Placenta Encapsulation 101
Where do you process (encapsulate) my placenta?
Bloom operates in a dedicated professional kitchen located in Roy, Utah. Most other encapsulators work out of their own home kitchen, a dedicated space in their home or some will come to your home if you request it. We believe that our commercial space allows us to set the standard high in the placenta arts industry.
While we do believe other encapsulators in our area work to ensure their own home kitchens or dedicated spaces are clean and sterile, a dedicated professional kitchen is the only way you can be sure your placenta is free from contaminants that can come from other family members, pets or whatever else might be found in a personal home kitchen.
Full Personal Protection Equipment your Bloom Placenta Encapsulation Specialist wears as they process your placenta.
Why would someone choose to eat their placenta?
The placenta is an amazing organ. It grows inside the womb specifically to provide life-giving nutrients to the baby. In addition to its physical importance (providing nutrients and removing waste), many cultures have spiritual beliefs regarding the placenta.
In most birth settings today, unless the birthing person makes a request otherwise, the placenta is treated as medical waste and disposed of soon after birth. In Utah, we have the right to say what happens to our body parts- the placenta is owned by the birthing mother.
Many families choose to honor the placenta in some way, often burying it under a tree and/or consuming it. Encapsulation is the “least gross” and most convenient way to consume your placenta. We take the gross factor out by processing your placenta into a dried powder that is placenta in simple gel caps.
It’s as convenient at taking your prenatal vitamin!
The placenta has been used in Traditional Chinese Remedies for over a thousand years. These remedies are known to nourish the blood, boost qi (life force energy) and help with lactation. The placenta contains minerals (the iron content is especially notable), hormones and amino acids/protein.
1 in 5 women will experience a postpartum mood or anxiety disorder. Many women have told us these experiences have been the lowest point of their lives. Not only do they have a new baby to take care of, they usually have a significant other, possibly other children, their home and various other additional responsibilities. Moms just want to feel their best postpartum.
The placenta is scientifically proven (link to studies) to contain hormones which could potentially play a role in preventing baby blues or postpartum mood disorders. In addition, many people believe the key nutrients like iron and amino acids (protein) the placenta contains can help combat postpartum fatigue.
What are the potential benefits?
Many mothers have reported the following benefits:
-Avoidance of postpartum blues, depression, anxiety and other postpartum mood disorders
-Faster postpartum recovery (uterus back to size)
-Natural replenishment of lost iron and nutrients
-Increased milk supply
-Better bond with baby
-Less pain and bleeding
-Overall better sense of well-being
What is in the placenta?
A placenta is an amazing organ that grows with your baby and will be “born” when (usually after) your baby is! It starts to develop when the egg attaches itself to the lining of the uterus a few days after ovulation. During your pregnancy it is your baby's lifeline and a beautiful link between the two of you.
At around 10-12 weeks, the placenta takes over secreting hormones, that control most of the changes that take place in your body during pregnancy. At around this time your placenta also takes over the job of supplying your baby with food and oxygen through the veins in the umbilical cord. It also removes waste products by acting as a return filter for the waste to be sent through the mom’s kidneys and liver. It even forms a barrier for the baby against some infections and toxins. It forms the amniotic fluid and the barrier between you and your baby's blood, even separating your circulation. It acts as the lungs, liver, intestines, kidneys and source of nutrition for the fetus.
It is found to be full of hormones and nutrients that can help a women feel a lot better
Process of Encapsulation
Do you add anything extra to the pills?
We do not. We believe that this has the potential to ruin the entire placenta should a mom or baby have any adverse reactions to anything we may add. We encourage our moms who think they may benefit from additional herbs to work closely with their provider, midwife or certified herbalist for advice related to the extra supplements.
Is there an after taste?
We say no, as we do wipe the pills clean of any lingering placenta powder before placing in the jar to prevent this…
But, there are times when a mom has mentioned her burps having a slight after taste. This is typically due to the acid in her stomach being somewhat off balance. This is often prevented by using apple cider vinegar as part of her diet. You can purchase capsules here or try our drink recipe.
In a tall glass mix:
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar (raw is not considered safe while breastfeeding, but you can still find good quality organic options out there...or the normal, less expensive stuff works great too)
Honey to sweetness level you like
Juice from ½ lemon
Sprinkle of cinnamon
Sprinkle of tumeric (optional)
Mix with water and ice
In addition to the use of vinegar, it can be really beneficial to store your pills in the freezer and take directly from there.
Is there a smell?
We say no to this too….but there probably is if you hold your nose right to the open jar and breath in. If you're concerned with smell, just don’t do that.
When should I let Bloom know about my baby's arrival?
We know it isn't always possible, but notice when you are headed in to have the baby is helpful, but not necessary. We do appreciate a "heads up" text or phone call so we can be on standby...since most babies aren’t born on their due dates.
Once the baby is here: Ensure the placenta is store on ice and let us know the baby has arrived! We pick up within 24 hours of birth between the hours of 7AM-9PM, but will give you a more exact time frame once we hear from someone regarding the arrival of your sweet, new baby.
Please note, there are certain hospitals/nurses who are not as okay with the placenta being kept on site for an extended amount of time. We are always willing to work with you outside of our 24 hour pick up policy in these scenarios so keeping your placenta does not end up being a burden.
How soon will I have my pills?
As long as we are provided with or allowed to pick up the placenta within 24 hours of the birth, you will have your pills in hand within 72 hours postpartum. We make every effort to ensure you are able to start taking your pills before the typical hormone crash at this point following the delivery of you baby.
We will work with you on a case-by-case basis when we are not provided your placenta within 24 hours postpartum. Typically turn around time is still 48 hours.
How much do you charge?
Placenta encapsulation - $125-$200
Your placenta is steamed, dried, ground into powder, and placed into capsules for easy consumption.
*Raw start method of encapsulation is available upon request.
Placenta tincture - $45
A small piece of your placenta is placed into a dropper bottle with 190 proof organic corn alcohol, to be used as a tincture beginning at least 6 weeks later. Many people choose to save this tincture and use it as needed, even years later. It keeps for a long, long time.
Umbilical keepsake - complimentary
The umbilical cord is dried into a shape such as a heart, spiral, or initial, and given to you to keep. If you don’t wish to have an umbilical keepsake, the umbilical cord will simply be included in your capsules.
How do I have my placenta released from the hospital?
The hospitals in Utah all have policies that allow for a mama to keep her healthy placenta. Many women choose to keep their placenta for a variety of cultural, religious or nutritional reasons.
We have found some hospitals and their staff are much more supportive than others and some staff will not be the friendliest or most supportive in letting you keep your placenta. We often find that this is due to the lack of accurate information related to placenta encapsulation.
It is your right to be able keep your placenta for whatever reasons you may have. The way to ensure the best placenta release outcome is to be informed on common misconceptions, which will be noted in the Placenta Pickup Process email you will be sent after booking service, have a cooler with you to store your placenta on ice until pick up, and stay confident when discussing your wishes. We have encapsulated placentas from all of our area's hospitals, so if you have specific questions/concerns regarding your particular hospital for delivery please contact us and we can discuss this topic further.
Most hospitals will require a release of liability waiver to be signed, but do not be surprised if a particular hospital does not require any special paperwork to release a placenta. Often it depends on who is on staff during your birthing time whether or not a form is required.
You should tell your doctor ahead of time that you plan to take your placenta home and write it into your birth plan. This way if there is an issue, you can deal with it before you are in labor. I also recommend that you mention your intentions again upon admission and then again when your baby is born. Be friendly and cooperative when discussing your intentions to take home your placenta.
How should I store my placenta until pick up?
To ensure the placenta is stored safely it needs to be put onto ice or in the fridge within 2 HOURS of the birth.
For a hospital birth:
After the placenta is born the hospital staff will put the placenta in a bag or plastic container for you. This will need to be kept cold until we arrive to pick it up. The best way to store this it is to have a cooler and two gallon sized ziplock bags with you when you go to have your baby. The container or bag containing the placenta can go into your cooler and the ziplocks can be filled with ice at the refreshment station in the labor and delivery unit by someone with you at the hospital. If you go to have your baby and do not have a cooler, it is completely fine to have the bag or container holding the placenta put into a plastic hospital basin on ice. Please let us know when we are contacted about the birth that you do not have a cooler and we will be happy to bring one of ours for transporting.
Home and birth center: Your midwife or birth assistant will double zip lock bag your placenta and place it in the fridge or freezer. We will come with ice and a cooler to pick up during our normal pickup hours once we are contacted.
If you choose not to encapsulate right away or are still deciding, the placenta is safe for encapsulation as long as it is stored on ice for up to 24 hours, in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
I have a hard time swallowing pills. What do you suggest?
We have mini capsules available. They are made of high quality bovine gelatin. They are about half the size of a normal gel capsule that we use.
Do you have vegan capsules available?
Yes. We recognize that some people have sensitivities to bovine gelatin, and also that many people still consider placenta encapsulation vegan. We have high quality vegetable based capsules available.
Do you have flavored capsules?
We do. Even though our clients don't notice a taste, we know that some moms minds are set at ease by having the flavored gel capsules.
The most common flavors are strawberry, orange, lime, grape, and a mixture of all flavors that also includes mulberry.
What are the placenta pills dosage guidelines?
Dosage: As your Placenta Encapsulation Specialist mentioned to you when your pills were given to you, the dosage instructions listed on your bottle are listed as guidelines. We have no way of knowing the strength of your placenta and how your body will feel, so pay attention to your body and lessen your dose if the guidelines seem too strong for you.
I heard a baby got sick from placenta capsules. Can my baby get sick too?
There was a single case study that indicated that a baby may have gotten ill from placenta capsules. There are a lot of questions regarding how that placenta was prepared and the circumstances surrounding it. We only prepare placentas using food safe temperatures and practices. For more information please feel free to read this blog.
How long after birth can a placenta be encapsulated?
Ideally we want to begin processing within 24-48 hours of birth, but may begin later as long as the placenta has been stored correctly.
Is it okay to encapsulate if my baby has passed meconium?
Meconium is actually only considered a danger if it is inhaled by the baby. Otherwise, it is completely harmless. In additional, your placenta will be thoroughly cleaned and the membrane will be removed before the steaming process begins. Finally, the high heat that is used for steaming and dehydrating is done at scientifically proven temperature to kill off any additional bacteria.
Does the placenta work like a sponge or filter and holds onto toxins?
This is a common misconception. Actually, the placenta work more like a return filter, not an air filter that clings to things. It actually acts as a barrier for toxins to the child and then sends them back to the mother’s bloodstream to be disposed of through her liver and kidneys.
Unfortunately, heavy metals are in our environment. Did you know they are and also found in breastmilk? Thank goodness, the levels found in the placenta and breastmilk are well below established safety limits and toxicity levels.
A 2017 study out of Jena University hospital determined that no toxic heavy metals or bacteria were present in a dehydrated placenta above the European Union standards for food safety levels. (and their standards are much higher than those in the US!)
If you like to read research (we sure do!) this article references another study that has shown the mean concentrations of potentially harmful elements are well below toxicity thresholds.
Can I still encapsulate my placenta if I have had an induction, pain medication and/or cesarean birth?
Absolutely! Substances used in labor and delivery, such as Pitocin, do not get stored in the placenta (more on this below) and have no noticeable effects on placenta capsules.
How do you ensure that my placenta is not mixed up or cross contaminated with someone elses?
At Bloom we are very passionate about ensuring we are not cross contaminating mixing your placenta up with anyone else’s. Our process for placenta pickup involves labeling the cooler your placenta is transported with your full name and date/time of birth and pickup. Once your placenta is in the Bloom Placentas kitchen we will place the same label on the designated station for your placenta to be processed in. That label will stay with your placenta all the way to the point of your name and date of encapsulation being written on your jar of pills. We are extremely diligent with this and have never even had a single time of being worried that we were unsure of whose placenta belonged to who.
What can I use my tincture for?
The benefits from the pills can be continued once they are gone with the tincture. Women report emotional, mental and psychological benefits and many use the tincture for treating PMS and menopause. While we can’t recommend the use of the tincture for anyone other than the mother, we have heard grandmother’s going through menopause experience benefits from tinctures that have come from their grandchildren’s placentas!
How is a tincture made?
A placenta tincture is made from a finely minced piece of the mother’s placenta. We place the piece to seep in 190 proof organic corn alcohol for 4-6 weeks.
How do I use my tincture?
Your tincture includes one ready-to-use 2 oz dropper bottle and an additional 4oz jar of fermenting tincture. Please shake or agitate the fermenting bottle once weekly. When you use up your supply of tincture, you may strain the remaining pieces out (using a cheesecloth works best), then funnel the liquid into the dropper bottle. If you become low on tincture you may increase the supply by adding additional alcohol to the jar. Only use 100 proof or higher for this, any other alcohol can spoil it. It will be less potent so adjust the dosage accordingly.
Dosage for mom: 5-7 drops of the tincture can be put into a glass of water and drunk by the mother during times of transition, trauma, hormonal fluctuations, etc. Some women have reported using their tinctures to successfully relieve symptoms of postpartum mood disorders, PMS and menopause.
Child: as mentioned above, we cannot recommend usage of placenta outside of the Mother, but many people do report positive results when giving 3-5 drops in a glass of water to a sick child or rubbing some on the bottoms of their feet when they are sick, getting sick or in time of physical or emotional transition. It can be given to a sibling as well, but ideally, each child would have their own tincture.
How do I store my tincture?
The tincture mixture will initially need to be stored in a cool, dark place in the 4 oz amber jar for 4-6 weeks. Ensure you are shaking the jar to mix things up at least every few days, daily would be ideal.
At the end of the initial fermenting phase, the final tincture will need to be strained to remove the placenta pieces inside. We recommend using a funnel and piece of unbleached cheesecloth or unbleached coffee filter. Fill small dropper bottle that was included with your tincture and store both jar and dropper bottle in a cool, dry place. It is believed that the tincture will stay good forever.
If you become low on tincture you may increase your supply by adding additional alcohol to the jar. We use 190 proof organic corn liquor, but you can use 100 proof vodka as well. Your tincture will become less potent, so be sure to adjust dosage as needed.
Do you have certification to encapsulate?
We began encapsulating in 2014 as part of services offered through Northern Utah Doulas.
Bloom Placenta Encapsulation Specialists (BPES') are:
Certified through the Association of Placenta Preparation Arts
Hold current food handlers permits through the State of Utah
Trained through the APPA Bloodborne Pathogens Training for Professional Placenta Service
We are certified APPAC’s through the Association of Placenta Preparation Arts, because this training is the most comprehensive of all of the certifying options out there. APPAC’s are held to the highest safety, sanitation and ethical standards. As of July 2018, we are the first APPAC’s in the state of Utah.
You can learn more about APPA here
Association of Placenta Preparation Arts
How did you get started encapsulating women’s placentas?
Serving those around us is our passion. Specifically helping moms and families function their best. This has led us to focusing on maternal care, especially postpartum. In 2014 Shannon began learning about different services she could offer her doula clients and started being curious about placenta encapsulation and how it may be a useful service to offer. After some initial training and research she started offering the service and as the positive feedback started rolling in from clients, she believed in this more and more and has since worked hard to share it with the community throughout Northern Utah.
In 2017 we decided to start Bloom and focus this company on educating and setting the placenta encapsulation standard high. We will continue to work hard spreading the #placentapride and #makingplacentascool throughout Utah.
To read more about Our Story visit-- bloomplacentas.com/story