Step by Step - The Process of Placenta Encapsulation
When I first started out as a Doula, I didn't know how far down the rabbit hole I would go. It turns out, I fell completely in love with serving families in every aspect. My first few years working led to a few special requests from clients, and my journey as a Placenta Encapsulation Specialist began! I provide this service because I believe in a families right to choose what to do with their placenta, and the benefits it provides to the whole family.
In this post, I'm going to share the step by step process Sublime Motherhood follows to encapsulate a placenta using the Raw Foods Method. I hope to eliminate common myths and misunderstandings, offer information about the safety and techniques I use, and share my passion for this wonderful, holistic service. There will be graphic images shared of unprocessed placenta and the capsule filling process in this post!
When labor begins, the client notifies me (usually just a quick text) and I prepare my workstation for their placenta. The first step of encapsulation begins with safe transportation. This means proper storage including a clean ziploc bag, additional biohazard bag for protection, an ice pack, and a leak-proof cooler. All of the above are included in my Placenta Transport Kits, so when I receive the call or text to pick up a placenta the process is incredibly easy. I personally pick up the placenta, package it, and begin the process immediately.
The first steps before encapsulating are laid out on my services page here.
The next step of the process is cleaning the placenta and closely inspecting it for any abnormalities. Variations in structure are normal, every placenta is different! I'm trained to recognize anything that would cause encapsulation to be unsafe, such as signs of infection. Other reasons for not encapsulating, such as Group B Strep, are discussed prenatally. I'm always available to discuss questions, concerns, and unique situations before, during, and after encapsulation.
After the cleaning and inspection process is complete, I do a final check and dry the placenta. Then I prepare it by slicing it into thin strips, and start the dehydration process. This is the step that dries the placenta, so that I can grind it and encapsulate it into pills. Some online DIY guides recommend using an oven or a cheap dehydrator at home, and this can result in uneven or incomplete drying. This ruins the chance to encapsulate! Entrusting your placenta to a specialist who is trained in the process and utilizes professional equipment and standards will ensure the safest finished product.
The method I am using here is the Raw Foods Method, I personally like to refer to it as "full strength." When I use the Traditional Chinese Method, or TCM, it involves partially steaming the placenta to temper the level of hormones it contains. This is more of a low dosage, or "partial strength." This is very helpful for anyone that suffers from any hormonal imbalances naturally, such as depression, anxiety, or even severe morning sickness. To ensure the best benefits possible, I discuss these options with my clients before beginning the process.
The placenta usually needs 12-18 hours to completely finish dehydrating. After I check that it is ready and there is no remaining moisture, I separate the capsules and prepare for filling them. For this client, I'm using berry flavored capsules! Some women prefer flavored capsules as an option because it conceals the look and taste of the placenta, while still providing the same amazing benefits.
After preparing the capsules, I grind the dried strips of placenta into a fine powder. This can be a slow process, as I want to make sure the resulting placenta powder is fine and has no remaining unground pieces. If there are any hardened pieces, as is normal with some calcium deposits, I safely dispose of those pieces unless otherwise instructed.
This is the final step before I package the capsules, and requires the most care. I fill the tray with empty capsules and gently pour some of the placenta powder onto the tray, packing it down, filling more, repacking, and then finally lowering the tray and capping each and every capsule by hand.
The final step is to inspect the capsules and package them for delivery! I use blue glass jars specifically to protect the placenta capsules from UV light, which can degrade the quality and potency over time. Personalized dosage and storage instructions come with every package, and I'm always available to my clients throughout their postpartum recovery and parenting journey. Every basic placenta encapsulation package includes an umbilical cord keepsake as well as 125-175 completed placenta capsules, depending the placenta's size.
I hope you've enjoyed reading about Placenta Encapsulation! I would love to hear from you in the comments. For more information on the benefits of encapsulating your placenta, read my related blog article here.