Are you considering encapsulating your placenta to help with your postpartum transition? If you are – Do so with careful consideration!
So why on earth would I – a professional placenta specialist in Tucson, AZ – ever title a blog “Placenta encapsulation is risky”??? Doesn’t that seem to go against what I do for a living? If I believe it’s risky, why would I provide this service for over 150 moms and counting?
Many people are recognizing the benefits of placenta consumption post-birth, and it’s becoming increasingly more popular among new moms. With the increasing interest in placenta encapsulation, there are lots of folks out there starting to encapsulate placentas as a side-job or hobby. They are offering these services at reduced cost to new moms on a budget, which sounds good at first, but these moms (and any mom who hires a hobby encapsulator) could be putting themselves at risk. Since there is no standard for education or certification for placenta services, anyone can say they encapsulate placentas (and start charging for it) regardless of knowledge, training, or experience.
What makes placenta encapsulation so risky?
I am not a fan of scare tactics or fear-based decision making. That said, there are some very real risks involved with placenta encapsulation, and they are worthy of candid discussion. Think carefully about what a placenta specialist does. I’ll save you the gory details (and photos – you’re welcome), but in a nutshell we are responsible for safely handling and processing an organ that you will later consume for an extended period of time as you are adjusting postpartum. I am a firm believer that no mother should trust someone with this task unless that person holds certification in safe food handling and blood borne pathogens. Improper storage and handling could have deadly consequences, but at the very least it could have unpleasant side effects for the new mom. I cringe when I hear that a new mom has hired someone just because of a lower price point, without taking into consideration the seriousness of the decision, and the consequences it could have on her health. There are some specialists that even ship the capsules/tincture through the mail – I have serious concerns about the safety of that practice, and how exactly they’re able to maintain proper temperatures while the capsules/tincture/whatever is on a delivery truck or sitting in a mailbox, especially here in AZ where temps are often well above the recommended 78 degrees.
I’m sure you already get the picture so I figure I’ll stop with the negative and turn it to the positive by asking a couple of questions…
I cannot speak for all professional placenta specialists, so I will only speak for myself and the specialists who work with us at Tucson Doulas. The benefit to hiring Tucson Doulas (or another similar professional encapsulator) is that you have peace of mind. I have taken trainings and certifications that prove I know how to operate safely, with proper processing and sanitation. I have served over 150 families and have been providing this service since 2011, so I have demonstrated experience with plenty of people who can speak to the quality of my process and my work, as well as my professionalism. Our clients know that I have developed my method over the years with their health in mind, and can find comfort in the fact that all of our specialists follow all of OSHA’s guidelines when handling their placenta. We have a business structure in place that allows us to provide our clients with the absolute best service, making the responsibilities and expectations crystal clear right from the beginning. We have developed great relationships within our birth community, so providers and other birth professionals know that we put our clients’ safety and well-being as a top priority. We will never make a decision that affects our clients based on what is most convenient to us, when we believe that there are safer ways to do things.
In-home encapsulation or somewhere else?
With Tucson Doulas we take all the uncertainty out of this practice that is just now coming into the “mainstream” here in the United States. We offer our clients the choice when it comes to the location of placenta preparation. We do have a clear preference, but we are confident that our clients can make the best decisions for themselves, and that our safety standards will never be compromised either way.
In your home: When you choose to encapsulate in your own home, you keep your placenta with you at all times so you have no doubts about where it’s been, and one of our highly trained and certified specialists comes to your home and prepares it there for you. With recent microbiome research we believe this is the safest place to prepare your placenta since your delicate system is already accustomed to the bacteria found in your home. The alternative would be to encapsulate in the specialist’s home, where your placenta may come into contact with airborne germs with which your immune system is unfamiliar. Even when using universal precautions, your placenta could be exposed to the normal bacteria found in your encapsulator’s home. By doing it in your home, your system won’t have any surprises. Odds are, your body would do just fine fighting off anything that manages to find it’s way into your capsules when encapsulated in your specialists home, but why take that risk when it’s unnecessary?
In the specialist’s designated location: We believe that the safest environment is the client’s home. However, if you prefer to have your specialist prepare and process your placenta in her own designated space, she will follow the same exact safety protocols and arrange delivery of the capsules once they are completed. You can be certain that your placenta will be handled and processed with the same level of care and expertise, because our process is the same each and every time. Many of our clients choose this option for various reasons: Time constraints (c-section births, or long postpartum stays), Convenience (your specialist arranges transport of the placenta from the hospital to her work space), Ick Factor (you never have to handle or see your placenta – It just comes back to you in capsule form when it’s ready).
No matter which location, our specialists renew their certifications in blood borne pathogens and safe food handling annually so that you know they are current and up to date on the rigorous standards of health and safety required to insure that the process is done properly at all times. #nodoubtplacenta is a hashtag going around right now by those professionals who stand behind the idea that the client’s interests and well-being are best protected when there are no doubts about whose placenta it is, where it has been, and how it has been processed from beginning to end. With Tucson Doulas you can have no doubt that we will provide you with the most professional, most reliable, and safest placenta services available regardless of which location you decide is best for your family.
Is it worth paying more for a professional?
Well… I think you can probably guess my answer is a resounding “YES”. That additional price is the result of years of experience, multiple trainings, rigorous safety protocols, and sound business and customer service practices. That extra $50 or $100 is absolutely worth it to know that your encapsulator has the highest standards and practices for such a valuable service.
So if you’re looking into hiring a placenta specialist, do your research! Check references. Ask if they are certified in safe food handling and blood borne pathogens. Make sure they have your health and safety as a top priority, because your health matters! The last thing a postpartum mother needs as she’s adjusting to life with a new baby is to get sick off the very placenta capsules she purchased to help her transition more smoothly.
What do you think? Is it worth it to hire a professional?