I am currently in training as a Placenta Encapsulation Specialist through APPA. While I am not ready to charge clients for encapsulation, I am actively looking for placentas to practice.
What is a placenta?
The placenta is the organ that develops in the uterus during pregnancy. It provides nutrients, oxygen, waste removal, protection, and immunity to the fetus. Once the baby is born, the placenta must be expelled or removed shortly after. The baby remains attached to the placenta through the umbilical cord until it is cut.
What is placenta encapsulation?
It is the practice of dehydrating a placenta and grinding it into a fine powder that is then put into capsule form. There are a few different methods for this process and encapsulation is just one way to digest a placenta. The capsules are given to the birthing person to digest. It is recommended to take capsules in the immediate period after birth for several weeks (or until out). These capsules may also be taken during menstrual periods, menopause, and times of stress.
How is the placenta prepared?
Most commonly, the placenta is kept refrigerated or frozen as soon as possible after birth (otherwise a fresh placenta may be without refrigeration up to 4 hours). The placenta will be washed, dehydrated, and ground into a fine powder. The powder is then distributed into capsules and placed in a jar that must be kept refrigerated for future use. Depending on the method, the placenta may be steamed with herbs before dehydration.
Is it safe?
As long as the placenta is properly stored and prepared using OSHA standards, yes! Whoever you choose as your encapsulation specialist, PLEASE ask questions about preparation space, tools, BBP training, and safety protocols your encapsulation specialist follows. The placenta may only be refrigerated for up to 2 days, otherwise it must be frozen.
Why would someone consume a placenta?
Although the research on placentophagy (eating placentas) is limited, the research done so far has yielded positive results. Mothers have reported: reduced bleeding, increased energy, increased milk production, higher iron levels, decreased depression symptoms ("baby blues"). In a recent study conducted by University of Las Vegas anthropologists, 76% of participants reported very positive experiences. While more research must be done, the positive reported outcomes far outweigh the negative (headaches, burping, bad taste/smell). As long as the placenta is cared for and prepared properly, there is extremely low risk to the consumer and child.
How do I consume a placenta?
There are various methods to prepare the placenta for consumption.
Capsules - placenta is dehydrated, ground, and made into pill form.
Traditional: The placenta is steamed (with herbs, if desired) prior to dehydration. This lowers the microbial count and produces a lower hormone concentration because of the double heating process. If you test positive with GBS, this is the only method I will use for consumption.
Raw: The placenta is NOT steamed, only dehydrated. This method is still safe for consumption because it reaches a high enough temperature. This process yields a higher hormone content. Some find this method more powerful when ingested, so these capsules may be taken less often.
Tincture - placenta is submerged in alcohol to extract the concentrated medicinal properties over 6 weeks. This process takes the longest. The result is a potent liquid that may be added to water 2-3 times a day during times of need. This is not recommended for daily consumption, but a long-lasting, future option (menopause, stress, transitions). This is an option that may be done in addition to encapsulation because the tincture requires only a small piece of the placenta.
Smoothie - utilizing raw or frozen pieces of placenta by adding to a smoothie. This method is recommended immediately after birth because the expediency limits bacteria growth and it may retain the POEF (called "natures morphine" because it decreases pain). This is an option that may be done in addition to encapsulation because the smoothie requires only a small pieces of the placenta. Otherwise, the entire placenta may be retained solely in small, frozen pieces for future smoothies. This process may only be done in the clients own home with their own blender.
Where is the placenta encapsulated?
This is up to you! I have a dedicated work space, but I able to process the placenta at your own residence if you prefer to observe the process or have it done in the comfort of your own space. I will bring all of my own supplies and set up in an area of the house that I deem the most acceptable (usually the kitchen). This guarantees the placenta never leaves your side.
How do I transport a placenta?
Placenta must be placed in a two sealed gallon bags. Please add your own identification to the bag.
Hospital: Make it clear to your doctors that your plan is to keep the placenta. Plan ahead and bring a cooler (and ask a nurse for ice) to keep cool. Assign someone to keep track of it at all times. As soon as possible, put it on ice in the cooler. It MUST be double bagged in gallon bags so be prepared. Feel free to ask the nurses for refrigeration storage or biohazard waste bags, but do NOT expect them to do this. In hospitals, it is easy to lose track of the placenta. It may be taken away as waste or to pathology to be examined in a way that does not support encapsulation. Some hospitals have a policy of holding the placentas for several days and you must request that it be kept FROZEN. When it can be released, I can begin the process.
Birth Center: Express your plans for placenta encapsulation and coordinate accordingly with your doctors/medwives about storage.
Home birth: Refrigerate as soon as possible in a double bagged container.
Note: The placenta is okay without refrigeration for up to 4 hours, however, it is recommended to put it in a fridge or iced cooler as soon as possible.
Once contacted, I will come pick up the placenta either at the hospital (I can meet you in your room or in the lobby), birth center, or at the home. I will bring my own cooler to transfer the placenta in and confirm the proper identification is attached (if not already) and add my own identification labeling.
How much does it cost?