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 about the placenta encapsulation process.
Q. What is the placenta and what does it do?
The placenta is a temporary organ of pregnancy that begins developing from the blastocyst shortly after implantation and is fully formed by 12 weeks gestation. The placenta attaches to the endometrial lining of the uterus and provides oxygen and nutrients to the growing fetus, while removing waste products from the fetal circulation.
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. 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. 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 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.
Q. How many capsules does a placenta yield?
Just like very pregnancy and every baby, every placenta is unique. The size and weigh (which is roughly one sixth of the size of baby) will be different with each different placenta and will therefore yield a varying amount of capsules. On average, most women will receive 150 or more capsules for an average weight infant of 3kgs.
Q. How long do the capsules last?
Most women will consume most if not all of their capsules within the first 6 – 8 weeks postpartum. If you have any capsules left over after this time it is recommended to consume them within the first year post birth. At this point, if you have any capsules left it is recommended to place them in the freezer to elongate the shelf life. It is not recommended to consumes capsules any older than 2 years – at this point it is likely that the reported benefits of the capsules would be significantly diminished.
Q. What is the difference between the two methods of encapsulation?
The biggest difference between the Simple & Steamed methods of encapsulation is the steaming process prior to dehydration. This steaming process is based on Traditional Chinese Medicine.
The decision of encapsulation method will be a personal choice. Some women prefer the Simple method as it is slightly more potent in hormonal content and nutrients, while also achieving a higher yield of capsules. On the other hand, some women prefer the Steamed method as it ensures potential bacterium is killed prior to dehydration, while also making the available hormonal and nutritional content simpler to absorb by the digestive system.
Q. What is a placenta tincture and how is it prepared?
Placenta tincture is crafted from a small portion of your placenta (roughly the size of a 20c piece) of the raw placenta, or a small amount of the dehydrated capsules (should you choose this) which is then steeped in organic grain vodka for a minimum of 6 weeks to allow proper infusion.
At this point, the raw placenta can be strained out, or left in for a more potent tincture. Placenta tinctures can be used any time after the initial 6 week infusion, during times of emotional stress, transition or hormonal imbalance. As the tincture can be kept for years, some women even keep their tincture to aid them during menopause.
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!