Placenta Encapsulation – FAQ

How many capsules will I get from my placenta? 

741254_759555380740479_701119552_oThe 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.

How long do the capsules last?

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.

What is the difference between the 2 methods of placenta encapsulation offered?

FINAL

How do I get my placenta to you? 

There are 3 options to choose from. With all options, you will receive the 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. 

When your placenta is collected, it is done so with adherence to food safety refrigeration and transportation protocols at all times. I

If I have been with you at your birth as your doula, I will take the placenta with me and begin the encapsulation process soon after.

How do I take the capsules?

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.

What certifications do you hold for this work?

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

What sanitation precautions are taken?

Safety is paramount with placenta preparation of any kind. The method I use consists of rigorous sanitation standards. The dedicated supplies and equipment used are all stainless steel, food grade plastic or disposable. All submersible supplies are washed thoroughly with soap and water, then sanitised in a bleach solution. Hospital grade antiviral and antibacterial solution is used on the non-submersible equipment.

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. This was updated in March 2016, and again in May 2017 with the APPA Bloodborne Pathogens Prevention Course (CFR 1910.1030).

How long have you been providing this service and how many encapsulations have you completed?

I have provided this service since April 2012. Since this time I have encapsulated over 600 placentas for women around Perth.  I have also had over 75 women return 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.

What can I hope to expect from taking my own placenta capsules? 

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

 

What hospitals do you service?

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, Attadale Private 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. I am in the Fremantle area.

How can I be assured I will receive capsules from my own placenta?

As I limit the number of bookings I take per month, I typically only have one placenta in my possession at a time. All placentas are ID labelled when I receive them. If by chance I have more than one, they are always stored separately and I will work with only one placenta at a time from start to finish before beginning the next. In between processing placentas, all strict sanitation procedures.  

Which is the best option if I’d like to receive my capsules in the shortest amount of time?

Option 1 or Option 2 is the best choice if you are wanting the quickest turnaround. Your capsules are typically finished within 24 – 36 of receiving the placenta and if you have selected postage return, this is done also within this time frame.

Can you encapsulate a placenta…

 ... if drugs were used in labour and/or a caesarean section occurred?

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.   

... from a waterbirth?

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, it may depend on the condition of the water the placenta is birthed into, that the ‘Raw Encapsulation’ (see above) method may not be suitable.

… from a lotus birth?

Yes, this is possible however there are a few logistics that need to be considered. You’ll find more information about this here.

… from either delayed or immediate cord clamping?

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. You can read more about this here

… if it is stained with meconium?

Yes. 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.

… if I tested positive for Group B Strep?

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).

... if it was sent to pathology for testing?

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. 

... and also do cord blood banking?

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.

 … if it has calcifications?

Yes. Small areas of calcification within the placenta often disintegrate during the drying process. Larger deposits are removed prior to the process. They offer no benefit to the new mother, and also cause no harm.

… if I developed pre-eclampsia in late pregnancy or during labour?

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.

… if I have placenta previa?

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

… if I have gestational diabetes?

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

… if I have smoked throughout my pregnancy?

Please contact me to discuss this.

… if it has been frozen?

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. If the placenta is frozen then the process will take a lot longer as time is needed for the placenta to completely thaw in the refrigerator. A placenta that has been frozen, thawed, and then refrozen, cannot then be thawed for encapsulation.

… if I gave birth many months ago and it is still in my freezer?

This is dependent on a few factors. If the placenta was frozen properly (ideally within the first 24 hours of the birth), shows no signs of frostbite, has been has been kept frozen constantly (i.e. not thawed and re-frozen), then you can have it encapsulated up to 6 months after the birth. Once the placenta is defrosted, it will be inspected for any signs of damage. If I feel it is unfit for encapsulation purposes, it will be returned and a refund will be arranged. 

 

... if my baby was premature or of low birth weight?

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.

… if I have twins or triplets? 

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.

When it is NOT possible to encapsulate a placenta?

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.

I have used your placenta encapsulation service before, do you offer a discount for repeat clients?

Yes. There is a 10% discount on the placenta encapsulation fee for repeat clients. This will be adjusted on your invoice. The only difference in the service is the Booklet is not included again. You will however receive all the necessary instructions regarding dosage and storage. 

Are Gift Certificates available for this service?

Yes. Full service fee or part service fee Gift Certificates are available here.

Am I likely to experience any side-effects when taking my placenta capsules?

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 600 women I have encapsulated for. 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! 

Does the processing/dehydrating of the placenta destroy the beneficial compounds?

Although placental encapsulation and ingestion has been used in Chinese Medicine for hundreds of years, the research on the purported health benefits has only recently begun. One of the primary questions to be answered is whether the processing of the placenta would ruin or eliminate some of the hormones, vitamins and minerals present in the placenta.  Some preliminary research to be published out of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas found that many of the compounds present pre-processing, remained post-processing. The study analyzed several components present in placenta before any type of preparation, and after the steaming and dehydration that is common in converting the placenta into capsule form. The results demonstrated that while some components are reduced in the dried state, many components do still remain. In fact, the research has shown that the iron content, in particular, is even more highly concentrated after dehydration (Benysheck 2012).

Is anything else put in the capsules with the dried placenta?

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

What do the capsules look and taste like?

Size 00 approxThe capsules used are the gelatine-free, vegetarian variety and they are tasteless. 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. 

Can I request to have a small, raw piece of placenta cut off to ingest as a smoothie?

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.

Can I request to have a portion of the placenta cut off to later bury?

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.

Can I have a tincture made as well as have my placenta encapsulated?

IMG_8207Yes. A placenta tincture is made from taking a very small portion (almond 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.

Can I request the cord is also dried as a keepsake?

Yes. 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. Examples of keepsake shapes include heart shape, spiral or twisted into a circle. All results vary. Examples can be seen on the BodyWise BirthWise Instagram account

I have some capsules remaining from my previous baby, and I am now pregnant again – can I take these now?

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. It is believed 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, it is therefore advised that women NOT taken placenta capsules whilst pregnant.

When should I book the service?

As I limit the number of bookings I take per month, please book the service well before your baby is due 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.

Can I still book in although I don’t know the date for my caesarean yet?

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. 

 

Have any parcels containing the capsules gone missing in the post?

About 80% of clients choose to have their placenta capsules express posted to them. 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. 

What happens if you are not available to encapsulate my placenta when I’ve had my baby?

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 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.

Do I pay upfront or after I receive the capsules?

Full payment is required upfront when you book the service. 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!

Can I pay by instalments?

You may pay by instalments if you wish. The initial instalment must be at least $50 to cover the booking fee, which is part of the full fee. Any outstanding amount must be paid in full by 37 weeks to confirm your booking.

What payment methods are accepted?

Payment is by EFT (bank transfer) or by credit card through the secure PayPal platform.

I have seen this service offered for much less by others, do you price match or discount?

I am a professionally trained, dual-certified, insured, highly experienced, competent and ethical placenta encapsulation service provider. Within a currently unregulated industry, I encourage women to choose wisely who they enlist to encapsulate their placenta. 

There is a 10% discount for repeat clients.

Do I get a discount if my placenta is small as I would receive less capsules?

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.

What happens if my baby comes earlier or later than my due date?

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

What happens if I give birth on a weekend?

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 near Fremantle.

What happens if I give birth in the middle of the night?

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, can be found within the Booking Forms emailed to you when you book the service.

How do I make a booking?

Please contact me here.

Why is a dehydrator used, and not an oven?

A good quality dehydrator removes the moisture out evenly. It can also be set to a very low and specific temperature; consistent with the preparation of raw and living foods, keeping the nutrients and enzymes intact. It is true that the placenta is steamed slightly before being dehydrated, but it is a low and slow steam only for a short time period. Using an oven to dehydrate can be tricky as most don’t go below 70°, and temperatures and ‘hot spots’ can fluctuate. The last thing you want is a burnt placenta!  

Is there any time that I shouldn’t take the capsules?

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. This is included in the Booklet.

Can I save some of my capsules for menopause?

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.

Once I have finished taking all my capsules, is there a supplement you would recommend I take?

Many women contact me with with question. I find Bioceuticals InNatal a great all-rounder multi-vitamin supplement. This can be taken whilst breastfeeding and helps provide many of the essential nutrients required by the breastfeeding mother.

There is also Mama’s Postnatal Booster – Compound Herbal Capsules for Postpartum Health, also suitable – and recommended – for breastfeeding mamas. 

Why should I use a Certified Placenta Encapsulation Specialist (CPES)? 

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 over 600 placentas, with many women now returning to book the service again for their subsequent pregnancies!

 

Disclaimer: 

The statements, services and products on this website have not been evaluated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) due to the nature of this service and products. The placenta encapsulation services offered by BodyWise BirthWise are not intended to diagnose, treat or prescribe for any condition.

Whilst the benefits of consuming the placenta postnatally are based on research studies, articles and testimonials from new mothers, this research is ongoing and BodyWise BirthWise does not give any warranty or representation that these benefits are guaranteed. It is your responsibility, based on your own research of the benefits and risks of placenta encapsulation, to determine whether using placenta preparations may be of benefit to you.