The Placenta Blog

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October 26th, 2015

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The PBi Network of Specialists would like to extend a warm welcome to Tiffany Johnson of Woonsocket, RI. Tiffany lives in Rhode Island with her husband and 4 children. When Tiffany became a mother, she began supporting women by working as a postpartum doula.  After experiencing the benefits of placenta encapsulation in 2012, Tiffany found the service was a great fit for her business.

“The placenta pills made me feel incredible! I had a lot of energy, my mood was good and I felt better than I ever had with my previous births. The effects were so significant that my husband raves about placenta encapsulation to this day. I knew after this experience that I needed to spread the placenta love to others!”

To learn more about Tiffany, visit her website.

An analysis of 68 million births over 23 years has found a link between maternal weight gain and boy fetuses.

“Over all, 51 percent of babies born are boys. But Kristen J. Navara, an endocrinologist in the Poultry Science Department at the University of Georgia, found that the amount of pregnancy weight gained and the proportion of males born go up together. When mothers gain 20 pounds, roughly 49 percent of babies born are boys. At 40 pounds gained, about 52.5 percent are boys; and at 60 pounds, about 54 percent are boys. Above 60 pounds, the correlation disappears. The study was published in PLOS One.” -The NY Times Blog

Lower maternal weight may be more detrimental to boys than girls because boy fetuses have higher metabolic rates and require more nourishment.

To read more about the study, visit The NY Times Blog.

The PBi Network of Specialists would like to extend a warm welcome to Priscilla Dobbs, serving Miami-Dade and Broward Counties, Florida. Priscilla became interested in pregnancy and birth at a young age and has been serving women as a birth doula since 2012.

If you live in South Florida and are interested in placenta encapsulation services, Priscilla would love to speak with you.

pregnant african american woman sitting on bedIt has long been thought that the mothers’ womb is a sterile environment. However, new findings are showing that a baby is first exposed to microbes in utero. The bacteria of a placenta is similar to that of the mother’s mouth, which is thought to be passed to the baby from foods consumed by the mother.   Bacteria present in a mother’s mouth may have a impact on her baby’s future health and immunity.

“The scientists collected samples of 320 placentas of women that had given birth. To avoid contamination by vaginal bacteria, samples were harvested under sterile conditions. Then, they sequenced the genomes of the bacteria found in the samples. They expected to find bacteria from the vaginal flora, due to its proximity, but instead, the microbes were similar to those found in the mouth, however in much lower abundance.

The authors of the study suggest that oral bacteria may find their way to the placenta in some unknown manner, presumably via the blood steam. Once the bacteria are in the placenta, they may also jump to the baby, maybe through the amniotic fluid. Since babies swallow a lot of amniotic fluid, those bacteria would be the first to colonize the baby’s body. Specifically, they would reach the gut and, once there, they would start to make up the baby’s gut microbiota, the collection of microbes that perform crucial functions for digestion, immunity and even mental health.” (source)

The PBi Network of Specialists is excited to welcome Sarah Fuhrman, serving Okinawa, Japan, to our community.  Sarah has always had an interest in the human body, which led her toward a career as a certified paramedic.  Upon becoming pregnant, Sarah enjoyed learning and studying about pregnancy and birth.  Before Sarah had her first homebirth, her midwife had suggested she look into placenta encapsulation. After her own experience with placentophagy, Sarah felt compelled to train with PBi and help the women in her community gain access to the placenta encapsulation process.

“Here I had trained to treat every patient with drugs and interventions, but I quickly became absorbed with helping our bodies to heal naturally, finding natural remedies and loved the whole idea of my body helping to heal itself after childbirth. I was hooked, and hired someone to come and encapsulate my placenta after birth. I truly believe in the healing nature of the placenta, and all of the properties it has for assisting in our body’s ability to produce milk, and to add back into our diets the many nutrients, minerals and hormones that it contains, and replace them in our bodies at a time when these things are lacking.” Sarah Fuhrman

Welcome Sarah!  We are happy to have you!


Babies’ guts were once thought to be sterile at birth, with no beneficial bacteria present. According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, human breastmilk has over 700 beneficial microbes that aid in a baby’s immune support and brain development.

The study suggests that the hormones present during labor may have an impact on the microbial diversity of breastmilk.  Mothers having vaginal births and those with births via cesarean AFTER laboring, have similar microbial diversity in their breastmilk.  However, mothers with babies born via scheduled cesarean show less microbial diversity than the other 2 groups. It is also known that babies exposed to the flora of a mother’s vagina also have more beneficial bacteria their guts, jump starting a healthy immune response.

Breastmilk also protects a baby’s gut and intestines from harmful bacteria:

“Breast milk is also loaded with over 130 human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) which are a kind of resistant starch (RS), meaning that they are not broken down by the enzymes in the esophagus, stomach or small intestine. Instead, they remain intact until they reach the large intestine, where they feed the good bacteria that live in the colon.

HMOs have been shown to have prebiotic effects, promoting the growth of Bifidobacterium bifidum, as well as other beneficial microbes. (2) Some interesting news is that goat’s milk is loaded with HMO-like oligosaccharides, while cow’s milk only has trace amounts.

What is also cool about HMOs is that bad, virulent and pathogenic bacteria actually adhere to the HMOs rather than the wall of the infant’s intestines. This allows the infant time to ramp-up their quantity of diverse immune and brain-boosting microbes.” (Elephant Journal)

hibiscus_brilliant1We all know and love hibiscus flowers for their large, brightly colored flowers, but this beautiful plant offers us more than just a decorative fixture in our gardens.  Studies have shown hibiscus tea to be just as effective in alleviating high blood pressure as hypertension drugs, but without the side effects.

“Scientists in Mexico gave 75 hypertensive adults either captopril (Capoten; 25 milligrams twice a day) or hibiscus tea (brewed from 10 grams of crushed dried flowers — about 5 teaspoons per 1 to 2 cups water — once a day). After four weeks, the herb had worked as well as the drug, with both groups showing an 11 percent drop in blood pressure.” (source)

Hibiscus tea is successful in lower high blood pressure because of its diuretic properties.  It helps open arteries and allows hormones known to constrict blood vessels to be released more slowly.  The tea is also known to have bioflavinoids, which are believed to help prevent high LDL cholesterol, which also aids in preventing a build-up of plaque in the arteries.

The PBi Network of Specialists would like to extend a warm welcome to Jennifer Ivany of Fort McMurray, Canada. Jennifer is a mother of 3 and works as a birth doula in addition to providing new moms with placenta encapsulation services.

“I am passionate about pregnancy, birth and the post-partum care of mothers. I am very happy to be able to offer this service to mothers in my community. I believe that the body can heal naturally and that there are more natural ways to help heal and enrich the mother’s post-partum body.” -Jennifer


Pre-eclampsia, a condition affecting roughly 5-8% of pregnancies, is characterized by high blood pressure and protein in the urine.  Onset of the condition is typically sometime after 20-weeks and symptoms include visual disturbances, swelling and rapid weight gain, and headaches.  Pre-eclampsia is a leading cause of infant and maternal illness and mortality around the world and the only cure is delivery of the fetus.  In an effort to reduce the risk of stroke and other maternal complications, many babies are delivered prematurely.

The United States Preventive Services Task Force’s draft recommendation comes after increasing evidence showing that low dose aspirin may be beneficial to mothers who are considered high risk for pre-eclampsia.  In clinical trials, low dose aspirin reduced the incidence of pre-eclampsia by 24%, preterm birth by 14%, and fetal growth restriction by 20%.

“The task force recommended that women at high risk for pre-eclampsia take 81 milligrams of low-dose aspirin daily after 12 weeks of gestation. High-risk women include those who have had pre-eclampsia in a prior pregnancy, especially those who have had to deliver preterm; women carrying multiple fetuses; and women who had diabetes or high blood pressure at conception.

But the task force also advised that expectant women with multiple moderate-risk factors “may also benefit from low-dose aspirin.” These risks include obesity, a family history of pre-eclampsia, women older than 35, and African-American women.” (source)

There appears to be no short-term harm to the fetus or the pregnancy by taking low dose aspirin, but rare or long-term risks could not be ruled out.

“The largest trial followed infants 18 months after birth, and “found no differences in development outcomes,” said Jillian T. Henderson, the lead author of the review and an investigator at Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Ore.

The researchers also found that use of low-dose aspirin doesn’t increase the risk of excessive bleeding after delivery, placental abruption (when the placenta detaches from the uterus before it should) or bleeding inside the baby’s cranial vault.”

Discussing the pros and cons of taking low dose aspirin should be discussed with a care provider.

Author: Jodi Selander

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