Common placenta encapsulation myths
When it comes to placenta encapsulation, you wouldn’t believe some of things I have heard. Some good and true, but some just simply false and I’m not entirely sure how they got started. In this blog, I am going to go over some of the most common myths that I hear when it comes to this service and why they are untrue.
1. I can’t take my placenta home from the hospital.
I have had people talk about how placenta encapsulation isn’t an option for them because they are having a hospital birth and doctors don’t allow the placenta to be taken home. While it is rare, there are a select few hospitals that make you jump through hoops to take your placenta home. However, most of the time it’s as easy as just letting your care provider know you would like to keep it and then they package it up for you. Otherwise they generally discard it, or put chemicals on it that make it unfit for consumption. Sometimes they will not be able to release your placenta due to infection or other reasons that make it unsafe to encapsulate, and other times hospitals may have a policy that require the placenta to be taken to pathology for testing, but you can request that they only take a small piece so you can keep the rest for encapsulation. Talk with your care provider beforehand to make sure they are aware that you want to keep it, and see if they have any specific policy in place for your specialist.
2. It is only safe to have my placenta encapsulated in my own home.
False. This is a new one that I’ve been hearing. Placenta encapsulation is safe if the workspace is clean, disinfected and proper protocols are followed. This is why it is important to make sure that your placenta specialist is the right fit for you and has been trained in preparing in either your home, or their workspace. Ask the right questions to ensure that they are doing all the proper things and making this a safe process not only for you, but for the rest of their clients as well. You can check my blog about questions to ask your placenta specialist here. From not wanting to explain it to visitors, having a stranger in their home for hours, or even just not wanting the smell that comes with it, sometimes people don’t want the hassle of having it prepared in their home, and that is 100% okay. You should have the choice about where you want your placenta processed. So, interview some specialists and make sure you find the right one for you.
3. Placenta encapsulation is a fad only for “crunchy” parents.
I would say it’s more for anyone who wants to take extra care of themselves after having a baby. While it is considered a more “natural” type of thing, you will find people of all types participating in this practice. From celebrities like Kim and Kourtney Kardashian, to everyday people like you and me, moms who want to reap the benefits of placenta encapsulation require no labels to have this done for them. This is also hardly a new fad. Placenta encapsulation has been around for thousands of years in the practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
4. I can’t take pills, so I can’t do placenta encapsulation.
Luckily there are so many ways to have your placenta processed! Some of the options include: smoothies, tinctures, and even just having the powder in a jar so you can add to your own smoothies. There are countless ways to use the powder. Some even make chocolate truffles that are so delicious that you would never guess that placenta was an ingredient! Ask your placenta specialist about everything they offer and you may just be pleasantly surprised.
5. I’m doing cord blood banking so I can’t keep my placenta.
Cord blood banking is an awesome thing to participate in, and the good news is that it doesn’t hinder your ability to take your placenta home. With cord blood banking, the cord is “milked” of the remaining blood, and this can be done in the room so there isn’t a chance of your placenta being mishandled. After that, you can just have it packaged up and then it is ready for your specialist!
6. Placenta encapsulation is cannibalism!
This was actually my husband’s response when I first told him I wanted to encapsulate my placenta after the birth of our second child. However, encapsulation doesn’t meet the definition of cannibalism.
1. the eating of human flesh by another human being.
2. the eating of the flesh of an animal by another animal of its own kind.
3. the ceremonial eating of human flesh or parts of the human body for magical or religious purposes, as to acquire the power or skill of a person recently killed.
So, since no one is being killed and you aren’t eating the flesh of another person, this isn’t comparable.
7. Placenta pills are a magic, cure all for the postpartum period!
Oh, how I wish this was true! While some people may attribute their amazing recovery to the pills, the fact remains that these pills won’t work the same for every woman. For some, their recovery will be faster, their milk supply supple, and their hormones will be more stable, leading to less mood swings. For others, they will barely notice a difference, or their pills will make them anxious and jittery. I’ve been doing this for two years and I will say that only one of my clients has ever said they didn’t notice a difference, but I would hate for anyone to go into this process thinking that it will “cure” them of postpartum depression and fatigue. The odds are in your favor of at least one benefit, but results vary from woman to woman.
Have you heard any crazy things about placenta encapsulation? While these aren’t all of them, they are the most common. Let us know in the comments down below!
If you decide, like many others before you, to hire a trained specialist for your placenta encapsulation, it can be a little daunting to know how to hire the right one. Where do I find one? How do I know I can trust them? After all, you only get one shot at getting this done right, so you want to make sure that it is, in fact, done right. So if you are wondering about how to hire a specialist and want tips for making sure they are a good fit for you, just keep reading our “questions to ask your placenta specialist.”
These are just some of the questions that you may want to ask when looking to hire the right specialist for you. So make a list and be prepared when interviewing. Ask around and see if anyone has one they recommend. There is a great site called FindPlacentaEncapsulation.com where you can look up specialists in your area. Check and see if they have any reviews on a Facebook page or website. Don't be afraid to look around. You only get one placenta after your birth, make sure you trust your specialist.
DIY or Hire a Trained Specialist
In a previous blog, I talked about some of the reasons why some people decide to have their placenta encapsulated. After deciding if it is something you want to pursue or not, the next thing you may need to decide is whether you should hire someone or try doing it yourself. Even as a trained specialist who gets paid by doing this for other people, I recognize that there are pros and cons to each side. You just have to determine what it is best for you. So let's just jump into it!
As you can see, it all really just depends on what you want, and the availability of a trained specialist in your area. If doing it yourself is something you are interested in, then go for it! Do some research on proper protocols and make sure you have adequate help with the baby so you don't feel rushed. Between cleaning, prepping, processing, and cleaning again, you are looking at anywhere from 3-4 hours (not including the time it takes to dehydrate). Or maybe you will get lucky and your partner will be willing to do all the work for you.
Now you may be looking at the Cons of hiring a specialist and you see "the possibility or hiring an untrustworthy specialist" and your eyes are probably doubling in size. Unfortunately, it does happen and it's a risk that you need to be aware of. So, in a future blog I will be discussing how to hire a specialist and questions to ask.
I've had a few different postpartum experiences regarding my decisions about placenta encapsulation. With my first child, I decided not to encapsulate my placenta. It was still new to me and to be honest, I thought it was pretty gross. I ended up having a harder postpartum experience than expected and I ended up regretting not having it done. Do I know for sure that it would have helped? No. But I would have been willing to try anything to make it better the next time. So, with my second child I decided to give it a shot and I paid my doula, who was a trained specialist, to encapsulate for me. My experience with it was so great that I decided to get certified so I could also offer this service to women in my area. After the birth of my third child, I decided to go ahead with encapsulation again, but do it myself this time since I am certified and trained. I figured I would be able to save some money and make sure it was done right. And to be honest - I fully regret going the DIY route. Not because I messed up or wasn't qualified, but because it was the last thing I wanted to be doing. I should have been resting and bonding with my baby, but instead I was stressing about trying to keep him content and taking frequent breastfeeding breaks while also trying to keep a clean and organized workspace. I ended up putting it off until the very last minute and I almost just put the placenta in the freezer to do at a later date.
Although I am done having kids (knock on wood), I would hire a specialist if I ever had more. The peace of mind that it is in good hands and that I can relax, recover, and bond with my new baby is worth it to me. However, I would never tell someone that she shouldn't have the right to do it herself, if that's what she wanted to do. So what do you think? Have you had your placenta encapsulated and chose the DIY route? Or did you hire a trained professional that you trusted? I love to hear about your experiences, so leave them in the comments!
Is Placenta Encapsulation For Me?
When people hear about placenta encapsulation, they tend to wonder what would make someone want to do something like that. From celebrities to average people like you and me, people all over the world are utilizing their placenta during their postpartum recovery, and it has many people wondering: “Is this for me?”
Let’s start with what it is. Placenta encapsulation is the process by which the placenta is examined, cleaned, dehydrated and then placed into capsules for the mother to take, as little or as often as she desires. Some people think this new and a “fad” because of its current popularity, but this practice has been around for centuries as a way to replenish much-needed nutrients, mainly iron and protein. After the birth of baby, humans, at least in the western world, are one of the few land mammals that do not consume their placentas.
There are two main methods of preparing a placenta, each with its own benefits. To decide which method would benefit you the most, talk to your specialist, or try them both! This can easily be done if you specify beforehand that you would prefer to have this option.
The first method, the “Raw Method”, involves cleaning the placenta, removing the membranes and cord and then draining the excess blood. After draining blood, the placenta is cut into thin strips and dehydrated. Because this method leaves a little more blood behind, more than the TCM inspired method, the dehydration process takes a bit longer to complete. However, using the Raw Method creates a very nutrient and hormone dense capsule and a high yield. This method is generally not recommended for women with a history of anxiety, jitters, insomnia, or bipolar tendencies because it can result in an overwhelming feeling.
Next we have the Traditional Chinese Medicine Inspired Method (TCM). This process is exactly the same as the Raw Method except for one added step, gently steaming the placenta before processing. This preparation is thought to bring out the placenta’s healing and tonifying properties to the uterus. TCM Inspired capsules offer a more balanced, mellow flow of hormones back to the mother. This is a better option for those who already suffer from anxiety since the RAW method may contain concentrated hormones from the body and cause more emotional upset. Generally, this method yields a smaller amount of capsules, but not by much. Why “inspired” and not simply TCM? The true TCM process involves adding herbs like lemon, ginger and hot pepper to the steaming process. It is thought to bring more warmth to the placenta and provide additional benefits. However, I am not a trained herbalist and I do not know which particular herbs the mother’s body will require, or possibly have an adverse reaction to, so I choose to skip this step. I would hate for a new mom to have a negative reaction due to an herb, and then her capsules be rendered useless. However, I do offer the option for you to seek the opinion of a trained herbalist to advise you on the right herbs if you truly want it.
For those who don’t want to decide between the two methods I offer, you can choose the 50/50 route and have half your placenta prepared with the Raw Method, and the other half with the TCM inspired method. This gives you the option to experience both options and truly customize your dosage, maximizing all the benefits that both methods offer.
Now that we have talked about what it is, and the methods used, let’s talk about why, because the potential benefits are really where it’s at. So what would convince anyone want to do this? The amazing possible benefits. The placenta contains a large amount of crucial hormones and iron that normally leave our body with its delivery, and by encapsulating the placenta, you return these back into the body and help stabilize your system. Although results vary from woman to woman, some of the reported benefits are:
Although the vast majority of moms have nothing but positive things to say about their experience with placenta capsules, there are the rare negative side effects that some moms experience, such as:
The best part about all this? You can get all these benefits without having to ever touch or look at your own placenta! I am a trained specialist that can prepare your “happy” pills for you without inconveniencing you one bit. It can be done in your home, or in my designated prep area at my home, whichever you desire. The whole process takes about 2-3 days and will cost you around $150 in our local area of Anchorage, Alaska. I also serve Wasilla Eagle River, and Palmer for a small travel fee. Or, if you want to save some money and bring it to me and pick up the capsules once it is prepared, I offer a $20 discount for those who are willing. In another blog, I will be discussing hiring a placenta specialist vs. doing it yourself and trying to save some money.
Generally speaking, it is very safe to have your placenta encapsulated, but there are some small risks that need to be mentioned. They are similar to the risks involving food-borne illnesses, like:
So is placenta encapsulation for you? If the proper protocols are followed and there are no contraindications, then you are a perfect candidate for placenta encapsulation! Placenta encapsulation is an investment that could potentially be the difference between looking back on the postpartum months with fond memories, or remembering an overwhelming anxiety and unstable emotions. Very few women reported feeling no effect from their placenta pills, the vast majority of women report that placenta pills helped them in their postpartum recovery. So it’s worth a shot! What do you think?
Placenta Encapsulation Sale
Now through September 30th, all placenta encapsulation packages are 20% off! If you have been thinking about this to help with your postpartum recovery, now is the time.
Many ask if there are any studies proving the benefits of human consumption of their placenta following the birth of their child, and here at W.I.S.E., we believe in 100% transparency. We will tell you that no, there are currently no studies proving the benefits. Then where do all the acclaimed benefits come from? These are simply just the results that have been reported to us by our clients. The vast majority of our clients rave about all the benefits they experience when they take what they call "happy pills." From being able to pump more milk, sleep better at night, heal faster, and just feeling more emotionally stable, women are happy that they are making this investment in their postpartum recovery. Sometimes, we even get reports of partners being able to tell a difference between when the mom takes her capsules and when she forgets. Very rarely do we get someone who reports anything negative about utilizing their placenta in the postpartum period.
So what do you think? Check out our page on placenta encapsulation to learn more about the benefits and/or register for services. Take a look at our placenta FAQ page to read more about how it works.
Sarah is a work at home mom with three beautiful boys, two dogs, and a loving husband. She is a certified childbirth educator, placenta specialist, and creates custom, high quality keepsakes made from breastmilk, placenta powder, cremation ashes, and so much more.