FAQ

Here is a list of common questions regarding pre-encapsulation, the process itself and aftercare. If you require clarity or have any other questions, please contact me.

Pre-Encapsulation:

Are there any contraindications to encapsulation?
What is the ideal timeline for encapsulation?
What do I do if I birth my baby and placenta before or after you are on call for me?
What if my placenta is deemed unsuitable for consumption by my care provider?

The Encapsulation Process:

How do you encapsulate the placenta?
What is the difference between the Traditional Chinese Medicine and the raw preparations?
What are the risks of contamination from other placentas/bloodborne/foodborne pathogens?
What sort of capsules do you use?

After Care:

How do I store my placenta capsules?
Is there any time when placenta capsules should be avoided?
I still have some placenta capsules. Are there other uses for them?
I’ve run out of capsules, what do I do now?


 

Pre-Encapsulation

Are there any contraindications I should be aware of when considering ingesting my placenta?

There are very few medical condition contraindications for ingesting placenta, most of the contraindications have to do with keeping the placenta preserved and safe for consumption after it has been birthed. If you have any reason to believe that your placenta may not be suitable for consumption, please don’t hesitate to bring it up during our consultation.

  • Uterine Infection or chorioamnionitis  Women with confirmed uterine infections or chorioamnionitis should not encapsulate the placenta. Be aware that running a fever during the birth does not mean that you have a uterine infection. If there is a possibility of infection, have your care provider give a piece of the placenta to the lab for testing, instead of the entire placenta, if possible. Have the placenta refrigerated (and frozen if necessary) until tests are conclusive.
  • Pathology  If the entire placenta has gone to pathology for testing in the hospital it is no longer safe to encapsulate because there is no way of knowing what chemicals or other substances it might have come into contact with.
  • Not refrigerated  Placentas that have been left at room temperature beyond 3 hours.
  • Not frozen  Placentas that have been refrigerated beyond 3 days without being transferred to the freezer.
  • Smoking and heavy metals  Research is being done on the effects of smoking during pregnancy on the placenta. Until this is completed, we recommend avoiding the consumption of placenta, as heavy metal toxins, found in cigarette smoke, have been found to remain trapped in placental tissue. The overall buildup of these heavy metals may increase to the point that would make it unsafe to consume by the time the baby is born.
  • Sometimes thyroid conditions  While  it has not been scientifically proven, there is anecdotal evidence that, in some women, placenta capsules may interfere with thyroid medication.  Always check in with your care provider if you are taking thyroid medication or have a diagnosed thyroid condition.  Return to top.

how does this thing work?

I am on-call for you for a week prior to and a week after your due date.  You or someone you have appointed will call or text me to give me a head’s up when you go into labour.  When your placenta is ready for pick-up, you or someone you have appointed will call or text me to let me know.Return to top.

what do i need if i’m giving birth at the hospital?

If you are giving birth at the hospital, you will need to bring a small cooler(hard plastic, not a cooler bag) and 4 medium sized zip lock bags with you.  Place the placenta in two of the zip lock bags on ice in the cooler as soon as possible after birth.  The hospital will have ice and can use the other two zip lock bags if necessary.Return to top.

What is the ideal timeline for encapsulation?

While encapsulation may take place any time after the birth (with proper care to ensure the placenta remains suitable for consumption), the medicinal properties of the placenta will decrease over time. Ideally, the placenta should be prepared 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. If the placenta will be encapsulated between 3 and 48 hours after the birth, place the placenta in a seal-able, food grade, plastic bag and lay the placenta flat in the fridge at 4ºC or below. If it cannot be encapsulated until after 48 hours, place the placenta in a second bag, being sure to expel as much air as possible from around the placenta, and lay flat in the deep freeze at 0ºC or below (or the back of your fridge freezer, which is not ideal for long term storage). The placenta can be encapsulated up to six months after the birth provided that it has been properly cared for.

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What do I do if I birth my baby and placenta before or after you are on call for me?

Follow the same steps – call or text me when you go into labour, and when the placenta is birthed. It is likely that I will be available to receive the placenta within 12-24 hours, and if not I will give you instructions for how to care for your placenta until I am available. If I am unavailable due to circumstances beyond my control, I will put you in touch with another encapsulation specialist. Return to top.

What if my placenta is deemed unsuitable for consumption by my care provider?

This is rare, but it does happen. If your placenta is not suitable, or it is accidentally destroyed or misplaced, I will render our contract null and void, releasing you from my fees and the contract.  You might consider burying your placenta and planting a tree or shrub over it in honour of its service to you and your babe.  You also might consider sheep placenta capsules as a last resort. Return to top.


 

The Encapsulation Process

How do you encapsulate the placenta?

I use the Traditional Chinese Medicine-inspired method of placenta preparation and encapsulation. Upon receiving your placenta, I will make a print, photograph the placenta and then let the blood. I then steam it with ginger, dehydrate, grind and encapsulate it. You are welcome to be present for the preparation, processing and encapsulation if you wish. Return to top.

What is the difference between placenta prepared according to Traditional Chinese Medicine principles and placenta that has been prepared raw?

According to the Traditional Chinese Medicine Materia Medica, cooked foods affect qi (universal energy that is inherent in all of us) differently than raw foods. In order to have the toning, or warming properties we want, the placenta must be cooked first. Tonifiers draw the qi up through the body, starting at the feet and out through the top of the head. Raw foods have a cooling effect on the qi, pulling it down through the body from the head toward the feet. So, in the case of placenta (Zî hé che), it augments the qi and nourishes the blood for emaciation, pallor, and/or insufficient lactation due to exhaustion of qi and blood, especially in the aftermath of a major illness or stressful experience. In addition, it tones the liver and kidneys and augments the essence for infertility, decreased libido, low back pain and light-headedness from insufficient kidney qi and debility of the essence and blood. Return to top.

How do you mitigate the risks of contamination from other placentas? Bloodborne and foodborne pathogens?

Most importantly, I only process one placenta at a time. I hold certifications in FoodSafe Level I and Bloodborne Pathogens Control consistent with OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens Standard 29 CFR 1910.1030. Before and after each placenta comes into my home, I meticulously sterilize all equipment and workspaces to protect you as well as my family from any cross-contamination. Please ask if you’d like more details on my practices. Return to top.

What sort of capsules do you use?

I use size 00 capsules (to keep within the ingestion guidelines). I can do the encapsulation using veggie or gelatin capsules, as you prefer, but my preference is to use the veggie capsules as there is less risk of dietary sensitivity with clients. Return to top.


 

After Care

How do I store my placenta capsules?

Placenta capsules will last 1-2 years with proper care and handling. For the first 6 weeks after receiving your capsules, keep them in a dry, dark and cool place like a medicine cabinet or drawer that does not experience large temperature swings.  I include a desiccant pack in each jar of capsules as added protection against moisture formation. If you have capsules left after 6 weeks, transfer them to a zip lock bag and place them in the freezer. Return to top.

Is there any time when placenta capsules should be avoided?

As placenta is a toning/warming medicine that brings heat into the body, it is recommended that you stop taking the capsules during times of infection, for example if you are presenting symptoms of common cold, flu, mastitis and at any time when running a fever, as the toning effects of the medicine can actually push the infection deeper into your system, making it harder to recover. Only after the infection has completely cleared should you resume taking capsules, at a slightly higher does than when you stopped. Return to top.

I still have some placenta capsules. Are there other uses for them?

At the very least, placenta is a good medicine if you intuitively feel that your energy levels have dropped, or that you are having difficulties maintaining your milk production. Also:

  • Resume taking the capsules after you return to work if you plan to do so, to help with fatigue and lactation issues that may arise from pumping.
  • Dried placenta can be used topically, it is wonderful for treating eczema – open a capsule and mix the placenta into a small amount of pure natural oil then apply to skin. Return to top