Why are we just starting to really hear about this in our culture?
For thousands of years traditional Chinese Medicine has used the placenta to augment the qi (energy), nourish the blood, and augment the kidney essence. In layman’s terms, it brings the body back into balance, replenishing what was lost during childbirth. In China it is also used for debilitating chronic diseases and widely used as an anti-aging treatment, as well as a variety of other ills, including fatigue and insufficient lactation.
In many cultures the placenta is considered the tree of life, and indeed, without it life would not be possible. Here we are a society that disposes of placenta as toxic waste, while really, what we are throwing away is such a gift to both mother and baby: the amazing placenta. This gift is self-made, full of personalized hormones, iron, protein and vitamins critically needed during those first few weeks postpartum.
Perhaps in our society the placenta has long been misunderstood, and horribly taken for granted. Hopefully we aren't to the point where just because a medicinal property can't be
synthetically made, ordered as a prescription, and listed with side effects doesn't mean that it doesn't hold value. You spend over 9 months nourishing your placenta and giving it, and your baby everything you have. After the birth you deserve to have your placenta work for you.
When do you encapsulate my placenta?
Ideally, it should be started within the first 24 to 48 hours after your birth, allowing you and baby to benefit from the most potency the placenta has to offer. Directly after the birth, the placenta should be placed in an enclosed container (the hospital will put it in a plastic container or a bag) in the refrigerator or in a lunch size cooler with ice if you are in the hospital, until it can be taken home and placed in the refrigerator. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 72 hours if needed.
Where do you do this?
The placenta should be prepared in your home. I adhere to the strictest standards of safety as set forth by OSHA and conforming to local health department guidelines for food preparation and safety protocols. The preparation process is always done in a sterile environment, using sterile equipment, with love and patience, giving you the greatest quality and care you can ask for. If your home is out of the question we can make another plan!
When I come to your home, I bring all the equipment needed for the process. The first visit I make to your home takes about an hour and a half to two hours. The placenta is prepared for drying, and it is then left there in the dehydrator for several hours. I return the following day to begin the encapsulation process. You can then start taking your capsules right away for the maximum postpartum benefits!
Many clients who have hospital births prefer me to get started while they are still in the hospital. I have found it best for you to send your placenta home with your spouse/partner, family member or friend and place it in the fridge so that I can get started as soon as possible. We will work out the logistics when we talk because every family has different needs and it's most important that everyone is completely comfortable with this process. I am very flexible and my goal is my happy client.
Will the hospital release my placenta?
New Hanover Regional has been great about releasing the placenta. You should tell your doctor or midwife ahead of time that you plan to take your placenta home and write it in your birth plan. This way if there is an issue, you can deal with it before you are in labor. The hospital may ask you to sign a liability release form. I can also provide you with a form that you can give the hospital if they are reluctant. If they say it is not their policy to release your placenta to you, ask to see the hospital’s official written policy on this matter. And know that every single woman who has been denied her placenta and they took the hospital to court has won their case. Sadly it was too late for them to encapsulate their placenta, but that has helped pave the way for others.
What if they want to take my placenta to pathology?
If the placenta needs to be taken to pathology ask if they can do a visual exam or if they can cut a small piece to examine instead of taking the whole placenta. If they insist on taking the whole placenta, you insist that it is kept refrigerated before and after examination, that you get it back within 72 hours and that they use absolutely no solutions, especially their usual formaldehyde. If this solution is used, the placenta is no longer a candidate for encapsulation.
What if I have an epidural or a c-section?
I have had many clients who had epidurals and many who have had a cesarean birth, they have benefited just as much as my clients who had completely unmedicated births.
When can I expect my capsules to be completed?
In most cases I will have your capsules completed and back to you within 24 hours from when I start them. I aim to please and my clients are always very happy with my turnaround time.
What if I am a vegetarian?
Not a problem. Nothing died in the process; only life has provided you with these amazing nutrients and benefits. As well, the dehydrated and powdered placenta is inserted into vegetarian capsules, not gelatin, and stored in a glass amber jar.
How long can a placenta be stored in the freezer?
Although it is advised to begin taking the placenta capsules as soon as possible after delivery, placentas that have been properly frozen, meaning that they were frozen just after delivery and have been double-bagged and protected from freezer-burn can also be encapsulated up to 6 months after birth. While you may not be getting the postpartum benefits, these capsules can be saved and used for you and your baby throughout the years for any type of transition in life or trauma and can also be used for mommy later in life while transitioning through menopause, using your own natural hormones.
Is there any time that I shouldn’t take the capsules?
There are different schools of thought about this in TCM. Some believe that placenta should not be taken if the body is fighting off a common cold, flu, or infection. If mommy should get a breast infection, the placenta should not be taken until infection is cleared. If symptoms such as chills, fever, sneezing, aches, flushed cheeks, hot palms and feet or night sweats should occur, stop taking the capsules until the body has fought this off. The reason for this is because placenta is extremely tonifying in nature and can cause a pathogen to grow stronger and get deeper into the body.
Other schools of thought believe that the placenta can actually help in these times. Each woman is different and should listen to her body. If she feels the capsules are helping during these times, then continue, if she feels that it is indeed making the ailment worse, then definitely stop taking them.
Please contact me via email or phone to discuss this incredible process further. I am always ready to answer any questions and or concerns. Happy birthing!