What is Placenta Encapsulation?


What is the placenta?

The a placenta is an organ generated by the mother’s body when she becomes pregnant. It forms within the uterus and plays an essential role providing oxygen and nutrients to your growing baby. It also removes waste products from your baby's blood. The placenta attaches to the wall of the uterus, and the baby's umbilical cord arises from it.


Mammals don’t have an agenda, they consume their placenta on instinct, knowing it will replenish them after birth


All “placental mammals” have a placenta. They are a diverse group of whales, elephants, shrews, and armadillos. They are also some of the most familiar organisms to us, including pets such as dogs and cats, as well as many farm and work animals, such as sheep, cattle, and horses. Placentophagy is the practice of consuming your placenta. Most mammals do this because of the instinctual knowledge of this practice’s unparalleled postpartum health benefits.


What’s inside of the placenta?


Is the placenta beneficial to consume?

Long story short, yes. Your placenta has many health benefits. The organ is made up of so many beneficial components for the new mom and baby, but lets focus on these specific ones: stem cells, hormones, minerals and iron.

First, the postpartum hormone drop is considered the single largest sudden hormone change in the shortest amount of time for any human being, at any point of their life cycle. To make this drop less dramatic consuming minor doses of those hormones has been noted to help women have a smoother “come down” after the birth. The placenta produces two steroid hormones – estrogen and progesterone... The placenta also releases several protein hormones, which include human chorionic gonadotropin (hormones secreted by the pituitary which stimulate the activity of the gonads), human placental lactogen (that stimulates the production of milk), placental growth hormone, relaxin (relaxes joints & ligaments) and kisspeptin (suppressor gene suppresses melanoma and breast cancer metastasis).

Second, the placenta is filled with stem cells. We know that stem cells generate healthy cells to replace diseased cells (regenerative medicine). People who might benefit from stem cell therapies include women postpartum whether having experienced a vaginal birth or c-section, people with spinal cord injuries, type 1 diabetes, Parkinson's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, heart disease, stroke, burns, cancer and osteoarthritis. Wow!

Third, medical studies show mineral levels in placentas are high especially sodium, potassium and phosphorus. The results of this study suggest that the amount of nutrients particularly protein and minerals in heat-dried human placentas were enriched. Wow, you just made your own incredible multivitamins.

Lastly, Iron. Red blood cells contain hemoglobin, a protein that carries oxygen to all cells in the body. Our bodies need iron to make hemoglobin. Iron gives red blood cells their color. Perfect!


The placenta lives with your baby inside of the amniotic sac


How Does Placenta Encapsulation work?

What happens to the placenta after I have the baby?

If you are planning to have it encapsulated the placenta is collected after the birth by a trained specialist. The placenta is analyzed at their sanitized and food grade prep space, drained of blood, dehydrated, pulverized, and then placed in either vegan or gelatin capsules. The process takes about 2-3 days.

If you are not “keeping” your placenta, a hospital will typically keep it and resell it to stem cell therapy companies. Components isolated from the placenta, such as the umbilical cord blood, and the amniotic membrane, are already serving a valuable role in medicine today. Research continues to develop the therapeutic value of other components of the placenta. Whoa! If you are going to a birth center, and do not wish to keep it, they will simply discard it as bio waste. What a shame!

What supplies do you use and how they are stored and sanitized?
The supplies we use during the encapsulation process are all stainless steel and food-grade plastic. All equipment is washed with hot soapy water and sterilized with a bleach solution after each use. The preparation area is fully cleaned and sanitized with bleach solution prior to and after processing of the placenta. All equipment is thoroughly washed and sanitized after use.

If I have a cesarean section can I encapsulate my placenta?
Yes, absolutely. Please speak with your health care provider so they know you plan to take your placenta home with you.

What do I need to provide for the processing of my placenta?
Contemporary Brith Services will provide all the materials necessary for preparation of the placenta. All you need to provide is your placenta.

How should the placenta be handled or treated from the time of birth until the time of processing and preparation?
If you are having a hospital birth, ask your nurse to double bag the placenta in a biohazard bag or ziplock; or in a hospital provided plastic container. We recommend bringing two of your own zip lock bags and/or a plastic food storage container. Although hospitals typically have a container for the placenta, please do not rely on the hospital to provide a container. The placenta should be put on ice and refrigerated within 2 hours following the birth. Bring a cooler to the hospital to keep the placenta cold with ice following the birth. Either arrange to have a friend or family member transport the placenta home after delivery, or schedule a pick-up from the hospital during day time hours with Contemporary Birth Services. The placenta must be properly refrigerated or frozen until preparation. If the placenta will be prepared within 72 hours after delivery, then it may remain in the refrigerator. If however the placenta will not be processed until after 72 hour after delivery, then it should be placed in the back of the freezer where the temperature is most consistent.

If you are having a homebirth, ask your midwife to double bag your placenta and refrigerate it. Storage is the same as mentioned above.

As your placenta service provider we will help with logistics for the big day and make sure you have all the resources you need for a successful transportation of your placenta.

How long will the process take?
The process usually takes about 48-72 hour turn around for placenta pills, from the time the placenta is pick up, until the finished capsules are delivered.

How do I obtain my placenta following the birth?
If you are having a homebirth, your midwife will usually double bag your placenta and ask if you want it refrigerated, frozen or thrown out. Follow the guidelines mentioned above for handling and storage guidelines. It is helpful to talk with your care provider about your wishes for the placenta before you go into labor.

If you are having a hospital birth, be sure to speak with your primary care provider ahead of time. Find out what your hospital’s policy is for the release of placenta. Tell your primary care provider you plan to take your placenta home after birth. This should be noted in your chart and mentioned in your birth plan. You may also need to sign a release/waiver to take home your placenta.

What are the different ways to encapsulate placenta?
We offer two methods of preparation:

Raw Start Dehydration Method: the placenta is thinly sliced raw, prior to dehydration. Moms who take raw pills have experienced high bursts of energy, with almost immediate effects.

Traditional Method: inspired by the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) preparation of lightly steaming the placenta before dehydration. Moms who take TCM pills report a tonifying effect, or a building of energy.

Can I “DIY” my own placenta?

Yes! Women and midwives have prepared their own placentas for centuries.

While you definitely can prepare your own placenta, hiring a placenta arts specialist will help the process before and after your labor be more joyful, and efficient.

When you are expecting your little one there are countless considerations you and your family are making all at once. Hiring a caring professional to prepare your placenta will ease your load, and leave you with capsules and tinctures you will use for many years.

Eyla CuencaComment