Frequently Asked Questions about Placenta Capsules
Most people have lots of questions about placenta encapsulation capsules, from the benefits and research to the logistics. I’ve gathered here answers to some of my most frequently asked questions to help you get the information you need. You may also of course contact me here so we can chat on the phone and I’ll answer your questions live.
I have more than 6 years of experience, I am certified by PBI, and I really care about each and every one of my clients. I love what I do, and I’m committed to providing professional, reliable placenta encapsulation to the women in Vancouver. I’ll do the same for you!
Why should I encapsulate my placenta?
Your placenta is full of iron, hormones and other nutrients and is perfectly designed to nourish you in your first few weeks postpartum. It can help you to avoid the baby blues, or postpartum depression. It can help to increase your milk supply and increase the fat and protein content in your milk. It can help to restore iron levels so you feel less tired.
Humans are the only land dwelling mammals who don’t routinely eat their placentas. In studies, rats will give up their pups rather than give up their placentas. They literally fight scientists to keep their placenta so they can eat it. Not into rat science? 100% (that’s each and every one!) of my surveyed clients said they would encapsulate their placenta if they have another child.
Further, placentophagy has been a part of Chinese culture and traditional Chinese medicine for over 5000 years. It’s time for us here in the western world to start making the most of this amazing organ. You only have once chance at this- with so much evidence showing all the benefits, why wouldn’t you?
What should I bring to the hospital?
It depends on the hospital. If you are birthing at BC women, you will need to have everything you need to keep your placenta on ice. I recommend any food- grade storage container or 4 large size zip lock bags. If you have a cooler, great! If not, every ward in the hospital has ice machines and if you’ve got some containers and ziplocks, you can easily keep the placenta cool until I’m able to collect it.
The 4 ziplock system works like this: place your placenta in 2 of the ziplocks. Partially fill another with ice. Put the ice and the placenta in the 4th… you’ve made your own cooler! Alternately you can put your placenta in a ziplock, and fill a container from home with ice and put the placenta on top…. the possibilities are endless. The bottom line is, it needs to be kept cool.
If you’re birthing at St. Pauls, or Royal Columbian the nurses will bag and label your placenta and keep it in a fridge for you at the nurses station. If you’re birthing at Burnaby General, it depends on who’s working and it’s best to come prepared.
How soon after I text you will you pick up?
As soon as possible! It’s part of my personal mission as a birth professional to be well ahead of the industry standard of 48 hours from the time of birth. That being said, I have to consider my current client load and family obligations at the time of your birth. I am usually able to pick up the same day contacted or the day after, but in some cases it has to be the second day after being contacted. Once I receive your text that you have birthed I will respond within 4 hours (during work hours 7am-7pm) to arrange a pick up from the hospital or your home.
How/when will I receive the finished capsules?
I require 48 hours to complete the encapsulation process, but in most cases, I do it in 24 hours. At the time of pick up I’ll give you a ball park of when they’ll done and set a time when I’ll be in touch with the details of delivery.
How many capsules will I get?
It depends on the size of your placenta. The average is from 80-110.
What is the ideal timeline for placenta encapsulation?
Ideally, the encapsulation should be done within 48 hours for the most benefits, and the dosage started within 72 hours to mitigate the drop in hormone levels after the birth (around 4 days postpartum). Here are some time guidelines to follow to assure that your placenta remains suitable for your consumption: Within 0 – 3 hours the placenta may be left at room temperature. After 3 hours, it needs to be refrigerated, or kept on ice so that it’s temperature does not go above 4ºC. After 48hours the placenta needs to be frozen.
What types of supplies are used and how are they sterilized?
Safety is my top priority. The supplies used during the placenta encapsulation process are all stainless steel, food grade plastic, or disposable. All of the equipment I use for encapsulations is designated for that purpose only and my cleaning procedure insures that every piece of equipment and surface are properly disinfected to prevent cross contamination. I follow the same guidelines for cleanliness and sanitation that are used in food service establishments and small laboratories.
I take my time and follow WorkSafe and OSHA standards so that I keep your family and mine safe. As part of my PBi training I have completed a blood born pathogens training and I also hold a current FoodSafe certificate.
I wash everything in hot soapy water, then rinse it, and then soak it in a 10% bleach solution for at least 20 min, followed by another rinse. Following this procedure insures I meet the standards set by OSHA and the EPA for disinfection, and it insures that any STDs or blood borne pathogens are killed. I also inspect all of my equipment for pitting or cracking and replace it when necessary. I never reuse sponges, gloves, cutting boards, or aprons.
How do I know I will not receive someone else's placenta??
I only ever process one placenta at a time. In the very unlikely event that two clients give birth on the same day, I complete the entire encapsulation process, including thoroughly sanitizing all equipment and work space with the first one before starting the second one. There is never a chance of an accidental switch or cross contamination of any kind.
How does this work… placenta questions
How should I take my placenta capsules?
Instructions for taking your placenta capsules are printed on the jar they come in, but most clients find that 2 capsules, 2-3 times a day works well. Some women take more, some take less. Some take more on ‘rough’ days and find it helps with energy and mood stabilization.
This seems kind of gross! Are you sure I can eat my placenta?
If you can take a vitamin, or a pill for headache, you can eat your placenta. My job is to take the gross out. Your capsules will be delivered to you in an aesthetically pleasing blue jar, with a pretty label, to make the whole thing easier.
When should I not take my placenta capsules?
Stop taking your capsules if you have an infection. Mastitis, or a cold or flu are the main reasons clients take a temporary break. Because of the tonifying effect of the placenta it is thought that it may actually ‘feed’ the infection and make things worse. So, just take a break for a few days until your infection clears.
How should I store my placenta capsules?
After the encapsulation process is completed your placenta capsules will be placed in a sealed jar and are very shelf-stable if kept in a dry, cool dark place, such as a cupboard. To help you to remember to take them, you may decide to store them with any supplements you may take, such as your prenatal vitamins. Placenta capsules do not need to be refrigerated or stored in the freezer to maintain freshness, though some clients prefer this. If this option is preferred, placenta capsules may be taken directly from the refrigerator/freezer and please be sure they are stored in a tightly sealed container to not be exposed to excess humidity.
How long should I take my placenta capsules for?
I recommend that you take the capsules for the first 3 weeks postpartum at least. Beyond that, it’s personal and it’s important to listen to your body! Some clients take the capsules every day until they are all gone. Others find that after the first few crucial weeks postpartum they take less every day, or sometimes skip days. Any left over capsules will store indefinitely in a cool dark place and can be used to increase milk production during times of illness or stress like back to work, or moving etc.
What if I am a vegetarian or vegan?
No Problem! Just let me know and I’ll use veggie-caps instead of gelatine caps.
Are herbs included in the finished capsules?
No. Your capsules are 100% your placenta. It is recommended that if a mother needs herbal supplementation it is done separately so proper dosages can be maintained.
What if… placenta questions
What if I am induced/have a medicated birth or have a cesarean section?
You can still have your placenta encapsulated. Your particular birth choices/outcomes do not affect whether or not your placenta can or cannot be encapsulated. I have encapsulated many placentas birthed by mothers who received epidurals, IV pain medications during labor, pitocin inductions, and had cesarean sections.
What if I am pregnant with twins?
I love doing twin placentas! I charge an additional $50 to cover the extra time and materials needed.
What if I am opting for cord blood banking/donation? Can I still encapsulate my placenta?
Yes, as long as you are opting for traditional cord blood banking only and not placenta blood banking. You will need to check with the company you are working with for their instructions.
What if I am opting for tissue banking?
If only the cord is being banked, you can still have your placenta encapsulated. If the whole placenta is being banked, then you can’t.
What if I am opting for delayed cord clamping?
No problem! You can still have your placenta encapsulated.
What if there is meconium staining?
Previously it was thought that meconium was sterile, but new research is coming out showing that it is not, and the bacteria present is from your own natural flora. In response to the recent research I now recommend to clients who’s placenta has meconium present that I use the TCM method of preparation so that the steaming will kill off any potential bacterial risks.
What if I give birth prematurely?
Premature birth does not automatically determine your placenta being unfit for encapsulation and I have encapsulated numerous preterm placentas. In the case of premature birth the placenta is sometimes sent to pathology to determine possible cause for return birth. Most doctors will try to still accommodate your wishes to take your placenta home with you and will try to either do a blood test, send only a piece of placenta to pathology, or will only do a bed-side visual examination in order to not have to send the entire placenta to pathology. Ultimately it is up to the decision of your doctor as to whether or not your placenta will be released or not.
What if I get a fever in labor?
Fever does not always equal infection, and is most commonly associated with epidurals given during labor. If you have a fever for only a few hours before birth then it is unlikely that the placenta is infected in any way. Your care provider can also determine if true infection is suspected by how the placenta looks, feels, and smells. True infection, that renders the placenta unusable, has not been common in my years of practice and when it does occur there is no question that the placenta needs to be discarded. Again, it is up to your midwife or doctor whether or not the placenta can be released.