What Happened? A baby in Oregon became ill with an infection resulting from GBS in September 2016. The baby was treated with medication and then became ill a second time. Perplexed, the doctors looked for a cause. The mother was GBS negative, so outside sources were considered. After discovering that she encapsulated her placenta, the doctors tested her capsules. They found the capsules to be positive with GBS bacterium. So how did the baby become ill? Here is what you need to know… The CDC Report As you may know, the CDC put out a report on placenta encapsulation and Group B Strep on June 30, 2017. The report can be read here. In this report, the baby became ill and blood cultures revealed the baby tested positive for penicillin-sensitive, clindamycin-intermediate GBS. The infant was discharged and returned home after being treated for 11 days. Five days later, the infant became sick for a second time, and a second blood culture revealed the same results. Baby was then successfully treated for a second time. The mother tested negative for Group B Strep at 37 weeks of pregnancy. After it was revealed that she consumed her placenta, her pills were tested, and were found to be positive for Group B Strep. Despite this, the mother’s breast milk tested negative. So how did the baby contract Group B Strep? A recent article issued by Global News (here) states that: "The CDC concedes there’s no way of knowing that the placenta pills were the definitive culprit in sparking the baby’s illness (even if GBS showed in samples from the pills). Family members could have colonized the baby with Group B Strep. The CDC also suggests that in the encapsulation process, the placenta may not have been cooked for long enough to destroy any germs or bacteria. Heating at 54C (130F) for 121 minutes is required to reduce Salmonella bacterial counts…In this case, heating for sufficient time at a temperature adequate to decrease GBS bacterial counts might not have been reached' the report reads" If the mother was GBS negative and her breast milk tested GBS negative, it seems far more likely that, unless the baby consumed the pills directly, colonized family members passed on infection unknowingly. As for a second occurrence of infection taking place, it is possible that the first treatment did not entirely eradicate the infection.
If I am GBS positive can I encapsulate? The answer is YES! A thoroughly trained specialist will ensure that your placenta is safely prepared for consumption. A well-trained specialist should have both a Blood Borne Pathogen Certification and a Food Handlers License under FDA guidelines. The specialist will ensure that the placenta reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees. Unfortunately, that particular encapsulation specialist had a broad range of heating temperatures, which spanned from 115- 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Here at The Statesville Doula, LLC, we are trained through the International Placenta and Postpartum Association (IPPA). Our current pr