Edmonton Placenta Encapsulation

Why “out of sight; out of mind” is not a safe option for placenta encapsulation.

It’s time we get serious about safety when it comes to placenta consumption in Edmonton.

Why are Edmonton Moms Eating Their Placentas?

Placenta pills are definitely not for everyone, but the placenta is considered to be rich in nutrients and hormones, and for this reason many parents are choosing to consume it. The placenta is anecdotally thought to replace lost nutrients, balance the milk supply, reduce postpartum recovery time and lessen the baby blues. We’ve had clients give us incredible feedback and Heritage Birth Services is proud to provide the service of placenta encapsulation to Edmonton families.

Placenta encapsulation can be a wonderful way to give yourself a little extra peace of mind for your postpartum recovery. The anecdotal benefits are impressive and human placenta has been classified as a drug by Health Canada.

There’s Just One Little Issue…

You might be surprised to know that placenta encapsulation services are not regulated by Health Canada or Alberta Health Services. This means that placenta encapsulation service providers in Edmonton, and across Canada set their own standards. With no regulatory standards in place, placenta encapsulation can come with very serious risks, but it doesn’t have to.

Food Safety is Important

Like the preparation of anything that is going to be consumed by people, a placenta that is going to be encapsulated needs to be properly stored and prepared following general food safety guidelines.

It is important that the placenta is kept at food safe temperatures at all times before, during, and after encapsulation. The placenta should be steamed to an internal temperature of 71°C (160°F). This means that raw preparation does not meet Canadian food safety guidelines. Dehydration should also occur at 71°C (160°F) but is not sufficient to eliminate food borne illnesses on its own. Your placenta encapsulation service provider cannot be certain that the proper internal temperature is reached through dehydration alone.

When choosing safe placenta encapsulation services, ensure that your placenta will be steamed and that your service provider understands the importance of food safety. After all, you’re going to be consuming those capsules when they’re done. You should follow your placenta encapsulation service provider's instructions at all times when it comes to the proper storage of your placenta, and when in doubt, check with Health Canada.

Blood-borne Pathogens Are Real

Although beautiful and something to be honored, the placenta is a biohazard prior to being properly prepared. The placenta needs to be packaged securely for transport and must be handled following universal precautions:

Your placenta encapsulation service provider should have an up-to-date blood-borne pathogens certification. They should be familiar with universal precautions. Universal precautions are a set of strategies developed to prevent the transmission of blood borne pathogens. You should be instructed on exactly how your placenta should be packaged so that it can be transported safely. Placenta encapsulation service providers who do not treat blood with the respect it deserves and do not follow universal precautions put you and your family at risk. They also put themselves and the community at risk.

Location, Location, Location

In the last few years there has been a lot of discussion surrounding where a placenta should be processed from its raw state into capsule form.

Placenta capsules are a consumable and their preparation should fall under food processing regulations. In Alberta, this means that placenta capsules should either be prepared in a space provided by the client or in a commercial food space that is inspected by Alberta Health Services. Health Canada and Alberta Health Services do not regulate placenta encapsulation at this time, meaning it is up to your placenta encapsulation service provider to be responsible for having policies and procedures in place that protect you.

Heritage Birth Services has chosen to put client safety over service provider convenience and only encapsulates in the client’s home or a client-provided space, just like a personal chef.

When it comes to getting your placenta to the location it will be processed, we also follow food safety guidelines. This means that because our vehicles are not inspected by Alberta Health and we are unable to offer food safe holding equipment in our vehicles, our clients transport their placentas to their home. This has the added benefit of eliminating the dangers associated with placenta encapsulation professionals transporting placentas.

Ensure Your Safety

With experience and extensive training through ProDoula, Heritage Birth Services has learned a few very important things about maintaining the safety of everyone involved when it comes to placenta encapsulation.

  1. Your placenta belongs with you. You can trust the person preparing your placenta all you want but many “experienced” placenta encapsulation service providers right here in Edmonton are preparing placenta capsules in a manner that is downright risky. At the very least, keeping the placenta in your care ensures the capsules you take contain your placenta and reduces the risk of cross contamination.
  2. Placentas must be properly stored and prepared following food safety guidelines for organ meats.
  3. Placentas should be packaged carefully and transported by the family to prevent others from being exposed to blood-borne illness and to remain aligned with food safety regulations in Alberta. Other risks eliminated by transporting your own placenta:
    • mix-ups should your placenta encapsulation service provider have multiple placentas to process at any given time
    • blood-borne pathogen dangers if a spill occurs, endangering the placenta encapsulation service provider’s family and the general public
    • food safety concerns associated with food-based businesses transporting items to be consumed without proper permits, licenses, and insurance
  4. Placenta encapsulation professionals need to have blood-borne pathogens certification and follow universal precautions to prevent cross-contamination that could result in exposure to blood borne illnesses.
  5. Placenta capsules should be prepared in your home. This will reduce the risk of cross-contamination from other placentas and exposure to allergens or unfamiliar bacteria that could interfere with your health or the health of your baby. This is also in alignment with food preparation regulations as determined by Alberta Health Services.

Whether you’ve enjoyed the anecdotal benefits of placenta consumption in the past or are choosing to try placenta encapsulation for the first time, we want you to know you are in the right place. We have set systems and procedures to make sure that you are safe choosing placenta encapsulation with Heritage Birth Services. If you would like to learn more about placenta encapsulation we encourage you to sign up for our upcoming webinar.  Everything you ever wanted to know about placenta encapsulation.