FAQ: placenta edition

Recently, I texted a placenta encapsulation client who had started her capsules a few days prior to see how she was feeling and if she had any questions. Here’s what she said:

Rachel, I can tell such a BIG difference in hormonal waves this time versus last time. Thank you so very much. I’m recommending it to all of my pregnant friends, it’s seriously a game-changer! Thank you!! —Julia

It made my day to hear that she was finding it so helpful and reminded me of why I became trained in placenta encapsulation—to be able to offer another option for support during the postpartum weeks.

While you can read more on the services page, here are some other common questions about the process:

Which process of encapsulation do you offer?

We offer the traditional method, based on traditional Chinese medicine. The process includes gently steaming the placenta with ginger and lemon prior to dehydration in order to kill bacteria. Additionally, this method is designed to help ‘balance’ the placenta after childbirth. This gives clients peace of mind as it’s considered the safest method for consumption.

Why do you process in my home?

As a ProDoula trained placenta specialist, safety and professionalism are my priorities. The guidelines we follow far exceed industry standards. Some of the benefits of having it done in your home include:

  • You have no doubt that the encapsulated placenta is in fact yours as it is the only one in your home and you brought it directly home yourself. You also know it was kept and handled properly.
  • There is zero risk of your placenta being exposed to any unfamiliar bacteria or cross-contamination that may interfere with healthy postpartum recovery or pose other health risks.
  • You get a very quick turnaround as you can start taking them literally the moment they’re finished!
  • You witness the careful sanitizing process and other precautions first hand.
  • I can support you best in person. I’m trained and passionate about supporting you during this tender time, and in person is where I can check on you, answer questions, and offer help most directly.

But, like, will it be gross and stinky?

Not at all. Everything is fully cleaned and sanitized in your kitchen before and after processing each day, leaving not a clue as to the day’s activities. The brief steaming process is when an odor may be released, and this only lasts about 15 minutes and everything is very well-ventilated. I’ve never had a client comment on it, in fact. If you still feel squeamish, it’s easy to avoid the kitchen while I’m there.

How and when do I contact you? When do you start the process?

Please contact me by phone between the hours of 9am – 9pm within 12 hours of the birth of your baby, so we can discuss scheduling. Ideally, I like to begin within 2 days of the birth, so your capsules can be ready by day 3. Some clients will have a neighbor or relative let me in even if they aren’t home yet, but it’s up to you if you’re comfortable with that option.

What do you need from me?

All I need from you is the placenta itself and access to a stove, sink, and outlet (overnight) for the dehydrator. When I’m your placenta specialist, you can feel confident that my equipment and supplies are fully sanitized and ready for your encapsulation. I bring everything with me. Don’t even worry about cleaning up the kitchen before I arrive, I’ll take care of it while you and your family rest!

What do I do with the placenta until you get here?

The placenta must be placed in a cooler on ice or in the refrigerator within 2 – 4 hours of the birth. If we can’t begin encapsulating within 3 days, you can put the placenta in the freezer. It can be frozen for up to 3 months.

What if my family and friends are unsupportive?

Like everything around birth and parenting, this decision is a personal one and may not be for everyone. Choose what is best for you and hopefully they will come around to respect your choices even if they don’t fully understand them. The finished product looks like any other vitamin or supplement so even the nosiest of visitors won’t be suspicious. It’s really just up to you alone and no one else’s business.

How long does the process take?

The entire process takes about 24 hours, with the actual in-home work lasting about 2 hours a day for two consecutive days.

How do I take the capsules?

We share some suggested guidelines for consumption, but ultimately encourage you to follow your body’s cues and individual needs.

What other placenta-related items do you offer?

  • cord keepsake— All clients receive a complimentary cord keepsake. This is the umbilical cord dried into a special shape, which many clients enjoy keeping with other newborn mementos.
  • blood print— We can do a basic blood print of your placenta on high-quality archival watercolor paper. The pattern is reminiscent of a tree and a special reminder of the connection with your baby. Some may choose to leave it plain or enhance it with paint or colored pencil, framing it for the nursery.
  • tincture— A tincture is a highly concentrated alcohol-based liquid that can be a useful boost at stressful or anxious times such as weaning or returning to work, or for other emotional lows. It takes six weeks to mature, but can be used indefinitely after that. It should last a very long time, since only a few drops are used at a time.
  • salve—The salve is a handmade preparation of oils slowly infused with herbs and placenta powder, strained and set into small tin for personal use. It is made with organic ingredients and no preservatives, exceptionally rich and healing for the skin. It should be kept in the fridge and used within 1-3 months. 

 

Contact Us to learn more!

 

placenta encapsulation package
The finished product! Cord keepsake, handmade placenta capsules, and consumption guidelines.

maybe not so gross?

Ah, October. Turning leaves, pumpkin spice ad nauseam, apparently also 80º weather this year, and decorations that range from cloying giant inflatable jack o’ lanterns and friendly ghosts, to horrific gore, terrifying clowns, monsters, and everything in between.

Horror which, unfortunately, some people also think of when they think of placenta encapsulation. I can’t blame them. The idea of ingesting a human organ would make the heartiest steak-lover a bit squeamish.

As a vegetarian and someone with a deep need for facts and data, it may seem at first to be an odd fit as to why I’d offer this service. So why do I? The copious anecdotal evidence makes me think there’s some there there. And while “other mammals do it!” is a totally lame argument, it’s worth considering here. It sort of shows a stroke of genius in nature—the new mother, tired from birth and needing to stay with her young, has a convenient nutrient-rich post-birth meal instantly, well, delivered. The fact that thousands of years of traditional Chinese medicine reveres placentophagia carries some weight, too. And, it’s compelling when 96% of women report having a good experience and say they’d do it again.

I feel better offering the service knowing that I’m doing it in the most careful, convenient, and respectful way possible. You don’t have to worry about a thing, and receive tidy capsules in no time!

  • The fact that the client’s placenta never leaves their possession eradicates the risk of cross-contamination, exposure to unfamiliar bacteria, and mix-ups. There is no doubt your placenta is in fact yours.
  • With the preparation happening in your home, you can witness the careful pre- and post-process sanitizing methods. Some people assume that their placenta is being taken to a pristine lab somewhere to be processed, when it’s usually just someone else’s tiny roach-infested NYC apartment. I won’t be subjecting your placenta to my roaches (my grubby kids, my leftovers in the fridge, other placentas). You’re welcome.
  • I don’t add any mysterious herbs or additives to your placenta pills, you’ll receive pure placenta. Other herbs and supplements can be taken if you choose, but that’s up to you.
  • The traditional Chinese medicine process of preparation (steaming and dehydrating), along with food safety and blood borne pathogen protocols, is also safest in terms of killing off any lingering bacteria and keeping everything as sanitary as possible.
laboratory-2815641_1280
The bloody woman at the top isn’t preparing your placenta, but neither is this scientist. 

I also liked the idea of being able to offer an additional service to clients. I love when we can work together in more than one capacity, allowing us to build a rapport on a deeper level so I can best serve your family.

I truly hope that someday we’ll have access to great gold-standard research and data on the benefits of placenta encapsulation for postpartum recovery. It has the potential to be a huge help to so many families. I feel so passionately about supporting families postpartum; it’s such a delicate time which our culture tends to devalue and brush aside. Anything that could help should be explored. Until we have that information, I’m glad to be able to offer this service safely to those who would like to give it a try.

Learn more here and take advantage of the October 2017 sale!