Ask The Placenta Lady is a show about the birth year. Pregnancy, birth, and postpartum recovery – no question is too strange for The Placenta Lady!
Our question for this episode is: “My OB told me I am GBS positive. Can I still encapsulate my placenta?”
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Welcome to Ask The Placenta Lady. Hi, I’m Jodi, also known as The Placenta Lady. I’ve been working with mothers since 2006, and I’m here to answer your questions. No question is too strange for The Placenta Lady! Joining me today is Heather Rawlett. Heather is a PBi trained Certified Placenta Encapsulation Specialist who also happens to be a registered nurse. She has 10 years of experience with mother-baby care and she’s also the owner of Maryland Placenta Nurse. Welcome to the show Heather.
– Hi Jodi, thank you for having me. I’m so excited to be with you today.
[Jodi] Why don’t you go ahead and tell us a little bit about your work?
[Heather] Sure, I own and operate a company called Maryland Placenta Nurse. I provide in-home placenta encapsulation services to new mothers in Maryland, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, the D.C. area. I provide all of the services in the client’s home. I bring all of my own equipment. I sanitize and clean before and after. It’s a two day process and generally since most of my clients give birth in a hospital, I’m in and out before the client’s even home from the hospital. So her pills are there waiting for her when she gets home. I leave detailed instructions and of course I’m available to her for six weeks postpartum should any questions come up.
In addition to the placenta stuff I also make jewelry. I’m wearing some today. I use the dehydrated placenta to make keepsake jewelry, rings, necklaces, I’ve done a whole bunch of different types of pieces for people. But it’s a nice way to take those few extra pills that you have left over at the end of your postpartum recovery and have them forever.
[Jodi] Right on, that’s awesome Heather. So our question for this segment of Ask the Placenta Lady is what is Group B Strep and if I have it, can I still use my placenta or create capsules from it and ingest them? Heather, as a nurse, can you kind of explain to us what Group B Strep – or GBS as you’ll sometimes see it – what that is?
[Heather] Sure, so Group B Strep, or GBS, is a bacterial infection that can live in the intestines, the vagina and the rectum of a woman. The CDC suggests or recommends that we test every woman to see what their GBS status is. This bacteria is normally found in about 25% of all healthy women. Your OB will do a swab of the area. They’ll send off that swab. In 24 to 48 hours later, they’ll have the results.
If the placenta is prepared correctly, it is still safe to encapsulate.
Should a woman be GBS positive, she would be treated at the hospital prophylactically with IV antibiotics to help protect her baby. GBS does not do anything harmful to the woman. You can walk around with GBS, you’re not sick. It’s just something that lives inside of your body. And again, not all women have this GBS.
Now you can still encapsulate your placenta if you are GBS positive. You would just want to make sure that you’re doing the right kind of encapsulation, meaning by a trained professional that is steaming the placenta prior to dehydration. If it’s prepared correctly, it is still safe to encapsulate. One thing I’d like to note about GBS is that Group B Strep is not a sexually transmitted disease. For most women, there are no symptoms of carrying the GBS bacteria. The only way you would know if you’re positive is when your doctor does the swab.
Group B Strep is not a sexually transmitted disease.
[Jodi] Thank you Heather. So Group B Strep or if you see it GBS just to reiterate what Heather said is, it’s not generally harmful to women. The concern is during birth. And transferring the bacteria to the baby during delivery. Is that correct?
[Jodi] So if a woman tests positive for Group B Strep during this routine kind of testing that they’ll do during the pregnancy, she can still use the placenta and ingest the placenta. Now the CDC has recently come out with a warning and so a lot of hospitals, OBGYNs, nursing staff and such are warning against placenta encapsulation due to a single instance of contamination, secondary contamination of a baby that happened. However that placenta was picked up from the hospital was taken to a separate facility and the placenta was also prepared from raw.
Now as the Director of Placenta Benefits, PBi, our training and certification program, we always talk about food safety. And part of food safety particularly when preparing placenta for ingestion is the placenta must be cooked in some fashion prior to dehydrating. And if the placenta is not cooked, then it’s absolutely true that any bacteria that is, exists on the external parts of the placenta will then get dehydrated and they’ve done plenty of testing with USDA and things like that as far as dehydrating meat which is what would be the closest that we could compare. And have found that bacteria can then live and survive that dehydration process.
So questions to ask if you are Group B Strep positive at birth – make sure that the person preparing your placenta is properly trained and certified. It is always safest if the Placenta Encapsulation Specialist comes to your home because then you are the one in charge of transporting, caring for the placenta. You always have complete control over the placenta and its handling, and you always know exactly how it’s being prepared. And then make sure that the placenta is prepared according to PBi methods and Traditional Chinese Medicine methods which require steaming prior to dehydration. If those things are followed, then the placenta will be absolutely safe to ingest. And so the answer is yes with guidelines. So proper preparation absolutely matters.
The answer is yes, with guidelines. Proper preparation absolutely matters.
Do you have anything to add to that Heather? Did I leave anything out that you would like to join in on?
[Heather] I would like to reiterate having the placenta prepared in your own home. It is much more beneficial for you to know the chain of command that that placenta has been through. You don’t have to worry about complaining that something isn’t what you think it is. Hospitals take GBS very seriously. A baby, a newborn baby that’s affected by GBS will often be admitted to the NICU and put on IV antibiotics.
There’s much more training that goes into being properly trained than just knowing how to make the pills.
The GBS in an infant can cause sepsis, pneumonia, meningitis, which are the most common complications. So therefore the hospital staff is going to take this very seriously and so should your Placenta Encapsulation Specialist. At PBi we become certified as food handlers. We also, I have a bloodborne pathogen certification. So there’s much more training that goes into being properly trained than just knowing how to make the pills. And it’s always a good idea to interview a couple different specialists that you’re considering and go with the person that feels right to you. As mothers, we have our own instincts and if you have a gut feeling, yes this person is who I want in my home, that’s the person you should go with. If there are any red flags at all, move on. A certification, when it’s coming to your placenta is just so important and it’s something that should be expected, it shouldn’t be the exception.
[Jodi] Those are all very excellent points, Heather. Thank you for being on the show today. If somebody wanted to contact you, how would they, how is best to get a hold of you?
[Heather] So my website is MarylandPlacentaNurse.com. You can email me Heather@MarylandPlacentaNurse.com. I’m also on Instagram as Maryland Placenta Nurse. I’m very active on Instagram. I do have a Facebook page, I’m not on there quite as often but easily to contact me through any of those means. And I’d love to talk with anyone in the area more. And I love to talk placentas so feel free to ask me any questions if you want. And I can always pass it on to the Placenta Lady.
[Jodi] That’s fantastic. Thank you for tuning into this episode of Ask the Placenta Lady. Remember no question is too strange for The Placenta Lady! If you have a question, follow us on Facebook. Facebook.com and then it’s /PlacentaBenefits. You can follow us on Instagram as well at Placenta Benefits. And yeah, just shoot us your questions and we would love to answer them!
– Thank you, Jodi.
– Thank you, Heather.
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