Let’s face it. When it comes to what we put in our bodies, sometimes we take calculated risks. Sushi for example. Sushi can carry foodborne illnesses and parasites. For many of us, it’s something we will indulge in occasionally, except for during pregnancy, and for some, during breastfeeding. Do you eat raw cookie dough? Or lick the beaters clean after making a cake? Did you eat that salad during the great romaine lettuce recalls.
Taking a calculated risk is something we do all the time.
Still, raw is for sushi, not your placenta.
Until last week it was widely believed that the RAW method of placenta encapsulation killed bacteria during the dehydration process. In light of new information from the CDC, we no longer know that to be true.
On June 30th, 2017 an eye-opening case study was published by the Centers for Disease Control. This study shook the world of placenta encapsulation across the U.S. The full article can be found here. This case study exposes the hidden danger of the RAW Method of placenta encapsulation. Let’s take a look at the details below.
What we know from the CDC article:
- The mother had a negative GBS screen at 37 weeks.
- She confirmed that she had registered with Company A to pick up and encapsulate her placenta for ingestion.
- Three days after the infant’s birth, the mother had received her capsules and began ingesting two capsules three times daily.
- The infant is diagnosed with late-onset GBS infection.
- A sample of the capsules was cultured, yielding penicillin-sensitive, clindamycin-sensitive GBS.
- According to Company A’s website:
- the placenta is cleaned, sliced, and dehydrated at 115°F–160°F (46°C–71°C), then ground and placed into about 115–200 gelatin capsules, and stored at room temperature.
While there are a lot of details that are still unknown and the variables at play are many. There is one detail that is of critical importance and is crystal clear.
The capsules processed using the RAW Method were cultured and tested as infected with GBS.
It is unclear if it was the mother’s consumption of the capsules that re-infected her baby. Also unknown is if the infection was acquired through touch contact. By the infected mother, capsules or other family members. The mother’s breastmilk tested negative for GBS. The home kitchen of the person who prepared this placenta was not tested nor was the individual themselves.
We also have no knowledge of proper storage or handling (to prevent the growth of bacteria) of the placenta. This is one of the primary concerns when choosing to encapsulate outside of your home. Proper storage and handling of the placenta cannot be ensured.
Dangers in the Process
According to the CDC article, the placenta was not steamed before dehydration. This is commonly referred to as the RAW Method. The placenta was also not dehydrated at a sufficient temperature to kill bacteria. Temperatures of 115°F–160°F are not sufficient to successfully eliminate bacteria. This is basic knowledge that anyone trained in encapsulating placentas should know. It is required knowledge for those trained and certified in blood borne pathogens and safe food handling.
Our response to this news
At Tucson Doulas we take our client’s safety seriously. In light of this new information, Tucson Doulas has initiated a change in our policies. We no longer offer the RAW Method of placenta encapsulation.
There is no way to ensure that the dehydration process alone will destroy harmful bacteria like GBS. We also know that the GBS status of expecting individuals can change. So even if a client tests GBS negative during pregnancy, their status is unknown during labor.
We will continue to offer placenta encapsulation using the Traditional Chinese Method. The TCM method requires that your placenta is cleaned and drained then steamed before dehydration. The steaming process ensures that the placenta is brought to a high enough internal temperature destroy bacteria. It also complies to the safe food handling guidelines.
Taking a Stand for Your Safety
Based on this new information, no one using RAW Method can make claims of safety. Washing the placenta in essential oils isn’t supported by evidence, and in fact, it’s even prohibited by placenta certification organizations.
For the safety of you and your baby, we are taking a public stand.
Please beware of the RAW Method and those who continue to make claims of its safety. The health of you and your baby may depend on it.
The Tucson Doulas Difference
Our Certified Postpartum Placenta Specialists provide prompt, skilled encapsulation and tincture services to aid in a smoother postpartum transition. We are the only business providing placenta encapsulation services by Certified Postpartum Placenta Specialists in all of southern Arizona. We require our specialists to renew their certifications in bloodborne pathogens and safe food handling annually. Your specialist is current and up to date on the rigorous standards of health and safety. This ensures that the process is done properly at all times.
Contact us today to learn more about our specialists and our placenta services!