28 September, 2016

Placenta Encapsulation FAQs

What is your training?

I have been encapsulating since 2003 and I am self-taught. As professional trainings and associations have emerged over the last decade, I have read much and refined my methods. Because I am a midwife I have a thorough understanding of blood-borne pathogens, OSHA guidelines and universal precautions to protect both myself and my clients. 

Though it is my opinion that specific certification in the art and science of placenta preparation is not necessary, it IS necessary to have knowledge of relevant placental anatomy and physiology, infection control, blood-borne pathogens, universal precautions, proper dehydration technique, and postpartum physiology. Many encapsulators in our area have a healthcare background or have received specific training. Always ask your encapsulator about her training and experience! 

I have encapsulated over 200 placentas. 

Do you have dedicated space or dedicated equipment?
I do not have a dedicated space solely for placenta prep; however I follow all relevant SC "cottage" food preparation laws so that placenta preparation occurs completely separate from other kitchen activities, & away from pets and children, to avoid cross-contamination. 

I DO have dedicated equipment including: knife and cutting board, separate vitamix dry container, dehydrator, encapsulation device and preparation tray. 

All equipment and surfaces are thoroughly disinfected and sanitized before and after usage. 

How will I know my placenta is mine and not someone else's?
Your placenta is labeled from the moment I receive it, labeled on the dehydrator, labeled in its jar as bulk powder and again after encapsulation. In addition, keepsake cords are labeled immediately once they go into their containers.

How should I store my placenta once it is born?
Your placenta will be fine at room temperature for a few hours. It should be placed on ice in a cooler or refrigerated as soon as possible.  If it will be more than 48 hours until pickup, please lay as flat as possible and freeze it.

Can I have my placenta processed after it has been frozen?
As a general rule, a placenta that is less than 6 months old in a standard freezer should be fine if it has been properly stored and does not have signs of freezer-burn. 
Do you add herbs?  What is your method of preparation?
Though I am an herbalist, I do not add any herbs during the process. Some encapsulators steam the placenta with lemon and spicy peppers prior to dehydration, and they call this the "Traditional Chinese Method" though it was actually invented by a California midwife and acupuncturist named Raven Lang. 
Adding powdered herbs to the capsules is also not wise. If you have an adverse reaction, it would be hard to know if you were reacting to the placenta or the herbs. If you are taking herbs postpartum, it's best to have these as separate teas/tinctures/syrups etc.
I employ the "raw" preparation method because it better preserves the nutrients and hormones. Raw is somewhat of a misnomer, however.  Dehydrating with proper heat in a controlled setting must be performed to ensure pathogens are destroyed, and this does heat the placenta above standard raw food guidelines.
How long until my capsules are ready?
I guarantee a week turnaround from pick-up to delivery, because I am a busy midwife and mother. If there is a great need, I can usually prepare in about 2-3 days.
Can I have my placenta encapsulated if I am GBS positive; received pitocin, antibiotics, or epidural anesthesia; there is meconium staining; or if I had a cesarean birth?   
Yes!  None of these are contraindications for encapsulation. 
Are there any reasons why I should not encapsulate my placenta?
Yes; if you had chorioamnionitis, HIV, Hepatitis or another infection at the time of birth, encapsulation is not recommended.  If your placenta was sent to pathology or not refrigerated properly following birth, it is also not guaranteed to be free of contaminants or pathogens and must not be consumed. 

What potential adverse effects could I notice?
Side effects are rare, but some women have reported that their "happy pills" made them feel anxious or sad.  In addition, you may notice headaches or gastrointestinal upset.

About how many capsules should I expect to receive?
I typically use size "O" vegetable capsules. On average you can expect around 130-160 capsules, though a larger placenta can yield up to 180-200.  Placentas grow in proportion to the baby, so big babies have big placentas and little babies have little placentas. 

How should I store my capsules?
Your capsules should be stored somewhere cool, dry and out of direct light. Room temperature is just fine for the first 6 months.  Capsules should not be stored in the refrigerator, as the moist environment could cause cause your capsules to absorb moisture and become moldy.  For longer-term storage, please double-bag and place in a deep freezer. 
Any other questions?
Please post in the comments! Thanks! 

the bitch is back (apologies to elton john)

Dusting off the ol' blog here. Goodness has it really been 4+ years? So much has happened in that time: family engagements, weddings, bar mitzvahs, funerals; birth after birth after birth; starting and changing schools, a new pet, shifting friendships, starting to teach herb classes again, kids growing growing growing. So here we go. Onward.

25 August, 2012

Shofar #BlogElul 7

I can't remember when I last heard a shofar.  Until my cousin's recent Bat Mitzvah weekend I had not stepped in a shul, except for a historic tour, in over 11 years.  Despite my grapplings with a faith that treats women as second-class citizens and repeatedly sanctions genocidal land-grab in the name of a mountain-dwelling, masculine war deity, I did always love to hear the shofar.  Its clarion call echoes the ancient tradition of a people who lived closer to the cycles of life and death, blood and sacrifice than do many of us now.  It heralds a demarcation from day-to-day life.  Stop the presses, it says.  Pay attention. Be here, fully open to this moment.

I have thought about attending High Holiday services again.  The crispness of Fall feels like a wonderful time to pause and deeply reflect.  Not to throw the baby out with the bathwater; there are many aspects of Judaism that I find beautiful.  The Jewish Renewal Community in Boulder showed me a progressive, feminine-affirming Judaism.  But ironically enough, the only congregation here that doesn't charge an arm and a leg for tickets is the Orthodox one.

I will not sit in a segregated section because some guy might get distracted by my feminine wiles from his high calling of convening with G-d.  Life and Spirit are all around us, all the time, to be embraced and felt with passion.

I will not sit in a segregated section because I might be "impure."  My body is holy.  My blood gives life.  If that's not Sacred, what is?

I will not be content solely to keep house and make babies while the menfolk get to challenge their minds.  I have plenty to offer this world.  Why limit half of the population?

I will not cover myself in wigs and long skirts.  I will not silence my outrage that women who dress immodestly in Israel are often victims of irrationally misogynistic violence.  That women may not pray equally to men at the Western Wall.  That women in ultratraditional marriages may not initiate a divorce.  That with a few notable exceptions, our ancient tales are written by and about the patriarchy.  My T'kiyah bellows "knock it off!"

24 August, 2012

Faith: #BlogElul 6

Miss Hortense Robinson was a traditional midwife who lived and served in Belize.  She spoke with the gentle patois of the Caribbean islands, laughed readily, loved red hibiscus flowers, and didn't miss a thing with her bright eyes.  One of her oft-repeated phrases was "Have Fait."

Faith, to her, was the answer to many a dilemma.

But what does that mean?  Blind, dogged trust in the unknowable?  Do we say to people in the path of a hurricane to have faith?  How realistic is that?  Have faith in who or what, exactly?  Is faith foolish?  Does it serve a purpose in a rational (yet equally crazy) world?  I have no answers, just many questions. 

23 August, 2012

Trust: #BlogElul 5

I've been ruminating about trust all day.  Such a huge topic.  What do I hone in on?  Even the simple, everyday act of getting in the car and driving from point A to point B involves many instances of trust.

I watch my 9-month-old daughter playing, then turn and joyfully beeline for me with all her might.  She is completely open, completely dependent, and trusts me inherently.

So much in my day-to-day life occurs without a second thought, and I trust it will. just. happen.
I flick a switch and the light goes on.  Turn on the tap and water flows forth.  (Sadly this is not the case for many people in the United States right now.)  I can go to sleep with my children and trust we will awake safe and sound.  The sun will rise in the morning. 

A father recently thanked me for helping bring his son safely into the world after a rare event complicated his birth four years ago.  And it hit me what to write about.  I've been apprehensive about attending a birth for the first time in nearly a year.  Late at night I lie awake, playing out various scenarios in my head, giving myself little quizzes.  What would I do if I heard wonky heart tones?  Saw bright red bleeding?  But I know better than to dwell in negativity, after all what you lend attention to will grow. I have to trust everything will be perfect and it will all come back to me.  It's like riding a bike, right?

I trust in the synchronous intelligence of mother and baby. 
I trust that my hands will know what to do. 
I trust my mouth to speak with wisdom, and only when necessary.
I trust my ears to be sensitive to mamababy's rhythms.
I trust my eyes to shine love and confidence.
I trust my heart to be open.
I trust my mind to remember, and to recognize.
I trust my body to attenuate to the altered consciousness of the birthing space.
I trust my entire being to be present.

22 August, 2012

Counting: #BlogElul 4

Counting is about value.  Not just numerical value, but also energetic and emotional value.  Numerical counting is objective; energetic counting more subjective.   If someone says "count on me" you know she has your back.  Her energy is of value to you.  Similarly "count me in" means I'm lending my presence, my energy to your endeavor.

Since Miss L. came along nearly 9 months ago, I've found I must limit the number of people and organizations who count upon me.  It feels quite good and wholly necessary to set boundaries, lest I take too much on and drive myself (and those in my immediate vicinity) crazy.  I'm starting to get more calls for birth and herb work in my community again.  It feels wonderful.  I want to say yes to everyone.  But there are two little people and one big person counting on me to be here primarily for them. 

And here's what I have going on outside my immediate family and their needs and activities:
  • On call for a birth in September; prenatal visits up 'til the birth, restocking and preparing my supplies, preparing childcare options, the actual on-call time, and postpartum care.
  • Staffing a table and giving a talk at a Pregnancy Fair, also in September. 
  • Facilitating a Holistic Pregnancy workshop in October.
  • Staffing a table at a Baby Fair in October.
  • Serving on the local Doula group board and two state Midwifery organizations (meetings every month for at least one of those groups; plus online time).
  • Commissioned to encapsulate several placentas each month.
  • Facilitating an Herbal Workshop in the spring; need to create outline for submission.
  • New client due in spring--starting prenatal visits with her.
I LOVE what I do.  Love it.  I count myself very blessed to need to say no sometimes. 

Counting myself blessed to have a vocation I love, a roof over my head, food in my belly, a safe home and a healthy family is still another form of accounting value, of stock-taking.  I'd say the tally-sheet is full in all the right ways.   

21 August, 2012

Intentions: #BlogElul 3

I intended to blog for August 21st/Elul 3rd.

It didn't happen.

Nuff said.