The Placenta Blog


For years, women were told that if they ate too many nuts during pregnancy their children could end up with a nut allergy.  New data dispels that notion and actually states that moms who eat nuts several times per week during pregnancy actually have babies who are less likely to develop a nut allergy.

“Researchers used data from a large prospective study of health and lifestyle among female nurses. They studied 8,205 mothers who were not allergic to nuts and their children born from 1990 to 1994, and found 140 cases of peanut or tree nut allergy among the offspring.

After adjusting for age, race, season of birth, smoking, consumption of fruits and vegetables and other factors, they found that mothers who consumed nuts at least five times a month were almost 70 percent less likely to have a baby with a nut allergy than those who ate nuts less than once a month.” Source

Oregon House Bill 2612 passed 56-0 last April, changing the law regarding placenta release from medical facilities.  The bill, which goes into effect Wednesday, gives all Oregon mothers access to their placentas after birth so they may take them home.

Rep. Alissia Keny-Guyer, D-Portland, was the primary sponsor of the bill, approved overwhelmingly by the 2013 Legislature. She noted that several cultures believe the placenta contains a spirit that will watch over the baby.

In fact, many women do want to take home their placenta for various cultural reasons.

Whatever the reason a mom may want her placenta, we are thrilled that woman in the state of Oregon will be able to utilize and honor their placentas however they see fit.


In 2011 Baltimore native, Ivelisse Page, launched an organization called Believe Big, a non-profit foundation committed to helping patients and their families through a cancer diagnosis.  Page, a stage 4 colon cancer survivor, has a mission to educate the cancer community about using a combination of modern medicine and complementary, less mainstream therapies.

Page praises the alternative therapy that she says saved her and is working hard to make sure it is available for everyone suffering from cancer.  Page’s magical therapy has been widely used in Europe as a cancer treatment; mistletoe extract.  Believe Big is now the primary backer for a clinical trail on mistletoe extract at Johns Hopkins Medicine’s Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Page’s doctor, Peter Hinderberger, is a Maryland doctor who is well versed in the mistletoe extract treatment that is otherwise unknown in the U.S.  Dr. Hinderberger is only 1 of 50 physicians in the U.S. licensed to prescribe mistletoe extract.  Hinderberger learned of the benefits of the extract while working at a cancer clinic in Switzerland in the 1970’s.

“Hinderberger describes mistletoe extract as the “backbone” of his cancer protocol, the specifics depending on the patient’s kind of cancer, current stage and treatment — surgery, chemotherapy or radiation.” (source)

Mistletoe extract contains viscotoxin, a poison that attacks and destroys cancer cells and enhances a patients cancer-fighting immune system.  Mistletoe also prevents new blood vessels from forming in cancers and promotes natural cell death.  When Ivelisse Page was told she had an 8% survival rate and that receiving chemotherapy treatment would only increase her chance by 10%, Page decided to jump right into her mistletoe therapy with Dr. Hinderberger.  She said, “Why would I want to destroy everything in my body for just a 10 percent chance?”  According to Dr. Hinderberger, “mistletoe prolongs survival time and improves the quality of life.”

After over 3 years of being cancer-free, Page hopes the clinical trials can achieve FDA approval, making mistletoe extract a standard of care.  Believe Big has raised $100,000 of the $300,000 needed for the first phase of the three-phase trial.  Learn more about Believe Big and how you can support the mission.


San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum is featuring a fascinating exhibit on royal artifacts from the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910).  The exhibit in Lee Gallery is titled From Birth to the Throne where some of the oldest surviving pottery is on display, royal placenta jars.  After the birth of a royal, their placenta and umbilical cord were sealed in porcelain jars like the ones pictured above.

“The selection of artworks in Lee Gallery illustrates the lifestyles and rituals of kings during the Joseon dynasty, from birth to the throne. One unique Korean ritual was the making of placenta jars. Immediately after birth, the tissue surrounding the royal baby, including the placenta and umbilical cord, was placed in a set of jars and kept in a special chamber for the symbolic protection and well-being of the family member throughout life. In the late 15th century, placenta jars of white porcelain took on standardized forms—taller than previous types, and distinctively decorated with four loops on the shoulders, like the placenta jars of Princess Myeong-an in Lee Gallery.” (source)

Imagine a marbled picture frame, inscribed with your baby’s birth date and name, holding your most cherished photograph from your pregnancy, birth, or of your cute offspring.  Now imagine that frame being made from the very placenta that grew your baby and sustained your pregnancy.

Amanda Cotton is an artist making picture frames made from human placentas.  Cotton uses the entire placenta and prepares it by boiling it, dehydrating it, and pulverizing it into a powder.  She then mixes the powder with resin and molds the substance into a picture frame.  The result is a unique work of art that resembles marble.  (see a photo of Amanda Cotton’s frame.)

“I chose to create souvenirs that pin-point key times in one’s life, using materials of personal significance,” Cotton adds. “My work is about expressing the amazing and intricate materials our bodies provide.”

Personally, I love the idea and think it’s an innovative way to honor the amazing placenta.  But if I have to be honest, I would rather have my placenta made into capsules that will help ease my transition to another baby and give me a balanced postpartum experience.

What do you think?

Preeclampsia is the leading cause of maternal death and newborn illness worldwide.  Diagnosed by hypertension and the presence of protein in the urine (also known as proteinuria), preeclampsia is only cured by the delivery of the baby.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecoloigsts (ACOG) released a statement last week changing the guidelines to diagnose preeclampia in expecting mothers.  According to the new Task Force Report on Hypertension in Pregnancy by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, a diagnosis now no longer requires high levels of protein to be found in urine samples.

“This Task Force report changes the paradigm that we use in diagnosing preeclampsia from one that is dependent on new onset hypertension and proteinuria,” said James N. Martin, Jr, MD, past president of The College and vice chair for research and academic development and chief of the division of maternal-fetal medicine at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, MS. “The problem is that many patients with preeclampsia don’t have enough proteinuria to meet the former criteria, so their diagnosis and treatment is delayed.” (source)

Preeclampsia affects about 5 % of pregnant women and can lead to preterm delivery, stroke, seizure, and maternal death.  Symptoms of preeclampsia include high blood pressure, swelling, excessive weight gain, visual disturbances, abdominal pain and headaches.  For more information, please visit The Preeclampsia Foundation.

I am very excited to announce that we are now recruiting participants for our Placenta Vs Placebo research out of UNLV! The principal investigator for the research project is Dr. Daniel Benyshek, and Sharon Young is the main contact for the study. Please note that due to the fact we need to travel to the participants multiple times over the course of the study, the participants should be from the Las Vegas valley.

Please feel free to share this post! You can also download the PDF of the recruitment flyer here.

Thank you!
Jodi Selander

Participants Needed for Research Study:
Investigation of the Effects of Placentophagy on Postpartum Health and Recovery

Researchers at UNLV along with the web-based, maternity information and support group Placenta Benefits, are investigating the effects of placentophagy in postpartum women, and are seeking volunteers to take part in a research study. Participants who have decided to ingest their placenta postpartum, as well as participants who have decided not to ingest their placenta postpartum are needed.

Who can participate?

Females older than 18 years experiencing a normal pregnancy and who have never before ingested their placenta may be eligible to participate.

What will you be asked to do?

· If you have decided that you will ingest your placenta postpartum (have your placenta encapsulated as a postpartum supplement), you will be asked to:

o Answer general demographic and background questions

o Ingest a supplement postpartum that will be either your own encapsulated placenta or encapsulated vegetarian placebo. This supplement will be assigned randomly and you will not be told whether you are receiving your own encapsulated placenta or a vegetarian placebo. If you are given the placebo, your placenta capsules will be provided to you at the final meeting at three weeks postpartum.

o Meet with a research team member once during your third trimester of pregnancy and three times postpartum where you will be asked to:

§ complete a questionnaire about your psychological, physiological, and emotional experiences across late pregnancy and the postpartum period, and recent diet

§ provide blood, saliva, urine, hair, and placenta samples for hormone, nutrient, and environmental metal analysis (hair and placenta samples will only be collected one time)

· If you have decided not to ingest your placenta postpartum, you will be asked to:

o Answer general demographic and background questions

o Some participants will receive an iron supplement to take for three weeks after giving birth

o Meet with a research team member once during your third trimester of pregnancy and three times postpartum where you will be asked to:

§ complete a questionnaire about your psychological, physiological, and emotional experiences across late pregnancy and the postpartum period, and recent diet

§ provide blood, saliva, urine, and hair samples for hormone, nutrient, and environmental metal analysis (hair sample will only be collected one time)

How long will it take?

Your participation will begin at 36 weeks gestation and will end during the third week postpartum, with meetings at 36 weeks of pregnancy, within 72 hours postpartum, the fifth day postpartum, and during the third week postpartum. Each meeting should last no longer than 90 minutes, and you will be compensated for your time.

What do I do?

In order to participate, or for more information about this study, contact Sharon Young through email at, or by phone at 702-983-0386, or Laura Gryder at

If you have any questions or concerns about this study, please contact Dr. Daniel Benyshek at 702-895-2070, or email


Did you find strangers came up to you during your pregnancy to touch your growing belly without invitation?  I’ve heard many soon-to-be moms complain about this overstep in boundaries, but women in PA won’t be dealing with it much longer.  A new Pennsylvania law has made it illegal for a stranger to touch an expectant mom’s pregnant belly.  The law came about after one angry mom filed a harassment case against a man who repeatedly touched her belly despite her objections.

It is sad we would need a law telling us not to touch someone without permission.  After all, we learned that rule in kindergarten, right?

The Benefits of Babywearing

October 8th, 2013

A guest post written by: Rachel Thomas

In honor of International Babywearing Week, we thought we’d take a moment to discuss some of the advantages and benefits to wearing your baby.  Baby-wearing is a concept that has been practiced since the beginning of time in many cultures. As you will find in the discussion below, babywearing has benefits for both parents and children.


1. Convenience - One of the most obvious reasons baby-wearing works for many parents is the convenience that comes with the procedure. Many parents find that they are able to accomplish more when they wear their baby.  Instead of having a fussy baby in a swing or bouncer, the baby is attached to you in a comfortable manner. This means you are still able to complete chores, eat or otherwise have a hands-free method of caring for your child while completing your tasks.

2. Child Happiness - Many times parents seem to forget that the world is a new place for an infant. Security is crucial for a developing infant. Having the safety and security of having the parent so close by can be comforting for a baby. Children that are worn are usually less cranky and fussy as opposed to those who are left on their own. In fact, children who are worn cry 43% less than children that are not worn. (Dr. Sears)

3. Mental Development - The more calm the child is, the more alert he is to the world around him. This means children can absorb what is going on around them in greater quantity than if they were spending their time crying. When a child is content in the carrier, the parent has more opportunity it bond and interact with the baby, which enhances learning.

4. Bonding - One of the most prominent reasons parents practice baby-wearing is the bonding experience it can create. The baby develops a strengthened sense of security with the parent as the child realizes that he or she is protected at all times. Some may try to argue that baby-wearing spoils the child, but it is impossible to spoil an infant. Children who grow up feeling secure grow into confident, independent adolescents and adults.

5. Fitness - Let us not forget that carrying around the extra weight burns additional calories for the parent. Although your child shouldn’t be viewed as exercise equipment, it’s a welcomed perk to the experience. Whether you are out at the park, walking around the house, or visiting friends and family at a restaurant you are exercising more than if you were to be without the child strapped to you.

Baby-wearing is a great method to create a bond between yourself and your child. By letting him know now that you’ll always be there to care for them, you’ll find it fosters trust in your relationship. This could have a ripple effect throughout the child’s life as he or she will feel more comfortable confiding in you.

Author Bio:
Rachel is an ex-babysitting pro as well as a professional writer and blogger. She is a graduate from Iowa State University and currently writes for She welcomes questions/comments which can be sent to @

While I always encourage raising awareness about postpartum mood disorders, I was saddened that it took a women being shot to death in front of her baby to get the topic in the media.  As you probably know, last week Miriam Carey was involved in a chase with Washington D.C. police, leading to her crashing through the gates of the White House and ultimately being killed by police 16 blocks away in Capitol Hill.  Carey’s mother stated that her daughter had been suffering from postpartum depression since giving birth in August 2012. However, after hearing the details of the case, including that Carey was experiencing delusions, my guess is she was suffering from postpartum psychosis, a rare postpartum illness affecting 1% of new mothers.

courtesy of

courtesy of

What this event teaches and reminds us is that postpartum mood disorders such as postpartum depression, anxiety, and psychosis are very real and should not be taken lightly.  80% of new moms experience the baby blues.  Caused by extreme fatigue, rapid hormone changes, and stress, the baby blues leave moms feeling irritable, anxious, weepy, and dependent.  If symptoms last longer than 6 weeks, it may warrant a diagnosis of postpartum depression.  20% of new moms will suffer from postpartum depression.

If you notice a new mom not acting herself, or maybe she is more weepy than you would think normal, don’t wait, please offer your support and get her help.  New moms often feel shame or guilt for having negative feelings after birth, when they are told in our culture that they should only be feeling elated and over the moon.  This notion leaves moms feeling even more isolated and afraid to ask for help.

We support moms through pregnancy and birth, but the journey does not end when the baby is born.  They also need and deserve our support throughout the fourth trimester when they are healing from childbirth, learning to breastfeed, and transitioning to the new role of mother.  Let us not forget our postpartum mothers and lift them up during a time they need it most.

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Author: Jodi Selander

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