Curious About Placenta Encapsulation? Read This Interview

Art prints made before placenta encapsulation.

Art prints made before placenta encapsulation.

Interview with Leiann Saniger, doula and placenta encapsulator.

Recently I interviewed Leiann Saniger, a local placenta encapsulator and doula, about the benefits of placenta encapsulation.

Q. Leiann, there has been a lot of talk in the media about having a woman’s placenta encapsulated. Could you describe the process?

A. Yes, this is the process where placenta encapsulators take a raw placenta and preparing it raw or steamed, dehdyrating it, then grinding it and putting it into a capsule for oral consumption.

Q. So there is a choice of how to have the placenta processed?

A. Yes, Steamed is a traditional Chinese method with the idea that when a woman births her baby she is left with a cold space where the baby was. Steaming is the idea of creating heat to balance your Qi. The raw method is taking a raw placenta, dehydrating it, then grinding it up for the capsules. It is best to discuss the varying methods available from your placenta encapsulation specialist and then decide which method is right for you.

Q. Even though it is gaining in popularity there are still many people who would think this is bizarre or gross. Can you explain the benefits of having your placenta encapsulated?

A. While there are no completed studies or FDA approval yet there is ongoing research and evidence about the benefits. Most women report an improvement in or avoidance of postpartum mood disorders, replenishing iron and B vitamins after giving birth, increasing breastmilk supply, giving back some of the oxytocin levels that were high during labor, protection from infection, and more. There are studies that link low iron levels with postpartum mood disorders and the baby blues that upwards of 80% of women experience. Hormone levels drop dramatically following birth and consuming the placenta may help to level out the hormone instability.

Q. Most mammals consume their placenta, correct?

A. Yes, most mammals do and it would stand to reason there is a benefit. I believe the placenta can give back to us benefits after giving birth. We just have a more palatable way to do it by using the process of encapsulating it. Each placenta can yield many capsules for you to take over the coming months.

Q. How do the capsules taste?

A. They taste pretty much like any herbal supplement. Much more palatable than making placenta jerky or a raw smoothie, which some women do.

Q. How much does the process cost?

A. My fees are the current going rate in our area — $175 to $200 depending on the process. There may also be additional services women choose to add on, such as having a tincture prepared or making a keepsake print/art of the placenta before it is processed. Talk to some of your area placenta encapsulators to discuss all of your options.

Q.  One last question, where did you train to offer this service?

A. I trained in a hands on training with actual donated placentas through Full Circle, which is now known as IPPA. They provide training about the process and how to deal with any issues such as cross contamination and OSHA compliance. I am also approved as a trainer to teach others how to encapsulate placentas.

Thank you for sharing this information, Leiann.

All Rights Reserved, 2015, Kimberly Sebeck, Knoxville Doula

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