FREQUENTLY
ASKED
QUESTIONS

What is the difference between Raw, TCM, tincture and placenta powder?

Raw Encapsulation – The placenta is prepared and dehydrated from a raw state. This maintains the integrity of the enzymes, vitamins and hormones that are destroyed by heat in the TCM process. Dehydration is done at a low temperature over a longer period. This is the most common choice for mothers.

TCM Encapsulation – The placenta is prepared in the Traditional Chinese Medicine method which includes steaming with ginger, chilli and lemon. This destroys many of the heat sensitive benefits, but some mothers prefer the “warming” aspect of this preparation and the fact that it is cooked.

Placenta Powder – Either method can be chosen and just the powder is prepared, in other words not in capsules.
Placenta Tincture – This is a homoepathic mother tincture that can be used from 6 weeks post-partum (it takes that long to steep and be ready for use). This can be used once the capsules are finished for times of stress – such as returning to work or low milk supply. It can also be used for the baby for teething, sleeplessness and even the first day of school. The tincture can only be ordered if either Raw or TCM encapsulation is part of the service to you.

Placenta Salve – A salve or balm made of your placenta and a variety of healing oils offers healing properties to csection scars once they are closed, haemorrhoids, perineal tearing/episiotomy scars, cracked or blistered nipples, eczema, sun burn, nappy rash, skin irritation and more.

If I have a medicated birth or caesarean section can I still use my placenta for encapsulation and/or other placenta therapies?
Yes, you can still use your placenta if you have a caesarean or medicated birth as long as your placenta has not been sent to pathology prior to our collection. The placenta is a part of an advanced filtering system. Nutrients from the mother get passed to the baby via the placenta, which tries to filter out anything harmful to the baby before letting it get through. The baby passes waste back to the mother through the placenta, which the mother’s body can then remove, just as her body removes all the other waste products in her system. The placenta is not a filter that traps everything that can’t get through, like an air filter. Those waste products and other things that the baby can’t use are generally sent back out to the mother for removal. We recommend you to have a leak proof container ready to store your placenta after birth. If you are on any other type of medication during your pregnancy, we ask you to seek advice from your Placenta Specialist before deciding on placenta encapsulation.
What if I am Strep-B positive or have an infection and need antibiotics, will I still be able to use my placenta?
If you have taken antibiotics for Strep-B, GBS or any other vaginal infection, you would still be able to do Raw encapsulation. We may do TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) capsules as a precautionary measure. This will be discussed at the time.
What if I give birth prematurely?
Premature births are often associated with problems in pregnancy. As long as your placenta is examined and cleared from any type of abnormality after birth we are happy to help you with our placenta services.
Why does placenta encapsulation seem so expensive?
The equipment to process the placenta is very expensive and it takes an extended period of time to pay this off before we start making any profit. We also use hospital grade cleansers, sterilizers and other equipment which is fairly expensive. It takes between 5-6 hours hands-on work just to process just one placenta, without doing tinctures or any other added services. The service you are receiving from Organic Birth is professional one and we are available at any time to talk about dosage, storage or any questions or concerns you have, no matter how long your capsules may last. In the States placenta encapsulation charges range from R3 000 – 5 500 excluding collection. In the UK charges range between R3 000 – 4 500, and over R1 200 for a tincture preparation.
I want to donate/store my baby’s cord blood. Will I still be able to have my placenta made into capsules?
Yes, you can do both. We advise parents to let the hospital know and ensure their midwife or doctor knows that they wish to have both services. The placenta should be put into the placenta container after birth and stored safely in a cooler bag or fridge.
Are there any circumstances when it would not be possible to use the placenta for encapsulation or other placenta remedies?
If your placenta has been sent to pathology in hospital for any reason we cannot process your placenta into capsules because it may have been contaminated while in the pathology department. You can request the hospital to take just a small piece of your placenta for examination in this instance.
How do I store my placenta safely after birth?
Your placenta should be put into one or two medical plastic bags and inserted into a clean, leak proof container after birth and stored in a cooler bag on ice or in a safe refrigerator. You should contact your Placenta Specialist during your labour and soon after your birth to ensure your placenta is collected within 48 hours.
When is the best time for the cord to be cut if using my placenta for placenta encapsulation?
We highly recommend all mothers to choose delayed cord clamping for the benefit of their newborn. Delayed cord clamping involves leaving the umbilical cord intact for at least 3-10 minutes after birth, longer if possible. During this time the cord is still pumping up to 150ml of iron and stem cell rich blood to your baby which has been scientifically proven to have lifelong benefits to your baby. Delayed cord clamping does not affect placenta encapsulation in any way.
I’ve heard the placenta is full of waste and may contain toxins, is this true?
Your placenta acted as the life supply for your baby during pregnancy and if it were full of toxins this would make a very dangerous organ for your baby to be fed from, so in fact it is not possible for the placenta to be ‘full of waste’. The placenta acted as a gateway for nutrient supply to your baby and waste from your baby to be passed back to your body to be filtered through your organs. There are small amounts of heavy metals in the placenta, however scientifically proven, these levels are no greater than normal levels of heavy metals found in the body and in mother’s colostrum and breast milk.
How long can I store my placenta in the fridge or freezer for before using it?
We always advise mothers to make use of their placenta sooner rather than later. However, if circumstances arise where this preparation cannot take place within 5 days after birth, placentas are only safe to be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days and must then be transferred to the home freezer. We can prepare placenta remedies up to a year later or even longer if the placenta has been stored correctly.
Can I keep my placenta and decide to have it encapsulated later?
Of course; however nature has intended for your placenta to be consumed as soon as possible after birth, so we believe ‘the sooner the better’. We advise you read the storage guidelines above. Keep your placenta between 6-16 degrees Celsius after birth using ice packs and cooler bag and transfer the placenta to a safe refrigerator as soon as possible. Contact your local Placenta Specialist as soon as possible to ensure you start benefiting from your placenta sooner rather than later. You can also store your placenta in the freezer for up to a year.
If I decide not to encapsulate, is there something else I could do with my placenta?
Even if you decide not to encapsulate your placenta, we encourage mothers to keep their placenta anyway. Most hospitals sell on your placenta to pharmaceutical companies for product development and sale. You could have a placenta burial ceremony in your garden to honour the work this sacred organ has done in helping to grow your baby.
What other ingredients are in the placenta capsules and are they suitable for me as I’m a vegetarian?
Organic Birth Placenta Specialists do not include any other ingredients when preparing placenta capsules. When preparing Traditional Chinese Medicine style capsules we do steam the placenta with lemon (for grounding), ginger (for circulation) and chilli (for heat) which are added to the water when steaming. If you are vegan, please advise your Placenta Specialist so that we use vegetable based capsules and not gelatin capsules.
How can taking placenta capsules boost my milk supply or help keep the ‘baby blues’ at bay?
We recommend taking between 2-6 capsules a day for as long as needed after birth. In our experience placenta capsules have supported many of our clients through many months of successful breastfeeding. Many of our clients notice their milk ‘comes in’ much quicker than expected and remains consistent without problems for weeks postbirth. Those who are choosing placenta encapsulation to prevent the baby blues should contact their local Placenta Specialist during their pregnancy to ensure a specialist is available to start the process within 48 hours after birth. The baby blues often hits mothers between days 3-5 after birth. Most specialists will encourage new mothers to contact them as soon as possible after birth to ensure mothers receive their capsules by day 3-5 after birth in the aim to prevent the baby blues. Remember where possible – early latching, no dummies and bottles, and no scheduling of feeds is the most important when it comes to a successful breastfeeding relationship.
Do the capsules smell or taste of anything
If swallowed normally like any tablet or capsule, you will not notice any taste or smell.
How should I store my placenta remedies?
TCM placenta capsules can be stored in the jar provided in a cold, dark place for up to a year, then transferred to a freezer for later use. Raw dried placenta capsules should be consumed within 6-12 months and are stored in a cool, dark place. Placenta Tincture and Salve should be stored in a cool, dark place.
How big are the capsules and how long will they last?
We use size ’0′ capsules when preparing placenta pills. These measure roughly 2cm in length and 0.7cm in width, the size of an average vitamin or herbal supplement. Placentas make between 90-200 capsules depending on the type of method you choose and the size of your placenta. They will generally last between 4-6 weeks. You can also store some in the freezer for your first post-partum period or weaning.
Can my family members take my placenta capsules too?
We do not recommend anyone consumes placenta capsules other than the mother who made the placenta however there will be no harm to immediate family members if the mother chooses to share her placenta capsules.
How safe is the procedure meaning how clean/sterile, etc?
We follow strict regulations and use hospital grade cleansers and sterilisers to ensure our services meet all international placenta encapsulation guidelines. Our Placenta Specialists are all trained in sterile technique and food hygiene.
Can I have a Lotus Birth and encapsulate too?

A lotus birth is when the placenta is left attached to the baby until it detaches on its own, generally after several days. In lotus birth, it is common to salt or otherwise help the placenta dry out more quickly. While traditional lotus birth is a beautiful ceremony honouring the connection between placenta and baby, it renders the placenta unsuitable for consumption.
If lotus birth is important to you, a modified version could be performed while still encapsulating the placenta.
a) The placenta could stay connected to the baby for up to three or four hours. This would give the baby a gentle transition to the world, and the placenta would still be fit for consumption after this amount of time. Do not exceed four hours before separating the placenta and refrigerating it.
b) Another option at four hours postpartum is to sever the portion of placenta that you desire to encapsulate, and place it into the refrigerator. The remainder of the placenta can stay intact, along with the cord to baby until it falls off naturally. This allows a modified version of both lotus and encapsulation while understanding you are not receiving either in full – resulting in fewer capsules, no cord keepsake, and some will be severed (not full lotus.)
Remember that we would like start the encapsulation process within 24 to 48 hours of the birth. We do this because the hormones within the placenta will begin to metabolize and change.

Will I experience any side effects when taking my placenta capsules?
According to other international Placenta Specialists, apparently the mother might feel like she is on a caffeine “high” and in this case it is recommended to cut down on the dosage. Normal post-partum symptoms such as headaches, body aches, swelling etc. are not associated with placenta consumption. If you have any doubt though, you can stop taking them for a couple of days and see if the symptoms stop.
With regards to a placenta therapy such as a tincture, will I be able to purchase more when I have used up all of my supply?
If you would like to order a placenta tincture or extend the use of your current one, be sure to keep at least 3 placenta capsules and be in touch with your Placenta Specialist. However unfortunately we cannot make more supply if you do run out. Our advice is to use your remedies when you feel you need them the most.
If I run out of my placenta capsules, what do I do?
Unfortunately, we cannot offer any other services to support mothers who run out of their placenta capsules. There are online sources that offer sheep’s placenta capsules however we highly recommend you research these companies before committing to any type of animal placenta treatment.
How long should I take my placenta capsules for?
You can take your placenta capsules for as long as you feel you need them or intermittently if you are going through a time of stress, or returning to work to maintain your milk supply.
I’m not so sure my placenta capsules are working, how do I know?
Many of our clients say they simply feel ‘good’ while taking their capsules but are unsure if that’s just the way it would have been had they not consumed their placenta. Try skipping a day or dose and see if you feel any different, then you’ll know if there really is a change or not.
I have some capsules left over and I’m pregnant again, can I take my left-over capsules while pregnant?
The placenta is designed to help the body recover after childbirth and composes of hormones which may contract the uterus. To prevent any possible contraction of the uterus due to the oxytocin hormone, we advise mothers not to take placenta capsules while pregnant.
Have there been any studies conducted on consumption of the placenta?

There has been and there are ongoing studies at the moment. Please see some information below.
The American journal of obstetrics and diseases of women and children: “It has been shown that the feeding of desiccated placenta to women during the first eleven days after parturition causes an increase in the protein and lactose percent of the milk… All the mothers were receiving the same diet, and to the second set 0.6mg of desiccated placenta was fed three times a day throughout the period. Certain definite differences in the progress of growth of the two sets of infants are to be observed. It is evident that the recovery from the postnatal decline in weight is hastened by the consumption of milk produced under the influence of maternally ingested placenta.” McNeile, Lyle G. 1918.
The American journal of obstetrics and diseases of women and children, 77. W.A. Townsend & Adams, original press: University of Michigan.
Placenta as Lactagagon Soykova-Pachnerova E, et. al.(1954). Gynaecologia 138(6):617-627.An attempt was made to increase milk secretion in mothers by administration of dried placenta per os. Of 210 controlled cases only 29 (13.8%) gave negative results; 181 women (86.2%) reacted positively to the treatment, 117 (55.7%) with good and 64 (30.5%) with very good results. It could be shown by similar experiments with a beef preparation that the effective substance in placenta is not protein. Nor does the lyofilised placenta act as a biogenic stimulator so that the good results of placenta administration cannot be explained as a form of tissue therapy per os. The question of a hormonal influence remains open. So far it could be shown that progesterone is probably not active in increasing lactation after administration of dried placenta. This method of treating hypogalactia seems worth noting since the placenta preparation is easily obtained, has not so far been utilized and in our experience is successful in the majority of women.

Further reading
http://www.placentawise.com/research-studies-supporting-placenta-encapsulation/,
http://www.aaanet.org/mtgs/dev/viewDetail.cfm?itemtype=paper_poster&matchid=24586

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For any other questions, please write us at melissa@organicbirth.co.za

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