The Placenta Blog

Kristen over at Birthing Beautiful Ideas has published her full story of using placenta capsules for her postpartum recovery. We first blogged about Kristen when she was pregnant, and planning to use the services of PBi’s own Kelsie Meyers to prepare the placenta.

Kristen's placenta capsules

Kristen's placenta capsules

Kristen writes many wonderful things about her experience with placenta capsules, and does a great job of analyzing her own feelings with regards to the purported benefits of placenta capsules, namely milk production, increase in energy, and mood enhancement.

Regarding her energy levels, she reports that during the first six weeks postpartum, when many of us feel like we’re doing well just surviving, “I have felt great. Amazing even.”


“(Someone on my Facebook page described themselves as feeling as if they are shooting unicorns and rainbow and glitter [out] of their butts when they take their placenta pills, AND NOW I CAN TOTALLY RELATE!)

And the only downside to this great, amazing energy is that I’ve had to remind myself (sometimes even out loud) that I just had a baby. That it’s okay (and probably even preferable) to slow down every once in a while.

But if that’s the only downside, then I’ll take it.

And if this great, amazing energy is in any way the result of my placenta pills, then by God, I’ll still take them.”

And, what about her mood?

“In the past six weeks, I can attest that my mood has seen far fewer fluctuations than it did following the births of Miles and Alec.

What’s more, during this time I’ve had less in-home help, more children to take care of, and far fewer days of paternity leave for Tim than I did after Miles and Alec’s births. So one might expect that I would be experiencing a huge increase in mood fluctuations.

Even more telling? I did have two days of major sadness and anxiety earlier this month. And when I reflected on the possible sources at the end of those two days, I realized that I had forgotten to take my placenta pills on both days.”

She summarizes her experience with humor, an emphatic “I love it!” and a shout-out to our PBi Specialists.

“I’ve been so alert and energetic and emotionally stable during these first six weeks that I can’t help but attribute some of these effects to these pills.

With that being said, I would highly recommend placenta encapsulation to any person who is considering it.

You never know: you might experience unicorns, rainbows, and glitter (i.e. increased milk production, better energy, and improved mood) too!”

So, there you have it, folks - another glowing testimonial, and another Placenta Love convert. Now go read Kristen’s blog; she’s a funny lady and a great writer.

Breast cancer, the leading gynecological cancer, has been on the rise for the past fifty years.  Today, one in seven women will be diagnosed with breast cancer; a stark difference between the one in twenty statistic of 1960.

For years women have been told to get regular mammograms to screen for the disease in hopes to catch it early.  However, it is now being acknowledged that the one thing women have been doing to prevent breast cancer could be, in fact, causing it.

The high dose of ionizing radiation can have toxic effects, contributing to mutations that cause breast cancer.  In fact, the amount of radiation in a mammogram is 1,000 times that of a chest x-ray.  Not to mention, if cancer is present in the breast, it can be spread throughout the tissue by the pressure the breast is exposed to during a routine mammogram.

Furthering the blow, mammograms aren’t even saving women’s lives.  A 2010 study by the New England Journal of Medicine found that cancer deaths have only been reduced by 0.4 per 1,000 women.  This statistic is miniscule at best.   There is also a 6% chance for a false positive when you are diagnosed with a mammogram, often leading to unnecessary treatments, procedures, and hardship.

If mammograms are bad, then what should you be doing for breast cancer screening? Thermography is a great alternative to the mammogram. This thermal imaging test can detect the heat that is produced from rapidly multiplying cancer cells.  (Click here to find a thermography clinic in your area.)

Source: Your Greatest Weapon Against Breast Cancer (Not Mammograms)

Carmen Calvo, PES

You take care of your baby, well take care of the placenta

You take care of your baby, we'll take care of the placenta

The PBi family would like to give a huge welcome to the following new Placenta Encapsulation Specialists (PES):

Mandi Woolery - Upland, CA
Heather Holm - Nashville, TN

Congratulations to our newly Certified Specialists (CPES):
Michaela Evanow, CPES (PBi) - Vancouver, BC
Kylie Pattnaik, CPES (PBi) - Cornwall, ENG

Good work ladies and thank you for helping the women in your communities!!!

Become a Specialist
Are you interested in becoming part of the PBi Network? Become a specialist! Learn more about our training program here.

Find a Specialist
Are you pregnant and interested in having the best postpartum experience possible? Click here to find a specialist in your area.

A woman in Phoenix, AZ, died earlier this month as a result of stage-four melanoma. Briana Cox discovered she had the disease when she collapsed just two months after the birth of her daughter, Addison. By the time the cancer was caught, it had spread to her brain, liver, and other parts of her body.

Shortly after Briana’s diagnosis, four dark spots appeared on baby Addison’s forehead, ultimately leading to the very same diagnosis as her mother; stage-four melanoma. The cancer has also spread to her brain and liver, too.

While she was pregnant, Briana’s cancer had metastasized and was transmitted through the placenta to her baby. The placenta typically protects the fetus from transmission and cases like this are extremely rare; only a few dozen have occurred in the past 140 years.

Research on mother-to-fetus transmission is limited, but doctors have uncovered the cause. Normally a fetus’ immune system would destroy any of the mother’s cancer cells; however, in these cases, the cells are missing a significant piece of the sixth human chromosome. This missing region of the chromosome is normally what creates markers for the immune system to latch onto. As a result, the cancer survived because it was invisible to the fetus’ immune system.


Carmen Calvo, PES

Through the years, mastitis, an infection of breast tissue that mostly occurs in breastfeeding mothers, has typically been treated by a course of antibiotics. However, more recently, probiotics have been shown to be a better alternative.

Doctors from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, studied a group of 352 with symptoms of mastitis. One group of women was given lactobacilli and the other, various forms of antibiotics, including amoxicillin, cotrimoxazole, and erythromycin.

By Day 21, the women in the probiotics group had significantly lower bacterial counts than their antibiotic taking counterparts. The mastitis returned in 30.7% of the antibiotics patients as opposed to 17.6% of the probiotics group.

The side effects? The women who received probiotics reported flatulence where women in the antibiotics group reported increased incidence of vaginal candidiasis.

It appears that probiotics are an efficient, more convenient, alternative for the treatment of mastitis.

What great news for nursing mothers!


Have you noticed any talk in the media lately, regarding genetically modified (GM) foods? By definition, GM foods have had genes from other plants or animals inserted into their genetic codes. By modifying a plant or animal’s genetics, scientists can make plants more resistant to drought, grow faster, and they are able to take on more desired traits. Foods that are genetically engineered have a longer shelf life and also require fewer pesticides. As a result, farmers’ costs go down while revenue increases.

While all the benefits of GM foods may sound great, what are the implications for our health? Corn, one of the largest genetically modified crops, contains the toxin, Bt, to deter pests. This corn is used to feed the livestock from which we receive our meats, eggs, and milk. According to the GM industry, when people consume animals fed by GM feed, the human gut destroys any toxins and passes it as waste, thus making GM foods safe.

However, in a recent study, the toxin found in GM foods was also found in the blood of 93% of pregnant women and 80% of umbilical cords. This latest finding refutes the GM industry’s claims of safety. It appears that these toxins are not only staying in the body, but they are passing through the placenta to the fetus. The implications of exposure to the toxins, if any, are still not clear.

Robin Lim, a midwife in Indonesia, where a large portion of the diet is GM soy, has reported seeing many issues relating to the placenta in her practice. This high concentration of GM foods in Indonesia is the result of their national government’s promotion of the practice. Among seeing an increase in retained placenta, where the body doesn’t deliver the placenta naturally, she is also noticing increased incidence of velamentous umbilical cord insertion and short cords. Less than normal quantities of Wharton Jelly are also being observed. As you might imagine, these rare abnormalities are causing more fetal deaths in her community.

velamentous umbilical cord insertion

velamentous umbilical cord insertion

It is still unclear whether the link between the heavy GM soy diet and these placenta abnormalities is a coincidence or if they are, in fact, a result of the GM foods. Further study is required to better understand the impact of GM foods on our bodies.

Read more about genetically modified foods by visiting the World Health Organization (WHO).

To find ways to avoid GM foods click here.


Carmen Calvo, PES

Placenta shapes brain development

February 21st, 2012

Norman Barker

Norman Barker

The Scientific American is getting into the latest research on our amazing and beloved placentas!

In a recent article, Fetal Armor: How the Placenta Shapes Brain Development, they highlight the fact that the placenta has been vastly under-appreciated and is much more than just a source of nourishment, but also protects the baby and shapes brain development.

They point to recent research showing that in times of food deprivation, the placenta will break down its own tissues and provide nourishment to the fetus during times of critical brain development! (read more)

Fetus and placenta

Derek Bromhall/Getty Images

They also highlight the research that shows placentas are actually creating seratonin for the baby during the development of the forebrain. This is a huge switch from conventional thought, which was that the baby got the required seratonin from the mother. (read more)

“Research into the placenta’s influence on the developing brain is so new it has yet to be named. Anna Penn, a developmental neurobiologist and neonatologist at Stanford University, has dubbed it neuroplacentology.

The old thinking about the placenta is changing, Penn says, but there is still much to learn.”

I could not have said it better myself, Ms. Penn.

The word is getting out, folks! Placentas are so much more than what we’ve thought.

Mothers, when you give birth to your baby’s placenta, look at it. Touch it. Appreciate it. No, it’s not as cute as your baby, but this amazing organ has helped bring your baby into this world, protected them and nourished them, and they deserve to have their role in this miraculous process we call LIFE be acknowledged.

As we (mothers) change our view of the placenta, we can begin to change policies regarding the handling of placentas in hospitals. We must help change the archaic view of the placenta from “medical waste” and “blood filled sac” (actual terms used by hospital staff citing grounds on which to refuse their release), to something more befitting their actual description.

Life. Love. Placentas.

Placenta: The Forgotten Chakra

February 15th, 2012

I am so pleased to announce that Robin Lim is making her book available for download! You can purchase it, and any of her other books, online at her site.

Ibu Robin LimRobin Lim is an American woman who began Yayasan Bumi Sehat health clinics in Indonesia. The locals call her Ibu Robin, or Mother Robin. It is through the Bumi Sehat health clinics that thousands of Indonesian women receive free prenatal care, birth care and medical aid where many families do not have the financial means to receive such necessary care. Lim believes the high expense of receiving proper prenatal and birth care is partly why Indonesian maternal and infant mortality rates are so high. She also is a committed advocate in teaching gentle birth and exclusive breastfeeding for the crucial growth and development of babies.

She recently won CNN’s Hero award for her work for women and babies in Indonesia. We’ve also done a full review of her book, Placenta: The Forgotten Chakra.

Through your purchase of her e-book, you can help support Robin Lim and her work. Thank you!

Facebook is deleting pictures of placentas. They are generally being flagged as “violent imagery”. I am at a loss to understand how a placenta, a product of birth, a bringer of life, can in any way be construed as “violent”.

Birth itself can be violent. Women have been strapped down (whether with actual restraints or just via hospital policies that require routine fetal monitoring), babies pulled from the womb before their time under the guise of safety or even convenience. Women are supposed to be quiet and sedate (and often sedated) in order to birth in a way that is comfortable for the people around her. Our society finds these practices completely acceptable. Yet a photograph of a placenta is inappropriate, even violent?

Placenta from Earthside Birth PhotographyEarthside Birth Photography posted this picture of a placenta on her Facebook page. Somebody flagged it as inappropriate, and it was removed. When others posted pictures of placentas in support, they were deleted as well. In talking about this situation on my Facebook page, several other mothers said that their placenta photos were deleted from among the pictures of their birth that they had posted. So this isn’t a singular, unique experience.

I think this is ridiculous. I’ve started a simple petition that you can sign online, aimed at Mr. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook. It is meant to demonstrate that while we placenta fans may be few in numbers, we are passionate about placentas!

  Facebook: Let us post pictures of placentas!

In honor of all the beautiful placentas born each day, I’d like to share a few of them with you here. And yes, I will be posting this to Facebook! Special thanks to Job Description: Mommy for alerting me to this situation.

Heart Placenta Picture

Placenta Picture, heart cord

Placenta with clamped cord picture

Placenta from Earthside Birth Photography

Thank you for taking the time to look at these placentas. The more we open our eyes and really see what our amazing bodies can create, the more we can appreciate these miracles. Each one of these placentas nourished a baby and helped bring them into the world. I don’t believe that a sane person could declare any one of these photos as “violent imagery”.

If you have a Facebook account, I know we’d all appreciate it if you’d take a moment to “like” these pages.

Earthside Birth Photography
Job Description: Mommy
Placenta Benefits

Placenta Art

December 30th, 2011

We have some amazing placenta lovers out there! A fellow PBi Specialist, Polly Wood, pointed me to an artist who has created amazing imagery that honors the placenta.

Nané Ariadne Jordan creates placentas from felted wool, yielding a buttery soft, hand-spun and dyed piece of art. Nané created her masterpieces as part of the Gestare Art Collective, a movement she co-founded in 2009.

Ms. Jordan has this to say about placentas: “Human placental morphology (growth and form) pays homage to the growth of trees in their branching, rooting forms that seek an interchange of nourishment through elements of air, water and minerals between life forms. ”

Thank you for highlighting the beauty and the gentle spirit of the placenta in your work.

Please view all of Nané’s placenta art on the Gestare Art Collective website.

About the Gestare Art Collective
Living in different geographic locations in North America we share our individual and collective art practices and develop collaborative projects through digital on-line communication at a distance and at residencies. The source of our artistic collaborations comes from our shared engagement with the Divine Feminine and the Earth, gestated in the labyrinthine container of wombspace.

Author: Jodi Selander

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PBi Blogger: Carmen Calvo

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