Nikita Johnson COBST, CD(BAI), LC, CNA
The placenta is an organ surrounding the fetus inside the womb and allows for the exchange of nutrients, blood, and waste with the mother.
It is expelled from the uterus after the birth of the child. The custom of consuming the placenta, often done as placental encapsulation, is centuries old, practiced most often in Chinese medicine. Placenta Encapsulation is the practice of ingesting the placenta after cleaning, steaming, dehydrating, grounding and putting into capsules.
The placenta encapsulation process starts within 24 hours after birth. The placenta is placed on a chux pad or some other protected surface. Next, the umbilical cord is detached from the placenta along with the amniotic sac. Then the placenta rinsed underwater and is gently massaged. Then the placenta is placed in a steamer over the stovetop. The placenta is steamed for approximately 20 minutes with ginger as it is a warming herb and myrrh since it is microbial. When the placenta is finished steaming, it is removed from the steamer and cut into slices. The placenta slices are then placed in a food-grade dehydrator. The umbilical cord can also be placed in the dehydrator to make an umbilical cord keepsake if the recipient desires. Once the placenta is finished dehydrating, it is put in a food processor and ground into a powder. The powder is then processed into size 00 capsules. The capsules are stored in a glass bottle and are intended to be kept in the refrigerator until they are consumed.
While there is little evidence-based information available regarding placenta encapsulation, anecdotal reports suggest that it has many benefits.
1.) decrease in postpartum mood disorders
2.) restoration of iron levels
3.) increased milk supply
4.) increased production of oxytocin
5.) lower chances of postpartum bleeding
No randomized study currently exists to suggest that there are any risks associated with placenta encapsulation. On infrequent occasions, some women report that they feel jittery or have an increase in anxiety, much like feeling an energizer bunny after consuming their encapsulated placenta. Some reports suggest that women can experience a decrease in milk supply instead of an increase in milk supply following the ingestion of their placenta. Each individual must evaluate the potential benefits verse the potential risks to decide whether or not placenta encapsulation is right for them. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently warns against placenta encapsulation; however, there are limited documented risks to support this recommendation.
If you're interested in DMV Birth Doulas Placenta Encapsulation Services, reach out to us! Our encapsulation team is committed to safe preparation and storage of the placenta to keep this custom low-risk for anyone interested in possibly experiencing the great benefits of placenta encapsulation.