All about placenta encapsulation
Written by Erika
Consuming one's own placenta. It is a thing. Maybe you are horrified just reading the idea of it..... or maybe you are intrigued.
I was a homebirthing mom 2 decades ago when encapsulating a placenta wasn't really a thing that was offered, BUT I remember every homebirth group had at least 1 recipe for a placenta lasagna and/or placenta smoothies. So, placenta capsules really don't weird me out and they seem quite tame in comparison.
What is placenta encapsulation?
Placenta encapsulation is the process in which your placenta is dried, ground, and put into individual capsules. Some methods steam the placenta (with or without herbs) before dehydration. The raw method has no steaming and the placenta is instead immediately dried. The pills created will be consumed by the mother in the postpartum time. Typically, a placenta will yield 80-150 capsules, depending on its size. Instructions for how to take the encapsulated placenta should be provided to you.
What are the benefits of placenta encapsulation?
There are very limited studies covering the benefits of consuming one's own placenta. The placenta contains vitamins, minerals, estrogen, and progesterone. While the scientific data is lacking when it comes to the benefits of consuming placenta, many individuals who consume placenta pills report beneficial feelings.
Some of the benefits reported by individuals who support placenta encapsulation and/or have consumed their placentas include:
Improvement in mood
Increased energy and reduction of fatigue
Increased milk supply
Decreased vaginal bleeding
What are the risks of placenta encapsulation?
Much like there aren't good quality studies to demonstrate the benefits, there also aren't good quality studies that demonstrate the practice is dangerous. That said, there are a few potential risks people should weigh out when deciding if they would like to encapsulate their placenta themselves or have someone do it for them:
Potential cross-contamination due to improper cleaning of equipment.
Bacterial growth, particularly if the placenta is not stored at an appropriate temperature and/or not processed in a timely manner.
Potential allergy to the ingredients that make the capsules or allergy to a cross contaminent if placenta is prepared in a person's kitchen or around food items (if you have food allergies this should be discussed with the person encapsulating the placenta)
Obviously, the list of known potential risks are things that can be mitigated by proper handling and proper cleaning of equipment. If you choose to have your placenta encapsulated, I recommend hiring a professional who is current on bloodborne pathogen training, uses equipment that is easy to clean and fully sanitize between each placenta they process, and who has a clear protocol for labeling, storage, process time, and how to avoid contamination of your pills with food, chemicals, or another individual's blood/placenta.
Should you have your placenta encapsulated?
This totally depends on if it is something you want to do! If you choose to have your placenta encapsulated make sure you get all the information from the person you hire to do it regarding how to store your placenta until pick-up/drop-off and go into your birthing location prepared with the supplies you will need. Let your care provider know your placenta plan so that it is not discarded with medical waste and so that they can have you sign any needed release paperwork.
You can find some additional information at Evidence Based Birth
Local Placenta Encapsulation
Rebeccah offers placenta encapsulation through her business, Flower and Roots in St Peter, MN. She offers Traditional, raw, or steamed processing as well as options for tinctures, salves, and prints.
The fee for placenta encapsulation, if booked prior to 36 weeks of pregnancy is $250 and she offers an additional $50 discount to River Valley Birth Center clients.
Contact Rebeccah at: email@example.com