Hey CDC, Thanks for the Validation!

Recently, an article was published by the CDC about placenta encapsulation.

It specifically addresses an incident where an infant became sick from late-onset GBS bacteremia and it was known that the infant’s mother was currently consuming her encapsulated placenta. During the infant’s illness, it was able to be confirmed that the capsules being consumed by the mother did contain GBS bacteria.

As an organization, ProDoula has been speaking out against the dangerous lack of safety standards present throughout the placenta encapsulation industry as a whole. Raising awareness of the need to establish broad and all inclusive standards and protocols has been one of the hallmarks of our involvement in the training and certification of placenta professionals.

It is disturbing to say the least, that to date, no industry wide standards have been developed and because it is not a regulated industry in the US, accountability for safe practices does not exist.

Centers for Disease Control, ProDoula thanks you for helping us reinforce this, which has always been our message.

A few details are given in your article, about the process used on the placenta in question. Details which help bring clarity to where safety could have been compromised.

  • The mother’s placenta was picked up by the encapsulator and taken from the mother’s possession, to an undisclosed location. (ProDoula’s protocol requires that the mother’s placenta remain in her possession & control, only being transported by her family, at her discretion, and following WHO guidelines for organ transport.)
  • In the undisclosed location, nothing is known about the level of cleanliness, the sanitation protocols, the storage practices, the potential for cross contamination with another placenta, etc. (ProDoula’s protocols require that processing occur in the client’s home environment and include the strictest cleanliness/sanitation standards of any program available.)
  • This mother’s placenta was not steamed. It was dehydrated from a raw state, and possibly below the needed 130*F needed to reduce Salmonella or similar bacteria such as GBS, instead facilitating an environment for bacteria growth. (ProDoula’s protocols require that every client’s placenta is steamed, in order to raise the internal temperature to 160* -adhering to known food safety guidelines.)
  • Additional bacteria growth likely, during room temperature storage of completed capsules.

These are details that fall into direct conflict with ProDoula’s strict requirements for safe placenta processing.

Safety is compromised when:

  • A placenta leaves its owner’s possession.
  • A placenta is stored, handled, processed outside of the owner’s home and within easy exposure to foreign-to-the-owner bacteria, as well as potential cross contamination.
  • A placenta is dehydrated from the raw state.
  • A placenta is dehydrated within the “danger zone” (40*F-140*F) as defined by food safety guidelines.
  • A placenta is stored improperly either before or after being encapsulated.

The fact is, standardized training and protocols need to be established, with the highest possible known safety standards available for all phases of the encapsulation process.

The fact is, placenta encapsulation has no scientific backing. Currently, ProDoula is a training body that acknowledges this openly and specifically, and encourages its members to do the same.

So again, thank you CDC for joining ProDoula in talking about safety and placenta encapsulation. It is a service in high demand, and we are determined to provide it in the safest way possible.

Authored by: Kristyn Blocher, ProDoula Director of Training & Development