All of this huff and puff is about placenta ingestion.
Contrary to the Times blog, I do not regret eating my placenta. I am a mom who did ingest her placenta via raw smoothie, encapsulation, tincture and wait for it... truffles! In conjunction my experience as an Independent Placenta Service Provider has given me first-hand insight into this hot topic.
I was just discussing this with Jen Mayer, the IPSP that the New York Magazine article & Anderson Cooper spots feature. She was being interviewed in response to the Times blog and GMA spot and was asked that very question. I trained her myself so I know that she is knowledgeable and I'm very happy to report that her answer is that same as mine would've been and is. A real placenta professional will answer all of your questions thoroughly and transparently, as the Time's blogger's provider did.
- How long have you been preparing placentas? How experienced are you? Inexperienced providers aren't necessarily poor providers as everyone is new at some point. Their answer to this and its impact on your decision should be based on all the answers unless having a very experienced provider is a requirement for you.
- What methods do you use for encapsulation and why? What are the differences? Most providers offer one or both of the following methods: Raw Dehydration Method or the Traditional Method based on the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine. They should be able to describe every step of the process in as much detail as you need. A real placenta professional knows all the ins and outs of their services and should be aware that nothing should be in the capsules except for placenta, regardless of prep method.
- How were you trained in these methods? There are a few training and certification organizations including Hudson Valley Placenta Services and PBi. Training through an organization doesn't necessarily equate to competence. Certification generally means that a certain level of competence was required to be demonstrated but you should inquire as to the specifics of their certification, if one is held. Providers who have done self-study and distance education can also be knowledgeable providers. It is important to know that only few placenta encapsulation providers are practitioners of Chinese Medicine so unless they are, they should not be prescribing you any herbal formulas.
- Have you completed a course in Blood borne Pathogen safety training and/or food safety? At least one of these should be a yes, if not both. I hold both and require all HVPS trained providers to take a BBP course, specifically for placenta encapsulation professionals. You should be able to see these certificates, if you wish.
- Do you follow the OSHA safety protocols? This question and the next should be easy ones that the provider can rattle off. If the provider is hesitant, unsure or says yes but your gut says no, ask them what protocols they are following and how.
- How are the multi-use supplies cleaned, sanitized and handled between clients? Again, easy question for a qualified professional. Bleach is the only OSHA approved sanitation so if they are using Seventh Generation or other more “crunchy” products then they are not doing it right. (Sorry fellow crunchy mamas, but there is no wiggle room on that when you're dealing with blood borne pathogens and the safety of your family, yourself, the provider and other moms.)
- How many placentas will the provider handle at one time? The answer should always, always be one (unless we're talking twins of high order multiples).
- Where do you provide these services? Some providers pick it up from you in the hospital or at home and then either provide the services in your home or in another kitchen, which could be in their own home or in a professional kitchen space. Find out and ask all the sanitation questions that you need to. It is largely personal preference on the part of the parents as well as the provider as to where the services are performed but wherever that is, a real placenta professional will be doing it safely and correctly.
Would you consider ingesting your placenta?
Courtney Durfee is a married mother of one and a compulsive organizer. She is a Certified Birth Doula (CAPPA, DONA & HypnoBabies) at CD Doula Services, Midwife's Assistant, and an Independent Placenta Services Provider. In addition to the cloth diaper education, prenatal, postpartum and parenting support services that she offers through her business, she volunteers her services to in-need families in the Hudson Valley through Dutchess County Healthy Families, Operation Special Delivery and other organizations. She enjoys living sustainably, holistically and naturally with her family, volunteering at Phillie's Bridge Farm and working at a farm in Orange County's black dirt region. She uses chiropractic care, acupuncture, acupressure, massage, nutrition, herbs and homeopathy to help keep her body in balance.