Frequently asked questions
Q: How is the placenta prepared for consumption?
There are 2 methods of preparation, depending on client preference. For the Raw Method, the placenta is cleaned and prepared for dehydration without additional steaming or heat. This is believed to retain the majority of vital nutrients and hormones, as well as yield a larger capsule amount. If you choose the Traditional Chinese Medicine method, it is prepared a little differently. According to TCM Theory, the process of labor and birth can leave an excess of open, empty space, which is considered yin/cold. It is believed that one way to promote healing during the postpartum period is to add yang energy, via heat. The placenta is cleaned, steamed with lemon, ginger, and additional warming herbs, then prepared for dehydration. I personally prefer to use the raw method when encapsulating a placenta. It's my belief that the mother benefits the most this way, unless circumstances strongly suggest she would benefit from the other.
Q: Do you encapsulate in my home or your home?
Due to an increasingly busy schedule, I am only encapsulating in my home at this time, unless you live on the North Shore and are easily/quickly accessible. I only encapsulate one placenta at a time, so there is no risk for cross contamination. If more than one placenta is in my possession ( a very rare occurrence), it is clearly labeled and stored safely and properly until it is time to prepare it.
Q: What kind of capsules do you use?
I use vegetarian/vegan friendly 00 sized gel caps.
Q: How many capsules will my placenta make?
Depending on the size of your placenta and the method of preparation, it may yield anywhere from 75 to 200 capsules. On average, one placenta will fill an 8 oz. container.
Q: Do the capsules have a distinct odor or taste?
Some individuals find their capsules do have an iron rich, or otherwise distinct odor/taste, while some do not. I recommend taking the capsules with plenty of fluid to lessen the possibility of tasting them or burping them up; taking them with food is optional.
Q: How long does the encapsulation process take?
The encapsulation process can take approximately 24-48 hours, depending upon when I am called to collect the placenta and often times, the placenta itself. While most placentas will fully dehydrate within 12-15 hours, some may take a full 24 hours. Your safety and health are priority, so I do not encapsulate until I am 100% sure the placenta is ready. I keep clients informed and updated during the process. Your placenta will likely be placed in a plastic bag or biohazard bag by your care provider. If you are birthing within a facility, you can request it also be put in a sealable plastic container to be stored on ice until I can retrieve it. I recommend my clients birthing in facility to bring a small cooler to put the container or bag in- it ensures the safety & efficacy of the placenta and the nursing staff may feel more comfortable with leaving it in your possession.
Q: Will the hospital release my placenta to me?
The hospitals in the greater Boston area all have policies that allow for a mom to take her healthy placenta home with her for any reason (cultural, religious, nutrition, etc.) It is also mandated per the Department of Public Health of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts that hospitals have a protocol in place to facilitate the release of the placenta to the parents. That said, some hospitals are much more placenta friendly then others and some staff will not be the be the friendliest or most supportive in letting you take home your placenta with you. The way to ensure the best placenta release outcome is to be well prepared. Speak with your care provider ahead of time to familiarize yourself with the hospital's release policy, have a plan to store your released placenta, and stay calm and friendly when discussing your wishes.
Most hospitals will require a release of liability waiver to be signed, but do not be surprised if a particular hospital does not require any special paperwork to release a placenta. At least one Boston hospital requires a 24-48 hour hold of the placenta before they will release it to the family. This is clearly stated on their release form. Most will allow for same day release barring any complications. I'm familiar with most of the area's hospitals, so if there are specific questions regarding a certain hospital, do not hesitate to contact me to discuss your options.
You should discuss with your care provider ahead of time that you plan to take your placenta home or have it picked up. This way if there is an issue, it is addressed before you are in labor. I also recommend that you write it in your birth plan, mention it upon admission, and then again once the placenta is birthed.
You do not need to share with your OB or hospital staff what you intend to do with the placenta if you don't want to, just that you would like to have it after your baby is born & that it is not to be treated with any chemicals or sent to pathology. If you run into troubles having your placenta released be sure to mention that you have a "profound belief in taking your placenta home with you".
Q: What if they want to take my placenta to pathology?
After birth, your physician may feel that your placenta needs to go to pathology. If this does happen, you may ask if they can do a visual exam in the delivery room instead, or see if a small piece sent to pathology would suffice in lieu of the entire placenta. If your physician feels the whole placenta needs to be examined in pathology, it will no longer be suitable for encapsulation/consumption due to the risk of cross contamination. You are welcome to sign a waiver to continue the encapsulation process, however, I would recommend against it. Please be aware that a small percentage of placentas need to go to pathology in their entirety. Often, your care provider will try working with you so everyone gets what they need.
Q: What kind of container should I put the placenta in?
Your placenta will likely be placed in a plastic bag or biohazard bag by your care provider. If you are birthing within a facility, you can request it also be put in a sealable plastic container to be stored on ice until I can retrieve it. I recommend my clients birthing in facility to bring a small cooler to put the container or bag in- it ensures the safety & efficacy of the placenta and the nursing staff may feel more comfortable with leaving it in your possession without hassle. I will come with my own cooler to transport it to my home.
Q: What if I forget?
That's ok! You've just given birth and there's a lot more important and exciting things going on! Your placenta can safely remain at room temperature for up to four hours.
Q: What if I had pitocin, an epidural/pain medication, a cesarean birth, or meconium was present?
Rest assured, you may still have your placenta encapsulated. None of this precludes you from the service. Many drugs are metabolized and broken down during labor. Consuming your placenta can also be very beneficial after a cesarean birth; it can promote healing as well as milk production, which can often be delayed following a cesarean. If meconium is present, it is rinsed away with the routine preparation of the placenta, as well as rinsed with vinegar. Meconium is mostly sterile & while dangerous for the infant to inhale during birth, it is otherwise harmless.
Q: What if I am Strep-B positive or have a maternal infection and need antibiotics?
If you are diagnosed Strep-B positive & choose to be treated with antibiotics during labor, there is the potential for some antibiotic to remain in your placenta, and therefore your capsules. The amount would be minute and will have no effect on the benefits of the placenta, but does remain a possibility.
**If you develop a fever (diagnosed by your midwife or care provider) during labor as a result of GBS or any other infection (not epidural related), or the infant is diagnosed with a confirmed infection during labor, your placenta, unfortunately, will not be suitable for you to consume.
Q: What if I give birth prematurely?
Premature birth does not automatically determine your placenta being unfit for encapsulation. Most care providers will try to accommodate your wishes to take your placenta home if possible. However, in some cases, the placenta will need to be sent to pathology in order to determine preterm cause.
Q: What if my placenta has calcification, or the doctor says it is "old"?
Calcification, in any amount, is a variation of normal and does not deem a placenta unfit for encapsulation.
Q: What is the ideal time frame for encapsulation?
When possible, the encapsulation process should begin within 72 hours of the birth. The placenta should be stored in a cooler with ice or in the refrigerator until I can arrive. If it is not possible to start the process within the first few days following the birth, the placenta should be frozen. Double bag the placenta in gallon sized freezer bags. The placenta will need to be thawed prior to encapsulation- this may take 24-48 hours in the refrigerator. Placentas should not be frozen, thawed, and then refrozen. Please contact me to discuss the best storage options if immediate pick up/release is not an option.
Q: What if I have a yeast infection/cold/mastitis/etc.?
If you have or had a yeast infection or develop thrush, you can still consume your placenta. However, if you suffer from any infection or illness during the postpartum recovery period, and you choose the TCM method of preparation, it is recommended you stop taking the capsules until you have recovered from the illness. Any heat or tonifying effect from the capsules may result in an extended or aggravated illness. You may continue to take the capsules if you have chosen the Raw Method. Some clients report continuing capsule consumption with no adverse effects and some have even reported an increased healing time/lessening of symptoms; this is up to the individual client.
Q: When is a placenta considered unsuitable for consumption?
If there is a diagnosis of HIV, Hep B or C, your placenta should not be prepared for consumption; most hospitals will not release your placenta in these cases, anyhow. This is for your safety, as well as others.
Q: What is Placenta Tincture?
Placenta Tincture is made from a piece of the mother’s raw placenta after birth, steeped in alcohol over 6 weeks, then strained and bottled. Tinctures can last indefinitely and be used after your capsules are finished to provide the same emotional benefits, as well as energy. You can have a tincture made and still have capsules made as well!
Q: What is a placenta smoothie?
Placenta smoothies are a great way to reap the benefits of your placenta- the effect on mood, energy, and pain relief/bleeding is noticeable! Along with prepping for capsules, I prepare and separate pieces of the placenta to be frozen, providing you with enough for 1-3 smoothies a day for the first 5 days. Once completed, you begin your capsules.
The information on this page has not been evaluated by the FDA. The services offered by Jennifer Lynn Frye are not intended to diagnose or treat any condition. Mothers who choose to utilize the services offered here take full responsibility of their own health when using these remedies.