What is Placental Encapsulation?


The concept of placental encapsulation is that after mom delivers, her placenta is then steamed, dehydrated, ground, and put into pill form. It is ingested by the mother during the postpartum period.

Proponents of placental encapsulation claim that there are benefits that include increased energy, increased milk production, less mood swings, and prevention of postpartum depression. Another issue to consider is disposal of the placenta after it has been taken off the hospital premises. The placenta is a biohazard and needs to be treated as such, as well as anything that comes into contact with it in any of its forms. It can spread disease and infection to people that come into contact with it after it is thrown away.

To date, there is no strong evidence to prove these claims, and there are some risks, including: potential of infection from eating human tissue; increased risk of blood clots from active estrogenic compounds; and potential risk of concentrations of harmful substances (after all, if you consider that the function of the placenta is to filter harmful substances from reaching your baby, it can contain high levels of cadmium, mercury, and lead).

To date, there are no scholarly studies to support either position. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists haven’t taken a position on the practice, and only a few scholarly studies have been done on the topic.  What we know about potential benefits comes largely from women who have chosen to do it. Further research is necessary to investigate the possible risks and benefits associated with placental tissue consumption postpartum. If you wish to consider placental encapsulation, we would suggest consulting with your doctor prior to delivery.