Questions and Answers About Placenta Encapsulation
Frequently Asked Questions
What is placenta encapsulation? Placenta encapsulation is the practice of ingesting the placenta after it has been processed, dehydrated, ground into a powder, and placed into empty capsules. It is ideal for the birth mother to consume the placenta shortly after giving birth, during a menstrual period, or during menopause. The placenta has numerous health benefits and contains a number of beneficial hormones (all listed below). There are many ways to utilize the powers of your placenta besides the common capsules, such as raw fruit smoothies or natural balms.
What are the benefits to placenta encapsulation?
Prevents or lessens the risk of postpartum depression or “baby blues”
Replenishes your iron from blood loss during birth, preventing postpartum anemia
Lending you a consistent flow of oxytocin long after your birth euphoria ends
Provides the HPL hormone to help establish early and healthy milk supply
Stabilizes your ever changing post birth hormones
Replenishes your B vitamins and energy that were used during the labor/birth process
Hormones known to be in the placenta:
Oxytocin - The “feel good” or love hormone helps create feelings of bonding, pain relief, happiness, and elation.
Cortisone - Unlocks energy stored in the body and helps to combat stress (cortisol).
Interferon - Stimulates the immune system to help fight off infections while the mother is healing from birth.
Prostaglandins - Acts as anti-inflammatory.
Hemoglobin - Replenishes iron and stimulates iron production in the blood.
Urokinase Inhibiting Factor and Factor XIII - Lessens bleeding and promotes faster healing.
Prolactin/HPL - Stimulates healthy mammary function and milk production.
Placental Opioid-Enhancing Factor (POEF) - Modifies the activity of endogenous opioids enhancing pain reduction naturally.
*Main hormones in the placenta: Oxytocin, POEF, and HPL
Can I still encapsulate my placenta if... The answer is likely YES! In most scenarios (cesarean birth, meconium present, group b strep positive) you are able to safely encapsulate and consume your placenta. *See full list of risks and contradictions below
How long does the encapsulation process take? The first phase (cleaning/dehydrating) of the encapsulation process typically begins the evening on which your placenta is picked up. The second phase (grinding/encapsulating) begins the next day. To ensure a safe and satisfying encapsulation delivery to the client usually occurs 48-72 hours after pick up.
How many capsules will I receive and how many do I take? The amount of capsules yielded is dependent on a few things; size of your placenta, type of encapsulation, and the size pill that you choose. On average a placenta will yield 125 - 200 capsules.
The suggested dosage will be on your placenta container. It is suggested that you start by taking a higher dose and gradually decrease your dose. You will be able to take your pills as needed and adjust your dose based on your personal needs.
How do I store my capsules? Capsules should be stored in a cool, dry, and dark area. If by week 6 postpartum you find you still have quite a few capsules you can freeze them by transferring them into a Ziploc bag. When storing them in the freezer, place them in the back where it is coldest. Please check for signs of moisture if you leave them out longer than an hour, as this can cause spoilage.
What is the shelf life? Although potency is expected to decrease with time, it has been said that capsules can be kept and used through menopause. If this is something you decided on it is recommended to freeze them in a freezer safe bag. The standard shelf life of capsules (when properly stored) is two years.
What is a tincture? Tinctures although most commonly made using raw placenta can also be made using the powder from left over capsules. It is made by allowing the placenta to ferment in 100 proof alcohol for a minimum of six weeks prior to use. A properly stored tincture has the ability to keep safely for years after capsules are gone. *Feel free to contact Doula Mae if you find you would like to make a tincture with left over capsules.
Where do you encapsulate? Most often I'm asked to encapsulate your placenta in my sanitized home workspace. However, if you prefer the encapsulation be done in your home Doula Mae will happily make the arrangements with you.
How do you clean your tools, equipment, and work space? All tools, equipment, and surfaces are cleaned and disinfected before and after use with a 10% bleach solution.
CREDENTIALS I hold OSHA Blood-borne Pathogens Certificate, Food Handler Safety Certification, and have taken professional training through the International Placenta & Postpartum Association (IPPA).
Possible Risks or Contradictions
There are very few risks of placenta encapsulation as long as you are following strict safety and sanitizing protocols, as well as understanding what the contraindications for consumption are. Doula Mae is educated and holds OSHA Blood-borne Pathogens Certificate, Food Handler Safety Certification.
The basic risks of having your placenta encapsulated are:
Unsanitary conditions. If the placenta is prepared in a kitchen that is dirty you run the risk of viral and bacterial contamination.
Improper sanitizing techniques. This puts you and your client at risk for cross contamination, the spreading of blood borne pathogens and rancid blood.
Pathology. When the placenta is sent to pathology there are always risks associated. There is a chance that the placenta has been contaminated with chemicals, that the equipment used for examination has not been properly sterilized and even the placenta that was returned not belonging to your client.
Too little dehydration. If the placenta is not dehydrated at a high enough temperature, or if it was ground and encapsulated prematurely you run the risk of fungus, mold and bacterial contamination. This can make the mother and breastfeeding baby very ill.
Contraindications of placenta preparation are as follows:
Chemically contaminated placentas in pathology, either sanitizing or preserving. Placentas that have sat out longer than 45 hours at room temperature post birth with no preservation methods.
Placentas that have sat in the refrigerator for more than 45 days without being frozen.
Placentas that have mucousy or stringy blood
Uterine infections or chorioamnionitis
Heavy smoking during pregnancy
Heavy drug usage
Some low weight, high binding molecular weight drugs (uncommon, but can be discussed)
Cancer of the placenta, which is called choriocarcinoma.
Some genetic disorders
What to do after you hire Doula Mae:
After you have hired Doula Mae by signing our service agreement and submitting your payment please follow the following guidelines.
Two ziploc bags (double bag the placenta)
Cooler (disposable or reusable) - Samantha will bring her own to transport
Samantha's contact: (763)498.1098 via phone call or text message
Tell your doctor and birth team you'll be keeping your placenta
Call me for pick up if you give birth between 8am and 8pm - if calling outside of this time frame please leave a message
If you birth between 9pm and 7am keep the placenta in the fridge or surrounded by ice and call me at 8am
The placenta should be placed in the fridge or on ice within THREE hours of giving birth
When using ice to keep the placenta cold please replace ice every 2 - 3 hours
**Please do not allow for the placenta to go to lab/pathology as we can not safely encapsulate your placenta should this happen. If your placenta needs to be tested ask for a small sample to be cut off and sent to lab/pathology.