by Anne Ferguson
The process of placenta encapsulation has been growing at a rapid rate in the last 5 years. Across the Twin Cities and beyond, all types of moms are choosing this ancient process to support themselves during the postpartum period in a natural way. We routinely work with moms who choose hospital birth, home birth, birth center birth, unmedicated birth, epidurals and planned cesareans. They all know that new parents need support in the weeks and months after having a baby and that their own placenta can offer some wonderful benefits to them when taken in capsule form.
As the process has grown in popularity, a huge number of people have started offering this service. Unfortunately, many of these providers have little training and may not be taking all of the necessary precautions.
At Bywater Birth, we've been encapsulating for a combined 5.5 years and we both did placenta encapsulation with our youngest children. This is our passion and it's our business. We take it very seriously! Anne is certified by the Association of Placenta Preparation Arts (www.placentaassociation.com) and our company policies and procedures are guided by the standards of this organization. We take safety seriously for our clients, of course, but also for ourselves.
Here's a checklist you can use to help you find a placenta encapsulation provider who will not only follow safe procedures but will also complete the process in a timely fashion. We recommend you take a look at websites and see which providers share pictures and information that promote the safe practices outlined in this post I wrote for encapsulators.
Here are some questions you can ask if you can't find these answers on the website of the person you are considering hiring for this service.
1. What training/certification and experience do you have?
2. What do you do if two placentas arrive on the same day? (We have two providers so we can maintain a quick turn around time and handle this type of situation easily. Some providers have two dehydrators but work on only one placenta at time and can safely work on two placenta in the same day if needed. This is acceptable when done carefully.)
3. Do you have a partner or back-up if I give birth on a day you aren't available?
4. What is your standard turn around time? (24-48 hours is standard. In rare cases 3 days might be acceptable.)
5. What do you use to sanitize all your equipment? (Hint if it's not "tons of bleach" or one of these approved chemicals they are not following best practices.) All equipment should be soaked in cool bleach water (10% solution) for 10 minutes. It can then be rinsed with hot water to neutralize the bleach.
6. What personal protective equipment do you wear? (The answer should be eye protection, a mask, gloves, an apron and something over the arms.
7. How do you sanitize the work space before you begin? At Bywater Birth we have special bleach wipes like they use in hospitals that we can wipe counters and sinks with.
8. What temperature do you set the dehydrator at? (For Traditional Method it should be at least 145 degrees and for Raw Start 160.)
9. How many hours after I call do you usually come pick it up? Encapsulators should give clear instructions on how clients should store the placenta until they come pick up. It must be put on ice in a cooler or in a fridge within 1-2 hours of birth but no more than 4 at the absolute most.
When done safely, placenta encapsulation is safe for both the consumer and the encapsulation provider. Is your placenta in your postpartum plan?