Questions to Ask Before Hiring Your Placenta Encapsulation Specialist

Here is a list of questions you can ask potential specialists before signing a contract with one.
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General Questions

What is your experience level?
  • The specialist should clearly state when they started encapsulating and how long they have been actively pursuing education and knowledge in this field, including the dates and types of training and any certifications they have.
  • The specialist should readily share how many placentas s/he has encapsulated. S/he should provide client testimonials you can review and referrals that you can contact directly if you wish.
What type of placenta encapsulation training do you have?
  • A well trained encapsulation specialist should know several different methods to safely prepare the placenta for consumption and be able to describe the pros/cons of each preparation method.
  • A professional encapsulation specialist should be trained to encapsulate the placenta safely in any location and should know how to transport a placenta when needed.
  • Placenta encapsulation specialists should pursue independent training in accordance with the OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens Standard 29 CFR 1090.1030.
  • Placenta encapsulation specialists should have a food handlers card in good standing from their State Health Department
Do you have a detailed written protocol that I can see?
  • A professional placenta specialist will have a detailed protocol (also called standard operating procedures) for each method of encapsulation s/he offers.
  • A written protocol ensures that s/he provides consistent, reliable service.
  • The protocol should be clear and concise so that you understand each step of the process.
  • Detailed documentation of each placenta should be completed and made available to the client.
What equipment do you use to dehydrate and powder the placenta?
  • The specialist should use a food grade dehydrator. Dehydration of the placenta cannot be properly accomplished in the oven because there is no air circulation or low-range temperature control. The Raw Foods method can only be done in a food grade dehydrator with an adjustable thermostat.
  • Some coffee grinders and blenders cannot be properly sanitized. The blade base must be fully immersed in bleach in order to be cleaned, not simply wiped or sprayed. A non-porous mortar & pestle is an acceptable alternative for pulverizing.
Is there any reason you might not be available to encapsulate my placenta when I call you?
  • The sooner the process is begun, the less risk there is for bacterial growth or contamination. The placenta can be safely prepared within 4 days of birth if it is properly refridgerated but there is less risk if the process is begun within the first 24-48 hours.
  • Many PES are also doulas or midwives live an on-call lifestyle. They may be unavailable to pick up your placenta (or come to your home to begin the process) while attending a birth or may have to leave to attend a birth while your placenta is in process. They should have a plan in place for this eventuality.
  • Encapsulation specialists should have reliable, experienced backup. They should provide the name and contact information of their backup.
How do you clean your equipment?
  • Bloodborne pathogens are highly contagious and the biggest cross contamination risk is inadequately disinfected equipment.
  • Only an EPA-registered hospital grade disinfectant will adequately reduce risk. Equipment must be fully immersed, not sprayed.
  • Essential oils, household hydrogen peroxide, sun bleaching and/or dishwashers (even on sanitize settings) do not provide sufficient disinfection.
  • Disposable products should be used whenever possible. These products cannot be safely reused: plastic or wood cutting boards, gloves, dish sponges.
Will there be anything but placenta in my capsules?
  • Some specialists may include the dehydrated membranes or cord. You can choose to decline this if you prefer.
  • If you choose TCM preparation the industry standard is to NOT include the steaming herbs/foods (such as ginger) in the final pills. You should clarify this with your specialist as some do dehydrate the herbs/foods and powder them with the placenta.
  • Be sure to clarify if your specialist will add any other herbs to your pills. Most do not.
Under what circumstances are you unable or unwilling to encapsulate?
  • If a specialist says they can’t encapsulate under certain conditions it’s important to understand whether those are personal restrictions or restrictions dictated by their certifying organization.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask the reasoning behind the restriction. A professional specialist should be skilled at giving clear, evidence based responses that don’t instill fear.

Questions if You Want the Placenta Prepared in the Specialist's Workspace

Where will my placenta be prepared?
  • Some specialists have a dedicated workspace either inside or outside their home. Others prepare the placenta in their home kitchen.
  • The specialist may be able to provide a photo of their workspace if you request it.
How do you control access to the workspace?
  • Do pets have access to the workspace? If so, how are they contained during the encapsulation process?
  • Do other people have access to the workspace? If so, what is your policy for restricting access during the encapsulation process?
What is your policy if two clients give birth on the same day?
  • A well trained specialist will have a clear protocol for handling this situation. It may include one or more of the following options: referring the second placenta out to another specialist, preparing one of the placentas in the client’s home or preparing one placenta followed by the second (disinfecting between).
  • Ask your specialist if it is their policy to only work on one placenta at a time per location.
  • A well trained specialist should have a protocol for labelling and documenting placentas from pickup to delivery.
What are your storage & transportation protocols?
  • The specialist should be able to provide a detailed description of proper storage guidelines for the placenta in order to maintain freshness and prevent bacterial growth.
  • The specialist should have a clear protocol for how the placenta will be transported.

Questions if You Want the Placenta Prepared in Your Home

How can I safely transport the placenta home?
  • If you are having a hospital birth, you will typically be responsible for transporting the placenta.
  • The specialist should provide instructions for how you should store the placenta during your hospital stay so that it is safe for consumption and how to transport the placenta home.
Do I need to provide any supplies for encapsulation in my home?
  • Most specialists will provide all of their reusable or consumable materials.
  • Some may ask you to provide paper towels and a trashcan/liner.
Is there any part of this process that would be disruptive to my home?
  • Depending on the methods and equipment used, the process may have certain sounds or odors.
  • The specialist should be able to let you know how long your kitchen will be tied up to the encapsulation process and how much space is required.
  • The specialist should leave instructions after the first visit for how to supervise the dehydrator.