Frequently asked questions

Here are a list of FAQs for mums to help you on your way to making the most of your placenta.

If you answer ‘No’ to any of the following questions, we do not recommend you consume your placenta after birth.

1. Was your placenta birthed onto a clean surface?
2. Was your placenta stored in a clean container or bag after birth?
3. Did you chill your placenta on ice or in a fridge within 30 minutes after birth?
4. Has your placenta remained chilled since your birth?
5. Has it been less than 3 days since you gave birth?

If I have a medicated birth or caesarean section can I still use my placenta for encapsulation and/or other placenta remedies?

Yes, you can still use your placenta if you have a caesarean birth as long as your placenta has not been sent to pathology prior to our collection. We recommend you to have a sterilised leak proof 2L 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 consultant before deciding on placenta encapsulation. Please request details of our services from your local placenta specialist so you have all the information you need to provide to your consultant.

What if I am Strep-B positive or have a uterine or placental infection and need antibiotics, will I still be able to use my placenta?

Strep-B, GBS infection requires you request TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) capsules only. We recommend your placenta is steamed before encapsulation to ensure the bacteria from your infection is killed before dehydrating your placenta.

If you have tested positive or are suspected of having a uterine or placental infection, we advise you do not consume your placenta.

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 your placenta is suitable for consumption.

Are there any circumstances when it would not be possible to use the placenta for encapsulation or other placenta remedies?

Yes, if your placenta has been sent to pathology in hospital for any reason we do not recommend you consume your placenta 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.

We also do not recommend using your placenta for encapsulation if your placenta has not been stored properly after birth. See storage guidelines below.

How do I store my placenta safely after birth?

Your placenta should be put into a clean and sterile, leak proof container immediately after cord cutting and stored in a cooler bag on ice and kept at below 8 degrees Celsius for no longer than 12 hours or in a refrigerator at home. You should arrange for your placenta to be put into a refrigerator as soon as possible after birth.

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 acts as a 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, therefore 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 it is scientifically proven that 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 3 days after birth, placentas are only safe to be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days and must then be transferred to the home freezer. The placenta should be thawed thoroughly in the fridge only for 24-36 hours before encapsulating or making any other remedy.

As soon as I have given birth can I keep my placenta and decide to have it encapsulated later?

Yes, 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 below 8 degrees C after birth using ice packs and cooler bag for no longer than 12 hours and transfer the placenta to a safe refrigerator as soon as possible. Contact your local placenta advisor for more information. You can also store your placenta in the freezer for up to a year and still benefit from remedies.

How is the placenta prepared for TCM placenta pills?

Your placenta should be prepared into placenta capsules with no added ingredients. The placenta is steamed with lemon, ginger and green chilli (added to the water only) according to TCM recipes (Raw capsules skip this process). The placenta is dehydrated using a food dehydrator or oven for 8-20 hours until completely dry. The dried placenta is ground into a powder and put into empty vegetable capsules.

What is the difference between raw dried and TCM placenta capsules?

Unlike the Traditional Chinese Medicine preparation of the placenta, when processing a placenta raw the steaming process is skipped. This is not to say one method is better than the other, just that you have several options for encapsulation and should choose the method that best suits your needs and preferences.

Which is better, consuming the placenta raw or using the Traditional Chinese Medicine method?

Both! We recommend mothers to consume some of their raw placenta after birth in a smoothie to support the body in immediate repair and then consuming the rest of their placenta in capsules. The many potent stem cells and growth factors found in the raw placenta may be the key reason so many of our clients report almost immediate reduced blood loss and increased energy within minutes after enjoy a raw placenta smoothie. A raw placenta smoothie only requires around 3 pieces of raw placenta and the rest of the placenta can easily be made into raw dried or TCM capsules for ongoing benefits from the placenta.

Aren’t the hormones contained in the placenta actually destroyed during the cooking process used when preparing TCM capsules?

To some extent the heat process when preparing TCM capsules may affect the stem cells, hormones and B vitamins but to what degree is unknown. Minerals such as iron are not damaged by heat and there may be minimal damage to other nutrients found in the placenta. Placenta pills give a new mother the chance to benefit from her placenta for months after birth and have shown to have incredible benefits to energy levels and breast milk supply. There is currently no scientific evidence to suggest the placenta pills are or are not beneficial. IPEN and other placenta encapsulation specialists rely on personal experiences, anecdotal evidence and testimonials from new mothers who reveal placenta encapsulation was the key to their speedy recovery following birth.

Moreover, many people chose to eat organic meat to avoid added hormones and other artificial growth factors that are injected into livestock by non-organic farmers to produce more meat in a shorter space of time. If artificial hormones that are injected into livestock are still present in cooked non-organic steaks on the dinner table, then hormones surely survive the cooking process and can have an effect on our body.

If I have a raw placenta smoothie, will I taste the placenta?

No, raw placenta smoothies taste of nothing but fruit and berries. IPEN has come up with an excellent and simple recipe (see link above) that ensures mothers enjoy their smoothies after birth and taste nothing other than the fruit used to blend with the raw placenta.

What other ingredients are in the placenta capsules and are they suitable for me as I’m a vegetarian?

We advise mums to use empty vegetable cellulose capsules only. When preparing Traditional Chinese Medicine style capsules, steam the placenta with lemon (for grounding), ginger (for circulation) and chilli (for heat) which are added to the water when steaming.

How can taking placenta capsules boost my milk supply or help keep the ‘baby blues’ at bay?

We recommend taking 1-3 capsules a day for as long as needed after birth. In our experience placenta capsules have supported many women through many months of successful breastfeeding. In some cases, some mothers have still struggled with their breast milk supply however there were other problems involved that may have caused the reduced milk supply. We cannot guarantee any effects from placenta capsules on breastfeeding however many women have noticed their milk ‘comes in’ much quicker than expected and remains consistent without problems for many weeks, months or even years post-birth.

The baby blues often hits mothers between days 3-5 after birth. We recommend you consume your placenta as soon as possible to prevent the hormone imbalance that causes ‘baby blues’ which may develop into post-natal depression.

Do the capsules smell or taste of anything?

May mothers describe placenta capsules to have an ‘earthy’ smell. Placenta capsules may have a slight taste of meat however if swallowed quickly you will not notice any taste or smell. If you find your capsules begin to smell or taste unusually bad, we recommend you stop taking your capsules and contact your local placenta advisor who can advise you on storage guidelines and how to proceed.

How should I store my placenta capsules?

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.

It is very important that raw dried placenta capsules are consumed within 6-12 months and are stored in a cool dry place to prevent bacteria growth.

We highly advise you to wash your hands before handling your placenta capsules.

How big are the capsules and how long will they last?

We recommend size ‘0’ capsules when preparing placenta pills. These measure roughly 2cm in length and 0.7cm in width.

TCM placenta capsules will last indefinitely if stored properly. Raw dried placenta capsules may not last longer than 1 year if store in the home freezer, however we do not have exact shelf life guidelines yet.

How many capsules will my placenta make?

Placentas make between 90-300 capsules depending on the type of method you choose and the size of your placenta.

How long should I take my placenta capsules for?

You can take your placenta capsules for as long as you feel you need them.

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. It is however at the mothers and family’s discretion if they chose to share placenta remedies with one another.

How safe is the procedure meaning how clean/sterile, etc.?

We recommend you use clean utensils, equipment and clean your kitchen and sink thoroughly before and after the process to prevent cross contamination with other foods in your home kitchen. Your local placenta advisor can help by providing you all the information you need to ensure your placenta preparation is clean and safe.

Will I experience any side effects when taking my placenta capsules?

We cannot guarantee results with placenta capsules or any other placenta remedy. Because your placenta is made by you the quality and potency of your placenta smoothie and capsules is unique to your own placenta. We highly recommend you follow the care instructions given by your IPEN Placenta Advisor. Storing your placenta capsules properly, avoiding TCM capsules when ill and not taking over the recommended dose will reduce your chances of experiencing any side effect. Very rarely, less than 2% of our clients have reported some side effects when taking their placenta capsules. We have listed these below for your benefit.

Mild headaches (reported 3 times – we believe a lower dose is recommended to solve this problem)
Stomach cramping or abdominal pain (reported once – possibly the result of bacteria growth due to improper storage of capsules)
Stomach cramping for those also taking iron supplements (we recommend not taking iron supplements and placenta capsules at the same time)
PUPPPs rash returning after 3 days of consuming capsules (reported twice)
Pelvic girdle pain (PGP) sufferers feel less relief (we believe this is due to the high level of relaxin hormone in the placenta, which is the cause of PGP)
Unexplained lack of milk production (reported from 4 women over the last 5 years)
Emotional symptoms, stress, anxiety, depression (reported 5 times)

With regards to a placenta therapy such as a tincture, will I be able to make more when I have used up all of my supply?

We advise you to make a large supply of placenta tincture and essence in hopes that it will last you a lifetime because just drops are used in each dosage. 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 advice to support mothers who run out of their placenta capsules. The safest way to have more placenta capsules is to grow another baby and placenta. 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.

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 risk of miscarriage or pre-term labour, we highly advise mothers not to take placenta capsules while pregnant.

Copyright © 2015 Independent Placenta Encapsulation Network