Is Placenta Encapsulation Safe if you test GBS positive?

In June 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released an article that connected GBS infection in a newborn to placenta consumption (see article here: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/66/wr/mm6625a4.htm). Since then, mothers that test GBS positive have been wondering whether placenta encapsulation is safe for their babies. It is safe when properly handled and processed.

GBS is short for Group B Streptococcus. It is one of many bacteria that live on our bodies. 10% to 35% of pregnant women will have GBS bacteria in their vagina or rectum. There is a standard test at 37 weeks of gestation to check mother's colonization. GBS may cause sickness in babies in the first 7 days of life or after 7 days. The most common way for babies to get the bacteria is through their mothers in labor.

It is really unfortunate what the family covered by the CDC article had to go through. The baby was born infected with strep B and subsequently hospitalized. Several days after the release from the hospital, unfortunately, the baby had to return as the infection was still present and needed more treatment. What was discovered was that the mother was taking placenta capsules. The capsules were tested and came back positive for the same Strep B threat with which the baby was infected. Even though there was no strep B present in the mother’s milk, there was speculation that the capsules could have attributed to the mother’s colonization of the bacteria that was passing it onto the child either through skin or mucus membranes.

This case must be taken seriously by both parents considering placenta encapsulation as well as placenta encapsulation practitioners.

I have been safely offering placenta encapsulation services in Ottawa and its area since 2011. I have always taken an extreme precaution when cleaning and sterilizing my equipment. I use single-use equipment whenever I can, such as disposable sterile gloves, disposable plastic cutting boards, etc. The surface I work on is covered with one-time use plastic and the dehydrator is lined with one-time use parchment paper sheets for the placenta to not come into contact with any of the equipment used other than the stainless steel knife. At the end of the process, the entire work surface gets sterilized and washed whether or not it was exposed to any fluids. The standard procedure is soap and warm water as well as a soak in 10% bleach solution for at least 10 minutes, which is equivalent to boiling all of the equipment.

My heart goes out to the family who had to suffer through their initial hospitalization and their re-hospitalization of their newborn baby, especially since it could have potentially been avoided. In this particular case, the baby developed the infection right after birth. To me, that is a contraindication for placenta consumption. In the case of infection during labor and delivery, which could be recognized either by a mother developing a fever during birth or a newborn developing signs of infection after the birth, the placenta gets infected as well and is not suitable for consumption. In my 6 years of practice, whenever a mother developed an infection during the labor and delivery, the placenta was never released to the parents by local hospitals. I am not sure why the placenta was released in this case and whether the practitioner knew that the placenta was infected.

I presume the practitioner processed the placenta in accordance with how the process is explained on her website and as mentioned in the article: for the Raw method, she sets the processing temperature between 115 F - 160 F. These temperatures would not be enough to kill potential infection pathogens. In my practice, the Raw method is processed very differently. The placenta is dehydrated raw, but at least at 170 F for 12-24 hours. This ensures that the placenta is dry enough and that any potential infection pathogens are not present. However, I should mention that I do offer a smoothie service where a small raw piece of placenta is blended with fruits and honey for an immediate hormonal reset for the mother. I have been practicing the service safely for over 6 years because I had never processed an infected placenta, period - whether the placenta was infected during labor and delivery, or where a baby developed an infection after the birth, or when a mother tested GBS positive at gestation.

In the case discussed by the CDC, the mother was actually GBS negative when tested at 37 weeks of gestation, but baby's infection developed right after the birth would be a contraindication to her placenta consumption. Also, it is a speculation that should be taken seriously that the mother was colonized with strep B by the infected placenta capsules and subsequently passed it onto her child. However, it is impossible to know if that is the case. GBS infection does have a low rate of recurrence in infants.

To any of my clients or parents who are considering placenta encapsulation for their postpartum recovery and are tested GBS positive, I highly recommend going with the Traditional Chinese Method. In the Traditional Chinese Method, the placenta is gently steamed first with antibacterial and antiviral properties of ginger, hot pepper and lemon. Only then, the placenta is dehydrated at 170℉ for 12-24 hours. This is the proper method of preparation that is safe for consumption even in the case of GBS colonization.

If in an unfortunate turn of events a mother happens to develop a Strep B infection during the labor and delivery (which is very rare) or a child developed an infection right after the birth (also rare), please, choose not to proceed with placenta encapsulation.

Stay safe and make informed decisions for yourselves and your baby!

Honouring The Tree of Life

 Socotra Dragon Tree vs Placenta

Socotra Dragon Tree vs Placenta

Have you ever wondered why Placenta is referred to as "The Tree of Life" and considered sacred by many cultures around the world?

My kids and I enjoyed a Netflix documentary called "Life - Plants" today. The tree that stood out to me was the Socotra Dragon Blood Tree (you can see it on the picture above). I was amazed by how much this tree resembles the placenta.

It reminded me of a piece from Robin Lim's book "Placenta the Forgotten Chakra", which explained how the two not only have similarities in their appearance, but also in their functions of delivering nutrients, moisture and oxygen that sustain life on Earth as well as life in the womb:

"The roots of trees draw moisture and nutrients from the Earth Mother and then by way of precipitation they deliver this life-giving water back to the earth's atmosphere - thus, the miracle of rain. At the same time, trees transpose carbon dioxide into life-sustaining oxygen. By rain and by air the trees also purify our environment. We see this relationship mirrored in the placentas of all higher mammals. Placentas are a joint venture between mother and child." 

 

 Tree of Life Print

Tree of Life Print

To honour the unique placenta of your child you may want to consider ordering a placenta print. It is a unique keepsake preserving the beauty of the Tree of Life on paper that can be framed and proudly displayed.

Some of our packages already include a placenta print. Let us know if you would like one included into your basic Healing package as well.

 

Baby Show 2016

 Before the show Day 1

Before the show Day 1

I am proud to announce that Ottawa Placenta was very well received at the Ottawa Baby Show 2016. 

I am very grateful for the assistance of my family in setting up our wonderful display booth and for having my sister in law helping me throughout the whole weekend at the EY center.

Going into the show, our goal was to create awareness of the natural and safe way to recover, heal and thrive after giving birth. 

We were pleased to be able to reach 600 expectant families over the course of 2 days. 

It was a pleasure to have several past clients drop by and share how placenta consumption made a big difference in their post birth recovery - both physically and emotionally.  

As the result, of many conversations with expectant parents at the show, we are developing a new testimonials page where your wonderful stories will be shared along with your photos. Please share your experiences with us. They will help new moms choose to heal after the birth the way nature intended them to.

 

Ottawa Placenta at the Baby Show March 19&20!

Ottawa Placenta at the Baby Show March 19-20, 2016!

On this wonderful sunny Leap Day, with a hint of spring in the air, I am happy to share that Ottawa Placenta will be featured at the Ottawa Baby Show this year! (www.thebabyshow.com).

The pregnancy period of a woman's life is filled with anticipation and joy. There is also an instinctual tendency to nest and prepare.

The Baby Show is a wonderful occasion to get informed on what the community has to offer – from prenatal yoga classes and massages to breastfeeding support, baby gear and diapering options. This year, I am grateful for the opportunity to bring essential information of a better postpartum healing option to the Ottawa Community through this event.

The practice of placenta encapsulation is widely supported by midwifery care. Midwives work closely with women during the 9 months of pregnancy and the subsequent 6 weeks of the postpartum period. By supporting women's recovery, they see first-hand the amazing healing transformation that placenta nutrients and hormones offer to new mothers. Still, placenta benefits are unknown to many – and I am looking forward to changing that through this event!

We are excited to offer gifts and special discounts to show participants. If you are planning on attending, please, stop by and say "Hi" – I would love to meet you!

The Baby Show takes place at the EY Center (4899 Uplands Dr.) at the South of Ottawa, with lots of parking space! 

Come by 9am-5pm Saturday, March 19th or 1-5pm Sunday, March 20th.

Hope to see you there!