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.


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)

Graduate Spotlight: Kristin Beckedahl

 Kristin Beckedahl, BodyWise BirthWise
 Perth, Australia
Kristin Beckedahl (B.Nat, GradDip CBE, ATMS, PBi, APPA) is a Naturopath, Childbirth Educator, Doula and Dual Certified Placenta Encapsulation Specialist.For the past 16 years she has holistically supported women and families within her various roles throughout preconception, pregnancy, birth and postpartum.

Her interest in placenta services began in 2009 where after the birth of her second child, she personally experienced the positive benefits of placentophagia.

In 2012 she completed her placenta encapsulation training with Placenta Benefits (PBi). Always in pursuit of furthering her knowledge and accreditation, Kristin completed additional certification with Association of Placenta Preparation Arts (APPA) in 2016. She is proudly one of only a handful of providers in Australia with this level of training.

Possibly Perth’s busiest placenta encapsulation specialist, Kristin has prepared over 500 placentas since 2012.

Kristin is also the WA Representative for Placenta Services Australia (PSA) Committee. She volunteers her time bringing her vast experience within the industry to support PSA in the development of safe, professional and ethical standards surrounding placenta preparation services in Australia.

Graduate Spotlight: Jenny Arnold

Jenny ArnoldJenny has been a Registered Midwife since 2010 and Holistic Therapist since 2006. Jenny is qualified in Aromatherapy, Clinical Reflexology and is a Reiki Master and uses these to promote women’s health in pregnancy and postnatally. Obviously being a Midwife shes loves and finds Placentas fascinating and wanted to extend her skills after hearing many women’s story’s of their positives experiences when taking their placenta capsules. Jenny has always wanted to run her own little business and as Encapsulation is getting more popular she wanted to learn from a well respected course and was advised APPA was the best. Jenny moved to Western Australia in 2013 from the UK and has built a home with her long term partner and 2 children. Jenny’s business is called Encapsulate Me.

Good News for Mothers- Placenta Capsules Contain More Iron Than Beef

unnamedby Kirrah Holborn B.ClinSci, APPAC

Many mothers and placenta encapsulators have been eagerly awaiting results from research approved by the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). Their most recent study, part of a larger pilot, was published on the 3rd November in The Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health and looks at the effects on iron status when women consume their placenta (1).

To date, most of the evidence of health benefits from placenta consumption has been anecdotal. This is the first randomized, double-blind and placebo-controlled study to investigate the effects of consumption of placenta or maternal placentophagy.

According to the World Health Organization, iron deficiency is the most common nutrient deficiency in the world. Pregnant women are often low in iron and this deficiency can continue or worsen after birth and while breastfeeding. Common symptoms of iron deficiency are fatigue, weakness, dizziness, vagueness, and irritability (2).

Pregnant women have significantly increased needs for iron consumption. The recommended dietary requirements increase from 18mg/day to 27mg/day when a woman falls pregnant and then drop back to about 9mg/day while breastfeeding (3).

In the UNLV study, dehydrated beef was selected as the control due to its similarity in appearance to dehydrated placenta and as a comparison as another heme iron source.

Women were advised to consume two 550mg capsules, three times a day. This equates to 3300mg/day. Participants were unaware if they were taking encapsulated placenta or beef.

Iron status was assessed using blood samples to determine levels of hemoglobin, transferrin, and ferritin.

The placenta is an iron-rich organ. Laboratory results showed a considerably higher concentration of iron in the placenta capsules (.664mg/g) in comparison to the beef capsules (0.093mg/g). This represents a 7-fold higher concentration in placenta capsules versus the beef ‘placebo’ they tested.

This means that if the mother was taking 6 capsules (3300mg of dried placenta/day) it would provide 2.2mg/day of iron. This is about 24% of the recommended daily intake of iron for lactating women.

In order to meet daily iron requirements, the mother also needs to consume a diet high in iron-rich foods and/or be supplementing with iron.

It is especially important if the mother is iron deficient that she should not rely solely on placenta capsules as her only source of supplementation.

Researchers pointed out that the sample size of this study was small at only 23 participants and that all came from a similar demographic. In replicating these findings, a larger sample size could be beneficial.

The research of different methods of placental preparation to determine if different techniques yield higher amounts of dietary iron or improve absorption would be very useful information. Experimenting with different dosages would also be of benefit to see if this increased the iron rebound compared to the placebo.

Although more research is needed to correlate these findings, it is good news for mothers needing to increase their iron intake. The placenta contains a bioavailable source of iron and is a great adjunct to other iron supplementation.

Sources in order:
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.

Corwin, E and Arbour, M (2007), “Postpartum fatigue and evidence-based interventions”, The American Journal of Maternal Child Nursing Volume 32 Number 4

Institute of Medicine (2001), Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Arsenic, Boron, Chromium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, Nickel, Silicon, Vanadium, and Zinc. A report of the panel on micronutrients. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

Graduate Spotlight: Jennifer Wakefield

jen-wJen is a certified birth doula, birth photographer, and APPA certified encapsulation specialist in Baton Rouge, LA.  Jen takes great pride in her work and every placenta encapsulated. So, after 10 months of encapsulating, with initial training through an experienced encapsulation specialist, she enrolled in APPA’s advanced placement program to further her knowledge and education. APPA exceeded her expectations with the content provided and their professionalism.  Jen is very happy to have completed their program and recommends them to anyone interested in becoming a certified encapsulation specialist.
More about Jen and her services offered can be found at

Graduate Spotlight- Samantha Kempf

appaSamantha is a trained Placenta Specialist through the Association of Placenta Preparation Arts (APPA).  Samantha has also been an accredited leader for an international breastfeeding organization, providing mother-to-mother support, for 3 years. She completed her bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education  in 2006.
Having 4 children herself, Samantha understands the importance of the postpartum period and believes strongly in nourishing the body during this time. She enjoys educating mother’s on the  benefits of placenta encapsulation, as well as other ways to help have a happier postpartum. She is committed to providing evidence-based information, and safety is her number one priority.
Samantha is married to her husband Mike, of 11 years. They have 4 handsome boys, who keep them very busy. When Samantha has a few minutes to herself, she enjoys drinking iced tea and catching up on General Hospital.
Business Information
Business Name: Welcome Baby KC
Facebook: Welcome Baby KC

Graduate Spotlight- Leslie Boote (Anness)

leslie-fcwnLeslie Boote (Anness) APPAC, Reiki Master, Post-partum Doula, mother and wife in  Northern Ontario- Thunder Bay, Ontario Canada.

Leslie work for many years as a medical secretary and receptionist until her second child was born. She has had 2 wonderful home water births with midwives and doula support along with her husband.
After the personal struggle of post-partum mood disorder with her second child, Leslie researched ways to overcome and cope with the transitions her body was going through. There was little to be known about the use of the placenta in Thunder Bay. Thankfully Leslie has a large close knit circle of mom friends she calls her ‘village’. Many new mothers were having their placenta encapsulated which has helped her village moms with their transitions into motherhood.
Leslie connected with the local doula and from there on Leslie has studied, practiced and is now the owner of a profession placenta encapsulation business, Mother Nurture® Mother birthing in the Thunder Bay area can have a natural alternative of wellness during their post-partum transition, Leslie also includes postpartum doula support up to the first birthday of the newborn, that includes reiki treatments to the mother and infant.

Graduate Spotlight – Grace Jose

GraceJoseGrace is a professionally Certified Labour Doula, a trained Postpartum Doula and Childbirth Educator and an Association of Placenta Preparation Arts (APPA) Certified Placenta Specialist. She is a member in good standing of CAPPA Canada, APPA and the Ontario Professional Doula Association. Grace has her Lactation Management Certification through the world-renowned INFACT Canada, based on the WHO / UNICEF Guidelines. She is also a Certified HypnoBirthing® Doula. Grace has worked as an assistant program coordinator for Spectra Community Services in Peel, where she supported new parents and educated and trained professionals in the community about Postpartum Mood Disorder.

Grace has worked with over a 125 families providing them with warm, professional and caring support through pregnancy and the postpartum period. Grace works with families from various cultural and religious backgrounds where she provides non-judgmental support while helping them meet their unique goals and desires for their individual families.

Having experienced three very different births of her own (epidural, natural childbirth, and cesarean), and various postpartum experiences (postpartum depression, baby blues), Grace understands the anxiety and confusion that can sometimes be associated with childbirth and becoming new parents. This is why she is so passionate about sharing her knowledge, skill and experience with others during the wonderful, but sometimes overwhelming transitional stage of life. Grace feels that with the proper support and with placenta encapsulation, women have a great chance of having a wonderful postnatal experience.

On her free time Grace volunteers at the Credit Valley Hospital in the Birthing Suites and at Heartland, A Church Connected. She loves to spend time with her three daughters, one son-in- law and her amazing and supportive husband Danny. Grace loves to play sports and travel. She spends much of her free time supporting her very active family on the volleyball court and Frisbee fields. Contact her today for more information on how Grace can make your transition to parenthood a better one.

416-804-9617 (phone)

Graduate Spotlight - Kirrah Holborn

2016July Kirrah number 2Kirrah Holborn holds a Bachelor Degree in Clinical Science but after witnessing her first homebirth in 2007, she found her true passion lay in birth work. She is now an experienced doula, pregnancy masseuse, childbirth educator and placenta encapsulation specialist.

Being a self confessed ‘placenta nerd’ she was thrilled at the opportunity to further her education with the Association of Placenta Preparation Arts (APPA) as it’s the most comprehensive and in-depth placenta training available globally.

Kirrah graduated from APPA in June 2016 and is proud to be the first APPA certified placenta specialist in New South Wales, Australia. This certification coincided with encapsulating her 133rd placenta (initial hands-on training was with IPEN in 2013).

Kirrah says ‘I take my placenta encapsulation services seriously. Furthering my formal training with APPA gave me the confidence to know that I am conforming to the highest standards in this profession and encapsulating placentas in the safest possible way’.

Kirrah Holborn B.ClinSci, APPAC

Graduate Spotlight - Kate Jaggard Tyo

Kate Tyo (39)

Kate Jaggard Tyo first encountered placenta encapsulation while researching voraciously during her parallel doula studies and first pregnancy. Living abroad in Sweden, she couldn’t find anyone who knew a thing about placenta encapsulation so she figured she’d do it herself after her son was born in 2009. Six months later, after being coached by a kind and knowledgeable stateside encapsulation practitioner via Skype, Kate completed her mission.

In 2013 Kate decided she wanted to add encapsulation services to her doula offerings and completed a local training. One year later Kate realized she didn’t just want be a placenta encapsulator; she wanted to be an expert.
Enter APPA.

When Kate discovered APPA’s certification program she knew it was something she couldn’t not do. The skill and experience of the trainers was obvious but so was a deep desire to build up and strengthen the entire field of placenta encapsulation.

Kate is ecstatic to represent an organization that not only promotes best practice and safety to the highest levels, but also requires ethical conduct and respectful business practices from its providers. Because she knows that supporting women is a cultural keystone, Kate is thrilled to be the first in her state to offer APPA-certified service to women as they are transformed through motherhood.

Kate lives in Evanston, IL and provides placenta services to Chicagoland through her business Tyo Birth Care.

She invites you to find out more at