Frequently Asked Questions

What is your training and experience in placenta encapsulation?

I began encapsulating placentas in January 2015 and have encapsulated over 75 placentas, including twins. I am an APPAC, which means I am trained and certified through the Association for Placenta Preparation Arts. I chose APPA because of the rigorous standards of safety, sanitation, and ethical practice, as well as the required contextual knowledge of the placenta itself. It was important to me to have reliable, up-to-date training on the best practices in placenta encapsulation. Read about the APPA standards and training here. Over my time in the program, I completed detailed modules with information on everything from cultural traditions around the placenta to sanitation and research. As of July 2017, I was the first APPAC in the state of New Mexico.

How does the booking process work?

The whole process is completely online to make it super easy for you! Fill out the inquiry form and you’ll get a copy of my online contract to look over. If you want to move forward, you choose your services, fill out the contract and pay the $50 deposit to save your space on my calendar. The contract includes information about what type of encapsulation you want, your pregnancy, and more. Payment is due by the 38th week of pregnancy and is payable by credit card, PayPal, cash, or check. If you book services after 38 weeks, full payment is due at the time of booking. If you contact me after you’ve given birth, I still need you to fill out the online contract so I have a record of your preferences. Full payment is required by the time I pick up the placenta.

What type of encapsulation should I choose?

I offer both the Traditional Method and the Raw Method. I recommend you do your own research about the two types of placenta encapsulation to decide which one you prefer. Ask other people who have encapsulated what they chose and why.

Traditional Method: This method is most common for encapsulation.  In it, the placenta is steamed with herbs (I only use lemon and ginger), then sliced and dehydrated. It is believed that gentle cooking of the TM method helps lock in the nutrients and benefits of the placenta. This method generally yields less pills than the raw method. Please note that my encapsulation process is merely inspired by the TM method, it is not necessarily what other TM encapsulators do.
Raw Method: This method is gaining popularity amongst new parents.  In it, the placenta is sliced raw and then dehydrated. Inspired by raw food devotees, the idea behind it is that more nutrients and enzymes will be preserved because the placenta is in a raw state. It’s also believed that the raw placenta provides a stronger burst of energy to the mother. This method yields the highest number of capsules. Please be aware that choosing this method might result in a longer wait for your pills, since it takes longer to dehydrate.

I also offer smoothie cubes, which are made from raw placenta. I can do half of your placenta raw and half TM for an additional fee of $25.

How should I handle my placenta before it’s encapsulated?

As quickly as possible after the birth (at least within the first four hours after birth), the placenta should be placed into a food-grade container, sealed tightly and refrigerated or placed on ice. If you’re birthing at a hospital, I recommend bringing a cooler with you that you can use to easily keep your placenta (which will be given to you by the hospital in a tupperware or plastic bag) cold and not have to worry about it. You can purchase a disposable styrofoam cooler, a cooler bag, or use a small reusable one. If you don’t use a disposable cooler, I will sterilize it and return it to you when you get your pills.

Once you fill out the contract, you’ll get detailed email instructions about what to do with your placenta when, plus my contact information.

How should I notify you to pick up the placenta once my baby is born?

If at all possible, please text or email me at the beginning of labor to let me know that the placenta will be ready soon. I realize that’s easier said than done when you’re in labor (!!) but it allows me to plan my schedule around picking up the placenta, and to get your pills processed and back to you as soon as possible.  After your baby’s birth, you can call or text me to let me know that the placenta is ready to be picked up.  I do my best to get there as soon as possible, usually within a few hours (although that’s not always possible). If the birth occurs in the middle of the night, simply place the placenta on ice in your cooler and send me a text in the morning. You can contact me anytime between the hours of 8 am to 8 pm.

Will the hospital release my placenta to me?

Hospitals in New Mexico are required to release your placenta to you, and all of the hospitals in Albuquerque are familiar with this process. Make sure you mention that you are planning to encapsulate in your birth plan or birth preferences sheet, if you have one. Once you are at the hospital, make sure to mention to the nurse and to your provider that you intend to keep your placenta. It’s unlikely that the hospital won’t release your placenta to you, but in the event of a premature birth or other medical reasons, I will issue a full refund of your deposit.

Where do you encapsulate the placenta?

I process the placenta at my own home with my own set of equipment. If you strongly prefer that I encapsulate at your house, I can do that. If you choose this option, we will discuss it and make a plan before your baby is born or before encapsulation starts.

How long does it take to encapsulate a placenta? When will my pills be ready?

It typically takes 24 hours split up over the course of two days. I dehydrate overnight and then complete the process the next day. It can take up to 3 days for your capsules to be completed, depending on when you contact me and my own schedule. I will make every effort to have the capsules back to you within 2 days and will be clear in communication so you know exactly when to expect them.

How long after birth can a placenta be encapsulated?

The encapsulation process should ideally begin within 24-48 hours of the birth, but may begin anytime during the first four days after birth. The placenta should be stored in the refrigerator.

If it is not possible to start the process within those first four days following birth, the placenta should be frozen. Double-bag the placenta in gallon-sized zip lock freezer bags. The placenta must be completely thawed before encapsulation, which will take at least 24-48 hours in the refrigerator. Please contact me regarding the best storage options for your time frame.

Placentas should never be frozen, thawed, and then refrozen.

I cannot encapsulate any placenta that hasn’t been refrigerated or put on ice within 4 hours of birth or that has been refrigerated (without being frozen) for more than 3 days.

It seems like a lot of people book encapsulation while they are still pregnant. Can I hire you after I’ve given birth already?

Yes! I often get inquiries from people who have given birth in the last few hours or days, often when they’re still at the hospital! Like any other booking, you’ll fill out the online inquiry and contract (below) so I have a record of your preferences. Full payment is due up booking or at the time of pickup. It is a somewhat time-sensitive process, though— make sure your placenta is kept cold (on ice or in a fridge) at all times, from at least four hours after birth. I can’t encapsulate any placenta that has been in the fridge for more than four days or in a freezer for more than six months.

Can I keep my placenta and decide to encapsulate it later?

A placenta that has been frozen can be thawed and then encapsulated for up to 6 months. I recommend that every person keep their placenta in the freezer just in case you find yourself needing or wanting encapsulation. Once it’s gone, it’s gone for good – so better safe than sorry. If you decide you don’t want it, you can always dispose of it.

Is there any reason why you wouldn’t be able to encapsulate my placenta?

If your placenta has gone to the hospital’s pathology department, I can’t encapsulate it. I have no way of knowing what substances it might have touched, so it’s safer not to. If you are diagnosed with any kind of uterine infection during or immediately after labor (including chorioamnionitis), I cannot encapsulate your placenta. If your placenta is sent to pathology or if you are diagnosed with chorioamnionitis after full payment, you’ll be refunded everything but the $50 deposit. Meconium, premature rupture of membranes, pre-term birth and other conditions or occurrences are not contraindications on their own, but if you experience any of these and have concerns, I’m happy to chat with you and explain your options.

Can you encapsulate my placenta if I have GBS (group B strep)?

Recently, there was a lot of attention about GBS (group B strep) and placenta encapsulation, based on an article from the CDC which claimed a baby re-contracted a GBS infection after their mother consumed placenta pills. This is a single case study with limited evidence and no concrete conclusion. Still, it is a sad and concerning situation that should be taken seriously. It’s the opinion of APPA (my certifying organization) that this placenta should never have been encapsulated, especially at the possibly low temperature that it was reportedly encapsulated with. Read APPA’s response to the situation here.

Most people with GBS have several doses of antibiotics while they are in labor, to lower the chance their baby will contract GBS. (People birthing by Cesarean always have antibiotics to counteract the chance of infection during and after a surgical birth). Regardless, if a mother or a baby has an active infection of any kind at birth or immediately after, it’s not safe to encapsulate. If a person who has tested positive for GBS in pregnancy wants to encapsulate, it should be safe to do so if they receive antibiotics and if there is not an active infection present during labor or immediately after birth. In addition, I dehydrate all placentas at at least 145 degrees, which is a high enough temperature to kill pathogens. Raw placentas are dehydrated at 160 degrees.

Still, until we have reproducible research, I cannot be certain whether any encapsulation process eliminates GBS. I do believe that there are some reasonable precautions we can take to reduce risk and I am confident in the safety and sanitation protocols I have learned through APPA. I support the informed choice of all of my clients to decide what is best for them and their babies. If you find out you are GBS positive during pregnancy and prefer not to encapsulate, it’s completely your choice. If you have already booked with me and decide not to encapsulate for this reason, you will be refunded anything you have paid me other than the $50 nonrefundable deposit. I’m happy to try to answer any other questions you have about this topic.

What other ingredients are in placenta capsules?

The only other ingredient is vegan pill capsules. I offer orange flavored gelatin capsules for an extra fee of $15.

What type of supplies and materials do you use and how are they sterilized?

The supplies used during the placenta encapsulation process are all stainless steel, food grade plastic, or disposable. Everything is thoroughly washed with soap and hot water and then sanitized in bleach solution according to OSHA and food-grade handling standards. I follow the same guidelines for cleanliness and sanitation that are used in food service establishments and small laboratories, including disposable protective gear. I have completed a training that adheres to OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1910.1030 for bloodborne pathogens.

Do you process more than one placenta at a time?

In short, no. Every placenta is fully processed from beginning to end (including cleaning and sterilization of equipment) before the next placenta is begun.

How many pills will I receive?

Depending on the size of the placenta, you will receive anywhere from 75-200 capsules.

How often should I take my pills?

You will receive directions for use with your placenta capsules. Typically, it is recommended to take 1-3 capsules, three times daily, with food, until they run out.

How should my placenta capsules be stored?

Finished placenta capsules will be placed in a sealed jar and should be kept in a cool, dry place while being used. For long term storage, keep them in the freezer. You can even save them for use during menopause!

Do you provide services outside of Albuquerque?

I provide services within a 50 mile radius of Albuquerque. I will take placenta encapsulation clients on a case-by-case basis outside of that service area.  Additional travel fees may apply, but generally the fee is $40 per trip outside of the service area. If you live outside of my service area, contact me at carriemurphydoula@gmail.com and I am happy to chat with you about your options.

Do you offer placenta prints, umbilical cord keepsakes, tinctures or other placenta products?

Sure! I have packages that include these products. You can also get them as a separate add-on.

Can my placenta be encapsulated if I am having a planned Cesarean?

Of course! Placentas that come out during a Cesarean are no different from those that come out after a vaginal birth, unless you have placenta accreta or percreta (which you would likely know well before birth).

How do I know you’ll be around to encapsulate my placenta?

I am on call for to encapsulate your placenta from when you are 38 weeks pregnant to 42 weeks pregnant. During that time, I usually don’t travel and try to make myself available as soon as possible to pick up your placenta.  If you deliver before or after this time, I reserve the right to have another encapsulator process your placenta in the event that I am not available (but we’ll be in contact towards the end of your pregnancy and the event that I’m not available is pretty rare!!!)

When do I have to pay you?

To book my services, fill out my contract (sent to you in email after filling out the inquiry form) and pay the $50 deposit to save your space on my calendar.  Payment is due by the 38th week of pregnancy. If you book services after 38 weeks, full payment is due at the time of booking. Full payment is required by the time I pick up the placenta or else I can’t start to encapsulate.

Do you give refunds?

My $50 deposit is non-refundable. If you lose your placenta because it is sent to pathology or because you are diagnosed with an infection, I will refund all but the $50 deposit. Refunds for other reasons will be given on a case-by-case basis.

If you cancel after I have picked up your placenta but before preparation begins, I will return your placenta to you upon request and no further payment is required. If you cancel after the encapsulation process has begun, the balance is due in full and no refund will be given even if you choose not to take delivery of the finished capsules.

PLEASE NOTE:  The information on this page has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  The services I offer are not clinical, pharmaceutical, or intended to diagnose or treat any condition.  Families who choose to utilize the services on this page take full responsibility for using the remedies at their own risk.