Feel free to submit any questions you may have about Placenta Encapsulation in the form below! I will answer your questions and post them here.
Consuming the placenta seems so unappetizing. If it was designed to be consumed by the mother, wouldn’t it seem more appealing, or at least be more instinctual or intuitive?
In our culture, we do not routinely consume organ meats. Organs such as the liver, the heart, and the pancreas are considered delicacies in many other cultures because of the high nutritive value of organ meat. Americans are typically repulsed by the thought of consuming any type of organ meat, but it is as you speculated, a product of our cultural upbringing. Many things about birth in our country are disrespected and misunderstood. The placenta is treated as medical waste in American birth rooms. In other parts of the world, the placenta is revered and would never be treated with disrespect. It is one of the most nutrient rich organs with many healing and restorative benefits. The placenta can be ingested, buried, or wrapped and left attached to the baby until it naturally sloughs off. For thousands of years, midwives would cut off a piece of the placenta and give it to a hemorrhaging mother to stop the bleeding and save her life. (The hormones in the placenta caused the uterus to contract and stop the mother from bleeding out in minutes.) Many homebirth midwives still use this method today.
I understand that hormones can be transferred through food such as frozen, treated, or cooked animal products (meat, milk, etc.) Have you ever found anything about the effect of the dehydration process on hormones?
Dehydration is a process that removes water from the cells, but leaves everything else including minerals, hormones, proteins etc. behind.
It seems the placenta is made from the baby’s genetic matter (not the mother’s) since it grows from the blastocyst. So, in actuality, the mother is ingesting someone else’s hormones. Does that make a difference? (However, I suppose the iron and other nutrients found in the placenta are taken from the mother’s stores, so I could see it helping to replenish the depletion there.)
First of all, remember that the baby itself is made from the DNA, cells, and proteins from the mother’s body. Think of the placenta as a sponge that leaches protein, salt, iron, blood, serotonin, melatonin, oxytocin, and essentially the entire hormonal cocktail from the mother’s body. The placenta is also an endocrine organ, meaning that it produces it’s own hormones. Ingesting the placenta restores all of this back to you. According to this medical study, ingestion of the placenta produces a natural opioid-analgesia enhancement, essentially acting to increase the mother’s endogenous pain-killers.
Can I have my placenta encapsulated if I had a c-section, epidural, or pitocin during labor?
Yes, Yes, and Yes! These interventions have no noticeable effect on your placenta capsules. Epidural anesthesia and pitocin break down very quickly after entering the placenta. Make sure you specify clearly in your birth plan that you will be keeping the placenta, and that it needs to be refrigerated as soon as possible after the birth. Especially after a c-section, you will need to be vigilant about making sure your placenta is treated properly. Dads and doulas, this is your job.
Is it safe to have my placenta encapsulated if I tested positive for Group B Strep (GBS)?
Yes. Group B strep is a common bacterium that does not normally pose health risks to the mother. All bacteria in the placenta is killed during the heating and dehydration process. Rarely, Group B strep can lead to uterine infection. If you developed a uterine infection or fever during your labor, your placenta would not be considered useful in healing, and would likely be taken to the pathology lab for testing, but otherwise, Group B strep is not contraindicated in placenta remedy preparation.
Can I encapsulate my placenta if my baby passed meconium before birth?
Yes. Meconium is sterile, it does not contain fecal bacteria that normal stool does. Meconium is dangerous for the infant to inhale, but is otherwise harmless. Additionally, your placenta is thoroughly washed before encapsulation preparation.
Can I still have my placenta encapsulated if I was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia?
Placenta encapsulation is not contraindicated for moms with Pre-eclampsia. Many women who’ve had pre-eclampsia have very successfully used Placenta Pills. No one fully understands pre-e or exactly how to prevent it, and although the placenta does seem to play a part, it is not usually unfit for consumption. After the birth, your placenta will be examined for irregularities and problems. Most of the time, the placenta is completely fine and you should have no problem having it released for encapsulation. If your care provider diagnoses a problem or infection in the placenta, it will be sent to pathology and you won’t be able to take it home.
Will the Hospital release my placenta?
Most hospitals are fairly easy to work with when it comes to having the placenta released, however you will need to let them know before the birth that you are keeping your placenta. A birth plan is the best way to do this. After delivery, you will have to sign a release form or waiver. Once the placenta has been inspected and determined healthy, you can ask the nurses to double bag it in Ziploc bags brought from home and place it in the hospital refrigerator. If they will not bag the placenta, it is ok to store it in the hospital’s preferred container.
What if the doctor wants to take my placenta to pathology?
If the placenta needs to be taken to pathology ask if they can cut a small piece to examine instead of taking the whole placenta. If they insist on taking the whole placenta, you will not be able to have your placenta encapsulated.
When is the placenta prepared?
Ideally, the placenta preparation should take place as soon as possible after the birth, within the first 48 – 72 hours. Directly after the birth, the placenta should be placed in an enclosed container (the hospital will put it in a plastic container or a your Ziploc bags), and then in the refrigerator until you can get it to me. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours. If you know ahead of time that it will not be prepared within that time frame, it is best to place it straight into the freezer.
Can I have my placenta encapsulated if my baby was premature?
Yes, unless the doctor decides to take your whole placenta to pathology. Moms of preemies need all the help they can get bringing in their milk, healing quickly, and balancing postpartum mood. If your doctor wants to culture the placenta, you can often negotiate to have just a piece of the placenta taken to pathology so you can encapsulate the rest.
I have a placenta stored in my freezer from a previous birth. Is it safe to have it encapsulated?
That depends on several factors: Was the placenta frozen properly? (Frozen within 48 hours of the birth, no signs of frostbite, has been kept frozen i.e. not thawed and re-frozen) If frozen properly, you can have it encapsulated up to one year after the birth. After we defrost your placenta we will inspect it carefully for any signs of damage. If we feel the placenta is unfit for consuming, we will return it or discard it and refund your deposit.
I have twins and will deliver two placentas. Can I have both of them encapsulated, and what would be the cost?
In the case of twins, we will process the placentas together. The cost for multiple placentas from the same mother is $200.
I was told my placenta was “abnormal”. How do I know if it is safe to ingest?
Your placenta is as unique as your fingerprints. No two placentas are the same, as each one is specifically made by and for your baby and your body. Sometimes a placenta can be very unique; an unusual shape or size, extra lobes, etc. But “unique” does not mean “unhealthy”. The only situations in which a placenta wouldn’t be safe to consume is if you developed an infection during labor (remember, being GBS positive does NOT automatically mean you have an infection), if the placenta was taken to pathology, if it was not refrigerated properly after the birth, or if you have HIV, Hep A, B or C. Calcification of the placenta is normal and does not preclude encapsulation.
How do I store my Placenta Capsules?
You should store your capsules in an airtight container in the freezer. If you move, make sure to keep your capsules cool and dry until you can get them back in the freezer. Stored properly, your capsules will last many many years.
On average, how many capsules can I expect to receive?
That depends on the size of the placenta. A small placenta will yield around 100 capsules. A very large placenta can produce up to 175 or even more. On average you can expect around 125 – 150 capsules. Generally speaking, big babies have big placentas and small babies have small placentas.
What do you do with the amniotic sac and the umbilical cord?
The amniotic sack is cleaned and steamed along with the placenta. The umbilical cord is dried in a heart or spiral shape and given to you in an organza bag as a birth keepsake.
What if I have a disease such as HIV, Hepatitis A, B or C?
For your safety and the safety of others, we will not be able to process your placenta if you have any of the above diseases.
Do the benefits of the Placenta diminish if pregnancy lasts longer than 40 weeks? If so, at what week would you recommend canceling the Placenta Encapsulation process?
I have encapsulated many placentas from mamas who carried to 41, 42, and even 43 weeks. I haven’t noticed a difference in the health of the placenta as gestation increases, however sometimes the amniotic sac will be very very soft, due to the increased relaxin as pregnancy progresses. Occasionally I will notice some calcification, but that happens in 38-40 week placentas too and doesn’t affect your capsules at all.