So, you've done the research. You see and understand the value of consuming your placenta, and you decide to encapsulate. You write down a list of placenta preparation professionals in your area and begin reaching out to them for information. But what should you ask? After all, your placenta is as precious to you as your new baby. You want it in the hands of someone who is experienced and professional.
Here are the top 10 questions to ask your prospective placenta professional:
1) What type of placenta encapsulation training do you have?
You want to make sure that the placenta professional you choose has had the proper training to correctly and safely process your placenta. This could be through a training organization in person or online, or through independent studies. They should be fully trained AND certified on blood borne pathogens and food safety standards. The certificates should be available upon request from you. Continuing education is also very important to ask about.
2) What equipment (dehydrator, grinder, etc) do you use for encapsulating placentas?
The correct answer should be a food grade dehydrator that reaches a max temp of 160 degrees. This is to eliminate any bad bacteria your placenta may have in it. After all, this is a raw organ they are preparing. The grinder should be one that completely comes apart, with no small pieces. We want to be sure we can properly sanitize. Good brands are the Baby Bullet, Magic Bullet and Nutri Bullet. Coffee grinders and blenders cannot always be sanitized properly, so it is best to avoid those. A mortar and pestle is another safe option.
3) How do you clean your equipment?
This is a very important question to ask, as blood borne pathogens are easy to pass. It is imperative to ask for proof of training and certification on blood borne pathogens and food safety standards. The professional you choose should be able to show you their cleaning protocols, ie. washing with antibacterial soap and completely soaking in a bleach bath for at least 10 minutes. It is also important to verify that they do not reuse any equipment which cannot be properly sanitized such as, sponges, plastic cutting boards, gloves, and scissors which can not be separated.
4) Is there ANY reason you will not be able to receive my placenta when I call you?
This question gets asked a lot, with due cause. You want to make sure the person you hire will be there in a timely manner to process your placenta. If they can't be, it is important to discuss proper storage procedures until she can process it. It is also valuable to ask if she has a backup in case there is an emergency and she just simply cannot make it. Ask for the back up's information. A professional will have an immediate back up plan to share, right then, with you.
5) How will you guarantee your work space stays clean?
When you trust someone to process your placenta, you want to make sure it is done in the most sanitary of ways. Cleanliness is EXTREMELY important in this profession. Depending on where your specialist encapsulates, there can be a lot of unknown variables. Ask about pets, kids, and other adults who may be in the area during the encapsulation process. Ask what her policy is regarding these variables. When in doubt, you should ask if she's willing to process in your home. This way, you can watch and be confident that your placenta was processed correctly.
6) Do you have proper blood borne pathogen and food safety training? Are you certified?
Like I stated above, this is extremely important. You want to make sure the specialist you choose is fully trained and certified in blood borne pathogens and food safety standards. Their certifications should be available upon request, no questions asked.
7) What methods of preparation do you offer?
When you ask this question, your specialist should be able to tell you exactly what they offer. The two common methods are the steamed method, also known as TCM or Traditional Chinese Medicine method or the raw method of preparation. They should be able to tell you the pros and cons of each method, so you can make the best choice, given your specific situation.
8) How many placentas have you encapsulated?
The specialist you choose should be able to tell you how long she has been pursuing her education and how many placentas she has processed. Further, she should be able to share past client's testimonials if asked. The specialist will also be able to tell you exactly where and how she trained. This is not to say that a specialist with one placenta under her belt is not as educated as a specialist with 50. Use your judgement and follow your gut when asking this question.
9) Can I watch the process?
Even if you don't want to, it is a good idea to ask. If she follows the proper protocols on safety and cleanliness, this should not be an issue whatsoever. She should be more than willing to let you watch, whether it be in person or over the internet.
10) How can you guarantee my placenta won't be mixed up with someone else's?
This is another super important question to ask. Your specialist should never take possession of more than one placenta at a time. If they do, there is a chance of a mix up. If they have a designated refrigerator, it is acceptable to have one processing and the other in the fridge waiting. A well trained specialist will have a clear protocol for handling this situation. Ideally, they will refer the second placenta to their backup specialist, prepare one of the placentas in the client’s home or prepare one placenta followed by the second (following food safety and BBP protocol in between). Ask your specialist if it is their policy to only work on one placenta at a time per location. Your specialist should have a protocol for labeling and documenting placentas from pickup to delivery.
With the ever growing popularity of encapsulation, comes the popularity of being a placenta specialist. Seeing as how encapsulating is not a regulated profession, you want to make sure the person you choose to process your placenta is educated, professional and properly trained. If they fit the bill, there should be complete transparency and honesty. These questions should be able to give you a feel as to their level of knowledge. After all, you need to be able to trust this person.
I, at The Statesville Doula, pride myself on honesty and integrity. I value you as a client and as a new mom. I fully understand the trust you bestow upon me and will never do anything to make you question my qualifications. If you have questions, I am always available, day or night, to answer them. Contact me here.
If you have more questions, please check out my FAQ page. There, I have many more answered questions.
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