Placenta Encapsulation – FAQ

The Capsules

Placenta encapsulation is the process where your placenta is steamed and/or completely dehydrated, then ground down to a fine powder that is then placed into clear, easy to take capsules.

The total yield of capsules often depends on the size of the baby, and the size of the placenta. Both are usually relative to each other. The choice of encapsulation method (see table below) will also effect the total yield. 

For example, a 3.3 kg baby with a relative sized placenta will result in approximately 90 – 120 capsules using the TCM method, or approximately 120 – 160 capsules using the Raw Prep Method. 

From experience, the total capsule yield has ranged from 60 to 260 capsules! Most women will receive enough capsules to last between 4 – 8 weeks postpartum, and perhaps to store away for future use.

placenta encapsulation methods differences between TCM and raw prep methods

The preference is close to 50/50 for each method. Most women that choose the TCM based method state they do so because of the history of the method and they feel more confident with bacterial control* due to the steaming heat.

From her research Raeben Nolan has said that she has found that, “Cooking makes a lot more nutrients available to the digestive tract that would otherwise pass through the system unabsorbed, and this is especially true for meat.” (Nolan, 2010 and Ellgen, 2010)

Women who choose the Raw Prep Method state they are after a higher capsule yield and increased retention of compounds – as it is thought that steaming can result in a greater loss of these.

It is also felt that Raw Prep is the more ‘potent’ of the two methods and so women will need less capsules or the same effects. This lower usage make the capsules yield last longer.

* Both methods address any bacterial concerns. No adverse effects have been reported by either method and positive feedback is received from both methods.

Because of the careful preservation process, the capsules can be kept for many months when stored correctly. After the initial postnatal period, any leftover capsules can be put in the freezer and used for any hormonal or stressful time, for up to the first year after the baby’s birth. Such times may include the return of a woman’s menstrual cycle, milk supply concerns, returning to work.

You will receive full instructions regarding dosage with your capsules. Because every woman – and her postpartum period – is different, I find women are the best judge for what dose suits and benefits them. The dosage instructions given are generalised, so women often regulate the dose and frequency according to how they feel and how they respond to the capsules. Different women have different needs and we will discuss what will be best for you. I suggest taking the capsules at meal times.

You will receive a suggested usage guide with your capsules. As this is not technically a medicine or a therapy, providers cannot prescribe a dosage. You will receive all the relevant information you need along with your capsules. Plus, I am always available to discuss your needs, or changing needs throughout your postpartum.

The capsules used are the gelatine-free, vegetarian variety and they are tasteless. They are non-GMO certified. 

The size used is ’00’. They look close to any other vitamin/herbal capsule that you may normally take. The consistency is often a mixture of coarse and fine powder. 

I only use clear capsules. From a safety perspective it’s important to be able to see the contents of the placenta capsules and any changes they may undergo over time.

No. There are no binders, fillers or preservatives added into the capsules. The content is 100% your placenta. 

Each woman’s experience is different, yet there are common benefits noted. You can read some women’s experience here.

You are 100% guaranteed to receive your own placenta capsules. I have various measures in place to always ensure this.

I limit the number of bookings I take per month, so I typically only have one placenta in my possession at a time. If by chance I have more than one, they are always stored separately and I only ever work with one placenta at a time. I also have numerous full sets of equipment to ensure each placenta has its own designated equipment from start to finish.

The Placenta Kit also ensures all placentas are ID labelled when I receive them and remain so until completion. 

Storing your placenta capsules adequately as instructed and avoiding taking them during any time of active infection (as per the TCM principles) will reduce your chances of experiencing any side-effects.

Very rarely have any side-effects been reported directly to myself from over the 8+ years I’ve been providing this service. This includes the women who also complete the feedback form at the 6 weeks postnatal follow up.

A few new mothers reported mild headaches and suspected it was the capsules. This was easily remedied by reducing their dosage. Another woman found she also had to avoid taking her capsules in the afternoon as they gave her so much energy she found it hard to fall asleep! 

There is a misconception that the placenta hormones in the capsules can mimic a situation of ‘retained placenta’, affecting the breastmilk coming in and/or the overall supply. However, a placenta that is dehydrated and encapsulated to be ingested orally, is a completely different scenario.

The majority of women notice a positive impact on their milk supply, whilst the minority notice no distinct change (compared to a previous experience). I have never had any reports of placenta capsules negatively affecting milk supply in over 8 years.

According to the TCM principles of using placenta, it is recommended that the capsules are not taken if the mother is experiencing symptoms of an infection, fever, cold/flu, including mastitis.

This is due to the energetics of the placenta being ‘warming and ascending’. It is viewed that adding this energy onto an already ‘warm’ condition is thought to worsen the symptoms and delay the rebalancing of homeostasis. 

There is some thought that placenta capsules may help with hormonal balancing around menopause. However I encourage women to use all, or the majority of their placenta capsules for support throughout their initial postnatal period and/or up to the first 2 months. One would expect some degradation of hormones and potency after years of storage.

Using the placenta during the postpartum period is primarily to help a woman’s recovery from the pregnancy, birthing and also ease her transition into motherhood. As the placenta capsules are composed of hormones, some of which help the uterus contract back to its pre-pregnant size; often resulting in a shorter post-birth bleeding period for women. Considering this potential uterine action, its therefore advised that women NOT taken placenta capsules whilst pregnant.

Glass bottles were originally used back in 2012, until a couple of clients unfortunately dropped them and had their capsules smothered in shattered glass.  The weight of the glass also tipped the scales resulting in higher postage costs.

The current plastic containers have been used for placenta capsules since 2013. They are BPA (Bisphenol) free and are classified as a #2 recyclable plastic ie. HDPE (high-density polyethylene). 

This #2 plastic is ‘one of the 3 plastics that are considered to be safe and has a lower risk of leaching than other numbers‘.  Even more so when no heat is applied to the plastic. 

If you’d prefer, you can always transfer your placenta capsules into a glass jar with a lid after you receive them. 

Around the world over the past 20-30 years a few adaptations of the TCM (based) method have appeared. Some of which include the addition of particular ingredients. This can be to either the steaming water below the placenta or placed onto the placenta itself whilst it is steamed.

These ingredients are typically classified as ‘warming and tonifying’ and often include fresh ginger, lemon, chilli and/or myrrh.

Within my own practice, I do not use any other ingredients whilst prepping a placenta. I am conscious of potential food sensitivities and prefer to keep things simple throughout the process.

I also do not use – and would never use – essentials oils in steaming water below a placenta. There is absolutely no evidence to support the application, safety or efficacy of this practise.

Safety & Sanitation

One of the most, if not THE most critical parts of this work is safety. Safety for myself, for you and the next client. Working with a blood product requires ID procedures, cross checking and the rigorous sanitation standards upheld to ensure universal protection at every step of the process.

Your placenta is only ever picked up – and processed – by myself. I don’t have additional ‘staff’ working for me that may process your placenta without the necessary training and qualifications.

I am proud to provide an insured, ethical, professional and trusted service amongst an unregulated industry.

As part of my initial training in 2012, I completed the OHS Bloodborne Pathogens training (CFR1910.1030), and also attained my National Food Safety Practices Certificate (HLTFS207B). In February 2014, I also completed the Bloodborne Pathogens Training for Doulas and Placenta Encapsulators with Biologix Solutions. I keep all my certifications up to date (March 2016, September 2017, 2018 and 2019) with the APPA Bloodborne Pathogens Prevention Course (CFR 1910.1030).

All placenta preparation methods involve personal protection equipment (PPE), hospital grade chemical sanitising of workspaces, tools and equipment. All sanitation procedures adhere to the Australian Government Department of Health Infection Control Guidelines.

If the placenta was poorly handled and/or not stored appropriately after the birth; if the placenta was sent to pathology for testing; if a systemic infection is suspected in mother or baby; if chorioamnionitis (also known as intra-amniotic infection, an inflammation of the fetal membranes due to a bacterial infection), is suspected.

It is understood that the placenta acts as a gateway; an interface between mother and baby. The placenta is a facilitator organ designed to transfer oxygen and nutrients to the baby, therefore it is nutrient rich. It functions similarly to lungs as an exchange/transfer organ and is not a toxic filter, like the liver or kidneys.

The metabolic toxins from the baby are sent back via the placenta to the mother’s liver to be detoxified from her system. The placenta does prevent some toxins from passing through to the baby but they are not stored in the placenta.

Group B Strep (GBS) is not an infection. It is one of the normal inhabitant bacterias of vaginal and anal areas. It is detected in 25% of all pregnancies.

Testing positive for GBS in late pregnancy simply means the GBS bacteria are present at the time of testing. It does not mean you, your placenta or your baby has an infection. Throughout a normal pregnancy, the GBS bacteria can come and go at any time without symptoms.

With no preventative measures in labour (typically IV antibiotics) the newborn has a 5% (1 in 200) chance of becoming infected with the GBS disease when GBS is detected in late pregnancy. When a positive GBS test is treated with preventative antibiotics in labour the incidence of GBS infection decreases to 0.025% (1 in 4000).

Some women choose to have this active treatment in labour, some don’t; often to avoid the side effects of the antibiotics on mother and baby’s healthy bacterial flora.

Regardless of the management plan, the placenta can still be encapsulated as the high heat of steaming and/or dehydrating kills any remnant bacteria.

However, if there are signs or symptoms of a GBS newborn/maternal infection during the labour and/or within the first 48 hours of the birth, it is NOT possible to proceed with placenta encapsulation. Testing positive for GBS and developing a GBS infection are two different scenarios.

On the 30th June 2017, the Centres for Disease Control and Infection (CDC) in America published a report associating the consumption of placenta capsules by a mother with the late onset of Group B Streptococcus (GBS) infection in her infant (1).

Since then there has been numerous news reports, articles, discussions within the birth and parenting worlds on social media and speculation by many. But what do we actually know about this case and about the process of placenta encapsulation? Please read this article by Placenta Services Australia, and this article by Association of Placenta Preparation Arts (APPA).

Around the world over the past 20-30 years a few adaptations of the TCM (based) method have appeared. Some of which include the addition of particular ingredients. This can be to either the steaming water below the placenta or placed onto the placenta itself whilst it is steamed.

These ingredients are typically classified as ‘warming and tonifying’ and often include fresh ginger, lemon, chilli and/or myrrh.

Within my own practice, I do not use any other ingredients whilst prepping a placenta. I am conscious of potential food sensitivities and prefer to keep things simple throughout the process.

I also do not use – and would never use – essentials oils in steaming water below a placenta. There is absolutely no evidence to support the application, safety or efficacy of this practise.

Logistics

I service most private and public hospitals in Perth. Depending on the hospital’s location and your choice of service there may be an additional travel fee.

For the following hospitals (Zone 1) there is no additional travel fee; King Edward Memorial Hospital/Family Birth Centre, Fiona Stanley Hospital, Bentley Hospital, SJOG Subiaco, SJOG Mt.Lawley and SJOG Murdoch.

For these hospitals (Zone 2) there is an additional travel fee applied; Armadale, Osborne Park, Rockingham, Glengarry, Swan District Hospital – $50 additional travel fee per collection and/or delivery of the capsules.

For Joondalup Public and Private Hospitals (Zone 3) there is an additional travel fee of $100 per collection and/or delivery of the capsules.

Of course, any additional travel fees can be avoided by choosing Option 1, having the placenta brought to me in the Fremantle area.

Every booking receives a Placenta Kit. This is posted to you around 36 weeks after your booking is confirmed. It contains the BodyWise BirthWise cooler bag, your ID labelled storage bags, easy to follow instructions, placenta care checklist and collection/delivery details.

All instructions regarding the safe handling and storage of the placenta comes with the Placenta Kit.

You will receive all the relevant information within the Placenta Kit at 36 weeks when your booking is confirmed.

There are 3 options to choose from. With all options, you will receive the Placenta Kit with relevant information and instructions regarding the collection or delivery of the placenta.

This includes how to discuss it with your caregivers, what needs to be done regarding the handling and storage immediately after the birth, and the paperwork the hospital may ask you to sign. The process is very straight forward and I have not known any women who have come across resistance from their caregivers. 

If your placenta is being collected (Option 2 & 3) it is done so with adherence to food safety refrigeration and transportation protocols at all times.

Most babies come 2 weeks either side of their ‘due dates’ so this is factored into my schedule. 

With Option 2 and Option 3, the collection of the placenta typically occurs during business hours only. Different hospitals have different policies with regard to storing the placenta in the fridge on your behalf whilst awaiting collection. You will need to ask your care providers what their policy is. Most are happy to do it.

More information about this and any logistics you’ll need to consider will be included in the Placenta Kit that you’ll receive around 36 weeks once your booking is confirmed.

There is no difference in the collection or delivery arrangements if you birth during the week or over the weekend. This may only be of concern if you have chosen the ‘return by post’ options and your capsules are completed over the weekend, as I will need to wait till Monday to post them to you.

If this occurs and you would prefer not to wait for your capsules, you can arrange to collect them from me personally. I am located in the Fremantle area.

Either Option 1 or Option 2 would be the best choice if you are wanting ro receive your capsules ASAP.

Your capsules are typically finished within 24-36 hours of receiving the placenta and if you have selected postage return, this is done also within this time frame.

If for some unforeseen circumstances I am not able to collect your placenta, or complete your encapsulation within a suitable time frame, I will enlist the services of one of my trusted backup providers. This would be the case if I was at a birth (as a doula), unwell or away unexpectedly. 

I only use fully trained, certified and experienced Placenta Encapsulation Specialists, and those that I know personally. These women are also doulas, so are very sensitive to the needs and circumstances surrounding the new mother. If this situation arises, I will advise you as soon as possible and contact my backup provider who will then get in touch with you.

About 80% of women choose to have their placenta capsules Express posted to them (Option 1 & Option 2). These parcels also require a signature on delivery and therefore are trackable from the posting, to being in transit and then the delivery. If no one is available to sign for the parcel, a card is left and the parcel returned to the receiver’s local post office for collection at a later time.

I have never had a parcel go missing in over 8 years.

Certifications & Experience

I completed my initial placenta encapsulation training in 2012 with Placenta Benefits Inc (PBi) and have since held current OHS Bloodborne Pathogens Prevention and National Food Safety Practices Certificates.

In September 2016 I graduated as a Placenta Arts Specialist with the Association of Placenta Preparation Arts (APPA), consolidating and furthering my certification in safety, sanitation and placenta applications. Every 2 years I need to apply to re-certify with APPA. I’m currently certified until late 2020.

I am proud to provide an insured, ethical and trusted service amongst an unregulated industry.

I have provided this service consistently since April 2012. Since this time I have encapsulated close to 1000 placentas for women around Perth. I have a strong referral network from midwives, obstetricians and doulas and a consistent repeat client base; women returning for the service with subsequent babies.

I proudly hold Mentor Membership with Placenta Services Australia (PSA) and I am the WA State Representative for the organisation.

As a dual-certified Placenta Encapsulation Specialist (PBi, APPA) I adhere to the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice put forward by APPA.

As a member of Placenta Services Australia, I also abide by the PSA Code of Constitution and Code of Conduct.

I have proudly encapsulated close to 1000 placentas, with many women now returning to book the service again for their subsequent pregnancies!

Can I encapsulate my placenta ...

Group B Strep is one of the normal inhabitant bacterias of vaginal and anal areas. Higher levels of growth present on swabs done around 36 weeks alert caregivers to the potential for this to become a problem in labour. Some women choose to have the IV antibiotics, and some don’t. Either way, the placenta can still be encapsulated as the high heat of steaming and/or dehydrating kills any remnant bacteria.

On the 30th June 2017, the Centres for Disease Control and Infection (CDC) in America published a report associating the consumption of placenta capsules by a mother with the late onset of Group B Streptococcus (GBS) infection in her infant (1). Since then there has been numerous news reports, articles, discussions within the birth and parenting worlds on social media and speculation by many. But what do we actually know about this case and about the process of placenta encapsulation? Please read this article by Placenta Services Australia, and this article by Association of Placenta Preparation Arts (APPA).

Generally speaking, medications taken during pregnancy and whilst breastfeeding are deemed safe with encapsulation. However I always suggest you discuss this with your care provider.

I have provided this service – without any ill effects – to women on medications such as thyroxine, anti-depressants, aspirin, steroids, antibiotics and metformin.

Yes. Calcification is a normal maturation process of the placenta. More than 50% of placentas develop some calcification at full term. Small areas of calcification within the placenta often disintegrate during the drying process so are of no concern. Larger deposits are removed prior to the process as they offer no benefit, nor harm to the new mother.

Yes. This has no effect on the ability to encapsulate the placenta.

There is concern that the heavy metals found in cigarette smoke (eg. lead, cadmium) is stored in the placenta and therefore would be consumed in the capsules.

According to APPA*, “the consensus amongst medical professionals is that the benefits of an infant consuming breast milk in this situation greatly outweighs any risks that these heavy metals may, or may not have on the developing infant.” 

These heavy metals are a part of our environment, foods, and have become something that our bodies contain. It is suggested that the benefits of placenta consumption outweigh any minimal risks to the mother. I always leave the decision up to the mother after providing this information.

https://placentaassociation.com/uncovering-the-truth-about-bacteria-and-heavy-metals-in-the-placenta

It is understood that the placenta acts as a gateway, an interface between mother and baby. Metabolic toxins from the baby are sent back via the placenta to the mother’s liver to be detoxified from her system. This includes drugs or medications; some of which have a very short half-life in the body. A half-life is the time it takes for the plasma concentration of a drug to reach half of its original concentration. In other words, the half-life of a drug is how long it takes for half of it to be eliminated from the bloodstream. 

I have encapsulated placentas from women who have had inductions, epidurals, spinals, pethidine, syntocinon in labour, and/or for the third stage of labour, elective and emergency caesareans. These women also benefit like those who have had natural, drug-free births.

Typically, caregivers prefer a woman to leave the birth pool before the placenta is birthed. However, if the placenta comes sooner than this and is birthed in the water, it can still be encapsulated. Rarely, and it often depends on the condition of the water the placenta is birthed into, that the Raw Prep method may not be suitable and the TCM based method is preferred in this situation.

Yes, you can do both. You will need to advise the collection agency of your intentions to keep the placenta for encapsulation, and therefore to have it handled as a food product at the time of cord blood collection.

Yes, you can proceed. 15-20% of term babies and 30-40% of post-term babies will have passed meconium in utero. Meconium is dangerous for the baby to inhale, but is otherwise harmless. Additionally, your placenta is thoroughly washed and the membranes removed before the encapsulation process is begun. The high heat of steaming and/or dehydrating kills any remnant bacteria.

Either is fine, although I highly recommended delayed cord clamping/cutting because of the benefits to your baby. Waiting at least 2 minutes or until the cord has stopped pulsing can ensure baby receives the 30% of its blood that is still circulating through the placenta and cord (outside of its body). This volume of blood belongs to the baby and is rich with all the oxygen, iron, red and white blood cells and stem cells your baby needs for the very best transition from the womb, and an optimal start to life.

It is unlikely that the placenta will still be suitable as the preserving chemicals used on the placenta are not safe for ingestion. It is also not likely to be kept sterile and/or treated as a food product. 

Although the placenta does seem to play a role in the development of pre-eclampsia, it does not exclude using it for encapsulation. After the birth your placenta will be examined routinely for irregularities and problems yet more often than not, the placenta is fine and still fit for encapsulation. If your caregivers detect an issue or infection in the placenta, it will be sent to pathology and therefore deemed unfit for encapsulation.

Yes. Whether diet-controlled or insulin-controlled, this does not affect the ability to encapsulate the placenta.

Depending on the level of prematurity, the placenta may still be used. Smaller babies typically have smaller placentas, so the amount of capsules will be less than that of an average full term baby. If the hospital does not send the placenta to pathology, encapsulation is recommended! Mums of premature babies often need a little extra support for their breastmilk to come in and balancing their postpartum mood. Even if your doctor wants to culture the placenta, you can often negotiate to have just a piece of the placenta taken to pathology so you can encapsulate the rest.

Yes. As the process is likely to take more time and supplies (and yield more capsules) there is an additional fee of $30 – $50* for twin placentas and $50 – $70* for triplet placentas.  This depends on your preference with preparation:

* $30 for twins or $50 for triplet placentas to be combined during the drying, encapsulating and bottling process.

* $50 for twins or $70 for triplet placentas, to be kept separate throughout. You will receive individual capsule containers for each baby.

If the placenta was handling correctly, refrigerated soon after the birth, then correctly frozen (double bagged and protected from freezer burn), it can be encapsulated up to six months after the birth. A placenta that has been frozen, thawed and then refrozen, cannot then be thawed for encapsulation.

Bookings & Payments

As I limit the number of bookings I take per month, please book your place early to ensure I have availability around your due date. Some women book as early as 8-12 weeks. I take a first in, first served policy with bookings.

Payment is required upfront before 36 weeks at the latest (see below regarding instalments). This ensures your place within my schedule and also avoids you having to remember to have the funds with you at the hospital or home, or to arrange payment after the capsules are returned. When it’s all taken care of upfront, it’s less stress for everyone!

Your Placenta Kit is also sent out to you at 36 weeks.

You may pay by instalments if you wish. An initial deposit of $50 is required to reserve your EDD within my schedule. Any outstanding balance can be paid at any time up to/before 36 weeks at the latest. Your EDD cannot be confirmed within my schedule until full payment has been received.

Yes. The month your baby is due is fine. You’ll just need to let me know the date and time once you find out yourself. 

I do not discount for small placentas, nor charge more for the large placentas. All the equipment and often the time used in the processing, is the same for each booking.

Yes. There is a 10% discount on the placenta encapsulation fee for repeat clients. This will be adjusted on your invoice.

I do not price match. I am a professionally trained, dual-certified, insured, highly experienced and ethical placenta encapsulation service provider. Within a currently unregulated industry, I encourage women to choose wisely who they enlist to encapsulate their placenta.

Please enquire about my availability by contacting me here.

Yes, please get in touch via contact page ASAP.

Additional products

A placenta tincture is made from taking a very small portion (pea size) of the raw or steamed placenta (whichever is preferred) and placing it in a prepared solution of high grade alcohol for a minimum of 6 weeks.

After this time it is strained off to create the 100ml tincture, that is then posted out to you. Tinctures can be used once your placenta capsules are finished, in any time of emotional distress, transition, hormonal imbalance or illness. Stored in a cool, dark place the tincture will remain shelf-stable for many years. Tinctures are an additional $60.

The umbilical cord is removed from the placenta, shaped into a design (e.g heart, spiral, circle or baby’s first initial) and dried along with the placenta.

The ability to dry the cord into a keepsake shape will depend of the length that has been left uncut. You can always request your caregiver cuts the cord ‘long’; meaning leaving as much length to the placenta end of the cord as possible.

All results vary. Examples can often be seen on the BodyWise BirthWise Instagram account

Yes. Please let me know you would like this when you complete the booking stage. This will be wrapped and either frozen or refrigerated, and only applies to those who book Option 3.

Yes. Some wish to bury a piece of the placenta either into the ground or a very large pot, and then plant a fruit or flowering tree onto this. Within this private ceremony after the birth of their baby, new life is celebrated and honoured and ‘planting’ the placenta symbolises the ‘circle of life’. By choosing a fruit tree, it becomes a symbolic gesture that this placenta which once nourished and sustained the baby, can continue to nourish the soil to create fruit on the tree, that then nourishes the family.

Please let me know you would like this when you complete the booking stage. This will be wrapped and either frozen or refrigerated, and only applies to those who book Option 3.

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