Answering Your Questions on Placenta Encapsulation

clean kitchen available for placenta encapsulation

Placenta encapsulation is becoming increasingly popular among women after they give birth. As a Postpartum Doula and Postpartum Placenta Specialist, I’ve been getting a few questions regularly, and thought I’d answer the most common ones for you, as you make up your mind about this service:

  • Why would anyone eat their placenta?

Those who choose placenta encapsulation are usually looking for improved energy after their birth, the potential of rebalancing their hormones and mood, and possibly support with breastfeeding. The process that I use has roots in Traditional Chinese Medicine, a field which has a long history of using placenta as an herb.

  • Isn’t that cannibalism?

Meriam-Webster defines cannibalism as “1: the usually ritualistic eating of human flesh by a human being. 2: the eating of the flesh or the eggs of any animal by its own kind.”

While this definition leaves an opening for consuming ones own placenta to be included, I tend to think that cannibalism is the eating of the flesh of someone other than yourself. And I can assure my clients that they are taking pills including only their own placenta because I encapsulate only in their home.

What I think most people are asking when they consider this, is whether taking placenta capsules is weird, or taboo. I say no.

Well-educated, well-informed women are consuming their placenta every day, all while being good citizens. I don’t think they’re cannibals.

  • Why does the encapsulation have to be done in my home?

By keeping the placenta under their own supervision at all times (at the hospital, in transport, and in their home), I’m giving my clients peace of mind. You know that you have your own placenta, that only your germs have come in contact with it, and can ensure that it is processed in an environment you’re comfortable with- your own home.

  • Is it safe to consume my placenta?

If you are delivering at the hospital, your provider will release of your placenta. This provides a measure of protection, as doctors and midwives are always concerned about your health. I also have a list of precautions that I take, based on my training. While we don’t yet have studies on the impact of women with various conditions (during and apart from pregnancy) consuming their placenta, we do have years of feedback from those who have benefited and taken placenta capsules safely.

We can also remember, if your concern is about medications you were taking during pregnancy or labor, that the placenta is a filtering system, but is not like the liver, in that it does not store what it filters.

Because I am held to high standards- universal precautions to prevent the spread of blood borne pathogens, and food safety guidelines- I do not introduce dangerous elements into the capsules that my clients receive.

  • What’s the research on this?

The short answer is that studies are currently ongoing, and as we have more peer-reviewed data, I will be sure to update my clients. If I ever feel uncomfortable with what I learn, I will stop providing this service.

The longer answer is that a great many women have found success with energy, mood and breastfeeding after placenta encapsulation. However, this is anecdotal data, and as a believer in science and medicine, I want to make it clear to all of my clients that this practice has not been found to replace iron supplements, anti-depressants or advice from your medical professional. 

  • Can my partner/child take the pills?

I don’t recommend this practice, because I am not aware of any benefits.

You only have one placenta, and if you choose to encapsulate I recommend that you take the pills as long as they are benefiting you, and receive all of those benefits.

  • Does it smell?

Given the sensitive senses of smell that you might have developed during pregnancy, this question makes a lot of sense. And while every person’s nose is different, you can be assured that the odor processing of a properly refrigerated or frozen placenta (the only kind I will encapsulate) is not foul. If you or a loved one join me in the kitchen during processing, you may smell notes of lemon or ginger.


Those are just a few questions I get regularly, but I’d love to know what else you’re wondering about. Feel free to ask in the comments, or send me a message!

If you’re interested in talking further about this service, contact me for a consult, and learn more about how placenta encapsulation can benefit you as you recover from pregnancy and birth. Placenta encapsulation can be a valuable part of the postpartum period for many new mothers, and I am happy to provide service to my clients.

1 Comment

  1. […] is a huge part of my business. So I’ll be blunt– we do not know all of what is contained in a processed placenta. Research is ongoing, and […]

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