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Frequently Asked Questions
2. Lotus Birth
11. Recommended Dose
1. What is the optimal timeline for encapsulation?
|Birth – 3 hours||3 hours – 48 hours|
|You can prepare the placenta fresh. It will hold the most benefits at this point.||You can prepare the placenta fresh, as long as it’s been refrigerated.|
If placenta can not be prepared within first 48 hours
|48 hours – 2 weeks||2 weeks – 4 weeks||After a month|
|Double-bag placenta and freeze within first 24 hours of the birth. Thaw in the refrigerator (takes about 24 hours) prior to encapsulation.||Placenta may still be encapsulated, however the longer it is in the freezer the less effective it may be to the mother.||The placenta may be at risk for freezer burn and the longer its stored in the freezer, the less benefit it has to the mother.|
2. What is Lotus Birth? Can I encapsulate and have a gentle separation too? I am planning a lotus birth and putting the attached placenta in a soft-sided cooler on bagged ice. The cooler has a zipper that would be closed around the cord… might it be acceptable?
A lotus birth is when the placenta is left attached to the baby until it detaches on its own, generally after several days. In lotus birth, it is common to salt or otherwise help the placenta dry out more quickly. While traditional lotus birth is a beautiful ceremony honoring the connection between placenta and baby, it renders the placenta unsuitable for consumption.
If lotus birth is important to you, a modified version could be performed while still encapsulating the placenta.
a) The placenta could stay connected to the baby for up to three or four hours. This would give the baby a gentle transition to the world, and the placenta would still be fit for consumption after this amount of time. Do not exceed four hours before separating the placenta and refrigerating it.
b) Another option at four hours postpartum is to sever the portion of placenta that you desire to encapsulate, and place it into the refrigerater. The remainder of the placenta can stay intact, along with the cord to baby until it falls off naturally. This allows a modified version of both lotus and encapsulation while understanding you are not receiving either in full – resulting in fewer capsules, no cord keepsake, and some will be severed (not full lotus.)
Remember that we need to start the process within the first 24 hours (ideally) to 48 hours of the birth. We do this because the hormones within the placenta will begin to metabolize and change.
If the placenta is encapsulated after 4-5 days, has been kept cool and does not spoil, the capsules will not be as potent from a hormonal standpoint. While the iron and other nutrients take longer to break down, choosing a more optimal lotus birth could result in potentially less effective placenta capsules. Lotus also tends to involve salting of the placenta. Adding that much sodium into the capsules is not going to be good for a system and is a step that would be better skipped.
The modified options above (a, b) offer a lotus-type gentle birth while also having the full benefit from the placenta capsules, and those are what PBi believes to be best.
3. Which is better, consuming the placenta Raw or using the Traditional Chinese Medicine method?
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, cooling foods are best in the first 48 hours postpartum. Raw foods, thus raw placenta, are used to help calm the hormonal rush and blood flow down. After the first 48 hours, warming foods are most beneficial. Cooked or steamed foods (prepared and/or encapsulated placenta) are used to help rebuild blood, chi, and slowly increase the body’s endocrine functions.
Encapsulating the prepared placenta allows for longer term of ingestion, possibly providing a longer time of benefits.
If you would like to consume the placenta immediately after the birth, cut off a one-inch square piece and place inside the cheek or under the tongue for as long as possible. It may then be discarded, or swallowed according to your preference. This is the fastest way to incorporate the hormonal benefits of placenta.
4. Are there special considerations when making a placenta smoothie?
Adding prepared placenta for smoothies 48 hours postpartum is a viable option. If you want to consume the placenta immediately after the birth in smoothie form, place a decent-sized chunk of fresh placenta (2″ x 3″, depending on thickness) into a blender with your other ingredients, and blend together. Using bright red fruits such as strawberries is recommended if you are feeling sensitive to the sight of placenta in your smoothie; the strawberries or red fruits will mask it. Many women have felt an infusion of energy and vitality when consuming their placenta immediately after the birth, and a fruit smoothie can be a refreshing way to consume it.
5. The placenta is a filter, so does it store the toxins it filters, and the mother ends up ingesting them too when she uses the capsules?
The placenta is a part of an advanced filtering system. Nutrients from the mother get passed to the baby via the placenta, which tries to filter out anything harmful to the baby before letting it get through. The baby passes waste back to the mother through the placenta, which the mother’s body can then remove, just as her body removes all the other waste products in her system. The placenta is not a filter that traps everything that can’t get through, like an air filter. Those waste products and other things that the baby can’t use are generally sent back out to the mother for removal. If the placenta held onto everything, it would be a health hazard after nine months! So, no, the placenta is not filled with toxins by the time the baby is born. That being said, there are some things that do get held by the placenta, such as heavy metals. So if a mother smokes, the heavy metals in the cigarette smoke will build up in the placenta over time, making it questionable whether or not it should be ingested.
6. I will be receiving antibiotics for GBS during labor. Do you know if this will cross into the placenta and thus create a problem for encapsulation?
The amount of antibiotics that cross the placenta is unknown; although, many mothers encapsulate their placentas following antibiotics during labor without a problem.
7. What hormones are in the placenta? Which are the most prominent ones and what are their role in the postpartum recovery in placenta encapsulation?
There are many hormones that the placenta creates or regulates during pregnancy. Many of those hormones are still contained within the placental tissue after the birth. Since each woman and each pregnancy is different, we can not tell definitively which ones are present or at what levels in a particular placenta. Placenta encapsulation is beneficial for precisely those reasons – each placenta is created uniquely by that woman, for that woman.
The concept of which hormones are at play in the development of postnatal mood disorders is still under investigation and research. But more and more research is pointing to a biological, hormonal component. We don’t know which ones in the placenta could impact the various benefits that women report; all we do know is that most women who take placenta capsules do report an improved mood.
For more information on our latest published research on mother’s experiences with placentophagy, please view our paper online at http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03670244.2012.719356#.VMEwVy6Ibcs
8. What medications during pregnancy or labor make it unsafe to encapsulate? Is there any research done on this to support that?
As a PBi Placenta Encapsulation Specialist, we do not make any recommendations on which placenta is suitable for encapsulation. We leave all decisions as to the viability of the placenta up to the care providers. If the mother and the provider deem the placenta heathy at birth, and would like to have it prepared in capsule form, we can provide that service for her..
9. Are their any illnesses that are known of that would make it unsafe to encapsulate?
Again, we leave that up to the mother and the care provider. The only true contraindication for placentophagy would be a uterine infection that affected the placenta (as in, there is or could potentially be an infection in the placental tissue). All other situations would have to be considered by the care provider.
10. If a patient were to be RH- and her baby RH+, is it safe to encapsulate?
it is still safe to encapsulate. Once the placenta is born, it is no longer connected to the mother’s bloodstream, which is where the danger lies. The placenta is prepared and then ingested, meaning the pathway is via her digestive system, not her circulatory system. Consider that we frequently eat the meat of animals after it is prepared.
11. Is there a recommended dose?
At PBi, we use size “00” capsules. These capsules contain approximately 550 mg of dried placenta each. Since placenta is highly individualized, and should only be taken as needed, we do not offer dosing recommendations. However, based on that information, and the information for the recommended dosing guidelines of Zî hé che in Traditional Chinese Medicine, a general guideline would be two capsules up to three times per day for two weeks.
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