The Placenta Blog

The PBi network of specialists would like to welcome Shantell Brown of Bowie, MD. Shantell already serves moms as a birth doula and is excited to be extending her services to postpartum moms as well.

Shantell is the mother to an amazing little boy and enjoys competing in triathlons, riding motorcycles, reading and teaching.

“As a birth doula I enjoy providing loving support so that mothers can experience the joy of labor and birth. While offering a number of services to pregnant women I can now help them enjoy their experience prenatally by creating belly cast to help mothers remember their pregnancy curves, as a doula through the labor and delivery process, and now as a placenta encapsulation specialist to help mothers cope and recover during their postpartum period.” -Shantell

Rena Figures, a homebirth midwife in Lawrence, KS has completed the PBi requirements and has earned her certification! Congratulations, Rena!

Becoming certified takes time and commitment. In order to be certified through PBi, a candidate must read and write response papers to research related to placentophagy. A candidate must also pass a written exam, prepare three placentas using the PBi method, and complete a food safety course to adhere to local and state health regulations.

Amelia Catone is no stranger to holistic health and wellness.  She first heard of placentophagy while pregnant and working in an acupuncture clinic.  Many of the practitioners she worked with suggested placentophagy after the birth of her baby, but only mentioned eating it raw or in food.  Since eating it was not appealing to Amelia, she began researching her options and discovered PBi!

Shortly after, Amelia encapsulated for a friend and was so in awe of her friend’s profound experience postpartum that Amelia knew she had to pursue it for herself.

“Before my daughter was born, I encapsulated a friend’s placenta immediately after the birth of her second child; the difference she experienced postpartum was so profound that there was no question about pursuing it for myself and recommending it to others, if I thought they’d be open to it.

I am in awe of every aspect of procreation, and find it to be a mystical and brilliant process, an ordinary miracle that happens every moment of every day. To me it is an honor to prepare the placenta for new moms to reintegrate into their bodies in support of their healing.”  -Amelia Catone

It is fairly common in our society for women to delay pregnancy, especially when compared to our parents’ generation. For a variety of reasons including career goals and delayed marriage, many women are waiting until their 30’s to start families. Waiting may consider these moms “high-risk” by most obstetricians for being of advanced maternal age, over 35 years old. Advanced maternal age is a well known risk factor for having a child with a chromosomal abnormality, such as Downs Syndrome. However, there has been little information on maternal age in relation to congenital abnormalities, or physical defects.

According to a new study, advanced maternal age might not be as risky as some may believe. In fact, it may actually decrease the risk of congenital malformations.

“…this retrospective study used obstetric and ultrasound information collected from over 76,000 women at the time they presented for their routine second trimester ultrasound at Washington University in St. Louis (Mo.). Researchers compared the incidence of having one or more major congenital malformations diagnosed at the time of ultrasound in women who were younger than 35 versus those women 35 years and older.

Also examined was the incidence of major malformations of women categorized by organ system including heart, brain and kidney. Overall, we found that advanced maternal age was associated with a 40 percent decreased risk of having a child with one or more major congenital malformations, after controlling for other risk factors. Specifically, the incidence of brain, kidney, and abdominal wall defects were decreased in this group of women, while the incidence of heart defects was unchanged.” (Source)

Monica Audette knew that whatever professional path she chose, she wanted to help people.  After witnessing her sister’s birth, Monica began the journey of becoming a birth worker.  Monica soon became a DONA-certified doula and loved supporting women and their partners through their birth journeys, but eventually she was ready to grow professionally.  Monica heard about placenta encapsulation and knew it was the perfect service to offer her clients.

“I feel so excited to offer my services to mothers during their post partum period, helping them avoid post partum blues. I believe the placenta is such an important piece of the postpartum period that is to often forgotten. I believe in the placenta’s benefits and I look forward to effectively helping more women.” -Monica Audette

If you are in Winnipeg or  Southeastern Manitoba and are looking for placenta encapsulation services, contact Monica.


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?

Author: Jodi Selander

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