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.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Photos of a Placenta Encapsulation Day 1

Here are some photos from a recent placenta encapsulation. I think it's great for people to see the process as it helps to normalize it. This is not, however, a tutorial. If you are trying to do the encapsulation yourself from these pictures, you will miss critical steps. If you're interested in learning how to do a placenta encapsulation yourself, I recommend the only training program in the world at

So here is the placenta in the biohazard container the hospital puts it in.

Here is the amniotic sac.

This is the fetal side of the placenta, so it faces the baby. I'm always a little sad to see how pump the veins are in the placenta like this. There's a lot of blood left, which means the baby didn't get the blood that was in the cord, which deprives the baby of up to a third of its blood. This baby was born via C section, and early cord clamping happens more frequently in a C section.

This is the maternal side of the placenta, the part that was attached to the uterus.

The placenta is ready for steaming.

Here it is being steamed.

 It browns just like meat.

That's what it should look like folks.

A memento.

This is the placenta completely steamed. It shrinks up quite a bit.

Ready for slicing.

This is the placenta completely sliced.

Here is the placenta on the dehydrator sheets.

 All ready for it's time in the dehydrator. Stay turned for Day 2 pictures of the process tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Placentas Discovered to Produce Serotonin

Researchers have discovered yet another fascinating fact about what an incredible organ the placenta is. For the past 60 years, researchers have theorized that the maternal blood supply is responsible for supplying the fetus with serotonin. It has now been discovered that the placenta actually synthesizes or produces serotonin to directly supply to the fetus itself.

This is important because the placenta has been viewed by researchers as a passive organ, meaning it acts as a gateway between mother and child only, but now it is not simply a passive gateway, it can create or synthesize substances on its own! This gives the placenta considerable influence over the developmental capabilities of the fetus.

Serotonin has a significant impact of the well being of a human, but it is also linked to brain, cardiac, and pancreas development. The fact that the placenta supplies a fetus with serotonin and not the mother's own blood supply, makes having a healthy placenta of even greater importance. I love that this is pointed out by the researchers. Low serotonin during fetal development can set a child up for all types of brain disorders later in life including depressions, anxiety disorders, learning and behavior disorders, Autism, Asperger's Syndrome, and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

Keeping a healthy placenta is extremely important and in a near future post, I will include ways to do that. It all starts with nutrition.

I love that the more we learn about the placenta, the more fascinating and useful it becomes. One thing is for certain, it isn't just obsolete medical waste.


I Like Big Placentas

This one's good... enjoy!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Placenta Capsule Dosage Instructions

Here are the recommended dosage instructions for the placenta capsules:

Day 1-4: 2 capsules, 3x per day
Day 5-14: 2 capsules, 2x per day
Then 2 capsules 1x per day as needed

Refrigerate capsules for maximum freshness.
Keep the capsules dry.
Freeze capsules for long term storage, capsules can be saved and used for menopause.
Don't take capsules after 6:00 p.m. due to increased energy.

STOP taking capsules if you develop an infection, such as mastitis, the flu, or common cold. Continue use when illness clears.

You may begin using your capsules immediately.

Please note: there is no wrong way to take the capsules. You may take as much or as little as you feel you need. The above is simply a guideline. It is best to take the capsules at least daily for the first two weeks to fully experience the benefits.

Birth Is As Safe As Life Gets

I love this saying... just had to share.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Placental Regrets... What Went Wrong?

This post is in response to an article written by Nancy Redd for New York Times, whom claims a negative experience from her placenta pills. While I don't doubt she must have had some kind of experience, the obvious bias in her article saddens me. If her point were to simply share with other women her experience and offer advice of safe ways to obtain or take placenta pills, then her article wouldn't have been filled with such sensationalist remarks. Perhaps by being the one and only person who comes out to claim they regret eating their placenta, it will gain that person recognition, maybe furthering their career or selling more of their books? I would hope her attempts to deprive women of the benefits of placenta encapsulation as experienced by every other woman except for her, wouldn't just be an attempt at increasing her own fame.

There are several things from her article that I'd like to point out, the first being that she was a skeptic before she had her placenta encapsulated. Therefore, this makes the placenta pills an easy scapegoat for any negative occurrences, whether or not it actually resulted from the pills because she's biased. If you don't feel completely comfortable taking your encapsulated placenta, my advice is don't. No one is twisting your arm.

In Redd's article, she mentions "mysterious herbs" put into her pills. This is a problem. The placenta encapsulation should ideally take place in your home so you can watch the process and see exactly what goes into the pills. Wouldn't anyone with common sense ask what the herbs actually were and not just settle for the answer "mysterious?" If you're looking to hire having your placenta done, be sure the specialist is willing to come to your home, if not find someone else. The only two herbs used in the processing of the placenta are ginger and myrrh, and they do not go into the pills nor do they touch the placenta. However, if some of the herbs did make it into Redd's placenta pills, perhaps she was having a reaction to the herbs, an allergy maybe?

It is important for all women to be aware that there is nothing in the placenta that can hurt you. It is essentially a big piece of meat and most women willingly eat the meat of other species on a daily basis. The placenta has  nutrients such as iron and vitamins, particularly the B's. It also contains hormones, which is why the capsules are believed to work so well because they are replacing hormones lost during birth. This drop in hormones is what has been shown to cause the baby blues. There's nothing else mysterious or harmful in your placenta. It can however pick up bacteria on the way out of the birth canal, which is why I use the TCM of encapsulating as opposed to the raw. The TCM method steams the placenta, therefore killing any potential bacteria (and if you think there's not bacteria in the meat you eat, guess again).

Another issue with Redd's article is that she claims all the evidence is anecdotal, likening it in the same category as alien sightings. Redd is incorrect, in that while we do have tremendously overwhelming anecdotal evidence, we also have scientific studies. Could we use more? Of course! But there are some studies, and most of us in the category of person who would consider taking her encapsulated placenta understand that many times nature has it right and science just needs to catch up. Saying we have no shred of evidence is a falsehood. Personally, if I had heard the stories of thousands of women who sang the praises of their placenta pills in lack of some scientific evidence, I would still feel comfortable taking the pills. If there's a chance I could have the same results, I would want them too. And if the worse case scenario happened and I didn't like how I felt, I could simply stop taking them! Which is just what Redd did... no lasting long term damage done. But again, if you don't feel comfortable, don't have it done!

Lastly, Redd sums up her article by likening the placenta to the appendix, which isn't fair. The placenta isn't diseased as an appendix would be if it needed to be removed. Nor is the appendix unnecessary or any other organs for that matter including the placenta. Yes, the placenta is designed to come out, but does that deem it unnecessary? Should we continue to throw it out as medical waste? We've just recently discovered stem cells in the placenta and are actually capable of taking them out (see my other article: ) If every other mammal (except the camel) on this entire planet consumes the placenta after giving birth, could it simply be our cultural bias and predetermined notions, as maybe is the case with Redd, that doesn't allow us to be open to receiving the benefits nature has to offer? It's up to you to decide.

You can read the full article to which I am referring here.

Friday, September 14, 2012

January Jones Eats Her Placenta

I absolutely love it that celebrity moms are catching on to placenta encapsulation and being open about their experiences. January Jones is the latest celebrity who has announced what she did and what benefits she encountered.

You can read the full article to which I am referring here.

There are a few problems with the article as it states that the evidence we have is purely anecdotal and there have been no scientific studies on placentophagy. This is incorrect and the author really should have done some research before making such a blanket statement. While I agree that we can always use more research, there have been studies done.

The article also mentions a skeptic of placenta encapsulation who had a negative experience. This is something I plan to address separately in a post tomorrow. Until then, thank you January Jones for helping normalize the use of the placenta as part of "a healthy postnatal routine."

The Joy of This

Thursday, September 13, 2012

What Did You Do With Your Baby's Placenta?

Q: What did you do with your baby’s placenta?
— Midwifery Today

A: Each of our children has a fruit tree that is planted with their placenta. On their birthday we take a photo of them with their tree, and they look forward to enjoying and sharing their fruit with their siblings.
— Allie Ibbotson

A: We put it in a 9 x 13 container on the porch to keep it chilled (it was early winter). We forgot about it in the joy of the new baby. It froze and got knocked off the porch. The container broke open and the dog ate it. He seems a lot more in touch with his feminine side now…
— Megan Roelfs

A: Encapsulated it! I had to smuggle it out of the hospital after having a surprise induction at 33 weeks because of HELLP (a complication of preeclampsia). Best decision ever—this was baby #5 and my milk supply was awesome even with having to pump (the little one couldn’t suck just yet). My bleeding was only period-heavy less than 24 hours after starting the capsules and stopped all together in about nine days. With all the reasons I had to be more depressed, it worked at least 100 times better than the Zoloft I had taken with previous babies for PPD.
— Andrea Felsinger

A: I made placenta prints with both of mine. The pictures are so beautiful and unique. Afterwards I had them in my freezer with plans to plant them, but we moved so I had to dry them. I would like to plant them somewhere special one day.
— Jessica Haworth

A: I didn’t know I could do anything with it. It makes me sad…
— Bridgette Becker

A: Nine years have passed and it’s still in our freezer waiting to be buried for a special tree planting!
— Navah Paskowitz

A: We left it attached, but on ice in a cooler until the cord fell off on the third night. The next morning my husband did placenta prints with spirulina and turmeric. I rinsed and cut the placenta in small pill-sized pieces and froze them to take raw a few times a day. I plan on making a few bottles of tincture for future use. My son is 1 month old, and this babymoon and transition have been terrific!
— Amy Giove

A: Placenta wine. I’m saving it for menopause.
— Crystal Crickette Fedele

A: I’m due in a week and am planning a lotus birth.
— Jennifer Ramsey-Dietlin

A: When my midwife turned it inside out, I was enamored with its beauty—the colors and the veining. I had to be hard-pressed to eat a bit of it, but it was to help slow my bleeding. It worked! That was 32 years ago, but I remember like it was yesterday.
— Louisa Haddaway

Questions and Answers complements of Midwifery Today:

What did you do with your placenta?

Funny E Card


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

My Doula Was Worth the Moola

I liked this picture too much not to share. I'm also a doula, so I thought this was cute.

Can anyone think of any good rhymes about a placenta?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Harvesting Placental Stem Cells

Children's Hospital and Research Center Oakland has not only discovered that the placenta contains life giving stem cells, but also how to harvest them from the placenta. Stem cells are used to treat many different blood disorders such as leukemia, thalassemia, and sickle cell disease.

Obviously, if you choose to have your placenta encapsulated, it wouldn't be available for stem cell donation. However, for the women who wouldn't ever dream of encapsulating their placenta, this may be a good option. I found this article interesting because I am so tired of the placenta being referred to a medical waste and thrown out. I even read a different article recently that talked about how the placenta is the only organ that serves its function and then becomes obsolete after birth. The placenta is so much more than that! It's nice to finally have medical validation for what nature has known all along. There are hundreds of thousands of placentas thrown out every single day- think of what could happen if we started using this precious organ.

For the women who are open to encapsulating their placenta, I still think this is a superior idea than donating it, especially because there is not yet a national placental donation program. But it begs the question, if the placenta contains amazing things like stem cells, what else does it contain? And more importantly, if the placenta has such life giving properties, imagine what it could do for you! To find out more about the benefits of encapsulating your placenta,

To read the article mentioned in this post,

Sunday, September 9, 2012


Welcome to Phoenix Placenta Encapsulation's Blog! We've recently redone our website with a new URL.

Check us out at

Previously, we were  AZ Placenta Encapsulation. You can check out our old blog here.

It's my goal to keep you up to date on all things placenta via this blog. Check back often!