Frequently Asked Questions About Placenta Encapsulation
If the placenta is a filter, isn’t it full of toxic waste?
It is true that the placenta filters blood to remove toxins and provide nutrients to your baby, however it would be very dangerous to your baby for those toxins to continue to stay in the placenta. Just as the babies waste is carried back through the placenta to be filtered by the mother’s body, so too are the toxins from her blood returned to her to be processed and released by other organs. While some heavy metals may build up in the placenta, it is no more than what is also found in the mother’s colostrum or breastmilk.
Will dehydrating the placenta destroy the useful minerals and nutrients?
Dehydration is the process of removing water from cells, which is done to prevent bacteria and mold from being able to grow. Just as non-beneficial hormones are known to survive in cooked animal products, the beneficial hormones, proteins, and minerals (except for B vitamins) stored in your placenta will survive the much lower temperatures of dehydration.
Can I still encapsulate my placenta if I have an epidural, Pitocin, or a cesarean delivery?
Yes! Pitocin, and the drugs in an epidural break down quickly in the placenta. If going in for a cesarean delivery you will need to remind all staff involved that you will be keeping your placenta, and request that your support team (partner, doula, or family member) who accompany you know to keep an eye on the placenta and not let it leave the room.
If they send my placenta to pathology, can I still encapsulate?
Unfortunately, no. One a placenta has gone down to pathology there is no way to know what bacteria it may have come in contact with and, in some instances, chemicals may have been added to it rendering it unsafe for consumption. If your provider feels it is necessary to send your placenta to pathology, request that only a piece be sent, and that the rest stay with you and be immediately placed in proper storage. If it is discovered that there was a uterine infection, the placenta will not be safe for consumption.
I’ve tested positive for group B strep (GBS+) is it still safe to consume my placenta after a vaginal delivery?
Placenta encapsulation is not contraindicated by the presence of group B strep, so long as it does not lead to a uterine infection or fever during labor. To ensure the safety of your capsules, the Traditional Chinese Method, which includes steaming the placenta before dehydrating, as well as a vinegar bath would need to be used.
My baby had a bowel movement (meconium) in utero. Is my placenta still safe?
Meconium is mostly sterile, and therefore is not a concern unless there is a maternal fever, concerns of uterine infection, or the placenta is not moved into a cooler, on ice, within the first hour of delivery. As always, the placenta cannot be processed if it has been sent to pathology, so request that only a piece be taken.
Can I encapsulate if I have been diagnosed with pre-eclampsia?
While pre-eclampsia is not fully understood, and is believed to involve the placenta, most women will pre-eclampsia are able to successful consume their placenta. Your placenta will most likely be examined upon delivery and, as long as all is well and it is not sent to pathology, you can then proceed as expected.
How do I store my placenta safely after birth?
Your placenta specialist should provide a list of instructions as soon as you have confirmed hiring them, as well as remind you of protocol over the phone when you call to let them know labor is imminent.
Can I delay cord clamping if I am encapsulating my placenta?
Absolutely! Delayed cord clamping (waiting at least 10 minutes after delivery to cut the cord, preferably until it has completely stopped pulsing) has been proven to hold lifelong benefits for babies, and is something we encourage all families to research before giving birth. Delaying cord clamping will not have any negative effect on your placenta.
Can I bank my babies cord blood if I am having my placenta encapsulated?
Just as with delayed cord clamping, cord blood banking will have no effect on your placenta capsules.
I have some capsules left over and I’m pregnant again, can I take my left-over capsules while pregnant?
One of the benefits of taking placenta capsules postpartum is that it encourages uterine contractions – which decreases bleeding and helps the uterus return to its original size. Because of this, and the possible risk of miscarriage, we would advise women who are pregnant to discontinue taking their capsules until after they have given birth.
Are there any situations that would make it unsafe for me to consume my placenta?
There are a few situations where we would not be able to process your placenta, and those are:
- If the placenta is sent to pathology
- If there is a uterine infection
- If the placenta is improperly stored
- If the mother smoked during pregnancy
- There are also certain medications and medical conditions that would contraindicate placental encapsulation. Please let us know if you have any specific questions.
Specific situations involving placentophagia (consuming the placenta after delivery) have not been widely studied, so please be aware that we are not able to know all circumstances in which there may be a reaction.
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