Graduate Spotlight: Shannon Bacus

Shannon grew up right in the heart of Central IL but hasn’t always stayed put. From Indiana to Africa to Missouri, she has planted roots as she’s moved. She is the best of both worlds – a dreamer who loves to get stuff done. She’s a graduate of Lincoln Christian University and is a DONA Certified Birth Doula and APPA Placenta Encapsulation Specialist.

She spends her days taking care of her children and loves spending time with her husband, laughing and drinking delicious craft beers. Her home is a priority and has created it as a space of beauty, rest and comfort, which reflects her personality and care.

Empowering women with options through one-on-one consults, educating families on their choices for birth, and supporting women during their birth and postpartum brings her great fulfillment!

Graduate Spotlight: Krista Montufar

“Hi, my name is Krista Montufar.  I am a wife,married to my wonderful high school sweetheart, and I am the mother to two amazing children. 
 
My journey in birth work began with my own eventful pregnancies. Those births led me on the path of becoming educated about the birthing process and how to help other Moms fulfill the vision they have for their pregnancy, labor, birth and postpartum experiences. 
 
Serving women and families has led me on a journey of learning, and expanding my skills, which include: DONA trained birth doula, Hypnobabies Certified Hypno-doula (HCHD), Certified Holistic Doula (The Matrona), Sacred Pregnancy Belly Binding Artist, Perinatal Bereavement Doula, Training as a Lamaze Childbirth Educator and now a Certified Placenta Encapsulation Specialist through APPA.
 
Placenta Encapsulation has a place so close to my heart!  I am proud to offer this service and honored to be a part of the highly recognized and respected Association of Placenta Preparation Arts (APPA) family. My goal is to always uphold the standards of APPA, and to provide Placenta Preparation services with the highest regards to safety, sanitation and client satisfaction.

Graduate Spotlight: Courtney van Assem

My name is Courtney van Assem, I am a mother to two little girls and a baby on the way shortly. I am a farmer’s wife with a love for growing and nurturing all things. I stumbled upon placenta encapsulation while pregnant with my first daughter and fell in love with the idea. After my second daughter was born I knew that this was something I wanted to share with everyone around me. Wanting to be as informed as possible about encapsulation, I spent a while researching and decided APPA would give me the education I was looking for!

Graduate Spotlight: Liz Martinez

Hello, my name is Liz Martinez. I’m a Marine Wife and a homeschooling mother to two beautiful girls. My girls have always been my inspiration so when I was pregnant with second daughter I began to do research on encapsulation. After reading about the reported benefits I decided to encapsulate my own placenta. I felt amazing after consuming my placenta! I knew that this was something wonderful and I felt strongly that all mothers should have their placenta encapsulated! I decided that I wanted to certify so that I could learn the most that I could and feel more professional. I was so glad to have found APPA. This course is so thorough and I have gained so much knowledge. I feel so proud to be APPA Certified.

Graduate Spotlight: Karyn Brown

Placenta encapsulator?  Placenta arts specialist?  How does that kind of career choice happen?  For me, it happened like this.  After seven years in the Army, two AA degrees, and a lot more college, I decided to settle down and raise a family.  I am a stay-at-home, breast-feeding, cloth diapering, and home schooling mother of five, with one on the way. I love what I do!
 
Starting with my second pregnancy I had really wanted a home birth, but never seemed to be within the traveling radius of a Certified Nurse Midwife.  Finally, with my fourth child, while in Alaska, I got my wish.  It was a wonderful experience.  This was also my first introduction to all the wonderful benefits of the placenta!  I became a believer. Two years later I was again able to take advantage of the lovely benefits of a home birth and placenta encapsulation with my fifth child.
 
From my personal experience with placenta pills, I loved the energy boosts!  I definitely noticed a much faster healing duration compared with my previous pregnancies when I did not take pills.  I seemed to be happier when taking the pills and had an abundant milk supply.  Really, I can’t say enough good things about it.
 
After numerous suggestions that I open a business doing placenta encapsulation I decided to look into certification.  If I was going to do it, I was going to do it right.  I wanted to offer the best of the best.  When looking into certifying agencies, APPA stood head and shoulders above the rest.
 
I really believe in the beneficial and medicinal properties of the placenta.  I enjoy spreading awareness about placenta encapsulation so that moms can make informed decisions.  It is always exciting to see moms experiencing the benefits firsthand!  I simply love helping moms and families.
 

Graduate Spotlight: Natalia Longanbach

My name is Natalia Longanbach and I am a mother of two as well as have a passion for encapsulating placentas. With my first daughter, my cousin encapsulated my placenta for me and I had never heard of such a thing before until she mentioned it to me about her encapsulating for me. With my second I didn’t get it encapsulated and felts very off and so I tried to keep busy with doing something. I started to encapsulate people’s placentas as something to do since I am a stay at home mother but also because I wanted no other woman to feel the way I felt after have my second daughter. I started last year with my friend’s placenta in April. After I did a couple I wanted to be more educated in how to prepare the placenta so decided to become certified. Also, I wanted a piece of mind for my clients and I as I am preparing something that they ingest.

After careful thought and looking at other places to get my certification I decided to go with APPA as it worked with my schedule of being a stay at home mom. I started in July and as of January, I am APPA Certified. I am beyond thrilled and am excited to be able to provide this service to mothers. I hope to be able to provide mothers with the best postpartum experience that they can have. Thank you so much to APPA for this amazing course you offer.

Please consider eating your placenta, here’s why

by Kirrah Stewart B.ClinSci

When you have a baby, you’ll need to make a decision about what to do with your placenta.

There are many differing beliefs and customs around what ‘should’ be done with the placenta after birth and this varies between people and countries. Some cultures believe it needs to be buried, some people dehydrate the cord as a keepsake for the child and placenta encapsulation is becoming increasingly popular.

99% of mammals consume their placenta
Over 4000 species of mammals consume their placenta straight after birth (even the herbivores!). According to behavioural neuroscientist, Professor Mark Kristal animals are not simply consuming their placenta ‘to clean up the birth site or avoid predators’. Animals will still consume their placenta even if they have no predators and non-nesting species will remain at the birth site (even after their young can walk) to ingest their placenta. Primates who birth in a tree will eat their placenta even though it could be dropped to the ground away from them. Also, even though birth fluids could attract predators, these are not necessarily cleaned up.

There’s historical evidence of placenta consumption (placentaphagy)
According to the 1916 Lancet, there are reports as far back as 1556 of people consuming their placenta. The belief was that it helped with production of milk. In 1935, there were also reports of Italian women eating their placenta to aid lactation and to prevent after pains (Ploss).

Humans have actually been consuming placentas for hundreds of years. In China it is known as “Zi He Che” and has been used medicinally for over 2000 years. According to many Traditional Chinese Medicine doctors it is seen as a “tonic to fortify the ‘qi’ and enrich the blood” (Savadore 2012).

In the 19th century, pharmacies in China, South America and Eastern Europe produced placenta remedies. Up until the end of the 19th century, it was quite common for European pharmacies to sell placenta powder (Enning 2011).

Science is starting to back up what has been reported anecdotally

A study conducted in 1954 looked at women consuming their placenta to help with breastmilk production. Of the 210 women that took part in the study 86.2% had good or very good results. This included an increase in breast size and an increase in quantity of milk (secretion and flow).

Research conducted by Frederick Hammet (Harvard Medical School) demonstrated that the rate of growth of infants was enhanced when their breastfeeding mothers ingested desiccated placenta.

The most recent study was published in November 2016 and was conducted by the University of Nevada, Los Vegas (UNLV). This was the first randomized, double-blind and placebo-controlled study to investigate the effects of consumption of placenta. Laboratory results showed a 7-fold higher concentration of iron in the placenta capsules versus the beef they tested. This is good news for mothers needing to increase their iron intake as placenta contains a bioavailable source of iron.

The placenta contains important stuff

Some of the hormones and minerals the placenta contains and the benefits associated with consuming them include:

Corticotropin releasing hormone (CRH) which helps us deal with stress better and may help prevent post-partum depression.

Placental opioid enhancing factor (POEF). This enhances already available opioids. It can help increase pain-relief and lead to better moods.

Oxytocin helps us bond better and increases wellbeing.

Thyroid stimulating hormone helps regulate the thyroid and boost energy.

Prolactin helps the new mother produce more milk and have good supply.

Iron helps us recover from blood loss, gives us more energy and plays a big role in helping prevent postpartum depression.


What’s the easiest way to consume the placenta?

Placenta encapsulation has become the more socially preferred method and is becoming increasingly popular by the day. This is a process that turns the placenta into capsules that look and taste like other vitamins or minerals. It’s important to choose a provider who is trained and experienced and follows strict sanitation protocols.

It is essential to make sure the placenta has been properly cared for after birth and throughout the processing, dehydration and encapsulation process. Dehydration has been used for centuries as a way to preserve foods and maintain the nutrient levels (Aguilera cited in Beacock 2012). It is an excellent way for the new mother to enjoy the benefits of the placenta in the early weeks and months after birth.

References:
Beacock, M (2012), “Does eating placenta offer postpartum health benefits?”, British Journal of Midwifery, Mark Allen Publishing Ltd, UK.
Crawfurd, Dr Raymond (1916), “Legends and lore of the genesis of the healing art” published in The Lancet on December 30th 1916.
Enning, Cornelia (2011), “Placenta: The gift of life”, Motherbaby press, Oregon.
Gryder, L et al (2016), “Effects of Human Maternal Placentophagy on Maternal Postpartum Iron Status: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Pilot Study. Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health.
Hammett, F (1918), “The effect of the internal ingestion of desiccated placenta upon the rate of growth of breast-fed infants”, Department of Anatomy, Harvard Medical School, Boston.
Kristal, Mark (1980), “Placentophagia: A biobehavioral Enigma”, Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, Vol. 4, pp. 141–150, New York.
Ploss, H. Bartels, M.; and Bartels, P. (1935) “Woman: An historical, gynaecological and anthropological compendium. Heinemann, Londo
Soykova-Pachnerova et al (1954), “Placenta as Lactagogon”, Gynaecolgia; International monthly review of obstetrics and gynaecology

Graduate Spotlight: Chris Stauffer

Chris Stauffer is the father to 5 beautiful children.  His introduction to placenta encapsulation came when his wife, Erica, gave birth to her 4th baby and said that she was going to encapsulate her placenta.  His initial thought was how disgusting that was but being a supportive husband, he didn’t say a word and instead agreed that it would be a good thing for her to do.  After the first few days of giving birth, he noticed that Erica had renewed strength and energy and seemed to be doing much better overall after this birth.  It was then that he became a believer in placenta encapsulation.

 

Chris’ wife is now a successful doula in the Austin area and student midwife who wanted to give her clients the benefits of placenta encapsulation but her studies kept her too busy to learn the process.  Chris offered to learn how to encapsulate and thus began his career in the birth field.  He wanted to train with the highest safety precautions while learning all of the ins and outs of encapsulation from its history to scientific studies as to consumption effectiveness and so APPA was his clear choice.

 

Chris enjoys his newfound passion for encapsulation and feels a sense of accomplishment knowing that his work truly helps others and allows families to bond and have a solid start to their postpartum period.  His work also supports Erica in her dream to become a midwife while putting food on the table for his family.  Chris isn’t sure where his birth journey will take him but he is certain that he’s on the best path for himself and his family and is grateful to have worked so hard for his APPA certification.

 

Business Website: www.RedPoppyDoula.com

Business Contact Email: PlacentaGuy@gmail.com

 

Graduate Spotlight: Jane Stanley

Jane was born and bred in the north of England and her passion for “all things birth” began when she home-birthed her two daughters in 1995 and 1998. Over the next few years she and her family moved to Texas, USA and whilst raising her two girls, she studied with DONA International to become a certified Birth Doula. Whilst working as a private Doula, she was also involved with a Teen Pregnancy Support Program and provided Childbirth Education, Birth and Postnatal support to many teenage mothers in a socio-economically deprived area.  Jane and her family moved to Western Australia in 2006 where she continued supporting birthing women and their families, ultimately being awarded a Fellowship by DONA International and studying with Penny Simkin, Michel Odent and Phyliss and Marshall Klauss, and certifying as a DONA Birth Doula Trainer.

Since 2007, Jane has been involved with the education of many families in her role of Childbirth Educator with The Bump WA (formerly Community Midwifery WA) and Administrator of the Community Midwifery Program.

A natural progression into placenta encapsulation evolved in 2012 when Jane studied and certified as a Placenta Encapsulation Specialist with Placenta Benefits (PBi). She chose to advance her placenta encapsulation skills and knowledge by studying and certifying with the Association of Placenta Preparation Arts (APPA); the “gold standard” training body in placenta preparation, and is extremely proud to be one of a very small number of placenta encapsulators in Australia with the high level of skills and training that APPA provide. She is fully insured to provide her placenta encapsulation service and maintains her Blood Borne Pathogen and Food Safety Supervisor qualifications on an annual basis as part of her role. She is also a certified member of The International Institute of Complimentary Therapists, and is proud to be a verified member and committee member of Placenta Services Australia.

Jane lives on acreage in the beautiful hills of Perth where she has a dedicated, stand-alone placenta encapsulation workshop and she services all hospitals in the North, East and Central areas of the city.  She provides, encapsulation, placenta prints, vial keepsakes and cord keepsakes and to date has provided her service to over 350 new mothers.

Website: www.birtherapy.com.au

Email: enquiry@birtherapy.com.au

Facebook: Birtherapy Placenta Services

Phone: 0448 985 396

Placenta Talk

by Stephanie Liljedahl

He tentatively raised his hand and said “I read on the internet… Well, they have these articles that I saw online.  About.  Well.  Things you can do with the placenta.  And… (he takes a deep breath) Well.  Does it work?”

So much courage this man had.  We were in a hospital conference room, a very mainstream hospital conference room, and there were over 30 other students there attending a basic Childbirth Preparation Class.

And I smiled.  I realized in the last 2 years I’ve gotten so used to talking about placentas, and while I know there is still some shock value in it (which I am keenly aware of and, on occasion, have blatantly used to my own benefit), I have for the most part forgotten that to many, this is really out there.  I love using humor to help my childbirth students learn new things, sometimes about the placenta, but the earnest sincerity of this man made me pause.

One of things I have always appreciated APPA for was the willingness to take what feels like a “hippy” thing that “other” people do, and legitimize it in a very straightforward way.  Our courses don’t even smell like patchouli!

Because for many parents, it’s beyond just the potential benefits, or the initial EW factor.  It is truly trying to make a decision if they are going to come to terms with the idea of utilizing a human organ for consumption.  It’s beyond Kim Kardashian and the youtubes where songs about making cheese out of breastmilk live. I also forget sometimes that *I* am the type of person who doesn’t mind trying new things, I find more risk in staying with the known and worry more that I might miss out on something.  Trying a placenta (or encapsulating them) is not surprising for those who know me.  But for the population that I’m working with, I can easily overlook forget that my personality mindset is often a minority.

It is about trying to make a decision about how to help a Mama through the postpartum time.

DANG.

So when I was thinking about this blog post, initially I wanted to go down the humor route and do a take of “Twas the night before Christmas” but make it all about placentas (I still might.  December is a long month).  When I thought about my student and his courage to ask in class, with a faltering voice (public speaking is not for everyone), about the placenta I knew that was the right topic.

My language and ease of conversation around encapsulation is casual and warm, which I wouldn’t want to change, however it’s been awhile since I sat down with someone who had never heard of encapsulation and truly tried to engage with them in a way to get some feedback on their perceptions.

It’s been awhile since a I took an honest assessment about my sometimes desire to get into the really fancy words – almost like saying “Look at all *I* know!  I can toss in ‘prostaglandins’ and we’re not even talking about semen!”

And it’s been while since I wasn’t trying to market myself within that same conversation.

Ultimately I know that the best balance for me is to keep many of these parts (the humor, the nerd-words, and the marketing) but to also layer in the remembrance that these are folks trying to make some good decisions.  And that while I am surrounded by birth people all the time, those people are not usually my students or clients.  My students and clients are people who will have their baby, and go back to a regular life that doesn’t revolve constantly around birth.

I’m grateful for my student with the curiosity, it gave me a brief reminder of who I am actually serving.  And how I want to convey my knowledge, business, and help them make a decision.  Maybe after reading this, you might also go talk to someone and get some feedback about how you sound.  Do you sound Passionate?  That’s sometimes a nice way of saying “wack-a-loon”. (This came first to my mind because I’m the most guilty of it) Do you sound Fancy Words Knowledgeable?  Which sometimes reassures parents, and sometimes makes them feel like they are not very smart.  Do you sound Sales-y?  Talking about what you do is fantastic, unless it isn’t.  Go have fun with it.  Find some words that sound awesome coming out of your mouth that reflects how you would like to be perceived.

(and now, I may also go write a post about “Holiday Placentas and Pate for Everyone!”  or come up with new phrases like “May the Placenta Be With You”  Kidding!  I kid.  Maybe)