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Placenta Encapsulation FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions about Placenta Encapsulation

How do you prepare my placenta? Placenta encapsulation is the process of preparing the mother’s placenta after the birth of her baby(ies), by separating the membranes and umbilical cord from the placenta, rinsing and draining maternal and fetal blood, steaming, slicing thin and then dehydrating to doneness, to then be ground and placed into capsules for the mother to ingest as she sees fit. Per food safety guidelines I do not offer raw prep for capsules, I prepare placentas the TCM style of steaming with lemon, ginger, frankincense and myrrh, then dehydrate your placenta at 160°F for at least 8 hours, testing for doneness before encapsulation. All bacteria (including GBS) begins to die at 55° C (131° F) for 30 minutes. Proper preparation at these temperatures ensure that no harmful bacteria are present. Encapsulation is a two day process: Day 1: Once the placenta is thawed and ready for dehydration it must dehydrate for at least 8 hours. * Before the placenta can be prepared, it must be defrosted if frozen. This can take another 24hrs. Day 2: Involves grinding the dehydrated placenta into powder and placing it in capsules. Salves are made by slow cooking dried pieces of the amniotic sac and healing herbs in olive oil for a minimum of 4 hours. It is then strained and beeswax or carnauba wax is added to help it harden into a salve. Mother's Tincture is made by pouring dried placenta powder into an amber dropper bottle, then adding premade herbal extracts in 100 proof vodka. Encapsulation is done in my home: I will schedule a pickup time with the Client, after they are home from the hospital and the placenta is in the refrigerator. Pickup times are usually scheduled within 24 hours of notification from the Client. The process takes approx. 2-days, both days the process takes 2-4 hours to complete. If the placenta is still frozen upon pickup, I will continue to refrigerate the placenta until thawed enough to begin encapsulation. I have a special drawer in my refrigerator where no food is ever stored. This space is just for placentas that are double-bagged and inside a waterproof cooler and is sanitized with a professional grade germicide after every use.

Each day I prepare a placenta, my kitchen is thoroughly sanitized according to OSHA protocols. I use a bleach solution as required by blood-borne pathogen training before and after I perform each day's step and I wear PPE such as gloves, apron, glasses and mask. After my workspace has been sanitized, all countertops are covered in saran wrap and parchment paper is used in the steam basket and dehydrator. After day one's process, the space is sanitized again, all trash is bagged appropriately and the dehydrator sits undisturbed until day two. After the capsules and other products are made, the space is sanitized once again and all products are properly labeled and placed inside a gift bag.

The prepared products are then delivered to the Client’s home within 72 hours from pickup. Written instructions for storage, handling and ingestion are texted to the Client upon drop-off.

Why don't you provide in home service?

The idea behind why you would want in-home service is typically so you (as the Client) can know the conditions in which your placenta is prepared. I absolutely understand this reasoning. However, after years of providing this service, including in-home service, I have not found that it is safer to encapsulate a placenta in a Client's home. In many cases there are visiting family members needing to cook food or utilize the kitchen during processing, kitchens and sinks may be filled with dishes, equipment is left in the person's home making them responsible if equipment is damaged or accidentally turned off and it can be difficult to truly test for doneness when you have to schedule time to visit someone's home, sometimes leading to over or under doneness and additional processing time. It is much much easier for me to encapsulate a placenta in a controlled environment that I have continuous access to and will be in the majority of the time. It leads to less mistakes and more quality products. I can assure you I have not only my Client's safety in mind, but my family as well.

How many capsules will I get? The amount of capsules you get will depend on the size of your placenta. The size of your placenta depends on the size of your baby. An average baby weighs about 7 lbs. and yields 80-120 capsules. I have seen a premie placenta make as few as 65 capsules and I have seen a placenta large enough to make over 200 capsules.

Will everything come with dosage instructions? Yes, written instructions for storage, handling and ingestion are texted to the Client upon drop-off. When I drop off your capsules I can also review and answer any questions you might have. Do you pick up my placenta at the hospital? No, the hospital will not release your placenta to anyone but you. It is your responsibility to tell the hospital staff that you want the placenta released to you. Most hospitals will have you sign a form called a “Disposition of Placenta” which will permit you to take possession of your placenta. We recommend bringing an insulated cooler with you to the hospital. When will I get my placenta from the hospital? Each hospital has their own protocol for the release. These are subject to change anytime. I recommend calling your hospital to find out their particular release policy. In most cases you are able to take it home with you when you are discharged, provided you bring a cooler with you. If your hospital has an immediate release policy, you will want to arrange for someone to transport your placenta home. Your placenta should be double-bagged and placed on ice in your cooler, to be taken home within the next 2-3 hours. When home, it should be placed in the refrigerator and then you should send me a text letting me know you are ready for service. I will then arrange a pickup time w/i the next 24 hours. What is your refund policy? If services are discontinued prior to me picking up your placenta, you are entitled to a full refund. If I do pick up your placenta and I determine it is unsuitable for consumption (such as extensive meconium staining or evidence of spoiling), I offer a full refund minus $50 for pick up, examination and disposal. I do not offer any other refunds after pickup.

How does the Placenta Encapsulation Specialist get my placenta? After you have possession of your placenta and are home, you will want to place your placenta in the refrigerator and call me. I will come over within the next 24 hours to pick it up at your home and begin services Do you use the TCM method? What is the TCM method? TCM stands for “Traditional Chinese Medicine” and it is commonly prepared by adding lemon and ginger to the placenta and frankincense and myrrh to the water in which the placenta is steamed (there are many variations of this). These additions are meant to help warm the body and add additional healing properties (oversimplified). I am not a Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner, however, I am a Certified Herbalist. So, I am not a TCM provider, but I do prefer this method of placenta preparation. If you do not prefer the TCM approach I am always happy to accommodate your wishes.

What qualifications do you have to prepare my placenta? I have completed a professional training through IPPA as well as mentorship in preparing placentas, OSHA Bloodborne Pathogen training and annual re-certification, as well as an Iowa Food Handler card. I sanitize my work spaces according to the protocols set forth by OSHA and prepare your capsules with your safety and health and my family's safety and health as my primary concern.

If there was meconium can I still get my placenta encapsulated? Yes! Meconium staining is typically on the fetal side of the placenta, membranes and umbilical cord. I should have no problem removing it and continuing on with your encapsulation. I can actually pull back the amnion layer of the amniotic sac, which would remove all of the meconium from the fetal side of the placenta. If there is still meconium staining, simple water will not fully remove it. I will then gently rub or soak the placenta with a small amount of apple cider vinegar to remove it, rinsing it off before it is prepared. If the placenta, even after soaking still appears to be severely stained we will not go through with encapsulation. What are the contraindications for placenta encapsulation? What would prevent me from consuming my placenta? I do not recommend encapsulation for those experiencing:

  • Pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy (PUPPP) rash

  • Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG)

  • Heavy smoking during pregnancy

  • Heavy drug usage

  • Cancer of the placenta which is called choriocarcinoma.

Things that would prevent me from encapsulating your placenta are:

  • Chemically contaminated placentas in pathology, either sanitizing or preserving.

  • Placentas that have sat out longer than 4 hours at room temperature post birth with no preservation methods.

  • Placentas that have been in the refrigerator for more than 4 days without being frozen.

  • Uterine infections or chorioamnionitis

  • Cancer of the placenta which is called choriocarcinoma.

Are there any side effects? Common Side Effects Include:

  • Digestive upset (usually solved by taking capsules after a meal)

  • Overproduction of breast milk

  • Mild headaches

Uncommon, but few reported:

  • Increased cramping

  • Reduced breast milk supply

  • Rashes that resemble PUPPP

If I plan to do Cord Blood Banking, can I still get capsules? Yes, you can. Typically the blood is collected from the chorionic veins and a tissue sample is taken in some cases. Sometimes they may also take the entire umbilical cord. That would only affect your ability to have placenta prints done or get an umbilical cord keepsake. What about Religion and Placenta Consumption? The question that often comes up: Is eating your placenta considered cannibalism? When taking a deep look at cannibalism it is defined as a human consuming the flesh (fat and muscle) of themselves or another human being that has been deceased either naturally or premeditated. The placenta is not any of these. 1. The placenta is not flesh. It is a functioning and complex organ. It is not a muscle (the uterus is a muscle) and is not made up of fat. 2. Mothers should only be consuming a placenta that is theirs. Their body naturally discards the placenta, so nothing has been harmed. 3. Mothers also breastfeed their babies. Milk that has been created from their body and their cells, which is now going into another living human being. Breastfeeding is in no way considered cannibalism. Is there any chance I will get someone else's placenta? I have a strict policy that hospital labels are double checked, homebirth placentas are labeled if not already and only one placenta may be processed at a time. This absolutely ensures that you will receive your own placenta back.

*Sarah Sorvillo at FREE SPIRIT, LLC, is not a licensed medical professional and is not able to diagnose, treat, or prescribe for any health conditions. Fees are for the service of preparation and encapsulation of your placenta, not for the sale of the capsules. My business is adhering to strict OSHA guidelines and I am following proper food safety standards. The placenta capsules that are being prepared are for your (owner of the placenta) consumption only and are not designed to reverse medical conditions or ailments from pregnancy, to treat postpartum depression, to ensure normal milk supply or to replace medical attention. No specific benefits are promised. Results will vary from person to person. Many of the ascribed benefits are supported by reports from mothers themselves and evidence based on research; but none have been evaluated by the FDA.


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