The Independent Placenta Encapsulation Network (IPEN) has put together a list of Placenta Encapsulation FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) for mothers to help you on your way to making the most of your placenta using one of our amazing placenta encapsulation or placenta remedy services.
If I have a medicated birth, caesarean section can I still use my placenta for encapsulation and the other placenta therapies? Yes, you can still use your placenta if you have a caesarean birth as long as your placenta has not been sent to pathology prior to our collection. We recommend you to have a sterilised leak proof 2L container ready to store your placenta after birth.
If you are on any other type of medication during your pregnancy we ask you to seek advice from your consultant before deciding on placenta encapsulation. Please request details of our services from your local placenta specialist so you have all the information you need to provide to your consultant.
What if I am Strep-B positive or have an infection and need antibiotics, will I still be able to use my placenta? Strep-B, GBS or any other vaginal infection requires you request only TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) capsules only. This means we will steam your placenta before encapsulation to ensure the bacteria from your infection is killed before dehydrating your placenta.
What if I give birth prematurely? Premature births are often associated with problems in pregnancy. As long as your placenta is examined and cleared from any type of abnormality after birth we are happy to help you with our placenta services.
I want to donate my baby’s cord blood. Will I still be able to have my placenta made into capsules? Yes, you can do both. We advise parents to bring two separate containers with them to hospital and ensure their midwife or doctor knows that they wish to have both services. The placenta should be put into the placenta container after birth and stored safely in the cooler bag. The umbilical cord should be stored in a separate container awaiting collection from the company of choice.
Are there any circumstances when it would not be possible to use the placenta for encapsulation or other placenta remedies? Yes, if your placenta has been sent to pathology in hospital for any reason we cannot make your placenta into capsules because it may have been contaminated while in the pathology department. You can request the hospital to take just a small piece of your placenta for examination in this instance.
We also do not recommend using your placenta for encapsulation if your placenta has not been stored properly after birth. See storage guidelines below.
How do I store my placenta safely after birth? Your placenta should be put into a clean and sterile, leak proof container after birth and stored in a cooler bag on ice or in a safe refrigerator at home. You should contact your placenta specialist soon after your birth to ensure your placenta is collected within 48 hours.
When is the best time for the cord to be cut if using my placenta for placenta encapsulation? We highly recommend all mothers to choose delayed cord clamping for the benefit of their newborn. Delayed cord clamping involves leaving the umbilical cord intact for at least 3-10 minutes after birth, longer if possible. During this time the cord is still pumping up to 150ml of iron and stem cell rich blood to your baby which has been scientifically proven to have lifelong benefits to your baby. Delayed cord clamping does not affect placenta encapsulation in any way.
I’ve heard the placenta is full of waste and may contain toxins, is this true? Your placenta acted as the life supply for your baby during pregnancy and if it were full of toxins this would make a very dangerous organ for your baby to be fed from so in fact it is not possible for the placenta to be ‘full of waste’. The placenta acted as a gateway for nutrient supply to your baby and waste from your baby to be passed back to your body to be filtered through your organs.
There are small amounts of heavy metals in the placenta however scientifically proven these levels are no grater than normal levels of heavy metals found the body and in mothers colostrum and breast milk. Source 1Source 2
How long can I store my placenta in the fridge or freezer for before using it? Placentas can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days, then transferred to the home freezer. The placenta should be thawed thoroughly in the fridge only for 24-36 hours before encapsulating.
As soon as I have given birth can I keep my placenta and decide to have it encapsulated later? Yes of course however nature has intended for your placenta to be consumed as soon as possible after birth, so we believe the sooner the better. We advise you read the storage guidelines above.
Keep your placenta between 0-8 degrees C after birth using ice packs and cooler bag and transfer the placenta to a safe refrigerator as soon as possible.
Contact me, your local placenta specialist as soon as possible to ensure you start benefiting from your placenta sooner rather than later. You can also store your placenta in the freezer for up to a year.
How is the placenta prepared for placenta pills?
IPEN placenta specialists like myself, prepare placenta capsules from your placenta with no added ingredients
The placenta is steamed with lemon, ginger and green chilli (added to the water only) according to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) recipes (Raw capsules skip this process)
The placenta is dehydrated using a food dehydrator or oven for 8-20 hours until completely dry
The dried placenta is ground into a powder and put into empty vegetable capsules
What is the difference between raw dried and TCM placenta capsules? Unlike the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) preparation of the placenta, when processing a placenta raw we do not steam the placenta during the process. We simply forgo the steaming process. This method follows the general “Raw Foods” rule that nothing should be heated beyond 40 degrees C (118 degrees F) where enzymes may be destroyed. This is not to say one method is better than the other, just that you have several options for encapsulation and should choose the method that best suits your needs and preferences.
Which is better, consuming the placenta raw or using the Traditional Chinese Medicine method? Both! We recommend mothers to consume some of their raw placenta after birth to support the body in immediate repair and then consuming the rest of their placenta in capsules. The many potent stem cells and growth factors found in the raw placenta may be the key reason so many of our clients report almost immediate reduced blood loss and increased energy within minutes after enjoy a raw placenta smoothie.
A raw placenta smoothie only requires around 3 pieces of raw placenta and the rest of the placenta can easily be made into raw dried or TCM capsules for ongoing benefits from the placenta.
Aren’t the hormones contained in the placenta actually destroyed during the cooking process used when preparing TCM capsules? To some extent the heat process when preparing TCM capsules may affect the stem cells, hormones and B vitamins but to what degree is unknown. Minerals such as iron are not damaged by heat and there may be minimal damage to other nutrients found in the placenta.
Placenta pills give a new mother the chance to benefit from her placenta for months after birth and have shown to have incredible benefits to energy levels and breast milk supply. There is currently no scientific evidence to suggest the placenta pills are or are not beneficial.
IPEN and other placenta encapsulation specialists rely on personal experiences, anecdotal evidence and testimonials from new mothers who reveal placenta encapsulation was the key to their speedy recovery following birth.
Moreover, many people chose to eat organic meat to avoid added hormones and other artificial growth factors that are injected into livestock by non-organic farmers to produce more meat in a shorter space of time. If artificial hormones that are injected into livestock are still present in cooked non-organic steaks on the dinner table, then hormones surely survive the cooking process and can have an effect on our body.
If I have a raw placenta smoothie, will I taste the placenta? No, raw placenta smoothies taste of nothing but fruit and berries. IPEN has come up with an excellent and simple recipe that ensure mothers enjoy their smoothies after birth and taste nothing other than the fruit used to blend with the raw placenta.
How can you be sure the placenta capsules are from YOUR placenta? We highly recommend you book your placenta services from a reputable placenta specialist, someone who is certified and licensed to provide your placenta services, like myself. Finding a placenta specialist you can trust is the most important part of the process and we recommend you spend some time emailing with your local placenta specialists and asking questions about how they operate their services.
If you are in doubt, you can always ask your placenta specialist to encapsulate your placenta in your own home ensuring your placenta never leaves your kitchen. IPEN placenta specialists know how precious each placenta is ensuring quality care and attention is given to each client and their placenta.
On some occasions we may have more than one placenta to encapsulate, however we will only work with one placenta at a time (storing the other in a safe fridge) ensuring their are no confusions during the process.
What other ingredients are in the placenta capsules and are they suitable for me as I’m a vegetarian? IPEN placenta specialists do not include any other ingredients when preparing placenta capsules. When preparing Traditional Chinese Medicine style capsules we do steam the placenta with lemon (for grounding), ginger (for circulation) and chilli (for heat) which are added to the water when steaming. All IPEN placenta specialists use only vegetarian capsules for encapsulation.
How can taking placenta capsules boost my milk supply or help keep the ‘baby blues’ at bay? We recommend taking 1-3 capsules a day for as long as needed after birth. In our experience placenta capsules have supported many of our clients through many months of successful breastfeeding. In some cases some mothers have still struggled with their breast milk supply however there were other problems involved that may have caused the reduced milk supply.
We cannot guarantee any effects from placenta capsules on breastfeeding however many of our clients notice their milk ‘comes in’ much quicker than expected and remains consistent without problems for weeks post-birth.
Those who are choosing placenta encapsulation to prevent the baby blues should contact their local placenta specialist during their pregnancy to ensure a specialist is available to encapsulate within 48 hours after birth. The baby blues often hits mothers between days 3-5 after birth. Most specialists will encourage new mothers to contact them as soon as possible after birth to ensure mothers receive their capsules by day 3-5 after birth in the aim to prevent the baby blues.
Do the capsules smell or taste of anything? Placenta capsules may have a slight taste of meat however if swallowed quickly most clients will not notice any taste or smell. If you find your capsules begin to smell or taste unusually bad we recommend you stop taking your capsules and contact your local placenta specialist who can advise you on storage guidelines and how to proceed.
How should I store my placenta capsules? TCM placenta capsules can be stored in the jar provided in a cold, dark place or refrigerator for up to a year, then transferred to a freezer for later use.
It is very important that raw dried placenta capsules are consumed within 6-12 months and are stored in the refrigerator to prevent bacteria growth. We highly advise all clients to wash their hands before handling their placenta capsules.
How big are the capsules and how long will they last? We use size ’0′ capsules when preparing placenta pills. These measure roughly 2cm in length and 0.7cm in width.
TCM placenta capsules will last indefinitely if stored properly. Raw dried placenta capsules may not last longer than 2-3 years if store in the home freezer, however we do not have guidelines for this as this is a new service.
How many capsules will my placenta make? Placentas make between 90-300 capsules depending on the type of method you choose and the size of your placenta.
Can my family members take my placenta capsules too? We do not recommend anyone consumes placenta capsules other than the mother who made the placenta however there will be no harm to immediate family members if the mother chooses to share her placenta capsules.
How safe is the procedure meaning how clean/sterile, etc? On top of the thorough theory and practical training provided during the training day, IPEN placenta specialists are required to complete two separate online courses: Food Hygiene for Manufacturers Level 2 Standard – City & Guild accredited course and UK Blood-born Pathogens-Infection Control, which I have successfully completed.
Once completing all the training necessary, specialists are then welcome to join IPEN as a Licensed Member which ensures quality control of all placenta services, which I have also done.
IPEN’s Code of Practice which has been reviewed and approved by the Health Protection Unit and the Environmental Health Office in the U.K. IPEN Licensed Specialists offer the safest placenta services available. We follow strict regulations and use hospital grade cleansers and sterilisers to ensure our services meet all government guidelines.
Will I experience any side effects when taking my placenta capsules? We cannot guarantee results with placenta capsules or any other placenta remedy. Because your placenta is made by you the quality and potency of your placenta smoothie and capsules is unique to your own placenta. We highly recommend you follow the care instructions given by your IPEN Placenta Specialist. Storing your placenta capsules properly, avoiding TCM capsules when ill and not taking over the recommended dose will reduce your chances of experiencing any side effect.
Very rarely, less than 2% of our client have reported some side effects when taking their placenta capsules. We have listed these below for your benefit.
Mild headaches (reported 3 times – we believe a lower dose is recommended to solve this problem)
Stomach cramping or abdominal pain (reported once – was the result of improper storage of capsules)
Stomach cramping for those also taking iron supplements (we recommend not taking iron supplements and placenta capsules at the same time)
PUPPPs rash returning after 3 days of consuming capsules (reported once)
Pelvic girdle pain (PGP) sufferers feel less relief (we believe this is due to the high level of relaxin hormone in the placenta, which is the cause of PGP)
Unexplained lack of milk production (reported from 4 women over the last 5 years)
Emotional symptoms similar to PMS (reported twice)
With regards to a placenta therapy such as a tincture, will I be able to purchase more when I have used up all of my supply? We make a large supply of placenta tincture and essence in hopes that it will last a mother and her family a lifetime because just drops are used in each dosage. However unfortunately we cannot make more supply if you do run out. Our advise is to use your remedies when you feel you need them the most.
If I run out of my placenta capsules, what do I do? Unfortunately we cannot offer any other services to support mothers who run out of their placenta capsules. There are online sources that offer sheep’s placenta capsules however we highly recommend you research these companies before committing to any type of animal placenta treatment.
How long should I take my placenta capsules for? You can take your placenta capsules for as long as you feel you need them.
I’m not so sure my placenta capsules are working, how do I know? Many of our clients say they simply feel ‘good’ while taking their capsules but are unsure if that’s just the way it would have been had they not consumed their placenta. Try skipping a day or dose and see if you feel any different, then you’ll know if there really is a change or not.