Can ​Eating My Placenta Harm My Baby?

Placenta encapsulation has always been a pretty hot topic, and rightfully so. There isn’t much scientific research out there on the effects of consuming your placenta. Most mothers are left doing their own research and reading the anecdotal evidence in support of placenta encapsulation.

“Mothers who consumed their placenta passed on no harm to their newborn babies when compared to infants of mothers who did not consume their placenta.”

In June of 2017, the CDC released a statement (read it here) about placenta encapsulation and GBS (group B Streptococcus agalactiae, which almost all mothers are tested for late in pregnancy). The statement explained how a newborn apparently contracted GBS through the mother’s placenta capsules that also tested positive for GBS; “Although transmission from other colonized household members could not be ruled out, the final diagnosis was late-onset GBS disease attributable to high maternal colonization secondary to consumption of GBS-infected placental tissue.”

The statement goes on to say there are no standards for placenta consumption (true!) and that the company used by this particular mother stated on their website that “the placenta is cleaned, sliced, and dehydrated at 115°F–160°F (46°C–71°C).” But here’s the REAL problem…. if the placenta isn’t steamed and/or dehydrated at a high enough temperature, it isn’t safe to consume. Period.

So how do you know your encapsulator is following safety standards for bloodborne pathogens and food prep/handling? How do you know if your encapsulator is taking the time to properly steam your placenta, or that the dehydrator they’re using can even reach 160°F? Or that they’re steaming/dehydrating for a long enough period of time? You don’t! Unless you watch them prepare your placenta and capsules in your home.

On May 2, 2018, a joint study–and the largest of its kind– by UNLV and Oregon State University was published and it found “mothers who consumed their placenta passed on no harm to their newborn babies when compared to infants of mothers who did not consume their placenta.”

According to the UNLV News Center article; “The study examined birth outcomes and newborn risk, as well as how women consume their placentas and their motivations for doing so, contrasts a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report recommending against placentophagy.”

So when prepared properly and safely, placenta consumption poses no risk to baby. Placenta encapsulation, like anything related to pregnancy, birth, and parenting, is a personal choice. If you have any questions about our process, safety standards, or procedures please let us know! Transparency and professionalism are important to us, and you are important to us.

We are the area experts. The Fayetteville Doulas owner, Melissa Cruz, has been encapsulating placentas in the Fayetteville/Fort Bragg area since 2014. To learn more about our encapsulation service click here.

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