Placenta Encapsulation FAQ
What do I need to take with me to my birthing location in order to be prepared for the encapsulation process?
1. A cooler to properly store the placenta during your stay if the facility does not have a fridge, it should be kept cool but not frozen. It should be double bagged in zip lock bags with your name clearly marked on it.
2. Your birth plan with one line regarding wanting to take your placenta home with you.
3. Any documentation you may need from the hospital or birthing facility to release the placenta.
What is proper placenta care & handling for encapsulation?
As quickly as possible after the birth the placenta should be placed into two zip lock bags, sealed tightly and refrigerated or placed on ice. If longer please contact us ASAP so we can determine if it is still safe to encapsulate/consume.
For Hospital Births:
It is best to never let the placenta leave your sight. Hospital staff are very busy and can easily be distracted and could accidentally discard your placenta. Your placenta is not their highest priority.
We recommend that either your spouse/partner, family member, birthing partner, or doula is in charge of the placenta once it is birthed so that it is properly stored and not lost or damaged. Please do not let the placenta leave your birthing facility with anyone other than us or our courier.
PLEASE BE SURE TO BRING A COOLER WITH YOU TO THE HOSPITAL if there is no fridges. This will ensure you can properly store your hospital packaged placenta following your birth. Medium sized, soft sided, or Styrofoam coolers all work well.
Hospital staff will package the placenta inside some sort of container or bag that is sealed. This container/bag may also be labeled and/or placed inside of a bio-hazard bag. Once the placenta is packaged by hospital staff, please leave it in that packaging to avoid any cross-contamination or a mess.
As soon as possible, place the packaged placenta in your cooler and then add ice to ensure it will stay cold. As long as the container/bag that the placenta is in has ice near it, the placenta will keep. If you have a private room & private refrigerator you can keep your placenta in there if the container fits until it can be collected. Ideally, you do NOT want the hospital to store your placenta for you! This is the number one way a placenta accidentally gets lost or ruined. However, storage policy varies per birthing location & even by who happens to be on staff during your birthing time, so some area hospitals will offer/require that they store the placenta for you. Your confirmation email will give you more information on hospital policies regarding your particular birthing location.
If you forget a cooler simply take the tub that you are given in your hospital room (washing/baby bath tub) and fill it with ice to place the packaged placenta on the ice. As long as it is kept cool and not allowed to spoil it will be fine until you can take it home and get it into the refrigerator. Placentas can be kept on ice/refrigerated for a few days before encapsulation if necessary without any spoilage, but the sooner it can be prepared for encapsulation the better.
The packaged placenta should be stored in a cooler with ice or refrigerator until pick up.
For Birthing Center Births:
Some birthing centres have fridges in the room, otherwise follow the procedure above.
For Home Births:
Please double bag the placenta in two zip lock bags. Within the first hour or so after the birth (up to four hours at most) be sure that the placenta is either placed on ice or placed in your refrigerator.
Will the hospital release my placenta to me?
Every hospital and birthing centre have different rules, please ensure you find out what paper work your facility would like prior to your birth.
Most hospitals will require a release of liability waiver to be signed, but do not be surprised if a particular hospital does not require any special paperwork to release a placenta. Often it depends on who is on staff during your birthing time whether or not a form is required.
You should tell your doctor or midwife ahead of time that you plan to take your placenta home and write it in your birth plan. This way if there is an issue, you can deal with it before you are in labour.
You do not need to share with your medical staff what you intend to do with the placenta, just that you would like to have it after your baby is born & that it is not to be treated with any chemicals.
What if I am induced/have a medicated birth/have a cesarean section? Can I still encapsulate my placenta?
Yes, yes, and yes. Your particular birth choices/outcomes do not affect whether or not your placenta can or cannot be encapsulated.
What if I am opting for delayed cord clamping? Can I still encapsulate my placenta?
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 option for tissue banking? Can I still encapsulate my placenta?
If only the cord &/or part of the placenta is being banked then yes. If the entire placenta is being banked, then no..
What if my placenta has calcification, or the doctor says it is “old”?
Calcification, in any amount, is a variation of normal and does not make the placenta unfit for encapsulation.
What is the ideal time frame for encapsulation?
When possible the encapsulation process should begin within 24 hours of the birth. The placenta should be stored in a cooler with ice or in the refrigerator until it is collected.
If it is not possible to start the process within the first few days following birth, the placenta should be frozen. Double-bag the placenta in gallon-sized zip lock freezer bags. The placenta must be completely thawed before encapsulation, which will take at least 24-48 hours in the refrigerator. Please contact me regarding best storage options for your time frame.
Placentas should not be frozen, thawed, and then refrozen.
Where do you pick up?
We pick up from the hospital or birthing centre on Johannesburg or Pretoria, due to security issues we do not collect after 11pm at night.
How soon after I text you will you pick up?
We always try to pick up sooner then later, but have to schedule pick ups according to my current client load and family obligations at the time of your birth. We usually am able to pick up the same day contacted, but in some cases it has to be the second day after being contacted. Once we receive your text that you have birthed we will work with you to schedule a pick up time and let you know. Please also text us as soon as you go into labour so that we an ensure all our equipment is ready.
How/when will I receive the finished capsules?
Finished capsules are usually delivered back to you with in 2 – 3 days. We keep in contact with you during the encapsulation process to update you as to how the process is going.
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.
How do I know I will not receive someone else’s placenta?
Only one placenta is ever prepared at a time, so there is never a chance of an accidental switch or any cross contamination of any kind. All of my materials used are either disposable or thoroughly sanitized and disinfected according to federal and state standards.
What type of supplies are used and how are they sterilized?
The supplies used during the placenta encapsulation process are all stainless steel, food grade plastic, or disposable. Everything is thoroughly washed with soap and hot water , sanitized in bleach solution, and all stainless steal tools are heat sanitized in addition to the bleach treatment. We follow the same guidelines for cleanliness and sanitation that are used in food service establishments and small laboratories. We prepare in a dedicated work space separate from my home kitchen/living environment.
How many capsules will I receive?
Every placenta is different, but the average results in approximately 130 – 200 capsules.
How should I take my placenta capsules?
You will receive a detailed recommended dosage card along with your finished placenta capsules for you to keep and refer back to.
How long should I take my placenta capsules for?
I recommend that a mother takes her capsules for the first few weeks postpartum at least, but it is best to continue taking them until they are gone. Some moms do set a few aside for future transitions that they feel they would benefit from taking their capsules during, such as returning to work, future moves, travel away from baby, start of preschool/kindergarten, major illness, etc.
When should I not take my placenta capsules?
If you develop an infection such as mastitis, flu, or a common cold with fever it is recommended that you discontinue use until the illness/infection clears. Once symptoms subside you can start taking your placenta capsules again.
How should I store my placenta capsules?
After the encapsulation process is completed placenta capsules will be placed in a sealed jar and should be kept dry. They may be stored with your supplements that you take daily. For long term storage they should be kept in the freezer.
Which method of encapsulation do you use?
We use the Raw Method and TMC Method.
What is the difference between the RAW method and the TMC method?
Raw Foods Method
The Basics: the placenta is sliced & dehydrated until fully dry then powdered.
Pill Yield: 3.76 size 0 capsules per 10g of raw placenta, 169 capsules from a 450g placenta (average size)
This preparation is based on the Raw Foods eating methodology. Raw Foodism teaches that food is the most nutritious if it is not heated above 47 degrees Celsius. With the lack of heat, bacteria may not be destroyed during preparation but raw foodists believe that this is beneficial as it helps populate the gut with beneficial flora. They also honor the traditions of several cultures that sun-dry their meat to preserve it instead of cooking it.
- Since the placenta is not steamed, the pill yield is quite a bit higher. You will get more pills out of the same size placenta.
- Less nutrients are lost in the process.
- The placenta is not cooked even though it is fully desiccated. Although we don’t have reports of food borne illness from Raw Foods method prepared placenta capsules, it’s possible the risk for food borne illness is increased.
TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) Method
The Basics: the placenta is steamed and then dehydrated (temp varies) until fully dry then powdered
Pill Yield: 2.88 size 0 capsules per 10g of raw placenta, 130 capsules from a 450g placenta (average size)
Since the 1500’s placenta has been used in Chinese Medicine although it was not originally used for postpartum healing. There are many variations in TCM preparation for the placenta but the primary characteristic that separates it from other methods is that the placenta is steamed before being dehydrated.
Depending on the protocol, the placenta may be steamed with foods (lemon, jalapeno, red pepper, chilis) or herbs/spices (ginger, frankincense, myrrh, lemongrass, garlic, tumeric, white peony root) but these are not added to the finished pills. True TCM preparation requires the consultation of a TCM practitioner who can evaluate the mother’s unique needs and prescribe the exact preparation for her. Without a consultation, this preparation method is considered a westernized interpretation of TCM. In fact the lemon/ginger/jalapeno combination was first introduced in 1984 by an American midwife, Raven Lang.
- Steaming is more likely to kill any surface bacteria on the placenta.
- Some believe that cooking makes the iron more bioavailable. We don’t know if this applies to human iron however as most studies have been done on plant and animal sources of iron.
- The additional heating of the placenta is in alignment with TCM principles of increasing warming, yang energy to balance cold, yin energy that is more prevalent postpartum.
- The placenta loses approximately 35% of it’s mass during steaming (most of which is blood). This yields less pills.
- Even if the herbs or foods aren’t dehydrated and powdered into the final pills they may have come in contact with the placenta during the process. This could cause an allergic reaction in food sensitive women.
Are there any reasons why I could not have my placenta encapsulated?
You cannot encapsulate your placenta if you have any blood related diseases, have had a bacterial infection during your pregnancy or if the placenta has been left out to long or if you have a fever or are ill during your pregnancy.
What other information do you need?
I require a copy of your pregnancy blood work and also a Group Strep B test if you plan to have natural birth.
What areas do you cover?
We now cover most of South Africa, however if you are outside of Pretoria or Johannesburg there will be an extra courier collection cost, please contact us for a quote.
What is the cost of encapsulation?
Cost of the encapsulation is from R2000. There maybe an additional fuel charge depending on your location.