Sorry for the late response, there was a hesitation to write up any sort of post on this subject, especially given the emotional responses this issue elicited from both (deservedly) upset parents as well as from placenta encapsulation specialists, some quick to point fingers without taking the whole picture into account. So today, let’s delve into the subject and what it could mean for families looking for placenta encapsulation the Albany, Troy, Saratoga and surrounding areas of the Capital Region.
What we know.
- The warning issued from the Centers for Disease Control was derived from one set of field notes from a single case study in 2016, here.
- The mother tested negative for GBS at her 37 week screening. GBS is a common bacterial occurrence in humans, however for a small portion of newborns and the elderly, it can prove problematic.
- Her infant was hospitalized in the immediate postpartum, testing positive for GBS and treated as presumed septic, then completed an 11 days course of antibiotics.
- The infant was rehospitalized 5 days later for recurrent GBS infection.
- The mother and the mother’s placental pills tested positive for the same strain of GBS colonization. Her breast milk tested negative of the bacteria.
- The field notes do not indicate that the mother had been tested again before labor and delivery or the immediate postpartum period to rule out colonization via the mother from birth
- The field notes also indicate that transmission from family members could not be ruled out.
- The provider of the placenta pills’ website states that their methodology includes dehydration beginning at 115 and ending at 160 degrees, however the CDC, OSHA and state food handler guidelines all recommend that meat products be cooked at 160 or higher or begin to kill off potential pathogens and bacteria.
- There is no one set standard for the safe preparation of placental products.
What we don’t know
The field notes do not indicate how the maternal colonization of the GBS bacteria was transmitted to her infant during the second hospitalization, but that her colonization was attributed to the placental pills. We are not certain how the mother’s colonization was able to re-colonize her baby the second time the infection surfaced.
But GBS bacteria surviving on placenta pills?
That worried us, too. While we aren’t here to point fingers, nor slander the person who prepared the placenta, what we can tell you is that we follow all protocol to ensure your placenta’s safest possible handling. We see your concern, and we share it. It’s made us even more dedicated to safer handling of your baby’s placenta as well as the potential for community wide measures so all specialists can engage in the safest practices possible. We want you to feel confident in your priorities.
How we’re handling it.
We want you to be assured that we have taken this case study into consideration, and found that all of our current protocol meets CDC, OSHA and WHO requirements for the transport, preparation and handling of human organs. Here’s exactly Nicole and Cara keep a tight ship:
- We provide educational materials to all clients on the safe handling and advocacy for one’s placenta in the hospital or home setting, and we’re delighted to provide educational packets to your care provider as well to make this a seamless and safer process.
- We undergo continual trainings and certifications, as well as consistent research to keep up to date with placental prep safety.
- We are the only area specialists who maintain licensure and credentials with OSHA , the NYS Health Department and the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (we’ll also be doing ServSafe once it comes to the area again!)
- We require immediate notification of the birth of your baby so we know the exact timeline we have to safely prepare.
- Your placenta is transported according to World Health Organization guidelines.
- We employ strict sanitation protocol that involve both sodium hypochlorite (industrial grade bleach,) hospital-approved quaternary cleansers and high grade disinfectants for post-encapsulation cleanup. We will never, ever use a dishwasher or any other unsafe cleaning materials that could spread disease or bacteria.
- We use all available protection equipment including single use aprons, gloves, face protection and hair caps
- As many tools as possible such as scalpels, cutting boards, syringes, plastic sheathing and watercolor paints are one-time use to prevent cross contamination. While yes, it’s wasteful, we know our clients prefer a little extra in the landfill in exchange for a safer encapsulation.
- We also avoid additional bacterial exposure by avoiding extra contaminants and potential allergens whenever possible. Meaning, we do not contaminate your steamed placenta with ginger, hot peppers, lemons or any other herbs during any point in the process. As an aside, to keep it real, we also do not offer the Traditional Chinese Method some encapsulators offer when steaming as we are not in any way credentialed or knowledgeable in the discipline of Chinese Medicine.
- We never let our dehydrator temperatures drop below 160 degrees, per OSHA standards, with a minimum of 18 hours dehydration time, well above the required time frame. As such, we do not refer to our encapsulation process as “raw,” as this is not an accurate reflection of the stringent standards we hold ourselves to.
- We offer an additional steaming process for your placenta before dehydration, free of charge for peace of mind (though again, our temperatures and times are well within OSHA standards to kill off potential bacteria and pathogens if you do decide to skip the steam.)
- We are happy to show photos of our encapsulation process, provide photo or text updates of the process, Skype the process with you or prepare your placenta in your own home for a small additional fee so you can build your trust in our brand.
- We both make a sustainable wage from encapsulation. While this may appear to be bragging, there’s a point! Since we are able to make a livable wage, your fee is guaranteed to cover all the supplies necessary for sanitation and preparation without any savings shortcuts. It also means that we will be able to focus solely on your placenta without our minds wandering (to things such as, “how will I pay my electric bill?”) and we can afford to do one placenta at a time with only one equipment setup. Which means…
- We guarantee there is no chance of a mixup with another person’s placenta. Not gonna happen around these parts.
We want you to know that this has been taken very seriously. We sat back, analyzed and didn’t let emotion dictate a response, but rather, waited until an analytical viewpoint could be offered. That said, this was one case study via field notes out of thousands of encapsulations done per month in the United States. We strongly believe that hiring an encapsulation specialist who follows a rigorous course of action when it comes to preparation will allow you the peace of mind to know that your placenta is handled as safely as possible.