You’ve heard about placenta encapsulation but you’re not really sure what exactly it entails. Don’t stress, I’ve created this easy ‘question and answer’ post to shed some light on the most frequently asked questions that I receive.

Q. What is placentophagy and what are the reported benefits

Placentophagy, a practice that has increased in popularity in recent years, is the process of preparing the placenta for consumption in methods such as encapsulation.

Women who consume their placenta report more stable moods, a reduction in symptoms of baby blues and postnatal depression, an increase in energy levels, an increase in milk supply, a reduction in postpartum vaginal bleeding and an overall sense of wellbeing.

Q. I’m vegan/vegetarian, can I still encapsulate?

Veganism is defined as a way of living, which seeks to exclude all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals. Just like breast milk, your placenta is an animal product made by your own body, resulting from the process of conceiving, nurturing and birthing your baby. Your placenta is the only form of meat that does bring harm to any animal, so it is therefore ethically safe for vegans and vegetarians.

Q. Is placenta encapsulation safe for me & my babe?

Current research indicates that there is no greater risk of harm to mama or babe if mama consumes her placenta or she doesn’t. Research also shows that the commonly used safety protocols for placental preparation reduces the risk of bacterial contamination associated with common infections such as Group B Streptococcus. Earthside Apothecary adheres to strict bloodborne pathogens and food safety protocols to ensure you the safest possible preparation for your capsules.

Q. But doesn’t the placenta filter and contain toxins?

Research shows that the levels of heavy metals and chemicals such as arsenic, lead, and mercury are below toxicity thresholds for foodstuffs set by the European Food Safety Authority.

Q. Doesn’t the placenta lose all the nutrients during the preparation process?

According to research, encapsulating the placenta can decrease the contents of nutrients [present from birth] by up to 90 percent. To experience your placenta in its most nutrient and hormone dense form, you may choose to consume it raw, immediately following birth or choose the Raw method of encapsulation.

Q. My baby passed meconium before birth, is encapsulation still safe?

Yes, meconium staining isn’t a contraindication for encapsulation. Meconium does not contain pathogenic bacteria so it does not pose any health risks to you. Your placenta is also thoroughly washed prior to dehydrating, removing any surface meconium that may be present.

Q. My baby was born premature, can I still encapsulate?

Although premature birth is most often associated with complications of pregnancy, this does not mean that your placenta is unsuitable for encapsulation. As long as your placenta has been clinically examined and deemed healthy by your healthcare provider, it is safe for consumption.

Q. I’ve tested positive to Group B Strep in my pregnancy, does this mean I can’t encapsulate?

Research shows that the commonly used protocols for placental preparation reduces the risk of bacterial contamination. Therefore, if you’ve tested GBS positive I would advise to have your placenta encapsulated by the steamed method to ensure any GBS bacteria is eliminated during the steaming process.

Q. I was administered drugs during my labour, is it still safe to consume my placenta?

Research into placental pharmacology shows that common drugs administered in labour can cross the placental barrier but have not been proven to cause any ill effects to mama or baby when consumed.

Q. How do I store my placenta after I give birth?

By 36 weeks gestation you will be provided with a placenta transport kit. Your kit includes one cooler, two large clip-lock bags and two small clip-lock bags. Within two hours of birth you will need to place your placenta inside ONE large clip-lock bag and then place the sealed bag within the second clip-lock bag. The two smaller bags can be filled with ice and used as ice packs. The bagged placenta should be placed in between the two ice packs within the cooler.

Once you have stored your placenta, you will need to make phone contact within 24 hours of birth to arrange pick-up. During this time, you will need to keep an eye on your ice-packs and change out the melted ice when necessary.

Q. What is the process of Placenta Encapsulation?

Your placenta will be safely transported to ‘Earthside Apothecary’s’ dedicated placenta workspace where it will be encapsulated utilising one of our two offered methods – chosen by you.

Simple Method involves dehydrating the placenta raw. This method is not recommended for women who have tested positive to Group B Streptococcus as the preparation may not kill the bacterium that could be present on the placenta. Steamed method is adapted from Traditional Chinese methods of encapsulation. Preparation involves steaming the placenta with warming herbs of lemon, ginger and jalapeno chilli prior to dehydration.

Once the placenta has been prepared and dehydrated, it is ground into a fine powder and encapsulated using your preferred capsule choice.

If there is something else you’d love to know about placenta encapsulation – send me a message and I’d be happy to answer any questions!

Roxanne   X