Placenta Encapsulation – What is it?
Have you seen blogs, posts on social media about mother’s eating their placenta (so to speak) after they have given birth?
Intrigued to know more I asked Louise Mackie from Yogi Tree to answer some questions.
Hi there – I am Louise, obsessed with all things birth! I specialise in prenatal yoga, placenta encapsulation and holistic well being for Mothers to be through their pregnancy journey, child birth and beyond. I am also a doula and provide birthing Mums with emotional, physical and spiritual support through their child birth experience. Rejoicing in the amazing-ness and power of women – how we can grow life and birth babies – we truly are spectacular creatures!
What is Placenta Encapsulation and why do you do it?
Placentaphagia – in a nutshell, it is the ingestion of the placenta by the mother after birth. The placenta can be honoured and prepared in a number of different ways for consumption after birth, but encapsulation (drying the placenta, grinding it into a fine powder and then creating capsules) is the most “user friendly” option – particularly if you are squeamish!
I love all things birth…. the whole process from conception to birth (and beyond) just blows my mind daily. After my own experience I immersed myself into everything related to holistic birthing, and placenta encapsulation is an amazing way for Mum to support herself physically, emotionally and spiritually after her child-birthing experience. I have seen a LOT of placentas in my time, and I find them so fascinating – no 2 are the same, and the variety and beauty of them seriously captivates me (and yes, a lot of people think I am crazy!) The results I have seen over the years speak for themselves! Mums feel balanced, energized and WELL after childbirth. Their healing period is shorter and postpartum anxiety and depression are eased.
What steps do I have to take to get the placenta to a encapsulator?
Be organised! I get so many “last minute” requests (which is fine, of course!) but to understand the process and what is required from you and your birth team is pretty important to ensure that everything goes smoothly and that your placenta is treated safely and with respect. Talk to your midwife/OB and let them know you will take your placenta – it is YOURS to do with what you wish! Add this in writing in your birth wishes too. Sometimes hospital staff can be forgetful so really make sure that they are aware that your placenta is to be saved. Get organised before the big day! Do your research and ask for recommendations in your area for an encapsulation specialist. The process after birth depends on who you choose to handle your placenta. The placenta must be treated as a consumable so following food safety standards is paramount.
If I have a medicated birth or caesarean section can I still use my placenta for encapsulation and/or other placenta remedies?
Yes of course – depending on your circumstances and medications taken during birth. There has been little research into the effects of medications on the placenta, and personally I would not feel comfortable encapsulating a placenta from someone who went under a full anesthetic for a caesarean section – other than that I have encapsulated placentas from women who had inductions, epidurals, spinals, pethidine, syntocinon in labour, and/or for the third stage of labour and they still felt benefits similar to those who had a completely natural birth.
Does it make any difference if I give birth prematurely?
Not at all – the nutrients from your placenta will definitely give you a boost in terms of energy & emotional well being while encouraging milk supply which is so important for prem babies.
Are there any circumstances when it would not be possible to use the placenta for encapsulation or other placenta remedies?
If you develop a uterine infection just prior to or during labour.
Having HIV/AIDs or hepatitis.
If your placenta was sent to pathology for testing. Usually the chemicals they use will leave the placenta not suitable for encapsulation. If communication is good within your birth team ask them to take a sample of your placenta. You will then be able to salvage some for encapsulation and/or remedies.
How do I store my placenta safely after birth?
In the fridge or on ice within 3 hours of birth. Treat your placenta as a consumable, if in doubt always get it to someplace cold! If you are unsure what to do with your placenta, or need more time to consider your options, then freeze it. It can still be encapsulated after freezing.
Which is better, consuming the placenta raw or using the Traditional Chinese Medicine method?
I cannot recommend one method over the other – whatever resonates with you is perfect! I usually encourage the traditional method if a Mum has a sensitive digestive system. The steaming process makes the capsules a little easier on the tummy. The TCM method will yield a slightly lower number of capsules due to the shrink-factor, but you also get the “Mother’s Broth” (residual steaming liquid, infused with organic lemon, ginger and your placenta). The raw method will result in a higher number of capsules and from client feedback is a more “intense” energy. Follow your intuition with making a decision. If you REALLY cannot choose, a lot of encapsulation specialists offer to do half and half.
Is there an Australian wide registered list of encapsulators?
Anything else you want to add??
The placenta is simply magic! You don’t have to encapsulate. Take time to honor and give thanks for the amazing work your placenta has done. A beautiful, traditional burial and planting of a tree/flower/shrub is another way you can celebrate your placenta and birthday of your child.
Louise Lives on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia. Louise offers a whole range of services from
- Placenta Remedy with Australian Bush Flowers
- Placenta Tincture
- Organic Herb Placenta Salve
- Organic Herb Placenta Cream
- Placenta Prints
- Organic Placenta Smoothie (Only for local Gold Coast and must be within 24 hours of birth – only available with other encapsulation services.)
Yogi Tree’s website is http://www.yogitreewellbeing.com
Louise has an Etsy store where she sells luscious natural hand made goodies: