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    What Is Placenta Encapsulation? Are Placenta Pills Healthy?

    Updated 14 April 2020 |
    Published 07 March 2019
    Fact Checked
    Tanya Tantry, MD
    Reviewed by Tanya Tantry, MD, Obstetrician & Gynecologist, Medical Consultant at Flo
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    Placenta encapsulation isn’t a fringe tradition anymore. It is gaining popularity in some western countries. Most of the information that supports this increased popularity is based on the individual experiences of people who have used placenta pills.

    What is placenta encapsulation? 

    Placenta encapsulation is the act of steaming, dehydrating, and crushing placenta, then putting the resulting powder into pills or capsules for consumption. This consumption is usually done by a mother after childbirth and is believed to have some health benefits, though that is not medically proved. 

    How do people prepare placenta capsules 

    Since there are no laws or regulations governing the practice of placental encapsulation in some parts of the world, it is pertinent that you employ the expertise of a placenta encapsulation specialist, who can be reached online from around the world.

    There are two methods of encapsulating placenta for consumption. Each method requires that the placenta should be encapsulated within two days of delivery. One method is the raw method, and the other is the traditional method of preparation.

    In the raw method of preparation, the placenta is cleaned after it is retrieved from the hospital or as soon as the mother delivers it. Then it is sliced, dehydrated, and crushed into powder and placed into capsules.

    In the traditional Chinese method of placenta encapsulation, the placenta is first steamed, then sliced, dehydrated, and finally encapsulated into placenta pills.  is reduced as a result of the steaming.

    Alleged benefits of placenta encapsulation

    There is little scientific research available regarding whether placenta encapsulation and consumption has any health benefits.

    Most of the information regarding this practice is amassed from anecdotes rather than research.

    Some nursing mothers who have taken placenta pills have reported that it has three major benefits on the health of mothers who just delivered a baby. They include:

    Postpartum depression

    Some mothers develop postpartum depression. This is a kind of depression that makes it difficult for them to meet the needs of their newborn. Sometimes postpartum depression may become very severe. 

    No scientific research has, so far, been able to ascertain the benefits of placenta encapsulation with regard to postpartum depression. Still, many mothers testify that placenta consumption helps nursing others deal with it.

    A woman taking a placenta capsule

    Increased oxytocin

    Oxytocin is the hormone responsible for postpartum mood stabilization, helps the uterus return to its original shape and size after childbirth; and facilitates bonding between mother and child. Oxytocin may be present in the placenta.

    Replenished iron levels

    Blood loss during labor can cause iron deficiency anemia for some new mothers. Placenta is an iron-rich substance, so ingesting placenta capsules may help treat this condition.

    Encapsulating placenta: should you do it?

    Whether you decide to ingest your placenta immediately after childbirth or not is entirely up to you. 

    There is a concern that placenta capsules may be contaminated with harmful bacteria. In one case, an infant was diagnosed with a late-onset infection caused by the bacteria group B Streptococcus agalactiae. Placenta capsules consumed by the infant’s mother tested positive for the bacteria and were identified as a potential source of the infection, which was potentially fatal.

    Before you decide to practice placenta encapsulation, be sure to seek the help of your doctor to gather valuable and useful information on if it’s right for you and how to go about it safely. You may also want to ensure that your state doesn’t have laws and regulations that counter the procedure.

    History of updates

    Current version (14 April 2020)

    Reviewed by Tanya Tantry, MD, Obstetrician & Gynecologist, Medical Consultant at Flo

    Published (07 March 2019)

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