Sticky Situations: To Encapsulate or Not to Encapsulate your Placenta
Every person’s pregnancy is different. Every person’s birth happens differently. As a placenta encapsulator, I have often received panicked phone calls from clients, “This happened to my placenta!” or “This happened at my birth!” The underlying question being:
“Can I still encapsulate? Is it safe?”
Because placenta encapsulation is not a regulated industry, some of these decisions can feel unclear. For example, If you have a fever during your labor, it can be hard to find information on whether it is safe to consume the placenta- especially when a nurse has your placenta hovering over a “bio-hazard” bag and is asking for a quick decision!
When in doubt, freeze your placenta. This allows you to take your time doing your research, and come to a conclusion on encapsulation based on your comfort level.
Below are several common situations I have come across and whether or not it is safe to proceed with placenta encapsulation.
GBS positive: If you are GBS +, it is still safe to encapsulate and consume your placenta. However, it is often recommended that you use a method that involves steaming the placenta beforehand to kill the GBS bacteria. Also make sure that your encapsulator dehydrates the placenta at 160 degrees F.
Gestational Diabetes: Totally safe to encapsulate and consume your placenta!
If you placenta has been taken to pathology: Unfortunately, if your placenta has been taken to pathology, it is no longer safe to consume. Very harsh chemicals are used in pathology testing that are not safe for ingestion. I always advise my clients to ask hospital staff to cut off a piece of the placenta for pathology to test. This way, if the tests show that the placenta chunk is fine, you still have the whole of your placenta to encapsulate- free of chemicals.
Fever during labor: Usually, fever is an indication of infection, and it is not safe to consume a placenta that has contracted an infection. However, there is always the chance that the placenta is not infected. You may ask your doctor to culture your placenta. You will get the results in a few days. Keep your placenta in the fridge or freezer until then and only encapsulate if the culture came back showing no infection.
Uterine or placental infection: You should not encapsulate if you have a uterine or placental infection.
Improper storage: You should not consume a placenta that has been stored improperly. Just like any other raw meat, you need to keep a placenta cool and on ice until it can be encapsulated. For more information on proper storage techniques, read my previous post on storage.
Meconium: It is completely safe to encapsulate when there is meconium in your amniotic fluid. Just ask your encapsulator to do a good rinse of the placenta, maybe with apple cider vinegar.
Cesarean Birth: Totally safe to encapsulate and consume your placenta if you have a C-section.
I hope helps you make decisions your safety and encapsulating your placenta. As always, do your own research and only encapsulate if you are comfortable with your decision!
North Bay Placenta Services
Marin County, Sonoma, San Francisco, East Bay, and South Bay