Thursday, January 31, 2013

Can I Encapsulate My Frozen Placenta?

Yes, in fact, if the placenta cannot be encapsulated within 48 hours of birth, it should ideally be frozen to maintain maximum potency.

If you have a placenta in the freezer, it is possible that it will still have benefit up to six months postpartum. There are varying circumstances to this, however, including how the placenta has been handled, how soon was it originally frozen, and if it has been subject to freezer burn.

As a general rule, if you plan to encapsulate, it should ideally be done within 2 weeks of your placenta being frozen. After a month of being frozen, the placenta has a greater likelihood of freezer burn, but this is not always the case. Some mothers do keep the placenta frozen and if postpartum depression occurs several months after birth, they choose to encapsulate then.

The capsules from a placenta that was frozen are often a little darker, which should not be a cause for concern.

If you're having a specialist come to encapsulate your frozen placenta, we ask that you place your frozen placenta in the refrigerator at least 24 hours prior to the specialist coming to your home. It takes about 24 hours to thaw completely and thawing must occur for the encapsulation process to take place.

Here are the recommendations from Placenta Benefits according to their website:

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.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Can I Encapsulate My Placenta If I Have a C-section?

Of course!

Having a Cesarean section should not affect the quality of the placenta. The only thing to be more aware of during a C-section is that there is a greater likelihood of the placenta getting accidentally thrown out, especially if the C-section wasn't scheduled.

If you do have a C-section, be sure your doctor and nurses know you would like to keep your placenta. Usually you will be awake during a C-section so don't feel timid to remind a few times if you feel it necessary. Also, typically you get to have at least one support person in the operating room with you. Make sure your support person keeps an eye on the placenta.

With a little planning and attention, the placenta can usually be kept without too much hassle, even during a C-section, and it is certainly well worth it.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Can I Still Encapsulate My Placenta If My Baby Had Meconium?

This is a common question I receive. Yes, it is still possible to encapsulate the placenta even if your baby had meconium during birth. In these cases, the raw method of placenta encapsulation is not recommended. Instead, the Traditional Chinese Method of steaming the placenta should be utilized. During the steaming process, any bacteria present in the meconium will be killed and shouldn't be an issue. The placenta is also rinsed thoroughly before the process begins.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

To Hat or Not To Hat

This is an interesting article about applying a hat to the baby's head shortly following birth. There is evidence the practice of hatting can actually interfere with mother baby bonding. There is also no scientific research that shows applying a hat to the baby's head warms the baby or prevents heat loss better than skin to skin contact, I would never have guessed that even the act of hatting could be controversial.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Is Placenta Encapsulation a Sin?

This is quite a touchy subject, but after reading a blog the other day written by another Christian, I felt I had to comment.

Disclaimer: This is written from a non-denominational Christian perspective. Your beliefs and viewpoints will most likely vary. I am placing no judgment of any kind on anyone. This is God's job. You must ultimately take it up with God as to whether you believe what you're doing is right or wrong. Here is my opinion based on my research and prayer.

First, I feel it is important to define sin. I traditionally believe sin to be anything that separates us from God. Others will have their own definition. The official definition is a transgression of moral law or a deliberate disobedience to the known will of God. I don't look at sin as a list of do's and don'ts. Instead, it is more about relationship with God and following his will for your life.

So, I pose my first question. If God is the creator of all things. He created us as women. He created the way we procreate. He knits our babies in our wombs. He created the placenta; it's functions, it's design, it's purpose. We do know there is a benefit to consuming the placenta. So, if the placenta is designed by God to have a benefit to a new mother, then why would God consider it something that would separate us from Him? Why would it bother Him? It's His design. I don't believe it is something that separates us from Him as a general rule. However, I do believe on some level sin is individualized. God may say to someone something He doesn't want them to do. They get this clear message, but do it anyway. It doesn't mean it was a wrong thing in general, it's just that God asked that specific person not to do it and that person disobeyed. I believe scenarios like this do happen. So, by being in tune with God and listening to His will, if He makes it clear placenta encapsulation is not part of His will for your life, then by all means, you should listen. But to view placenta consumption as a blanket sin for everyone is where I draw the line.

There are some who feel it is a sin because placenta consumption is cannibalism. I wrote an entire post on this subject recently and can be found here. . . Because I make the conclusion that I do not believe consuming the placenta is the same thing as cannibalism, then I cannot label placenta encapsulation a sin based simply on this theory.

I read somone's opinion on a discussion board that we are covered by grace and not the law. I liked this discussion as well. In the Old Testament, they had laws and rituals they had to follow as part of their relationship with God. It was very different than before the Messiah came. Now that Jesus has come and pardoned our sins, we are covered by grace. This is why in the New Testament, we are now able to eat all types of meat (see Peter's vision in Acts 10:9-16) and not have to abstain from certain types because it's the grace of Jesus that is the way to God, not the law. We can't do anything to lose our salvation so long as our belief is in Jesus because it is by grace that we are saved, not by works (Eph 2:8).

Consider this verse: "Do not let the eating of food destroy the work of God. All foods are alright to eat, but it is wrong to eat food that causes someone else to sin." Romans 14:20

Here is also a quote I found from a Catholic priest who was unidentified: "I cannot find anything in the teachings that approaches this exact subject as it is very specific. As for your moral issue...Sin lies in the intent. So the lady who wants to encapsulate her placenta and ingest it would not be sinning because that her intent is to use it in a good way, not in any way which would harm anyone." 

A lot of the discussion out there questions how consuming the placenta is any different than chewing your fingernails or picking your nose (gross I know, but a valid thought). I brought up a story I'd heard about a man who was stranded for seven days used his urine and sweat from squeezing out his socks to stay alive. How is this different? If it's okay to use your breast milk (something from your body and again something God designed) to nourish your baby, then how would it be a sin to use the placenta to nourish yourself?

I do not believe placenta encapsulation is a sin. Ultimately, I believe that each person who has a relationship with God and is concerned over whether something is a sin, should pray over it and take it up with God personally. The evidence, however, is in favor that placenta encapsulation is fine. It is not cannibalism. God does not particularly command not to do it in His word. So, ultimately pray over it and have peace with whatever you decide. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

An Experience with Placenta Encapsulation

I really enjoyed hearing about this woman's experience with placenta encapsulation. If you're on the fence and trying to decide what you should do, her words may bring you some peace.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Known Ingredients in the Placenta and Their Healing Properties

Gonadotrophin: the precursor to estrogen, progesterone and testosterone,
Prolactin: promotes lactation,
Oxytocin: for pain and bonding; produced during breastfeeding to facilitate bonding of mother and infant. In pharmaceutical form this is a very addictive drug because it promotes a feeling of connectedness with others,
Thyroid stimulating hormone: boosts energy and helps recovery from stressful events,
Cortisone: combats stress and unlocks energy stores,
Interferon: stimulates the immune system to protect against infections,
Prostaglandins: anti-inflammatory,
Hemoglobin: replenishes iron deficiency and anemia, a common postpartum condition,
Urokinase inhibiting factor and factor XIII: stops bleeding and enhances wound healing,
Gammaglobulin: immune booster that helps protect against postpartum infections.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Is There Scientific Evidence for Placenta Encapsulation?

There's many complaints out there that there isn't enough research or scientific evidence for placenta encapsulation, which deters some women from choosing to experience the benefits of consuming their placenta.

I want to make it clear that there is some research out there. Some of the studies can be found here. . .

No one would deny that we can always use more research. However, placenta encapsulation has been being used in other cultures, especially China, for hundreds, possibly several thousand years. For those familiar with both Western and alternative medicine, Western medicine and the research that goes along with it is usually a bit behind other therapies that actually work. We seem to place so much emphasis on the research behind various therapies. Other cultures don't do this. They pass down knowledge of medicine through the generations and no one questions whether it works because they all experience the benefits and know. In many ways, there are a lot of therapies and "medicine" from other cultures that are superior and more advanced than ours despite a lack of "scientific" research.

Any new therapy that comes into our culture has to go through a process of scrutiny and judgment. It's most often called quackery and ridiculed. In time, we do come to realize the benefits as research catches up. During that lag time, however, those who are waiting solely for research do miss out on things that can help them; placenta encapsulation potentially being one of them.

Placenta encapsulation is gaining so much steam in even our mainstream culture not because of the scientific research behind it, but because those willing to go on the centuries of ancient wisdom and try it are sounding the alarms that it works! Women who try it are thrilled with the results! I haven't yet heard of anyone regretting getting their placenta encapsulated or not experiencing at least something.

One thing is also certain from placenta encapsulation; it won't harm you. There are no contraindications. There are no side effects. The absolute worst scenario is that you would spend roughly $200 and then not experience what you were hoping you would. I haven't yet have this happen by the way, but at least that's the worst and not some detrimental damage.

So, yes, we have some research. We can definitely use more, but until then, it doesn't mean that placenta encapsulation doesn't work. There will always be naysayers and skeptics that warn women to be careful. Women should be educated and informed to make decisions, but to me, a lack of copious scientific evidence is not necessarily a reason to rule something out completely. If something could help me and had no chance of harming me, then I would take my chances. I would say, why not try it and see?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Home Waterbirth. . . Baby Born in the Caul

I found this video very interesting and wanted to share. It is graphic, so keep that in mind if you choose to watch. The baby is born in the caul and you can actually see the baby blinking and the turning to position for birth. Fascinating!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Is Consuming the Placenta Pica?

I heard this question the other day and thought it odd anyone would suggest consuming the placenta is pica, but I wanted to address it just the same.

Pica is a disorder characterized by cravings for non-nutrient substances such as clay, chalk, paint, etc. It can occur during pregnancy. It is sometimes linked to an iron or zinc deficiency.

Implying that placenta consumption is pica signifies a misunderstanding of the placenta and why consuming it would be beneficial.

The placenta is not a non-nutritive substance. It contains lots of nutrition. Interestingly enough, if a woman recently having given birth was experiencing pica due to iron deficiency, the placenta would be a great resource for helping to correct the underlying deficiency causing the pica as the placenta is full of iron.

The placenta may not be the most common thing to eat, but it is certainly not pica. It contains nutrition. It has multiple benefits for a woman recently having given birth and therefore has a purpose to consuming it. We can safely put this rumor to rest.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Is Placenta Encapsulation Really Necessary When We Live In A Society With Plenty of Nourishment?

I have been hearing various arguments against placenta encapsulation recently, and I wanted to address one of them here today.

I heard an argument that placenta encapsulation or consuming the placenta following birth is not necessary in our culture because of our access to good nutritious foods.

I can see how this could be believed if one only considers the placenta from a nutritional standpoint. Yes, the placenta contains many nutrients, particularly iron and B vitamins. Yes, there are other available sources of those nutrients in our culture, so if that's all you were trying to get out of placenta encapsulation and preferred to find another source, this could be reasonable.

Consider, however, many women become anemic during their pregnancies, a lot of them undiagnosed. The placenta is a great source of iron that could help correct the anemia. We can get iron from other sources, but iron supplementation is notoriously difficult to process, giving unwanted symptoms. The placenta, in my opinion, is an unrivaled option for replacing needed iron.

Consider also that despite the fact that in our modern culture we have unlimited food sources, most of us are nutrient deficient. We have more access to food, yet we are unhealthier than ever. Many of us don't eat how we should, but even if we are, our fresh food is not as nutritious as it needs to be. In light of this fact, while we can have good nutrition if we work hard at it, it's not as easy in our culture as some would argue. The placenta provides easy sources of large amounts of certain nutrients, why let them go to waste if they could benefit you?

So far, my arguments have centered solely on nutrition as that is the sole basis for the counterargument. The reasons for placenta encapsulation are more numerous than nutrition alone. Placenta encapsulation aids in an adequate milk supply. There are some herbs that can also help with milk supply, but for many, the placenta is more effective.

The placenta also contains hormones. This is one of the biggest reasons for considering placenta encapsulation. The hormones contained in the preserved placenta capsules help replace the hormones lost during birth. No amount of food source can do this.

With the increased energy, milk supply sufficiency, easier and shorter postpartum transition and recovery, hormonal stability, and general feeling of well-being, it's hard for the counterargument to hold any ground. Yes, a woman can skip placenta encapsulation and will eventually recover. The transition may not be as smooth, but women are made to have babies and do bounce back. But there is not another source comparable to the placenta for aiding in postpartum recovery. Good nutrition alone does not do all the things consuming the placenta can.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Placenta Encapsulation Featured on National News Stations

Placenta encapsulation has been getting more and more recognition, especially among major news stations. I understand that among news stations there's a bit of a shock factor they can use to increase their ratings, however, the exposure of these news segments is helping to normalize and increase the acceptance of placenta consumption. Since this can be an important medium for gaining more recognition to placenta encapsulation, I wanted to include some of the news broadcasts here. Happy viewing!

Thursday, January 10, 2013


Just thought I'd share some of the testimonials from my website. . .

"Elizabeth was great! Very knowledgeable."
E.D. Gilbert, AZ
"Elizabeth was so nice and answered all my questions as I hovered behind her taking pictures while she worked with my placenta. She worked efficiently and cleaned up after herself.  I would highly recommend Elizabeth!"
 M.T. Phoenix, AZ
"My advice to all pregnant women… have your placenta encapsulated!!!  I never imagined myself “eating” my placenta, but after taking it, the only regret I have is that I didn’t have more.  I have two children, and I took it after having my second.  Let me tell you, it was truly amazing!!  After my first child, I had the weepies for several months. This time I only had the weepies for a couple of days until it started taking effect.  My milk came in super fast; I had it by two days postpartum.  Bleeding stopped sooner, it only lasted 3 weeks.  And my husband loved how much happier I was this time.  Encapsulate your placenta, it will make your postpartum so much better!"
S. S. Chandler, AZ 
"I have had zero post partum depression this time and a lot more energy. This baby has been more challenging than any of my other kids. I think if it wasn't for the pills, I would be a basket case. I am so thankful for the pills, and I truly believe that the reason I am the way I am is because of the pills. I am definitely an advocate for this procedure."
A.T. Surprise, AZ

"My experience with Elizabeth and having my placenta encapsulated was wonderful. I never suffered from “bad” post-partum, but my periods where irregular and started right away even though I nursed and I did have a little of the “baby blues”. I figured I had nothing to lose. After I started taking my “vitamins”(that’s what I called them) I noticed increased energy, lots of milk, less painful cramping, and best of all I didn’t start having periods right away. In fact my baby is now 11 months and I had my first period this month! My husband said he noticed that my mood seemed to be steady instead of swinging so much, bonus for Him and the rest of our kids! I have recommended Elizabeth to everyone I know."

L.W. Mesa, AZ

Being a Doula

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Is Placenta Consumption Cannibalism?

I heard this question being posed the other day and couldn't help but respond. My initial reaction was one of surprise, like who would actually consider this notion or even be interested in it. Then I started to think about it more and realized maybe there was an argument here, so I'm going to put my two cents in.

The placenta is thought of as an organ of the mother's body. We even use the statement "something made by the body for the body." While this is certainly true that the mother's body does make and benefit from the placenta, the placenta is not made of maternal tissue per se. The tissue of the placenta is actually a product of conception. The mother donates her chromosomes and so does the father. So the placenta actually has components of your partner in it as well. This is why many cultures revere the placenta and often refer to the placenta as the baby's twin. After all, they do arise from the same tissue.

My problem with this argument, however, is that while many cultures respect the placenta as the baby's twin, the placenta is not the same as the baby clearly. The placenta is not a baby.

Another argument I've heard is one from the Bible. I had one well meaning Christian relative ask me what the Bible had to say about it when I first started. I decided to research it.

There is one Bible verse that refers placenta consumption.

She will hide from them the afterbirth and the new baby she has borne, so that she herself can secretly eat them. She will have nothing else to eat during the siege and terrible distress that your enemy will inflict on all your towns.

This verse is referring to a woman consuming both her baby and the afterbirth during a siege in which she will have nothing to eat. This is the only verse in the entire Bible that refers to the afterbirth. Both the baby and the placenta hold nutrition, so both are lumped together. However, the Bible doesn't state that the afterbirth is human flesh in this verse, as I have read online that other Christians assume. If anything, it alludes to the nutritious benefits of the placenta!

Also for Bible believing Christians, it's the New Testament that we're more concerned with as we are now covered by grace than the law. The New Testament forbids a lot of things, but not consuming the placenta. In fact, all meat was now okay to consume.

Let's take a look at the definition of cannibalism. . .

Cannibalism is consuming the flesh (defined as muscle and fat, not organs) of your own kind. It refers to the flesh of other humans, not necessarily your own flesh.

So, I guess the answer to the argument lies in the fact of whether or not one considers the placenta to truly be a part of the baby or the mother. It would seem that if it is the mother's, then she could reasonably consume her own flesh and not be a cannibal. Here's where I stand, and you are free to make your own decisions. I cannot in good conscience make the connection that the placenta is the same as the baby, that they are one flesh. Yes, they both came from the same place. . . from the mother and the father. They differentiated into  different tissues with different functions and purposes. One of them was given a soul; the baby. The placenta was not. The placenta is not alive. The placenta has parts of the mother and father and was grown by the mother, just as how we consider our children a part of us. It's not really flesh of the mother, though she created it. It's not really flesh of the baby because the baby moves on from it too. It's an organ that serves it's purpose and is then no longer needed, so it's not really flesh of either the mother nor the baby.

I guess this is a gray area and I'm not sure anyone can draw an exact conclusion. There will always be different opinions and my advice is always the same. If someone doesn't feel comfortable with placenta encapsulation, then don't do it. No one is twisting your arm. No one will have their feelings hurt. It's your choice and if you feel fine about it, then does it really matter that there may be a few people out there who believe you're a cannibal? Tell them, so what? Placenta encapsulation is NOT the same thing as consuming your baby and I think surely that is a point most of us can agree on!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Who Encapsulates Their Placenta?

I think there is a stigma about the type of woman who would encapsulate her placenta. It's getting lessened as placenta encapsulation gains steam, but it's still there a bit. I've heard women described as granola or crunchy, tree hugger, or hippie dippie (whatever that means). Honestly, the majority of women I get do not fit into those categories, if we really wanted to try to categorize them!

The women who encapsulate their placentas are not way out there into all kinds of weird ideas. They're regular women! Women you'd see walking around the grocery store, women you'd be friends with. I get women from all types of various backgrounds. Some are highly educated professionals. Some are mothers who want to stay home with their children. Some are from the United States. Some were born in other countries. Many even work in the healthcare field. I've had an adventurous one who skydived for a living. The majority of women I get have suffered either with a low milk supply with previous babies or postpartum depression. I've even had one who dealt with postpartum psychosis.

I would say the majority of the women I encapsulate for are simply trying to do something healthy for themselves to be better mothers. Most want to find a way to avoid the issues they had previously dealt with. All women just hope to enjoy their new babies and be a good mother. Some women are attracted to encapsulate because it's something different and unique, and that's totally fine! However, most women just want to be healthy. All the women I have encapsulated for have been intelligent, aware women, capable of making decisions and educating themselves.

The women who choose to encapsulate their placentas come from all different backgrounds and many different walks of life. They do not fit into one specific type of woman. Their ideas and beliefs vary tremendously, but somehow, they all stumbled upon placenta encapsulation and it resonated with them. Perhaps that's a testament to the instinctual nature some argue is buried within us; a mammalian, animalistic instinct that the placenta is meant to be consumed if only we can get past our socialized perceptions. I would say that's the one thing all the women I've had the privilege of encapsulating a placenta for have in common. They've all overcome the social pressure, the stigma, the shoulds and should nots of our society to embrace a divine right to a transcendant babymoon. And if you'd ask them, you'd see. They're just normal women, but not one has regretted her choice.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Waterbirth Article by Barbara Harper

This is a truly wonderful article regarding waterbirth that I felt was important to share. It's by Barbara Harper, the leading advocate for waterbirth. She has devoted extensive study to this area, and this article is a summary of the research she's done. It's very informative and should clear up any misconceptions about waterbirth. Please read it!