Placenta Encapsulation: View from a Certified Placenta Encapsulation Specialist
Placenta encapsulation is when the placenta is prepared after birth for the mother to consume, usually in capsule form. It is not a fad and women have been doing it for hundreds of years before Kim K ever made it famous. With all these negative articles floating around it is about time us professionals get something out there to clarify a lot of the misleading information. This growing practice is showcasing the natural benefits the placenta has to offer to women and big pharma wants to discredit it. Well we are here to shed light on the real facts.
Over the years placenta encapsulation has become more and more common as something for mothers to consider as part of their birth plan to aid in post partum recovery. This ancient tradition is nothing new, but the knowledge of the benefits encapsulation offers is becoming more readily available. As a professional Certified Placenta Encapsulation Specialist (CPES) trained and certified with International Placenta and Post Partum Association (IPPA) I come across a lot of skewed information on this practice that are swayed and in some cases just flat out, not true. Lately there seems to be a surge of blogs trying to scare mothers out of doing placenta encapsulation, claiming that it is a myth or that it is actually unhealthy; both of which are false. This article is to show facts, numbers, and actual information on the process and benefits.
What exactly is placenta encapsulation?
The process consists of taking the placenta after birth and steaming or dehydrating it to the point that it is able to be turned into powdered form. From there the powder can be made into capsules, tinctures, salves, and other things for consumption. Mothers that choose to do this want to have their placenta aid them in the postpartum period.
Why would a mother want to consume her placenta?
There are a lot of benefits from a mother consuming her own placenta after birth. The number one factor that most moms are intrigued by is that it can help prevent and lessen the risk of postpartum depression. According to Suzanne Smith from Lakefront Psychology in Westlake Ohio, 1 in 7 women who give birth will end up with some type of post partum depression, up to 20% will have postpartum anxiety, and 40 % of those that get diagnosed ever received treatment! With how high the postpartum depression (PPD) rates are in the United States, who wouldn’t want all the help they can get after birth? Encapsulation can help replenish small iron deficiencies and help prevent postpartum anemia, increase energy, help with milk supply, stabilize hormones and lower the chances that a women would develop PPD due to postpartum imbalances. This is a huge help with how tiring a new mom can be after birth and in the early post partum period, especially if you are coupling that with other complications.
Placenta encapsulation is NOT cannibalism, so please stop claiming that!
Cannibalism is defined as when a human consumes the flesh (fat and muscle) of themselves or of another human that is deceased. The placenta is an organ not flesh and comes from a living mother’s body. If claims are being made that encapsulation is cannibalism, then what do we consider breast milk consumption? Mother’s directly nurse their milk made from body tissue to their babies and we in no way consider that cannibalism because obviously it is NOT.
Testing Positive for Group B Strep (GBS +) does NOT mean your baby will get sick!
If you test positive for Group B Strep (GBS) and want to encapsulate, guess what? YOU CAN! All GBS strands are killed off at a temperature of 160 F. You will not give your baby GBS if you encapsulate CORRECTLY. The key to this is that a trained placenta specialist is encapsulating for you with the proper protocol and knowledge. This means that raw prep is not recommended. If a placenta is handled properly and by a trained professional, there should not be any traces of it in the placenta to be able to go back through the mother and transfer to the baby. GBS should not prevent a mother from encapsulating, it should be something you let your placenta specialist know about.
The placenta is not a waste organ, but a facilitator organ, so stop calling it “medical waste”.
A pregnant mother’s blood supplies oxygen, nutrients, and food to the baby through the umbilical cord. The baby’s waste is absorbed into the cord and passed through the placenta into the mother’s blood which the mother then disposes of. This allows for constant renewing of the blood flowing between mother and baby and making for a clean transfer. You need fresh blood to grow a healthy baby. This is why it is contradictory when a hospital deems a placenta as “medical waste” and denies a mother her right to take home her placenta. We readily eat commercially farmed meats, which are not fresh when consumed and contain levels of bacteria which the FDA deems acceptable.
So if there are so many benefits, why are there so many articles saying “Don’t DO IT”?
As with anything we choose to put into our bodies (food, medicine, supplements) we have no guarantees that it is ideal for our physical make up. Consuming placenta capsules is not going to be the end all be all for every mom that partakes. Some moms will benefit from the milk production and still get post partum depression. Other moms, will have no milk effect but feel great and super energized. Every mom’s placenta will react differently with her own body because it is her own placenta. There are a lot of studies out there to try to prove one way or another the results of encapsulation and the truth is, there is no one real study that proves yay or nay.
So what’s the point?
The point is let the mother decide. It is ultimately the mother’s choice on what she plans to do with her body during her pregnancy and post partum period. Let her read the evidence, let her read the testimonies, let her see the real numbers from actual mothers who have encapsulated and benefited from it. Find an encapsulator that is trained and will be transparent with you about stopping your capsules if you have any side effects at all that are unwanted.
In a recent survey, done by Shawna McLaggan of Bay Area Placenta Services https://www.bayareaplacentaservices.com/ ,over 300 mothers who consumed their placentas were asked some questions and here are some of the results. I think they speak pretty loudly for themselves.
The top reasons why women encapsulate and their results:
To balance hormones -63% felt more balanced
To increase energy -66% felt an increase in energy
For faster healing -74% had a faster healing time than expected
To increase milk supply -33% had an increase -20% had over supply
66% of women who encapsulated their placenta said their provider was supportive of them wanting to encapsulate, which means they got the green light from their doctor, so providers are even aware of the great benefits of encapsulation.
78% of women who encapsulated their placenta used a professional for the process. This is very important because it shows how much value women put into the care of their placenta and the importance of hiring a trained professional.
62% said their mood felt more balanced while taking the capsules.
74% said they would encapsulate again and 81% said they would recommend encapsulation to someone they know. This shows how many women had positive results, so much they would not only do it again, but would even tell others about how great their experience was.
You can take the survey here:
You can view the results here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1XDYMnXduTb9vdFF3rOchJrcSC4RdO0EyHel9IpqINE0/viewanalytics