Placenta Encapsulation in Tulsa
If you’re curious about the ins and outs of placenta encapsulation, this is your post! This week we have an interview with Amy Walton, postpartum doula and placenta encapsulator extraordinaire here in Tulsa. I’m so grateful to Amy for taking the time to share her knowledge with us. Here we go!
Hello Sunshine: Why did you get into placenta encapsulating?
Amy Walton: I had my placenta encapsulated with my daughter. My pills were not given to me until several days after I was home from the hospital and by then I was a hormonal mess. Once I started taking them my mood began to stabilize and my milk soon followed. I was amazed at my results so I started looking into it. I learned that there are trainings and certifications in placenta preparation, which my encapsulator didn’t have, and I saw a need for fast turn around and safe preparation. I began my training about 6 months postpartum. There was so much to learn! I completed training, testing and certification through International Placenta & Postpartum Association.
HS: What are the health benefits to placenta encapsulation?
AW: So many! Your placenta is the powerhouse of hormones during your pregnancy with it being the sole home of the Corticotrophin Releasing Hormone (CRM) which gradually increases until it is 3 times higher than normal at birth. This hormone helps to stabilize blood sugar and pressure to help the body respond to stress. When the placenta is birthed your body loses it source of CRH along with elevated levels of other beneficial hormones, chemicals, and healing substances for the body such as: estrogen, progesterone and testosterone, prolactin, oxytocin, POEF, thyroid stimulating hormone, CRH, cortisone, interferon, prostaglandins, iron, hemoglobin, urokinase inhibiting factor and factor XIII, IgG and hPL.
Studies have shown that women who consumed their placenta had an increase in milk quantity and quality with breastfed babies from PE mamas gaining more weight than breastfed babies who’s mamas didn’t encapsulate.
Anemia is a common concern after birth. The iron in the placenta can help a mother with her clarity, focus and strength—all combating baby blues which upwards of 80% of new mothers experience. As a matter of fact, midwives have used raw placenta placed in between the mother’s cheek and gum to control postpartum bleeding as it contains natural oxytocin to aid in uterine contraction.
The hormones and chemicals in the placenta, taken in gradually lowered doses, helps to stabilize the mother. The body has been accustomed to higher levels of hormones and doesn’t bounce back immediately. It can take weeks for the body to begin signals to start producing hormones that the placenta was storing and producing and by ingesting her placenta the mother can safely wean herself and stabilize until her body takes over.
HS: Are there any risks?
AW: The risks of placenta encapsulation are few and can be eliminated as long as the placenta specialist is following strict safety and sanitizing protocols and OSHA standards and has an understanding of what the contraindications for consumption are.
HS: So what are the contraindications for consumption?
AW: Contraindications of placenta preparation are as follows:
- Chemically contaminated placentas in pathology, either sanitizing or preserving.
- Placentas that have sat out longer than 4 hours at room temperature post birth with no preservation methods.
- Placentas that have sat in the refrigerator for more than 4 days without being frozen.
- Placentas that have mucosy or stringy blood
- Uterine infections or chorioamnionitis
- Heavy smoking during pregnancy
- Heavy drug usage
- Some low weight, high binding molecular weight drugs
- Cancer of the placenta which is called choriocarcinoma.
- Some genetic disorders
HS: What are the options around placenta consumption?
AW: There are 2 methods for preparation, RAW and Heated.
Preparation using the Basic Heated Method involves heating the placenta with steam before dehydrating. This method is used to replenish warmth back to the mother that was lost in the birthing process and to re-balance the mother’s Qi and energy. This method is commonly referred to as the Traditional Chinese Method but I am not a doctor of Chinese Medicine and don’t claim to have specialization in Chinese Medicine. If you desire to work with a Doctor of Chinese Medicine and have a specialized blend of herbs prescribed for you I can use those herbs in the heated preparation.
The RAW Foods Method skips the steaming/heating process. The RAW method is popular as it is believed that steaming or heating the placenta destroys some of the nutrients. Using the RAW method creates very nutrient and hormone dense capsules while producing a higher yield of capsules. The RAW method must be done within 24 hours of birthing.
HS: What else can be done with a placenta?
AW: I also offer prints, tinctures, salves and smoothies!
Prior to encapsulation a print is done with either the blood that is naturally on the placenta or food safe dyes on high quality watercolor card stock. Check out the placenta page at www.mindbodymamatulsa.com for examples of prints I’ve done.
A tincture picks up where the capsules leave off and adds longevity to your placenta. The tincture has an almost indefinite shelf life if stored properly and can be utilized for energy, transition, stress, hormone stabilization and are therefore great for returning cycles and menopause. Dosage for mother is 7-10 drops under the tongue and held for 60 seconds. The mother may also give the tincture to the baby, aged 6 months or older, for teething, transitional periods, stress and to boost the immune system. Dosage for a healthy child is 3-5 drops mixed with breast milk or juice. The biological daughter of the placenta owner can also use the tincture when menstruation begins for cycle stabilization and hormone balance.
Placenta salve can be used to heal C-Section incisions, lessen scarring, itching and discomfort after the wound has closed. It can also be used as soon as 3 days postpartum for hemorrhoids, perineal tearing, burns, diaper rash, eczema, sunburns and skin irritations. It’s safe for baby as long as there are no skin sensitivities (test a small area first). 3-4 capsules worth of placenta is infused with Comfrey Leaf helps heal wounds quickly. It’s great for burns, blisters and inflammation, as well. Placenta salve is good for approximately one year.
Utilizing the placenta, raw, immediately after birth is becoming a popular and important step in a new mother’s postpartum healing. Smoothies lend the mother immediate benefits of placenta consumption while waiting for capsules. Taking raw placenta directly after birthing is a great alternative to pharmaceutical means of controlling bleeding. A thumbnail piece of raw placenta is added to a green or fruit smoothie and blended for the mother immediately after delivery of the placenta at the mother’s birth place. Smoothie is blended with either a tropical blend of fruits and juices, a berry blend or a recipe of your choice.
HS: How does a mom work with you? Do they need to contact you prenatally or can they just call after delivery?
AW: The majority of my clients have been researching placenta encapsulation and are ready to book when they hit their 3rd trimester. This way paperwork and payment can be collected and mom is given instructions. I do, however, get a handful of calls from moms who decided last minute that they want to encapsulate.
HS: What process do you go through when encapsulating?
AW: I ask that I am contacted when mom is in active labor to give me a heads up that “today is the day!’ and then again once baby has arrived. I will be at her birthing place within an hour to collect the placenta. I transport the placenta in a cooler with ice to the Birth Center where I begin processing it immediately.
This is my process:
• The placenta is gently rinsed to remove blood clots and massaged to remove excess blood. Membranes and cord are removed. The amniotic sac, rich in stem cells, is placed in the dehydrator.
• The placenta is marinated in a ginger lemon ceviche.
• If the client requests the heated method the placenta is steamed lightly with ginger and lemon. Lemon is thought of as an antiseptic and helps distribute the nutrients throughout the body. The ginger acts as a facilitator for energy and good blood flow.
• The placenta is sliced into thin strips.
• Strips are placed in the dehydrator.
• The dehydrator is set to 160 degree for the first 4 hours to kill bacteria and then lowered to 118 degrees for 14-20 hours or until strips are completely dehydrated and crisp.
• Dehydrated strips are ground into a fine powder and then put into size 0 capsules.
• The capsules are transferred to an amber jar with a desiccant bag and sealed.
HS: What do moms need to do if they want to hire you to encapsulate their placentas?
AW: Just shoot me an email and I will send you the paperwork!
HS: What’s the protocol for twins/multiples? Do you charge more for multiple placentas?
AW: Same protocol and same price. I do not charge more for multiples.
HS: If a mom doesn’t want to consume her placenta is there any other way to honor/ritualize it?
AW: Remember, you only get one placenta! Don’t let the nurse throw it away! Request to keep it and stick it in the freezer when you get home so that the option of consumption is available to you. If you decide not to encapsulate you can plant it in a special place, or with a flower or tree that offers significant meaning and tradition. Prints and cord keepsakes can be done at anytime with a non consumable placenta.
HS: What are some good resources for further reading that moms and their partners can do prenatally to learn more?
AW: I have a TON of information on my website. Go to www.mindbodymamatulsa.com, click on ‘Our Services’ and Placenta Encapsulation is the first choice. I have research studies cited along with an extensive FAQ section.
HS: How can mamas find you?
AW: Feel free to email me at email@example.com or call/text 918.550.1938
HS: Thanks so much, Amy!
AW: You’re welcome! Thank you.
What has been your experience with placenta encapsulation? Did it help postpartum?