Birthroot Midwifery, Dawn M. Finney CPM Columbia, Missouri
Placenta encapsulation is available for women in the Columbia or Jefferson City, Missouri areas (you do not have to be a home birth client).
Information about Placental Encapsulation
Why consume the placenta?
In many cultures of the world, placentophagy is a practice that has survived into modern times. For westernized women, the idea is an “old but new again” practice that seems to make a lot of practical sense both in terms of biology and nutrition.
Cultures that practice placentophagy tend to cook a portion of the placenta to be consumed shortly after the birth believing that the dense amount of nutrients (similar to an organ meat like liver) helps the mother cope with blood loss and fatigue after the birth of her baby. It is also believed that consuming the placenta will help establish milk supply and help stabilize the hormonal changes that happen postpartum.
For westernized women, the idea of eating the placenta may seem unpalatable. However, we are used to taking vitamins and other supplements in pill or capsule form. Processing the placenta into capsules is a great way to get the benefits of the placenta in a culturally comfortable way.
Is there research which supports the use of placenta capsules?
Much of what we know about the effects of placental consumption are anecdotal reports from mothers--many of whom have derived benefit from this practice. As far as studies, there are mixed conclusions about whether consuming the placenta, in any form, offers benefits. Some studies offer support for placentophagy, and some conclude, more neutrally, that it may not offer health benefits but it also carries low to no risk of harm. Below I supply links to various examples of these findings. It is certain that more research is needed. As with all choices relevant to one's personal health care, I encourage you to do your own research and come to your own conclusion about whether this practice is right for you.
▪ Oxytocin: Decreases pain and increases bonding in mother and infant; counteracts the production of stress hormones such as Cortisol; greatly reduces postpartum bleeding; enhances the breastfeeding let-down reflex.
▪ Placental Opioid-Enhancing Factor (POEF): Stimulates the production of your body’s natural opioids, including endorphins; reduces pain; increases well-being.
▪ Thyroid Stimulating Hormone: Regulates the thyroid gland; boosts energy and supports recovery from stressful events.
▪ Corticotropin Releasing Hormone (CRH): Low levels of CRH are implicated in postpartum depression. Regulation of CRH helps prevent depression.
▪ Cortisone: Reduces inflammation and swelling; promotes healing.
▪ Interferon: Triggers the protective defenses of the immune system to fight infection.
▪ Prostaglandins: Regulates contractions in the uterus after birth; helps uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size. Anti-inflammatory effects.
▪ Iron: Replenishes maternal iron stores to combat anemia, a common postpartum condition. Increases energy; decreases fatigue and depression.
▪ Hemoglobin: Oxygen-carrying molecule which provides a boost in energy.
▪ Urokinase Inhibiting Factor and Factor XIII: stops bleeding and enhances wound healing.
▪ Immunoglobulin G (IgG): Antibody molecules which support the immune system.
▪ Human Placental Lactogen (hPL): This hormone has lactogenic and growth-promoting properties; promotes mammary gland growth in preparation for lactation in the mother. It also regulates maternal glucose, protein, and fat levels.
There are two methods of processing: in one method the placenta is cooked, and in the other, it is processed from a raw state. In various documents concerning placental processing, anecdotal information exists that supports both methods.
I offer the raw method, as I believe cooking denatures the proteins and inactivates some of the nutritional and hormonal benefits available in a raw placenta. The placental tissue is separated from the membrane and cord. It is ground and dehydrated, then ground again to be pressed into capsules. Allow two full days for the placenta capsules to be made.
How many capsules does a placenta make?
Anywhere from 90 to 150 capsules. The number of capsules depends on the size of the placenta.
What is your training or background in placenta encapsulation?
I began encapsulating placentas over ten years ago when my home birth clients became interested in this and asked me to provide this service. After working with a few placentas, I developed my own method of raw processing (described above) that works very well and that I’ve been using ever since. Nowadays, there are training programs that offer "certification" in making placenta capsules. Since I’ve been making capsules for so long, in what is a pretty straightforward process, I consider myself “grandmothered in” as a provider of this service.
How do I take the placenta capsules?
Standard dosage is two capsules, three times a day for the first two weeks. Starting with the third week, you can reduce the dosage to one or two capsules a day. Continue for six weeks, or until your capsules run out. Or, if you wish to save some capsules for later, you can keep them in the freezer and use them as needed during hormonally stressful times.
This dosage suggestion may need to be modified for your individual needs and reactions. It has been reported that raw placenta capsules may give a more immediate “burst” of energy that encourages more activity and wakefulness when rest is what is needed. If the dosage you are taking makes you feel unable to rest, sleep appropriately, feel irritable or more moody, please reduce the dose amount or discontinue taking the capsules for a few days. You may need to try a lower dose and adjust as needed.
It is advisable to discontinue taking placenta capsules if you are ever ill with a cold, flu, mastitis, or other post partum infection. When your body has healed, placenta capsules can be taken again.
How do I store the capsules?
Store your placenta capsules in the refrigerator. If you will be reserving some capsules for later use beyond six months, store them in the freezer.
I would like to have my placenta encapsulated. How does this work?
Contact me ahead of time to let me know you’d like your placenta to be encapsulated. I’ll need to know your name, due date, and place of delivery.
For those having hospital births: When you are in labor, please send me a text or phone call during normal business hours (9 to 5). That way, I know I will be picking up a placenta at some point in the near future and can plan accordingly. You will need to let your nurses know you want to keep your placenta. They will have you sign a release form. Asking for your placenta is becoming a more common request, so you shouldn’t get any raised eyebrows from your nurses or doctor! Once you have signed the placenta release form, the placenta is “officially” your property and anyone who has your permission may take it from you.
After you have your baby and are settled in your postpartum room, give me another text or phone call to arrange pick up. When you are feeling ready, I can make a quick visit to pick up the placenta. If you would prefer not to have any visitors in your room, your partner could bring me the placenta outside of your room or to the visitor’s waiting area.
In some hospitals, the placenta will be stored in the hospital's refrigerator until pick-up. In others, once you have signed the release form, the placenta becomes your property and you must provide a cooler for it until pick-up. Please talk to your care providers about the hospital policy. The placenta must be in a cooler in order to leave the hospital. I will bring a cooler with me, but if you are discharged early and go home before I can pick up the placenta, please bring your own cooler. Arrangements can be made to get the placenta from your home if you are in the area, or it can be dropped off at my home by a family member or friend lined up to help.
If you have had a home birth, and I wasn’t one of your midwives, your placenta can be sent along with one of your midwives and we will arrange the transfer to me, or I can pick it up at your home. In either case, I will bring the completed capsules to your home, or give them to your midwife to return to you. In some cases, the capsules can be mailed to you.
When the capsules are completed, which takes about two days, if you live in a 30 mile radius of Columbia, I will drop them off to you at your home along with a brochure that explains how to store the capsules and dosage recommendations. If you live outside this range, I will mail the capsules and brochure to you.
What is the cost for placental encapsulation?
$200.00. Please have your payment ready for me when I pick up the placenta from you. Payment methods: Cash, a check written to "Birthroot Midwifery LLC," or a Paypal payment (via "send money to family and friends") to firstname.lastname@example.org
If I am your primary midwife for a home birth, I offer a discount. We’ll be talking about what you’d like to do with your placenta at one your prenatal visits!
If you have further questions, or wish to engage this service, please visit my "Contact" page.