All About Placentas
The placenta is a fascinating organ – with so many uses, this blog is all about placentas and what you can do with them.
Having spoken to numerous women who have encapsulated their placentas, I have received nothing but positive feedback.
Women ask me many questions around their placentas, encapsulation in difference scenarios, so I did some research and contacted my good friend Jenny, from Mama Bird Doula, an IPEN trained member of the Placenta Remedies Network for some answers.
What is placenta encapsulation, how do I care for my placenta?
Some people simply freeze their placentas, or dehydrate and cook themselves, however if you are planning to encapsulate it – it needs to be considered a food product and stored well.
If you are looking to make your own placenta smoothie – this guide “Placenta Smoothies” from the Placenta Remedies Network”, is an excellent resource.
To be prepared and consumed within 24 hours of the placenta’s delivery. The raw placenta smoothie is made of a 3cms round piece of fresh placenta (the rest can be prepared into capsules or other remedies), a handful of fresh organic berries of choice, 1 whole banana, an organic apple and spring water. Simple and delicious…you really can’t taste the placenta!
There are two different methods of encapsulation – simple or steamed. With the steamed method, we use lemon, chilli and ginger to help with grounding and circulation – in this process the capsules are more likely to be calming and aid with postnatal depression.
The simple method is the most nutritious and energising and involves dehydrating the raw placenta and grinding it into capsules. Both methods have been reported to aid with boosting milk supply.
You encapsulator will provide you with a chiller pack, ice packs will need to go in the freezer at home and then transferred to the freezer at the hospital to keep them fresh. The placenta needs to go in the cool bag with the ice packs within half an hour of delivery and stay in there for a maximum of 12 hours before needing refrigeration. The placenta can be chilled for a maximum of 3 days in the fridge, ideally collection would be the same or the next day. There is a small chance that if you birth in hospital outside of collection hours and the placenta reaches the twelve hour limit in the chiller you may need to transfer it to your home fridge.
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Placenta To Prevent Haemmorhage
This article “The Power Of Placenta For Hemmorhage Control” in Midwifery Today, discusses in detail the placenta and it’s many amazing qualities.
For third-stage haemorrhage, putting a bit of membrane in the mother’s mouth or having her suck on the cord are recommended (Tritten 2010/2011). Postpartum haemorrhage has been controlled by using a small quarter-size piece of placenta placed in the mother’s cheek or chewed by the mother first and then held between her cheek and gum (Frye 2004; Williams and Knight 2014)
Can I Encapsulate My Placenta If ……………
Can I encapsulate my placenta if I’ve had a water birth?
Yes if the placenta is not delivered in the water.
Can I encapsulate my placenta if I’ve had a caesarean birth?
Yes you can.
Can I encapsulate my placenta if I’ve had an induction?
Yes you can.
Can I encapsulate my placenta if I’ve had antibiotics?
Yes if there is no infection present.
Can I encapsulate my placenta if I am Group Strep B Positive?
Yes but only by the steamed method.
Can I encapsulate my placenta if I’ve had Syntocin or a managed third stage (placental delivery)?
Yes you can.
Can I encapsulate my placenta if I’ve had a physiological (non managed) third stage (placenta delivery)?
Yes you can.
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Can I encapsulate my placenta if I’ve had delayed cord clamping?
Yes you can.
Can I encapsulate my placenta if I have had twins?
Yes you can, it may take longer for the encapsulator as twin placentas are bigger.
Can I encapsulate my placenta if I’ve had a a lotus birth?
Yes for lotus birth as long as not full lotus birth, placenta needs to be less than 8 degrees within 4 hours to be suitable for consumption.
Can I encapsulate if I do cord burning?
Yes but being mindful of food hygiene rules the placenta needs to be less than 8 degrees within 4 hours, our tests have shown that can be achieved in a cool bag if the placenta is placed there within half an hour.
How do I store my placenta while I’m waiting for it to be collected?
Your specialist should provide you with Tupperware, cool bag and ice packs where it can stay for 12 hours.
Can I insist on having my placenta given to me/keeping my placenta/use a cord tie/cut my own cord.
Yes you can – there is an urban myth that there are legal requirements around the burial of placentas or that in some situation they “have” to be sent off for testing, neither of these are true.
The umbilical cord it pretty self sealing if fully optimised cord clamping is practised – so you could even use nothing in theory. You can use a cord tie if that is your choice or have a cord burning, as Jenny from Mama Bird Did – you can read more in her blog “Cord Burning – Reclaiming The Sacred Third Stage” (pictures by me).
What else can I do with my placenta I don’t want to eat it?
There are many ways you can honour your placenta, it is the tree of life that grew your baby for 9 months.
You can bury it under a plant, it is great for fruit trees, you can make placental art with it (this is lovely), this you can do yourself using acid free paper, or your doula or placenta specialist can do it for you, you can have it made into placenta jewellery like these beautiful items from Keep Me Close and Grandmother Turtle..These are beautiful twin placenta prints made as a gift for me to give to one of my twin clients by Lisa of Birth Roots.As Jenny, of Mama Bird and Lisa of Birth Roots and I are close colleagues, my clients get a 10% discount on their encapsulation services. Please feel to contact me if you need more information or have any questions.
If you interested in training to work with and encapsulate placentas the main training bodies are IPEN and PRISM Placenta Training (co-run by another friend of mine – Nikki Mather of The Doula Element).
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Samantha Gadsden walks with women on their life’s journeys. She is an experienced Doula, based close to Cardiff in South Wales, mother to 4 children and wife to Eddie, more information can be found on her facebook page, Samantha Gadsden Doula and her website, Caerphilly Doula. SOS Doula, Telephone and online support is always available.
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