Placenta Encapsulation: The Pros and Cons

Pros and Cons of Placenta encapsulation. Is it worth it? The benefits vs the risks. Costs, dosage, side effects, search tips for encapsulation specialists.

Placenta encapsulation is becoming widespread as women seek out ways to prevent and treat hormonal symptoms after birth.  I decided during my 2nd pregnancy that I would try placenta pills to increase my milk supply.  It was $300 for 162 capsules and a tincture that were delivered the day after my c-section. I started day 3 when my milk still hadn’t come in and I struggled to feed my infant. My milk seemed to magically show up rather fiercely the next day. 

Although the instructions suggested 1-2 pills up to 3x daily, I took just 1 pill a day for only 2 weeks because my milk production was extreme. I was so uncomfortable that I felt like I was going to pop. My breasts were practically unrecognizable and comically large and bursting with milk. The placenta pills clearly boosted my supply and I had more than enough for my baby and possibly 2 or 3 more!

Over a year later my supply has remained steady and I am able to increase it as needed by drinking lactation tea and eating my homemade Oat Blueberry muffins. While I did not use the placenta pills very long, I’m glad I tried them because I struggled with low supply with my first child and I knew I wanted to do extended breastfeeding. I’m storing the leftover pills because they are said to work wonders for periods of hormone imbalance and even menopause. 

The Pros

  • Possible increase in energy
  • Can boost milk supply
  • May prevent post-partum depression and baby blues
  • Assists in restoring iron levels
  • Aids in post-partum uterine contraction
  • Can be saved for menopause or other periods of hormone imbalance
  • Contains helpful vitamins and minerals

The Cons

  • Dosage is important. The pills are not standardized and they are not one size fits all. You find stories online with ladies who had side effects and this is typically due to taking too much. Dosage depends on your personal hormonal profile. Some will need more, others less or possibly not at all. Also, your hormone levels will change the farther out you are post-partum so you may need to adjust your dosage.
  • Bad press and Inherent Risks. There has been negative press this year relating to placenta encapsulation after an infant, whose mother consumed placenta pills, contracted group strep B. This appears to be a rare incident but it sparked a warning from the CDC about the risks of “infectious pathogens during the encapsulation process” and lack of scientific evidence supporting the benefit of the pills. The Association of Placenta Preparation Arts responded that if done safely the pills probably will not make your baby sick, and that in the case of the infant, the mother should not have been given the pills due to an infection at birth.

Encapsulation Specialist Search Tips

  • Check for Experience. Because placenta encapsulation involves handling a human organ you want someone who has been practicing this art for some time. Ask how long they have been practicing and how many encapsulations have been performed.
  • Training. Look for accreditation (though there is no standardized degree), such as with The Association of Placenta Preparation Arts. There is a thorough process involved in handling and preparing placenta for consumption and the more training and knowledge your professional has, the better.
  • Review their protocol. Pay close attention to their website. You want detailed information about their process, particularly how they keep their work space clean, the placentas separate, etc. Some will offer to prepare the placenta in your home to help you feel more comfortable. My specialist had a very detailed site with a long bio, research studies, her process, resources and more available.
  • What do they want to know? They should ask about your health history. They should identify any complications or infections that could prevent you from being a candidate. This is for their protection and yours too.
  • Get clear instructions. Each placenta specialist has a different process for collecting the placenta. Be sure to ask when and how they will pick up the cooler. Find out when they will deliver the pills.
  • Contact your hospital and doctor. Check with your hospital to confirm whether you’re allowed to take your placenta. My hospital didn’t mind but I have heard stories about mothers who were given a hard time.
  • Any mementos offered? Some specialist provide mementos, such as part of the umbilical cord or a picture of the placenta. I have a piece of my baby daughter’s umbilical cord in the shape of a heart and it is priceless.

The Takeaway

The choice to encapsulate is personal and depends on your goals and tolerance for some risks inherent to an unregulated process. There is a trust factor involved as you want the placenta to be  prepared as safely as possible. That said, if done properly with an experienced specialist, it can potentially give you wonderful effects and a better post-partum experience.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. This site’s content is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. Readers should consult their own qualified health care professional for medical advice.

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2 comments

  1. Great info – I’m happy to hear what a difference it made for your milk supply! I’ve heard of placental encapsulation as a treatment for postpartum depression as well and I’m wondering if you experienced any symptoms of PPD or baby blues after taking them?

    1. Hi there, thanks for stopping by. Nope, I did not experience any PPD or baby blues. My pregnancy was rough at times and I was a little concerned about that. But I’m happy to report that I felt very good emotionally.

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