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.