comox valley placenta encapsulation

Is It Safe to Eat My Placenta?

 

Our answer: Not necessarily. 

A recent warning was put out by the US Centre for Disease Control (CDC), advising mothers to reconsider placenta consumption to avoid the potential risks it may carry. This statement was triggered by an incident where an infant became ill from a late-onset Group-B Streptococcal infection. The infants mother had been taking placenta capsules, and it was confirmed that the capsules contained the GBS bacteria. 

The concerns being brought forward about the risks of placenta consumption are not a foreign concept to In Bloom.

In fact, this case highlights the very reason only a ProDoula, LLC,  trained Postpartum Placenta Specialist, will handle your placenta. ProDoula’s placenta training is rigorous and thorough, and sets the highest industry standards for this practice, seeking first to prevent the spread of pathogens due to improper handling and processing. 

You can read Pro Doula's position statement on the recent CDC article, here. 

While it can’t be confirmed that the contaminated capsules are the cause of the infection,  the details of the CDC article imply that risks could have been minimized on all fronts, had processing standards been stricter. We know: 

 

The placenta was transported by the encapsulator from the hospital, and processed in her own space. 

According to CDC’s statement, “The mother confirmed that she had registered with Company A to pick up and encapsulate her placenta for ingestion.” Knowledge of how the placenta was transported, stored, cleanliness of the environment, or the potential for cross-contamination from other placenta processing in the environment it was exposed to, are all unknown.

Our encapsulator does not handle your placenta until we arrive at your home. We provide our clients with handling and storage instructions that follow food-safe practices, and transport guidelines that keep in line with World Health Organizations protocol for organ transport. While placenta pick-up and drop-off by an encapsulator may seem convenient, it carries too many unknown variables to deem it safe. We only process in our clients home, following the protocols set out by our Blood Borne Pathogens certification. 

 

“According to Company A’s website, the placenta is cleaned, sliced, and dehydrated at 115°F–160°F (46°C–71°C), then ground and placed into about 115–200 gelatin capsules, and stored at room temperature.”

We don’t know the exact temperature the placenta was dehydrated, which means it may have been dried to a temperature that allows the potential for bacteria to grow and multiply. Storage of any meat product should be in the fridge or freezer, not room temperature. 

Our encapsulation process adheres strictly to Food Safe protocols, which require that meat be steamed and dehydrated to an internal temperature of 160F, in order to eliminate harmful bacteria. We advise that pills be refrigerated for up to three months, and frozen if not consumed within that time frame. 

 

When considering placenta encapsulation, be sure:

  • You are given adequate information on how to transport and store your placenta safely
  • All processing and handling of the placenta happens in your space, under your care. 

  • The placenta is cooked and dehydrated to an internal temperature that adheres to the food-safe protocols

  • You are given proper instructions for storage of your pills

  • Your encapsulator is trained and accountable to a recognized certifying organization 

  • Your encapsulator holds liability insurance for this service

  • Your encapsulator carries a current Canadian Blood Born Pathogens (BBP) Certification 

 

This  recent incident has only solidified how strongly we feel about the future regulation of this industry, and our commitment to adhering to the safest protocols, in order to offer the safest option for placenta encapsulation. If you are a care provider wanting more information, or pregnant and have questions about our process, we are happy to discuss any questions or concerns you might have. 

Placenta Encapsulation: What's the Big Deal?

Placentophagy; the act of consuming one’s placenta. In the human species it is more commonly consumed in the form of placenta pills, processed by a trained Placenta Encapsulator, and sometimes used in tinctures, consumed raw in smoothies, or even made into delicious (?) little chocolates.

In the general animal population, it's a little less sophisticated. We'll leave that up to your imagination. 

About 99% of mammals consume their placentas, and it’s been a practice used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for thousands of years. I’ve never been much of a crowd follower, so I’ll add that, “just because they do it, doesn’t mean we should”, absolutely applies here. In fact, there is no solid scientific evidence that unarguably proves the benefits of placenta consumption for human mothers. How’s that for convincing??

But there IS a reason that placenta encapsulation is growing in popularity and gaining momentum as an in-demand service for women everywhere. The placenta is an incredible, life-giving organ that plays a huge role in pregnancy. It provides protection, oxygen, nutrients, and ultimately everything your baby needs to grow and thrive. The reports of women consuming their placenta after birth suggest that this amazing organ is supportive not only of the growing fetus, but may offer significant benefits for the postpartum period. 

Some of the reported effects of placenta consumption include:

  • Improvements in postpartum mood
  • Hormone balancing and regulation 
  • Decrease in postpartum bleeding 
  • More stabilized or increased milk supply 
  • Increased iron and nutrient levels
  • Smoother overal postpartum recovery 

Wouldn’t it be incredible to unlock the potential for an improved postpartum period? The raving stories and anecdotal evidence suggests that this ancient practice may be the key to easing the transition into motherhood and supporting the changes in a woman’s body after birth, and we think that is worth paying attention to. 

At In Bloom, our in-home encapsulation service provides our clients with the safest option for encapsulation, but it also allows us to provide postpartum support and a personal connection during the time spent in your home, answering questions, chatting about your birth, help with breastfeeding, or anything else that may come up in those early and challenging postpartum days. 

Have questions? We are happy to chat about anything you want to know regarding the what, the why, the how, or any other details related to determining if placenta encapsulation is right for you. 

*This information has not been evaluated by the FDA and is not intended as medical advice, or meant to diagnose, prescribe or treat any condition. Placenta encapsulation and consumption has not been approved or evaluated by the FDA. Always discuss medical decisions with your care provider. In Bloom Births cannot guarantee any specific benefit or outcome as a result of placenta consumption.