Wednesday, September 19, 2012

DIY: Encapsulating Your Raw Placenta

This post should actually be entitled DIH (Do It Himself), since no brand-new mama has any business encapsulating her own placenta. This one's for the husband (the mother, the best friend...).

The goal of this post is not to persuade you to consume your placenta. I'll let you weigh all that out for yourself. My reason for doing it is simple: I took great pains to build that placenta into something extra special for my growing baby, and I would like all that goodness back, please. After my baby was born, my midwife told me that she'd like to give a photo of my placenta along with a copy my eating record (which we had to track scrupulously for a few days during pregnancy) to pregnant mamas saying, "This is what your placenta could look like if you eat right!"

The placenta is a wonderful source of iron (of which postpartum women are starved), protein, and key hormones and nutrients that can help her avoid postpartum depression, enhance her milk supply, decrease blood loss, and help her restore balance faster than she might otherwise. I have been taking my capsules since two days after delivery. If anecdotal evidence is worth anything, my hardest days have been the ones I've forgotten to take them. So I'm a believer! (I recently read this wonderful testimonial from another mama, in case you're interested.)

You can hire someone to do it all for you, but with the right equipment you can do it at home for free. Treat the placenta like any other organ you might (and should) eat (liver... liver... liver...), storing it in the fridge in a food-grade container. Start the encapsulation process within 1-2 days after delivery, both for freshness and to start reaping the benefits right away. I wanted my placenta encapsulated raw to preserve the nutrients and life of the organ, but some people steam it first. We got between 150-200 capsules from this effort.

  • A placenta
  • A dehydrator (if you don't have one, search for a tutorial with directions for an oven... and also, if you don't have a dehydrator, put one on your wish list)
  • Capsules and an encapsulator (these are cheap and work well)
  • A handy husband

Rinse placenta thoroughly with water, removing any blood clots and traces of blood.

Make sure it's a handy baby-wearing husband.
You go take a nap or a bath.

Using a knife, remove the bags/membranes from the placenta. It will probably come apart in small pieces, which facilitates the dehydrating.

Dehydrate overnight at about 115 degrees to preserve living enzymes. It should crack apart in your fingers when it's done.

Run the placenta through a good food processor or mill. We used our grain mill.

Encapsulate, following the instructions on your machine.

Load long ends of caps into the base.

Pop a few each day. :)


  1. This is AWESOME! Seems like a little bit of time and labor (haha) are required (something for papa to do while mama's breastfeeding), but this is a great way to save some $$$. There's a doula in our area that charges $180 for placenta encapsulation.

  2. I consumed my placenta with my first son, and was hooked. I'll echo what Nonie said, my hardest days were the ones in which I forgot to take my precious pills. Really if you think about this, though, to most Americans it will seem strange, it really just makes sense that this practice would have healthful benefits.

    If you look at the animal world, (which is full of wisdom we humans would do well to learn from), EVERY placental animal, save those aquatic varieties, consume their placentas after they give birth. And they lose no time in doing it either. I have heard some speculate they do this to protect their offspring from predators -- which would make sense, except the ground of the area where the babe was born will still be covered with blood/amniotic fluid. I think the real wisdom is that the mother's can sense their bodies need what is contained in the remarkable organ. Nature is amazing!

    If you on the fence about it, I say just try it. You have nothing to lose!

  3. I provide this service to my doula clients :) It's amazing!

  4. I think Peter's placenta would have made like... 20 capsules.

    So, to be honest it's still in my freezer (7 months later). I'm kind of thinking I missed my chance, but do you think it would still be worth it? I've also thought of planting a tree over it when we finally have a house somewhere.

  5. As I was reading this, someone next to me was eating a fruit roll up. Now that's how placentas smell in my brain.

  6. Wow, this was really an interesting read for me. I have heard about and read information about encapsulating your placenta, but I had no idea what the process entailed. Now I wish I would have done it. I literally thought it meant cutting it up and putting it in the capsule, haha. If I have a second child, I'm definitely planning to encapsulate my placenta. :) Thanks for sharing.