Blog

Jul
21
A Response To The CDC News About Encapsulating Placentas

We’re sure by now you’ve all heard about a recent report put out by the CDC warning mothers against ingesting their placentas after childbirth. In this specific case, a mother in Oregon had been ingesting her encapsulated placenta, which was said to cause her newborn baby to continuously get sick. The report scared a lot of women and their families (rightfully so!) and we’re here to dispel some fears around it.
Disclaimer: we believe wholeheartedly that encapsulating healthy placentas can be a wonderful benefit to postpartum mothers (link to good article discussing the benefits). We also offer this service to our doula clients and other women.
Let’s unpack this specific case. To help us out, we checked out New Life Blessing’s wonderful blog post about it, which stated:
“In the case in question, the mother was tested as being GBS negative at the end of her pregnancy. With symptoms present at the time of birth, the baby was tested positive for GBS infection before the mother received or began taking her placenta pills. The baby had recovered after a course of antibiotics.
The baby got a second GBS infection 5 days later and was admitted to another hospital. It was there that the mother shared she had begun ingesting placenta pills, and the doctor asked to have them cultured.

The culture showed that the GBS bacteria in the baby was the same bacteria that was in the pills. Therefore, they decided that the placenta pills were causing the problem, despite the fact that the baby had contracted a GBS infection of the same bacteria PRIOR to the placenta pills being used. In addition, the mother’s expressed breast milk tested negative for the GBS bacteria.
They state (emphasis mine): “Consumption of contaminated placenta capsules MIGHT HAVE elevated maternal GBS intestinal and skin colonization, facilitating transfer to the infant.”
Mother’s intestinal GBS bacteria colonization would not have affected the baby, since her breast milk was tested negative for the bacteria. There might have been some bacteria on her skin because she touched the pills, but the article does not state whether the hospital lab cultured the outside of the pills or just the inside contents of the capsules.
Furthermore, the baby could have come in contact with the GBS bacteria from anywhere. Though the capsules contained the same GBS bacteria that is found within the mother’s digestive tract, the re-emergence of symptoms in the baby could have been anything – from the child not receiving enough antibiotics to a lack of hand washing.
Either way, correlation does not prove causation in this case. Not even close.”
While it’s unclear if the preparation of this woman’s placenta pills were in the raw form, or if it was steamed first, we abide by the traditional Chinese method of steaming and dehydrating placentas, which kills any form of bacteria that may be present.
Overall, we think the CDC’s response was very unclear and not very evidence-based. In fact, it’s not even clear that the illness was connected to the placenta capsules - the language they use in their report is not definitive that the illness was 100 percent from the placenta pills. While this one case is unfortunate, it is ONE case out of tens of thousands of women who successfully and healthily ingest their placenta capsules postpartum, and reap the many benefits from it.
Furthermore, I (Tracie) have encapsulated 6 years for moms throughout the entire Bay Area, well over 600 placentas and never, not once had a mom come back with an adverse reaction. Each and every placenta is labeled and stored properly prior to leaving the hospital to avoid pathogens and ensure safe handling. The placenta is processed in a timely order it was delivered and the equipment is twice-sterilized each time to avoid cross contamination. Also, after every delivery the doctor is required to inspect the placenta to determine its health for release. If there is any cause for concern and or an infection during labor and delivery, they are require by ACOG (The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) will send the placenta to pathology for further testing.
Another really helpful article we found was from Placenta Benefits. We’re happy to discuss our process with you, and would love the opportunity to chat further about placenta encapsulation. Until then, be well mommas.

Xoxo,Tracie and Katelyn


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* Available 24 hours for birth

Monday

-

09:00AM - 05:00PM

Tuesday

-

09:00AM - 05:00PM

Wednesday

-

09:00AM - 05:00PM

Thursday

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09:00AM - 05:00PM

Friday

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09:00AM - 05:00PM

Saturday

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CLOSED

Sunday

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CLOSED

Please fill out the contact info below and someone from our office will get back to you within 48 hours