Placenta Encapsulation

I offer placenta encapsulation services in the greater Chattanooga, TN area, including Cleveland and Dalton, GA.

For thousands of years Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has considered the placenta powerful medicine with various health benefits.  It has historically been treated with respect and reverence for it's life-giving properties although interestingly, while most mammal ingest the placenta(s) shortly after birth, this has not been common among humans.  Women are now finding that this gift from you baby, yes it is a part of the baby not the mother, can be used to ease the transition between pregnancy and postpartum.  More women are hearing from others how taking placenta postpartum has helped with the huge adjustment hormonally to no longer being pregnant.  Some of the benefits women have reported:

  • lactation support (earlier and increased supply)
  • decrease in postpartum blues and depression
  • quicker postpartum recovery (such as tears/incisions and bleeding)
  • replenished iron stores (let me know if you were anemic during pregnancy and/or lost a lot of blood so that I can prepare your placenta in a way that maximizes iron levels)
  • more balanced hormone levels
  • increased energy
  • support during times of stress

This is a very individual experience and each woman will find that consuming the placenta may have different effects for her than reported by other women.  While most women find it helpful for the many reasons listed above, on rare occasions women have reported negative responses such as a decrease in supply, rash, or anxiety. 

One method of preparation used is the TCM-inspired method which allows the placenta to be ingested over time instead being consumed all at once, as is commonly seen in nature.  While immediate consumption gives a great energy boost and replenishes lost nutrients and hormones, it doesn't allow for the gentle, tonifying of TCM-style prepared pills.  In TCM women are traditionally fed cooling (including raw) foods during the first 48 hours to help slow the blood flow and calm the hormonal rush.  After this period mothers are given warming foods to promote healing by bringing the mother's body back into balance, with tonifying purposes of nourishing the blood and restoring energy.  The use of warming herbs and cooking of the placenta help with the formation and action of the placenta as medicine.   

The Preparation Process

The TCM-style method involves rinsing and removing any excess blood and gently steaming the placenta with warming herbs (lemon balm, peppers, ginger).  I then thinly slice the placenta and place in a dehydrator to dry, then powder it, and put it into capsules for you.  All preparations are done with my equipment, in my home or yours. You are welcome to watch as much or as little of the process as you'd like and ask questions you might have.  There's very little if any smell during the preparation and minimal during the drying process.  If preparing in your home I will need access to your kitchen sink, some countertop space and your stovetop for about two to two and half hours hours each day.  I use as much disposible equipment as possible. I also follow blood borne pathogen safety protocols for preparation and to thoroughly sanitize reusable equipment between uses and make sure the process is as safe as possible for all.  Most families agree with me that the placenta has very little smell, similar to liver.

Each placenta is unique and varies in size, usually approximately 1/6 the weight of your baby.  One placenta can make anywhere from about 90-140 capsules, when steamed.

Raw Preparation

Some women prefer an unsteamed preparation.  This preparation is a very different "medicine" than the TCM-style method. Women who have taken both report greater energy with a raw preparation and it's thought that it may contain more of the hormones, B vitamins, and enzymes then the steamed placenta.  It's especially important if choosing raw preparation that the placenta be well cared for, refrigerated and then processed as soon as possible. 

The high potency preparation involves cleaning the placenta thoroughly and draining any excess blood.  The placenta is thinly sliced and dehydrated, first for a short time at a high temperature to kill any bacteria that might be present on the outside, then lowered to about 115 degrees to maximize the potency.  Finally it's ground and encapsulated, just like the TCM-style capsules.  The raw preparation usually yields about 30% more capsules. 

If you're interested in the raw preparation as well as the TCM-style method I would be happy to prepare some of each for you.

Other Options

 Other options for preparation include:

  • Placenta tincture, a wonderful way to preserve the benefits of the placenta for long-term use and even (diluted) for the child.  It is often used this way for hormonal balancing such as with PMS, depression or menopause.  For children it can be used during times of transition, such as teething or learning to walk.  It's not fully understood why, but it is reported to work like a reset button bringing the child back to a state of emotional and physical balance.  It can also be professionally prepared into a child's perfect constitutional homeopathic remedy. For preparation a piece of the placenta is chosen before preparation of the rest of the placenta and put in a jar of 100 proof alcohol.  The amount of placenta used of course determines how much tincture can be made and how much will be left for encapsulation.  After 2-6 weeks (depending on whether you need it sooner or later) the placenta can be strained from the alcohol for indefinite use.
  • Beautiful placenta prints can be made with your placenta.  They look like a tree, thus it makes sense that the placenta is often referred to as the tree of life.  You can see some beautiful placenta prints here: http://www.portlandplacentaservices.com/placenta-prints--keepsakes.html  


  • Placenta-infused Herbal Healing Salve - Your powdered placenta can be added to lotion, or made into a balm or salve.  Sheep placenta is often used in expensive "restorative" creams and placenta extract is reported to be the active ingredient in Olay's Regenerist Ointment for the eyes.  Clearly it promotes healing and regeneration of the skin cells and can be used to reduce cesarean scars, on perineal repairs, as a baby balm for baby's bottom, or on cracked nipples.  I will gladly prepare salve for you, or you can open your capsules and mix it into a pre-made cream or lotion.  I create herbal infused olive or coconut oil as a base (comfrey, plantain, calendula, red clover), and combine with shea butter, coconut, cocoa butter, beeswax, and if desired, essential oils (usually lavender for scent and added healing benefits).  We can discuss you're planned uses of the salve and which ingredients you prefer.
  • Placenta Smoothie- A small, thumb nail/walnut-sized portion of the fresh placenta can be added to a smoothie for raw consumption. It's reported that a mix of berries covers the iron-rich flavor well and yogurt, orange juice, and frozen mixed berries seem to make a good smoothie base.  I can prepare this for you if I'm in your home and you have the supplies on hand, or someone else can help you with this simple process.     
  • Frozen Placenta Pieces -  Some women perfer to have the placenta, or a portion of the placenta cut up into small pieces to use later as a raw supplement, ususally added to smoothies.  I can cut up and freeze part of the placenta and dry and encapsulate the other part, or cut up and freeze the whole placenta.
  • A cord keepsake can be made from the baby's umbilical cord.  Hearts or spirals are the most common. Some cultures even use this as a teether for baby!    

When Should we Call You?

If you have placed your placenta in the refrigerator, freezer, or on ice within a few hours of your birth I can prepare your placenta at any time if I'm available, even if we haven't discussed it prior to your baby's birth.  Ideally you can contact me via the Placenta Encapsulation Agreement (under the Contact tab at the top and linked below) as soon as you decide this is a service you would like me to provide.  We can discuss any questions you have and I can put your date on my calendar as a reminder that you'll be calling me and to make sure I will be available (i.e. not on vacation).  Please contact me via text or call as soon as is convenient after your baby arrives so that we can make arrangements to get your placenta prepared as quickly as possible.  If I'm available I will gladly come to your home while you're still at the hospital if you're giving birth away from home and try to have it prepared before you're home.  Or I can pick up the placenta and process it at my home it's more convenient or preferred.

How to Care For Your Baby's Placenta

The placenta needs to be refrigerated as quickly as possible, or within about one to two hours of birth. If necessary it can put into ziploc bags or the hospital container and packed in ice.  Think of it as a fresh meat product :)  You may want to bring a cooler just in case your room isn't one with a refrigerator or you don't have anyone to bring it home in those first hours after the birth.  Most placentas are placed into a gallon-size round tupperware-style container so plan the size of your cooler accordingly. More often hospitals are offering to keep it in the refrigerator so don't hesitate to ask your nurse about this.

It's best to let your care provider know in advance that you'd like to take it home with you.  You may also consider requesting that your care provider wait to clamp the cord until it stops pulsating (at least 2 minutes) so that your baby's blood drains from the placenta and your baby is given back all it's blood volume that is still in circulation outside it's body.  Studies show that breastfed babies with delayed cord clamping have much lower rates of anemia at 4 months and beyond.  Cord blood is also full of stem cells that the baby's body can use to potentially heal birth traumas.  Put it in your birth plan if you have one and remind the hospital staff when you arrive.  If there's no infection or other reason for the placenta to be taken to the lab they will put it in a bowl with a lid and/or ziplock bags.  If your placenta has to go to the lab for any reason please ask the nurse to write on the container that you do not want it treated with formaldehyde, formalin, or any other preservative and to keep it refrigerated so that it can be taken home after testing.  You do not need to be specific about your plans, although all the local hospitals have been fine with releasing the placenta and many care providers and nurses are fascinated by the idea.  If you're having a homebirth please ask your midwife not to leave the placenta on or in a chux/blue pad. There's concern about the chemicals in the pads getting on your placenta and into your pills. 

Rates

Placenta Preparation ~  I will prepare and encapsulate your placenta using either the TCM-style method or the raw-prep method.  $150  Current doula clients may take $25 off ($125)  

Please add $50 for each additional placenta being processed (i.e. multiples or frozen sibling placentas).  This includes the fee for combined preparation if you choose to have each placenta prepared differently. 

Combination Preparation ~ I will prepare both TCM-style and raw-prep. Add $10.00 

Tincture ~ Approximately 6 to 8 oz placenta tincture using 100 proof alcohol. $15  Add $10 if you would like me to keep it and strain out the placenta and return the finished tincture to you.  ($50 if requested without encapsulation or frozen cubes. I will return it to you when strained and finished.)  Your tincture will be given to you in an amber glass bottle with an empty 1 oz dropper bottle included.

Prints ~ 3 to 5 prints; I usually make several and save only the nicest.  $15 (per placenta if multiple placentas). ($50 if requested without encapsulation.)

Balm/Salve ~ approximately 4 oz., requires approximately 4 capsules. $15 (With encapsulation only.)

Placenta Smoothie ~ free for clients having the preparation done in their home, providing their own supplies (berries, juice, yogurt, etc.) and equipment (blender, stick blender).  If preparation will be done in my home I am happy to provide a small piece for the smoothie to be returned with the capsules. (With encapsulation, tincture or frozen placenta pieces, only.)

Frozen Placenta Cubes ~ free with placenta encapuslation.  You decide what percentage you'd like cut up and frozen and what percent encapsulated.  $50 without encapsulation (this includes pick up, processing, and drop off).

Cord Keepsake ~ free, please let me know if you would like one. (With encapsulation only.)

Photos  ~ free, taken of the placenta before it is prepared showing the fetal side and amniotic sac and maternal side, let me know if you would like this. I'll do my best to take pictures if requested.

 

If you would like to reserve a space on my calendar for encapsulation, please fill out this Placenta Encapsulation Agreement.  There is a space for any specific questions you have.  I'll reply within 48 hours to let you know I've received it and answer any questions you might have.

The information on this page has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The services offered by Nurtured Birth Services are for preparation only and are not clinical, pharmaceutical, or intended to diagnose or treat any condition. Individuals who choose to utilize the services on this page take full responsibility of their own health and for researching whether or not placenta consumption is right for them.

 

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