Placenta Encapsulation / Other Options
The placenta is an essential and sacred organ that passes nourishment from mother to baby for growth and bonding in the womb. After birth, it is historically common in many cultures to consume the placenta. Modern research is beginning to prove these traditions true for nutrient replacement which include vitamins, minerals, hormonal benefits, and additional healing. Other benefits may include promoting breast milk production, increase in energy levels, and a decrease in "baby blues" or postpartum anxiety and depression.
There are many ways to honor the placenta process which is unique to you. As a student midwife in attendance at home births and studying physiological birth, I have extensive knowledge and practice with placentas. I follow OSHA guidelines in handling blood borne pathogens which includes sanitizing my work space and placenta equipment. I offer the following options in honoring or consuming the placenta:
Edible options include a raw smoothie immediately after birth and days following. The first smoothie can be raw and later with frozen chunks. I like to keep the recipe simple with strawberries and/or other berries, yogurt, honey (lots), and any other ingredients that seem delicious at the time. Consuming the placenta raw immediately after birth can aid in even faster healing and help with blood loss.
I can also do dehydrated capsules in the Traditional Chinese Method (steamed with lemon, jalapeno, and ginger for a “cleansing” and “energizing” effect) or Raw Method (dehydrated raw with no steam). I prefer to dehydrate capsules in the raw method to preserve its most natural form, however some people prefer the rinsing and steaming method of encapsulating.
A tincture is often preferred when capsules run out or to save for other purposes. This is used as an extra hormonal boost or for when capsules run out. This may also be useful if you have prolonged postpartum bleeding past six weeks. A tincture is made with a small piece of placenta in 100 proof vodka or grain alcohol. It must sit in a cool, dark place for six weeks before ready to consume.
Keepsakes include a print of the placenta on watercolor paper (or whatever you'd like; I've done a t-shirt before!), or a cord keepsake in any shape or wording possible.
I offer services and kits for cord burning ceremonies. Some people prefer a gentle, “slower” option to severing the cord between placenta and baby. This traditional method is used with a box, tinfoil, and two candles held by birth parents in cord location of choice. I can help facilitate or drop off supplies before/after the birth. Lotus birth is a spiritual or preferred practice of leaving the umbilical cord uncut to dry off naturally when baby and placenta are ready. The kit includes a bag to store placenta, absorbent wrapping cloth, drying herbs to cover the placenta, and optional cord cover. Burying the placenta under a tree, plant, or particular location is another way to honor the placenta. I want to help you if support is needed. I can find the plant wanted, bury it for you, or say a prayer of blessing or thanks.
Packages for encapsulation start at $150. Click the document for prices of all items if desired. If you hire me as your birth doula, placenta services are included in the birth doula fee. If you hire me as your postpartum doula, all placenta prices are the same (it is not included in the postpartum doula fees; all regular costs apply).
If you are a Duluth Midwife client (the midwife I apprentice with), encapsulation is $50. If you are an extended distance from my central location between Hinckley and Duluth, there will be additional charges to cover added commute times and expenses.