What is Placenta Encapsulation?
Placenta encapsulation is a process whereby your freshly birthed placenta is turned into a shelf-stable supplement that can help you have an easier recovery and better postpartum experience.
What is the process like?
When you book placenta encapsulation with Blissful Birthing, you will be sent a transportation kit to bring to the hospital with you. This kit includes an insulated cooler bag, instructions for storing and transporting your placenta, and bags for ice. Once your baby has been born and you are settled, you will call your encapsulator and schedule the processing of your placenta. We aim to begin processing within 24 hours of birth for all our clients, but you do have up to 72 hours to begin the process.
Our encapsulators process your placenta in your home. This minimizes the exposure of your placenta to outside microbiota, as well as eliminates any doubt that the placenta being encapsulated is yours. Your encapsulator will arrive with everything she needs to process your placenta – you just need to provide:
- an empty sink
- counter space
- a burner on your stove
- an outlet
She will wash her hands and begin to prepare her work space by sanitizing the sink and counter. Your placenta will be cleaned, a tincture prepared (if you opt for this), steamed, and dehydrated. Blissful Birthing does not offer the raw method of encapsulation for the safety of you and your baby; steaming your placenta helps protect you and your baby from any bacteria. Your placenta can still be encapsulated if you tested positive for Group B Strep! However, if you had an active infection of any kind, or a fever during labor, we unfortunately cannot encapsulate your placenta for your safety and the safety of your baby.
Your encapsulator will clean up and sanitize the surfaces in your kitchen that were part of the encapsulation process. She will leave your placenta to dehydrate overnight. There’s no need to send your partner home in the middle of the night to unplug the dehydrator as we have it running on a timer! Your partner can stay at the hospital with you overnight.
The next day, we return to finish the process and turn your dehydrated placenta into capsules (and we offer both unflavored and flavored capsules!). The whole process takes 3-4 hours over two days, and your capsules will be waiting for you when you get home from the hospital!
What are the benefits and risks of encapsulation?
Women have many reasons* for choosing to have their placenta encapsulated. The most common include:
- preventing postpartum depression/anxiety
- help with milk production
- help level out hormones after birth
- reduce the risk of postpartum hemorrhage
- increased energy
- restore iron levels
Typically women refrain from encapsulation because they have heard that it can decrease their milk supply or their OB/midwife told them it is “not safe” for them or their baby. Though rare, if you feel your milk supply has lowered, you can call your encapsulator and she can advise you how to adjust your dosage down, mitigating this effect. The report of the mother and baby in Oregon who may have contracted Strep B from an encapsulated placenta is a bit misleading. It did not go into how the placenta was processed (we only process placentas by steaming and then dehydrating). Also, an infection in the mother or baby immediately after delivery is typically indicative of the presence of an active infection during delivery which, as we have indicated before, is a contraindication for encapsulation. Also, we always recommend washing your hands after taking your placenta pills regardless of if you tested positive for GBS colonization, this report did not mention if proper hand washing protocols were practiced.
Your mind may be put at ease by reading the new study by University of Nevada, Las Vegas and Oregon State (published May 2, 2018) that was published in Birth. This study looked at ~23,000 babies and found that their mothers’ consumption of their encapsulated placenta put them at no increased risk for hospitalization or death than babies whose mothers did not consume their placenta.
If you have any questions about placenta encapsulation with Blissful Birthing, feel free to send us an email, give us a call, or send a text. We want you to feel confident in the decision you are making.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. They are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or condition. The information contained in this article is not meant to take the place of consultation with your healthcare professional.