Many new mothers who have just given birth are requesting placental encapsulation, sometimes call placentophagy, as part of their birth plan.
Birth doulas and postpartum doulas who have incorporated placental encapsulation into their doula training can provide the new mom with a more holistic approach to postpartum care.
By providing this service, doulas can accommodate mothers who are seeking natural, holistic methods of recovery after giving birth.
What is Placental Encapsulation
Placental encapsulation is the process of turning a fresh placenta, the nutrient-providing layer around a baby, into a pill. The process involves refrigerating the fresh placenta directly after childbirth, preparing the placenta by washing and dehydrating it, and then grinding it into a powder which will be placed inside a pill or capsule. The new mother would then consume or ingest her own placenta, thus receiving any health benefits.
What are the Health Benefits to Eating Your Placenta
The placenta is the tissue which provides a fetus with nutrients and oxygen. Because of that, it contains hormones such as estrogen, prolactin, and oxytocin. These essential postnatal hormones contribute to increased milk production, enhanced bonding with the baby, and decreased stress. Additionally, the placenta contains a bounty of nutrients and vitamins such as iron and hemoglobin which are required to replenish the blood supply.
Cost of Placental Encapsulation
Doulas who are trained in placental encapsulation can provide this service as part of their postpartum support package. They can charge anywhere from $100 to $500 for this service. The entire process is time consuming and sometimes the mother will have special requests such as using herbs while encapsulating the placenta, thus driving up the price.
How to Become Postpartum Placental Specialist
Doulas can train to be become a placental encapsulation specalist by enrolling in specialized classes which teach the proper procedure of placental encapsulation from start to finish. The courses will discuss topics such as:
- The anatomy and physiology of the placenta
- Common challenges encountered during the encapsulation process
- Safety, sanitation, and health hazards during handling of the placenta
- The various benefits of placentophagy
- What supplies you need to perform the procedure
- How to understand and address the expectation of your clients
Some placental encapsulation training program will give a certification when a doula finishes the classes. Currently, there is no requirement to have a placental encapsulation certification in order to perform this service.
Placental Encapsulation Training Programs
APPA – Association of Placenta Preparation Arts is a certification granting program which takes about 6 to 9 months to complete. Includes one on one mentoring.
PBi – Placental Benefits.info is another organization which offers a certification in placental encapsulation.
IPPI – International Placenta and Postpartum Association is a certifying association with a curriculum that takes 12-16 weeks to complete. Requires 3 placentas to be encapsulated as hands-on training.