What we do as professional placenta specialists isn’t that unbelievable. But for the person who has never explored or researched the idea of placenta encapsulation, it can seem pretty confusing, overwhelming, and even a bit scary.
Let’s be honest, the first time I heard that women consumed their placentas after birth, I was shocked and grossed out. The images I had in my mind of this mysterious placenta encapsulation thing were, thankfully, nothing like what it is in reality.
So, if you’re new to this whole idea, let me answer a few of the most commonly asked questions and, hopefully, demystify the amazing practice of placenta encapsulation.
What is placenta encapsulation?
Put simply, placenta encapsulation is a process where the placenta is dehydrated and then put into capsules. Once this process is complete, the specialist presents you with a jar of capsules that look just like any other vitamin or supplement. You then ingest the capsules during the first several weeks and months postpartum.
What other ways can I ingest my placenta?
While placenta capsules tend to be the most-often-selected option for consuming the placenta, there are many ways you could choose to enjoy your placenta. Smoothies, capsules, tincture, cookies, chocolates, raw, or cooked in a meal. There are other ways as well, but these are the ones you’ll find are most common. At Tucson Doulas we offer placenta encapsulation and tincture. If you’re not into ingesting your placenta, we also offer cord keepsakes and placenta prints.
Why would I want to encapsulate my placenta?
Some of the most often-reported benefits to placenta consumption are:
- Increase in energy
- Reduced risk of postpartum depression
- Decreased risk of anemia
- Improvement in overall mood
- Decreased postpartum bleeding
- Breast milk regulation.
These are the most common benefits we hear most often from our clients. These same benefits have been confirmed in animal studies.
How does my placenta go from a placenta to capsule form?
Our postpartum placenta specialists begin the process by rinsing it. The placenta is then steamed. Once steaming is complete, the placenta is sliced into thin pieces, then dehydrated. Once the pieces are fully dehydrated, the specialist then grinds the placenta into powder and places that powder into capsules. We share our entire process with our clients and even invite them to observe the preparation if they desire!
What’s the difference between Traditional Chinese Medicine method and other methods?
The TCM method involves a steaming process. Sometimes the placenta is infused with herbs (chili pepper, lemon, and ginger are common), prior to dehydration. The other most common method is the RAW method, which skips the steaming step altogether. The placenta is rinsed it is immediately sliced and placed in the dehydrator. While some people report different benefits to each method. There is no scientific evidence to that one preparation method is superior to the other. However, many TCM supporters claim that the added warmth of the herbs and steaming create a gentler remedy for moms. Those who support RAW method have concerns that the placenta may lose vitamins, nutrients, and enzymes during the steaming process in the TCM method. Which method you choose is really a personal preference.
Is it safe?
We addressed a lot of the safety concerns in this blog post, but the answer is: If you have hired a professional placenta specialist, they should be taking all of the appropriate steps to make sure your placenta is handled properly at all times. Any specialist you hire should have completed a training in blood borne pathogens, as well as safe food handling. At Tucson Doulas we renew our certifications annually to assure our clients that we are current and up to date on sanitation protocol and safe handling at all times. Our postpartum placenta specialists maintain current placenta encapsulation certification. With us, you have no doubt that your placenta is in safe hands.
Will I have any problems bringing my placenta home from the hospital?
The answer varies from place to place, but here in Tucson it’s usually not a problem. Some of our hospitals even ask about your desires for your placenta during the intake process, so you just need to let them know up front. If you bring a birth plan with you, make sure to note that you want to keep your placenta after the birth, and remind staff after any shift changes. If for some reason they’d like to send your placenta to pathology for testing you can request that they just send a small piece to pathology and release the rest to you. Until you can get your placenta home and into the refrigerator, it’s a good idea to store it in a cooler with ice to ensure that it is kept at a safe temperature.
How many capsules will I receive?
Since placentas come in all different shapes and sizes, the number of capsules depends completely on your placenta. The method you select also plays a role (TCM typically yields about 20-30% fewer capsules than raw method). Generally you can expect the receive somewhere between 90 and 150 capsules, though some placentas yield less, and some yield much more.
How long will it take to get my capsules?
Once we have your placenta and begin the process, it typically takes 24 hours. If your specialist prepares it in her location, she can typically return your completed capsules within the first 3 days. If your specialist performs the process in your home it will depend on when you schedule the specialist to come to your house. She will start it that day, and then return the next day to finish up.
How do I store my capsules?
We recommend storing your jar in a cool, dark, dry place. We include a dessicant packet in every jar of capsules to help prevent rehydration of your capsules. Though many people in the past have recommended storing capsules in the fridge, we do not. The changes in temperature can cause condensation, which increases the risk of bacterial growth in your capsule jar. After about 6 months you should move your capsules into a ziplock bag and place them in the freezer for long term storage. If you wish to experience the benefits of the placenta after a year or two, you might consider opting for a placenta tincture. Tinctures last indefinitely, and should also be stored in a cool, dark dry place, out of direct sunlight.
So how do I start?
We are excited to provide professional placenta services to families in Tucson and the surrounding areas. If you’ve decided that you would like your placenta encapsulated, all you need to do is contact us today. We can discuss any specific questions or concerns you may have, and create a custom plan for your placenta services. We look forward to offering you another tool to aid in a smoother postpartum transition!