Placentophagia is the process of a new mother consuming her placenta postpartum by either eating the placenta raw, cooked, in capsule form, or drinking the juices from the placenta once it is cooked. I offer a few preparation options for your placenta.
I trained as an encapsulator through Full Circle Placenta. I am certified in food handling via ServSafe® and in OSHA standards for handling blood born pathogens for placenta encapsulators.
I use size 0 capsules. You can choose between vegetarian or gelatin. One placenta will usually yield between 100 and 200 capsules. If you are using the placenta also for a tincture and salve, bear in mind you are slightly reducing the amount of capsules you will get.
Capsules on average have a 2 year shelf life. After this time, their nutritional and hormonal quality decreases.
Raw Method: Raw food preparation is said to preserve more of the placenta’s enzymes and nutrients.
Steamed: Traditional Chinese Medicine suggests that women should maintain a diet of warm, cooked foods after birth. In honor of this tradition I can steam the placenta before dehydration.
If you choose steamed method, I will also give you the water your placenta was steamed in. You can drink this like a tea, cook with it as if it is a stock, or water your plants with it (they will love it!)
For a true TCM preparation of your placenta, you will need to consult with a doctor of Chinese medicine. Every body has different herbal supplements that are appropriate for healing based on diet, health history, life style, and what kind of birth you had. It is beyond my scope of practice to prescribe herbal formulas for clients, but I can work in conjunction with your TCM practitioner.
Placenta tincture is less potent than capsules but has an indefinite shelf life. Some people claim benefits to consuming their placenta to counteract menopausal symptoms. I use 100 proof plum brandy as the alcohol base for my tinctures.
Salves infused with placenta are used for healing trauma from the birth on either perineal tears or c-section scars. They are also helpful for baby’s diaper rash and eczema spots. I use olive oil, shea butter, and calendula in my salve in addition to your placenta.
These are a way for you to remember the birth, and to share with your child for years down the road. I can make a blood print or color dye print (like the one in the picture above). I can also create a keepsake out of the dried cord.
Although there is tradition and anectodal evidence surrounding the benefits of placental ingestion, there have been no large scale studies proving the benefits, and consumption is not FDA approved. My services are not intended to diagnose or treat any disease, physical or mental. Benefits that have been ascribed to placenta consumption include:
Placentas are organ meat, one of the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat. It would be fair to include placenta in the "superfoods" list.
High in both iron and B vitamins.
May stabilize hormonal shifts post-birth:
Lending you a continued flow of oxytocin long after your birth euphoria ends. Oxytocin also helps the placenta return to its former size and place.
Potentially lessening the experience of "baby blues" or postpartum depression.
This is no magic bullet for postpartum wellness, but it is a worthy addition to your postpartum care regimen, along with plenty of rest, nourishing foods, and support from family and friends.
If your placenta was sent to pathology: it could be chemically contaminated with either sanitizing or preserving chemicals. If you are able to clearly label your placenta "no chemicals" before it is sent to the lab, it is possible to still consume.
Spoilage: If your placenta has sat in refrigerator for more than 5 days without being frozen, or has sat out longer than 4-5 hours at room temperature post-birth.
Uterine infection or chorioaminionitis. If you develop a fever during your labor, I don't recommend consuming your placenta.
If you test positive for Strep B, it is still possible to consume your placenta. I recommend opting for steamed preparation: between steaming and the heat involved in dehydration, all strep bacteria should be destroyed.
In the following cases, placenta consumption is contraindicated:
Heavy smoking during pregnancy.
Drug usage during pregnancy.
Cancer of the placenta.
Some genetic disorders.
Some sexually transmitted diseases. I will not prepare your placenta in my home if you are Hepatitis or HIV positive.
What do I need to provide?
You only need to provide your placenta. To make sure it arrives in my hands properly stored, you should bring two ziplock bags and a cooler or container to keep your placenta cold, on ice, after your birth.
How do I obtain my placenta after birth?
In New York State, hospitals are authorized to release placentas according to the New York Department of Health. Be sure to talk to your care provider before the day of your labor and find out about your hospital's policies regarding keeping your placenta. Some hospitals will have you fill out a release form. In the case of a Cesarean birth, make sure you remind your doctor that you are interested in keeping your placenta before the surgery begins.
What precautions do you use?
I prepare your placenta in my home, and I use bleach solution to sterilize my equipment and work space before and after encapsulation. I always work using disposable, non-latex gloves and a mask.
I am certified in bloodborne pathogens and infection control for placenta encapsulators, through Biologix Solutions.
Basic Encapsulation- includes consultation meeting and pickup/delivery:
Add on a tincture (2 0z): +$25 each or 40z + $35
Add on a salve: (4 oz) +$30 each or 8oz $45
Prints: $10 with encapsulation
Photos and cord keepsake: free of charge with encapsulation.