slept, I was your cradle and your guard; when you awoke I was your companion.
Together for that last day I leashed you the very limits of our linking line before
releasing you to the touch of others – lovers, yes – but surely none will hold
you as nearly, as sweetly or as softly as I did.
As our connection was severed you wept for me once, then were gone.

Carry me deep in your heart as you bury me in the soil of our home, for I am the earth of your making.

placenta earth
Kate Alice 2002

Whenua is a Maori (New Zealand) word meaning both land-environment, and placenta.


What Gave Me Away

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Could Getting an Epidural Give You Meningitis?

As if getting an epidural needed even more cause for concern, the FDA is now expanding its list of recall medications to include epidural medications as an outbreak of meningitis continues to expand. Experts state the number affected has reached 47 people, though authorities are still investigating what type of fungus has caused the outbreak. So far 34 different types of medications have made the list, all being administered by being injected into the spine. There are seven states affected so far, which include Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland, Florida, Indiana, and Michigan.This outbreak has caused the deaths of five people.

If you have gotten an epidural since July 1, 2012, health authorities state it is important to watch for potential symptoms of meningitis including worsening headache, fever, stiff neck, trouble walking or falling, and progressing back pain.

You can reference the full article as well as the full list of recalled medications here:

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday to me! Today is my birthday and so I am taking a day off from all things placenta. Look for another post tomorrow!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Twin Placentas

I have yet to have the honor of encapsulating a twin placenta, and someday when one comes along, I will be sure to post my own pictures. Until then, here is a great resource with excellent pictures if you feel curious about seeing what a twin placenta looks like.

There are great pictures of a twin placenta, the maternal side, the fetal side, how the umbilical cords are arranged, the amniotic sac, the layers of the amniotic sac: the chorion and amnion. It is pretty fascinating!

Water Birth Art

Gosh, isn't this beautiful?

Friday, October 5, 2012

Eating Your Own Placenta: Priceless

Placenta Found to Contain Marker for Autism Risk

Researchers have found the placenta may contain a marker for autism. They found that placentas with unusual folds trap a certain type of cell called trophoblasts. These trappings can be seen via microscope and are called inclusions. Researchers have found children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder have more than three times the amount of inclusions versus children who aren't. This research could be utilized as an early detection tool once more research in this area has been completed.

You can read the full article here:

I think that even if this research were to become a tool for early detection, I still feel it is important to remember that autism, like all disorders of the body, are multi-faceted. They often have multiple causes and multiple treatments. This is why western medicine fails so miserably at curing many conditions because there simply isn't a pill or drug that can be taken to fix every problem. Autism more than likely has more than one cause, especially since each person is so individual, and the key will be addressing the cause for each person. Of course, this research shows how important the placenta is becoming as we find out more information about it. But I don't believe for a second that all cases of autism can be linked simply directly to the placenta. We also know autism is linked to allergies. It is more than likely linked to vaccines. So, while this research may prove worthwhile and having a healthy placenta is certainly important, it may turn out that not all cases of autism will be able to be detected from the placenta and early diagnosis is not at all the same as a cure.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Placenta Prints

At some point, I would like to give a tutorial on how to make placenta prints, but until I do that, I have found a great article on how to make good prints of the placenta.

Depending what you choose to use to make the print, you can still have your placenta encapsulated! The best medium to use is the actual blood from the placenta. You can also use foods such as crushed blueberries. The main medium you do not want to use if you do intend to have your placenta encapsulated, however if you are not at all considering having your placenta encapsulated then paint can turn out very lovely placenta prints.

Prairie Midwife

This picture is really inspirational to me. This is what midwives stood for and I believe shows why we really need them.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Ryan Gosling Hey Girl

Virginia Di Orio Birth Quote

" Just as a woman's heart knows how and when to pump, her lungs to inhale, and her hand to pull back from fire, so she knows how and when to give birth." Virginia Di Orio

Beautiful Natural Birth

I found a birth video yesterday that was so moving, I had to share. Please visit the birth video here:

Her birth is so quick and effortless, and I feel it is so important for women to see this other side of what birth can be like. The video comes on a great website about natural birthing.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Placenta Article

I found a good article on the placenta that I wanted to pass along.

This article gives information on what the placenta is, why it is special, and what you can do with it after birth. There's also references to how other cultures respect the placenta. It's quite a good overview.

Paid Maternity Leave?

Obviously, our economy has bigger problems than paid maternity leave, but it certainly is telling where our priorities lie, isn't it? Why don't we value the postpartum period as a society? There are so many countries doing so much better than we are at pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. Come on, America, isn't it time we change?

Friday, September 28, 2012

Beautiful Birth Art

Birth Pain for Babies

I read a great article this morning over at Peaceful Parenting... I consider this article more of an opinion since there were no references of studies listed, but it is definitely an interesting consideration.

The article maintains that not only do epidurals affect babies, it may actually make birth more painful for them. I will admit, in all my research of natural birth I had never come across this or even considered it, but the author does make some convincing points. I have observed the effects of the epidural on babies, such as making them more sluggish, but I had never considered whether or no the baby felt pain during labor. It does make sense that the baby would feel pain to some degree, especially since babies sometimes come out bruised or with a broken clavicle, and if you've ever watched a forceps or vacuum extraction, I'm sure the baby feels something from that!

This article points out that mothers and babies alike produce a brain chemical called beta endorphin, which is produced as a result of painful sensations, and this chemical is actually designed to help cope with the pain. Mother and baby both produce this brain opiate, but mother does pass some to the baby through the placenta. When mother gets an epidural, she no longer has pain sensations and therefore, stops production on beta endorphin. The effects on the baby are then decreased beta endorphin to help manage birth pains, in which the baby feels increased pain. Since epidurals effect a mother differently than the baby, the mother gets relief from pain, while the baby does not.

I think this is a very interesting consideration, however, I would love to see some research on this before I jump in with both feet. I think there should also be more research on how epidurals effect babies in general and also how epidurals affect mother and baby bonding, which the article does touch base on a bit. Without this research, I feel we can only speculate, though the article does raise an interesting concern. As mothers, if we knew the epidural was going to increase our babies pain, wouldn't we think twice about getting one?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Placenta: The Gift of Life Book Review

Placenta: The Gift of Life by Cornelia Enning is really the only book of its kind. This book is chuck full of interesting facts about the placenta and specifically addresses the history of the placenta.

The author also explains medical uses of the placenta by country. Did you know the Chinese have been using the placenta for remedies for over 1,400 years? The United States was the only country that doesn't recognize any type of placenta medicine. It's sad really and hopefully in the future, this will change. I believe it has begun to.

Medical applications of the placenta are also discussed such as breastfeeding, newborn colic, childhood diseases, heart and circulatory system diseases, hair loss, scalp conditions, menopause, and midlife crisis.

The best part of the book is definitely the recipes for various remedies. There is discussion in the book on how to preserve the placenta and there are recipes for placenta ghee, placenta ointment, placenta, tincture, placenta bath, a lactation drink, placenta soup, placenta cream, and much more. There is a section on how to encapsulate the placenta, but from my knowledge I did find it a bit lacking. There were important steps I felt that were missed and the instructions are not detailed enough. Some of the other recipes, however, were wonderful.

If you're looking to learn more about the placenta, this is a great book to start. It's a quick read, but filled with information, and you'll walk away wiser from it.

Willy Wonka

Sorry the text is a little cut off, but you can get the idea. Too funny!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Do It Yourself Placenta Encapsulation

I just wanted to take a moment today to address those who are considering encapsulating their placentas themselves. This is not a tutorial. Rather this is a look at the pros and cons of doing it yourself and really this is a post about the value of service placenta encapsulation specialists offer.

I will start by saying that if you are very set on doing your placenta yourself, then there is no reason why you cannot. There are, however, many things to consider.

The first thought is figuring out how to do it. I do not provide training, and the only training institute that I can endorse that I know will give proper training is The training program will cost you over $200. As far as I have been able to determine, the internet is a poor guide on how to actually do an encapsulation properly, which is why I forked over the money to learn properly. There are several tutorials online that I have found that tried to show how to do the encapsulation, yet they leave out important steps to preserve the integrity of the capsules once they are finished. If you go through the whole process, you want your capsules to last!

The next thought I have is the cost of supplies. I spent somewhere between $200- $300 on the supplies. Of course, I do this professionally, so I got good stuff. I could see someone reasonably spending about $100 on the supplies given that they have some of the essentials already at home, but not much less than that. Also, some of the supplies are not able to be purchased individually, so you pay for more than you need and will have a lot left over. There's also an issue of figuring out all the supplies you will need and making sure you have all of it by the time you need it. If you pay for the above training course, you will get a supply list.

There is a great book about placentas by Cornelia Enning called Placenta: The Gift of Life. This book does have great placenta recipes, but it doesn't really give a good tutorial on how to do a placenta encapsulation. It also costs around $26. It's a good resource and has lots of interesting information, but it won't teach you how to encapsulate. I just thought I'd mention that since that was originally why I bought the book.

There's also the consideration that you have only one placenta. How important are the placenta capsules to you? If you don't mind that they might not turn out right, then maybe paying for the service isn't right for you. But for the woman that this is really important to, important enough to gather supplies, learn how to do it, commit to and make time to do it, and then not have the capsules turn out how you want, this is something you need to consider. A professionally trained specialist is going to be able to make sure your pills are done properly and turn out right. They're also able to ensure that the placenta is encapsulated in such a way that preserves the integrity of it, which will maximize the benefits the capsules give.

Another consideration is the time frame in which the encapsulation needs to be performed. Ideally, the process should be started within 24 hours. This ensures maximum freshness. Within 48-72 hours is still okay, but the benefits experienced may not be as numerous or as enhanced. For many women, this time frame simply isn't going to be feasible. Most women are more interested in their new baby and also need the time to recover. Also, since the majority of women give birth in the hospital, rushing to be home in this time frame and fighting fatigue and exhaustion and a desire to be with your new baby to get the placenta encapsulated simply doesn't make sense. If you have a C section, due to the length of the hospital stay and the time needed to recover, there is no way to encapsulate within this time frame.

I don't wish to make it sound as though you can't encapsulate your own placenta. If you have the desire, you can do it, so long as you know the considerations. There are going to be differing circumstances for different women that may make it more feasible to do it yourself. After my next birth, I plan to have a home birth, so I will be home to encapsulate my own placenta. I have the training and the supplies, so there is no reason why I wouldn't do it myself. Actually, I am going to be thrilled to do my own placenta since this is something I love to do. This works for me and you may have the right circumstances that encapsulating your own placenta will work for you too.

My goal with this post is to show that having your placenta encapsulated by a specialist can be of value to you. We take our profession seriously. We treat each placenta with reference and respect. We ensure you receive the maximum benefits from the process. We get as many capsules from the placenta as possible and we make sure the capsules turn out right. From this service, your postpartum experience can be amazing. We also afford you the ability to rest after you have your baby and spend time with your baby which is what you want to do most anyway. While to some women, a fee of $200 may seem high and some may wonder what the value in it is and why they should pay it, I want to be that reassurance that for what you receive, $200 won't seem like such a big deal. I hear this from my clients time and time again and they are often so thankful they did it.

Ultimately, only you can make the decision of whether or not encapsulating your placenta yourself is right for you. I hope this post highlighted some things to consider as well as the value a specialist can offer you. Whatever choice a woman makes, it thrills me the most to know she is considering encapsulating her placenta. You definitely won't regret it!

Ryan Gosling Birth Without Fear

Monday, September 24, 2012

Placentas Rule!

Too cute!

Thin Placenta Linked to Sudden Death in Later Life

I recently read an article about yet another reason to ensure a healthy placenta. A thin  placenta can lead to sudden cardiac arrest in later life according to reports published from a Finnish study. An unhealthy placenta can mean an undernourished baby, which also increases the risk of cardiac arrhythmias.

In addition to this, sudden death has been independently linked to low educational achievement which can be  influenced by developmental abnormalities. In a previous post, I discussed how placental insufficiency can be attributed to developmental issues.

Increasingly, abnormalities in prenatal growth "have been implicated in the later development of coronary artery disease."

What's also fascinating about this study was the researchers found no associations "with birth weight, duration of gestation, head circumference, or length, or with maternal parity or age. In addition, the study found no associations with shape, length, or surface area of the placenta.

As more research is done on the placenta, a running theme is occurring: Researchers are beginning to discover more and more the importance of the placenta and what the placenta is actually responsible for. It's common sense though when you think about it; if the organ responsible for growing and maintaining the health of a baby, it would be reasonable to assume a healthy organ would create a healthier baby than a nonhealthy organ.

I look forward to what researchers will discover next.


Friday, September 21, 2012

Ryan Gosling Taste Testing Placenta Smoothy

I don't know how this poor guy got all these Hey Girl photos made of him particularly, but they are hilarious.

Photos of a Placenta Encapsulation Day 2

This is day two of the placenta encapsulation photos. If you missed day one, you can visit that post here. This is not a tutorial, but my goal is to help normalize this process by providing a means for people to see it. 

 This is what the placenta looks like after dehydrating.

This is the dried umbilical heart keepsake. It usually turns out quite cute, but it helps to have a long cord. If you're able to ask for the cord to be cut further away from the placenta, it makes the heart shape turn out cuter.

The stripes get ground up into a fine powder.

Imagine that's all that is left of the placenta. It reduces quite a bit, but the amount of powder you see here will yield about 130 capsules.

I use a capsule filler machine, and I try to make sure I get every possible speck of the placenta powder into the capsules. You can see I have a little helper with me in the picture. I do Not bring my children to an encapsulation with me, but this was for a friend with a daughter the same age as mine. Ideally, the encapsulation process should be performed in your home.

Finished product. No this wasn't the full amount of capsules shown here. Day two is always a little more rewarding for me because the capsules get finished and I feel accomplished.