Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Pittsburgh Placenta featured on Diary of a First Time Mom

Pittsburgh has an awesome new source of information on pregnancy, being a mama, and everything in between! Please check out my interview at for more information on placenta encapsulation!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Placenta encapsulation hits Hollywood...and the mainstream press!

Thanks to January Jones's recent statement made to People magazine here, placenta encapsulation has hit the mainstream media, and everyone is talking! Jones sought support from a doula who then suggested placenta encapsulation as a means for the actress to get some extra energy. Jones reports some of the same positive outcomes that many other mothers who have ingested their placenta report. Although it is not a new practice, placenta encapsulation is certainly getting some much needed media attention. And even though much of the opinion on Jones' decision is not entirely supportive, at least it is being talked about. A recent poll at TodayMoms shows that 19% of women would consider ingesting their own placenta. A most impressive number (at least in my opinion). So, thank you, January Jones for getting the word out there as only someone in Hollywood could!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

About Placenta Encapsulation

Some mothers are curious about the process I use to encapsulate their placenta. Others do not want to know and are just grateful for the finished pills. During the encapsulation process, the placenta is treated with the utmost respect and care; I always burn a pure beeswax candle during the process to keep me focused on the birth and the true spiritual essence of the placenta. I like to give this candle to the mother along with her package of capsules and prints. I work quietly and peacefully, so that only good, calm, and pure energy is associated with the capsules. While steaming and dehydrating, I use the minimum temperature necessary to kill pathogens while maintaining the integrity of the beneficial nutrients and hormones.

The placenta must be kept refrigerated until the encapsulation process is started. Ideally, your placenta will be processed within three days of birth. If this is not possible and longer storage is required, the placenta should be placed in a freezer.

I begin the encapsulation process by making placenta prints. I first use the maternal fluids on a white card-stock, and then non-toxic paints on the same type of paper. I finish up the printing with non-toxic paints on an artists' canvas. This can become a beautiful work of art for you to either display or keep as a special memento. The prints are each unique and make very interesting art pieces. Most people have no idea that they were made with a placenta unless you tell them! My placenta print is quite large and hangs in our living room. I get many positive comments about it, and no one ever realizes what I used to make it!

After I have two or three good prints, the placenta is rinsed in a dedicated colander with cold water. This removes any clots or tissue. I gently prod the placenta with a skewer to "bleed" it. I remove the cord and wrap the membrane around the placenta and place it in a steamer basket.

I include lemon and ginger in the steamer basket with the placenta for their heat-retention properties. I steam each side of the placenta, gently for 12-15 minutes. While it steams, I continue to "bleed" it with the skewer.

When the steaming is complete, I slice the placenta into pieces of even thickness. This allows for uniform dehydration. I line the trays of the dehydrator with waxed or parchment paper. The placenta dehydrates at 110 degrees in 8-10 hours, depending on the thickness of the slices. At this time, I also form the umbilical cord into a heart and dehydrate it as well. This becomes a beautiful keepsake.

When the placenta is dehydrated, I grind it in a Magic Bullet in small batches. Then I use the Capsule Machine to fill size "00" gelatin or vegetable capsules. Afterward, I use lots of bleach and the hottest setting on my dishwasher for clean-up.

I recycle glass bottles from jellies and Ball jars to store the placenta pills. They should be kept in a refrigerator to maintain their nutritional integrity. After about a month, they should be stored in the freezer.

Many women are curious about the recommended dosage. There is no right answer, each woman needs to pay attention to her body and increase or decrease her dosage accordingly. A placenta typically yields 100-150 pills. A good starting point is three capsules, twice times daily for a week. Then two capsules, twice daily for the next week.

Article about Placenta

Here is a wonderful article from Midwifery Today about placenta and the different ways that it can be used after birth! Click here to read it!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

What do I need to do?

Many women are curious about what they need to do to prepare for placenta encapsulation. Although each birth is different and there is no way to plan for everything, here are some guidelines for how to prepare to have your placenta encapsulated.

1. Talk to your care provider

It is very important, once you have decided on the services, to talk to your care provider about your plans to have your placenta encapsulated. It is important that your placenta be kept cold and handled properly in order to ensure safe and beneficial encapsulation. If you are delivering at a hospital and if that hospital has a policy of keeping the placenta for an extended period of time, you must make arrangements for it to be frozen immediately. If you are able to have the placenta released to you immediately, be sure that it is kept cold. I even suggest that you bring two empty zipper freezer bags and a cooler with pre-frozen ice packs packed in zipper bags to the hospital as well. Therefore, the placenta can be placed directly into the zipper bags then into the cooler and never leave your sight. Keeping the placenta with you at all times while at the hospital ensures that it is kept cold and handled properly. If you forget to bring a cooler or if you want to simplify things, you can always use a plastic container that they have available at the hospital. Send a nurse to fetch one for you- try to request this soon after you arrive since things can become very busy very quickly. Just fill this plastic container with ice (have your partner or a nurse fetch that for you as well) and place the bagged placenta into this container. I will be posting a more comprehensive post about placenta release and hospital protocol soon! So please check back!

2. Be prepared

You should bring large zipper freezer bags and perhaps a recycled and disinfected plastic ice cream container (or other gallon tub) with you to your birth (whether it be at home, a birth center, or a hospital). After the birth, the placenta should be double bagged in the zipper bags, placed in the ice cream container/gallon tub or other container that is available and covered with ice. The gallon tub is not necessary but can be useful in transferring the placenta. Bio hazard bags are ok to use if absolutely necessary, but they contain dyes that may transfer if the placenta is kept in them for an extended period of time, so if at all possible, zipper bags are best.
I work hard to make sure that I am at your place of birth with in a few hours of delivery. I will bring a cooler with me to transport your placenta safely to my own home where it will be refrigerated and worked with within 24 hours.
In the next few months, I hope to provide each client with an "all in one" tote to take to her place of delivery to make this process easier.

3. Delay cord clamping

You may want to consider delayed cord clamping after birth if it is possible. Delayed cord clamping allows baby to receive all that oxygen rich blood from the placenta and helps with his/her transition from womb to world. It also helps to drain the placenta of blood so that it is not engorged. Here is an article on the benefits of delayed cord clamping

4. Contact me

Once your decide on the services, please contact me via email or my home phone number. I am now offering and encouraging a personal meeting and consultation with all potential clients. I understand that some of the ideas presented here are new and often there are many questions associated with them. I want to make this a wonderful and personal experience for you, so please let me know if you would like to schedule a meeting. At this meeting, I will bring the contract and freezer bags/ice cream container with me. You are welcome to take all home with you and send the contract back at your leasure with a $50 deposit when you decide on the services. If if you choose not to have a personal meeting (which I completely understand because preparing for birth is both a tiring and busy time) I will send you a contract via email and we will discuss everything over the phone. Please note that I welcome phone calls and questions, so do not hesitate to contact me as many times as you want! When labor begins, please give me a "heads up" phone call so that I can make arrangements to be sure to be at your place of birth as soon as you deliver. And phone me again once things have settled after your delivery so that I can pick up your placenta.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Early Signs of Autism found in the Placenta?

This article was sent to me by Amy Farr, a doula and owner of Blessed Arrivals doula service. It is from 2009 and appears to have been completely overlooked by many in the natural birth world. I am so thankful to her for passing this link along to me and my readers.

Early Signs of Autism May Be Present at Birth; By Lisa Jo Rudy

According to this article:
In a preliminary study, he [Dr. Harvey J. Kliman of the Yale School of Medicine] and his colleagues found that the placentas of babies who, years later, are diagnosed with autism, are physically different from those of typical babies. While the study included placentas from only from 13 children with Autism Spectrum Disorder(ASD), they found that the placentas from ASD children were three times more likely to have the abnormalities, called "inclusions."

The placenta forms along with the other organs in the first 8 weeks of pregnancy. While the organs will continue to grow and develop most major abnormalities occur during this early period of formation. The placenta extends tiny hairlike projections (villi) into the wall of the uterus. The projections branch and rebranch in a complicated treelike arrangement. This arrangement greatly increases the area of contact between the wall of the uterus and the placenta, so that more nutrients and waste materials can be exchanged.1

From the article (bolding is mine for emphasis):
When looking at placentas, says Kliman, "We look for symmetry. It's difficult to create symmetry. We can tell off the bat if something is put together perfectly if it's symmetrical. The placenta is like a tree; when genes are abnormal, you get abnormal growth patterns of the placenta. When a placenta has not grown normally, what's abnormal is the way that the placenta folds, the layers of cells. What we think is happening is, the brain is a complex folded tissue. Whatever is abnormal in the placenta is likely what's abnormal in the brain. Something is wrong with the way the brain is folded -- and we may see the same thing in both the placenta and the brain."

If you are reading this blog, then you are already sold on the placenta as much more than the source of nourishment. Research on this miraculous organ, its functions during and after pregnancy and what it can tell us about the child it nourished is one of the most important fronts for medical research. I will be sure to post more about this topic should more research be published!

1 Stages of Development of the Fetus

Friday, August 13, 2010

Cats and Placenta

When I encapsulate a placenta, one of my cats, Hebrew, goes nuts in the kitchen. From the time I bring the placenta out of the fridge he follows me around. He rolls on the floor continuously, bats at stuff and just generally acts like a kitten who has catnip. He is nearing a decade-old, so this is pretty remarkable for him.

I didn't really think anything of it until I had a jar of placenta pills in my doula bag this week. A client's cat was going nuts for my bag, rubbing on it, batting at it and eventually getting very playful with me. My client remarked that her cat was acting like she does when she smells catnip.

Interesting... these cats seem to sense the essence of the placenta, even after it has been dried and encapsulated (I do not add any herbs to the mix) and even when it is sealed up in a jar. This is enough evidence for me that there is something alive about the placenta even after it has been processed for encapsulation.

In contrast, my dogs do not seem to notice one way or the other that I have a placenta in my house. They are pretty old, but they have never reacted to the placenta either fresh or processed.

Bottom line: if you have a cat and a placenta, make sure it stays far away from your cat!