Purple Lotus Doulas provides experienced placenta encapsulation services to St. Louis-area families.
Placenta encapsulation is the process of taking a a placenta, after it has finished it’s job of nourishing your baby, and safely preparing it in a way that allows it to be put into capsules, so that they can be swallowed like a pill.
Why would someone want to consume their placenta?
Consumption of the placenta, also known as placentophagy, is a practice that dates back to ancient times and is still common in certain cultures today.
Placentophagy (from ‘placenta’ + Greek φαγειν, to eat; also referred to as placentophagia) is the act of mammals eating the placenta of their young after childbirth. Most placental mammals participate in placentophagy.
The placenta contains high levels of prostaglandin which stimulates involution (a shrinking or return to a former size) of the uterus. The placenta also contains small amounts of oxytocin which eases birth stress and causes the smooth muscles around the mammary cells to contract and eject milk. Proponents also believe it can help prevent postpartum depression, may help with pain control and replace depleted iron.
Can you taste it?
Like many supplements, such as vitamins or herbal blends, placenta capsules have a noticeable odor. Most women don’t find this to be a problem when taking their capsules. For those with a more sensitive palate, swallowing the capsules with a meal or beverage such as juice or milk seems to mask any bothersome taste or smell.
How is it prepared?
Traditional Chinese Method
We typically and most often prepare placentas for encapsulation according the the Traditional Chinese Method and adhering to the utmost of cleanliness and safety precautions. TCM is the most common method used by placenta encapsulators. The process is as follows: the placenta is first gently cleaned and then steamed with lemon and ginger (in our case using top quality doTERRA essential oils). Once it has cooled, it is dehydrated at 105 degrees for 8-12 hours, finely ground and then placed into capsules (vegetarian capsules available for an extra fee).
We also offer raw encapsulation for those who desire it. This process differs slightly from TCM by eliminating the steaming process and dehydrating the raw placenta for 24 hours before grinding and encapsulating.
This method is different from the traditional method in that the placenta is not steamed or cooked in any way before dehydrating. It is still dried, powdered and encapsulated and the dosage is similar but mothers who utilize this method often report a more immediate and intense energy burst after taking these placenta pills.
This method is a good option for those who already follow a raw foods diet or for those who are particularly interested in the freshest hormonal benefits of placenta encapsulation. There are however, some situations where raw encapsulation would not be ideal, like if the mother had a suspected infection during labor or has a history of anxiety, insomnia or hyperthyroidism.
How many capsules will I receive?
The number of capsules varies by the size of the placenta and its usable portion. In general, a placenta will be larger the longer the gestation at the time of birth. Multiples will produce more capsules than singletons. But even given that, there is a great variance in how many capsules a mom receives, though it averages between 80-140.
How do I get my placenta from the hospital?
While it might seem daunting at first, the process of obtaining your placenta following a hospital birth is typically fairly simple. Here are the steps we suggest taking to ensure that the process goes smoothly:
- Contact your hospital to confirm that they have a placenta release form on file. Many local hospitals are accommodating due to the increasing number of requests for placenta release. If your hospital has a release form on file in L&D, obtaining your placenta following birth shouldn’t be a problem. If your hospital does NOT have a placenta release form on file, please contact Purple Lotus Doulas to discuss further options.
- If you have a birth plan, make note on it that you will be taking your placenta home. It is also helpful to inform your care provider of your plans prior to labor.
- Upon admission to the hospital, communicate your plans regarding placenta release to the L&D nurses. Your doula and/or partner can assist with this communication.
- Soon after your baby’s birth, your partner and doula should remind the care provider about saving the placenta. It will be placed into a specimen container after the care provider has examined it. Based on our experience, we recommend keeping an eye on it to ensure that the placenta isn’t taken out of your room or accidentally disposed of. (This is one of many great reasons to hire a doula — she can also be your placenta guardian!)
- Your PLD encapsulator will instruct you prior to labor on how to store your placenta and will also make arrangements on when/where they will begin the encapsulation process.
What do I do with it until you pick it up?
As soon as possible, it is best to double-bag your placenta in gallon-size freezer bags and then put it on ice or in the refrigerator. Call your Placenta Encapsulator as soon as possible for further instructions. She will instruct you how to store your placenta, based on your birth location, preference of where you’d like the process done and a few other factors.
Where do you do the encapsulation process?
We offer two options regarding where the process is done: in your own home (where you are welcome to watch the process or go about your normal activities while the encapsulator works) or remotely (your capsules will be ready within a few days and then returned to you). Some women have a strong preference as to where its done; others don’t really care!
How long until my capsules are ready?
It takes approximately 24-48 hours to from the time the process is started until the capsules are ready. This depends on scheduling factors of the encapsulator (whether she has other placentas to process first, is at a birth, etc) but can be as quickly as 24 hours or as long as a few days.
Do you give me instructions on how to take them?
Yes, you will receive instructions on how many to take per day and how to taper off. It is important to note that you should never take your placenta if you have an active infection. Common illnesses in which a woman should stop taking her capsules are: colds, sinus infections, flu and mastitis. Once symptoms of the infection have cleared, the woman may start taking her capsules again.
Are there any studies that support the claimed benefits of placentaphagy? Are there any risks to it?
See information at: http://placentaapothecary.com/placenta-research-studies/
You should never take your placenta if you have an active infection, as discussed above.
$200 for Traditional Chinese Method. $250 for raw encapsulation.
There is a $50 discount when utilizing any other Purple Lotus Doulas services, or for our repeat clients.
There is a $25 retainer fee due upfront to secure your spot on our schedule. We strongly encourage you to book ahead of time, so that we can help support you with information about how to get release rights to your placenta, how to store your placenta and any other questions you have. However, we may be able to accommodate last-minute requests, so please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Book your placenta encapsulation now