Written by Missy David, the Honeybee Mama, Birth and Postpartum Doula and Childbirth Educator for Tulsa Family Doulas
Wait, women are doing WHAT with their placentas?
Placenta Encapsulation: A New Trend for Tulsa Mothers
Tulsa Placenta Encapsulation is a growing trend! In February of 2014, Tulsa's Channel 8 aired a story about mothers in Tulsa choosing Placenta Encapsulation. What this means is that women are saving their placentas after the delivery of their baby to be processed and encapsulated into pills they can consume as a way to help recover after childbirth. Although the practices is ages old, it's growing in popularity among celebrities like Mad Men's January Jones and Kourtney Kardashian, and many women right here in Tulsa!
Why Consume the Placenta?
For centuries, various cultures have honored the placenta as a sacred organ that gives life. There are different ways of honoring the placenta across various cultures, many of which involve planting it in the ground to symbolize ongoing life, or to connect the child with his homeland. Another practice involves consuming the placenta in some way, based on the belief that it contains essential hormones and nutrients that benefit the new mother. Some benefits that placenta specialists and mothers who have consumed their placenta report include:
- Increased energy
- Increased milk production
- Improved mood
- Quicker physical recovery
- Reduction of symptoms of postpartum depression
Why Encapsulate using the Traditional Method?
A very popular way of consuming the placenta is by encapsulating it. We only utilize the heating and steaming process called the Traditional Method based on the Traditional Chinese Method. We feel that is the safest method possible while still retaining nutrients and hormonal benefits. This means the placenta is cleaned, prepared, steamed, dehydrated and ground into a powder before placing into gelatin or vegetarian capsules for consumption. Most women appreciate being able to easily swallow a capsule, as it doesn't feel as out of the ordinary as some other ways of consuming the placenta.
Our Standards for Tulsa Placenta Encapsulation
There are no guidelines set forth by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the state of Oklahoma regarding what is safe or unsafe about consuming your placenta or placenta encapsulation. So, at Tulsa Family Doulas we have several self-imposed standards. Here's why: we value your health and safety and we also value our reputation among health professionals in Tulsa. We do not practice medicine and we are not healthcare providers, so we are very careful in providing a service that involves something you will put into your body. There is already a stigma in our society that paints doulas, Postpartum Placenta Specialists and other childbirth professionals in a negative, countercultural light. It is important to us that we are viewed as professionals with the highest of standards and we are not interested in pushing the envelope further than necessary. Our self-imposed standards include the following:
- We value transparency. We allow you to be responsible for the transport of your own placenta to your home, and we process and encapsulate placentas only in our clients' homes. That way there is absolutely no risk of cross-contamination with another placentas, and you are able to see for yourself our dedication to hygienic standards, and have first hand knowledge of the type of care we take with this process.
- We value your health and safety. According to OSHA's Bloodborne Pathogens Standard 29 CFR 1090.1030, there are certain safety and cleanliness precautions that must be taken to prevent the spread of infectious diseases and we follow those to the letter. Although certain regulations allow for the use of any workspace as long as it meets OSHA standards, we go above and beyond this standard by completing the process right in front of you. We won't give anyone the opportunity to speculate or question our health and safety standards by processing and encapsulating your placenta in our private homes or anywhere else. We have nothing to hide. We only use the Traditional Method because we feel that steaming the placenta before dehydrating offers the most protection against bacteria or anything else that may make you sick.
- We value experience. Our Postpartum Placenta Specialists have received hands-on extensive training, are held to extremely high standards and are passionate about this service and the many benefits we have witnessed in our clients. Absolutely everything we do prioritizes you, your health and your experience.
What We Won't Do
We are willing to go above and beyond to offer exceptional services for our clients and there are many things we're willing to do that others won't. There are, however, some things we won't do:
- We won't transport your organ. Since the placenta is viewed as a byproduct of pregnancy, there are not regulations for transporting it like there are for other internal organs like hearts, lungs, etc. Again, we want you to know that your placenta is the one you are consuming, so you have the privilege of personally transporting it to your home. We provide you with a transport kit in line with the World Health Organization's Guidelines for the Safe Transport of Infectious Substances and Diagnostic Specimens, page 11-Local Surface Transport complete with instructions. We also value professionalism and our reputation, so we want to make sure if we are stopped by law enforcement, we don't have to figure out how to explain why we're driving around with someone else's organ in a cooler!
- We won't rush the process. We will take our time to make sure your placenta is processed properly. We will come to your home and begin the steaming and dehydrating process (which normally has our encapsulator present for at least 2 hours), and will return the next day to complete the process (another 1-2 hours). Every step we take prioritizes you and your health. Many of the benefits of placenta consumption have to do with the natural dip in hormones experienced by most women 3-4 days after delivery, so we want to schedule our services with you as soon as possible. This also gives us an opportunity to offer encouragement and postpartum support.
- We won't offer products that involve a raw placenta. We do not offer placenta smoothies or dehydrate the placenta from a raw state. We won't risk your health and safety. Hey, even restaurants have to warn you about raw food.
The statements and information in this blog post and on the Tulsa Family Doulas website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Placenta encapsulation is defined as the service of preparing a client's own placenta for medicinal use or consumption, and absolutely is not the sale of placentas or placenta products. None of our services are approved for the diagnosing, treatment, cure, or prevention of any disease, because (according to the FDA) only a drug can legally make such claims.
Your use of placenta encapsulation or other services assumes previous discussion with your healthcare provider; Tulsa Family Doula clients are responsible for researching and using these services appropriately.