Hello, my name is Sarah Sorvillo and I am one of the Owners of Well Rounded Momma, as well as the Director for our Placenta Encapsulation Team. As many people and physicians are aware, there was an article posted by the CDC about a case of an infant contracting late-onset Group B streptococcus (GBS) whose mother had encapsulated her placenta. As a result, many physicians are telling their patients who test positive for GBS, not to encapsulate. I realize that this is a relatively new field and many do not understand the process a placenta undergoes during encapsulation, or that there are standards and protocols in place at Well Rounded Momma to prevent such adverse outcomes, as late-onset GBS. I would like to take this opportunity to acquaint you with some of our own protocols and to hopefully dispel some myths about encapsulation and GBS.
All Placenta Specialists at our company have current Clark County Food Safety Training Cards and annual recertifications in Blood-Borne Pathogens. They prepare each placenta according to strict OSHA standards for sanitation and safety and transport them according to World Health Organizations standards for safe organ transplant.
The Center for Disease Control states that GBS is sensitive to moist heat at 131 ºF for 30 minutes and susceptible to dry heat at temperatures of 160 ºF for at least an hour. Our protocol for every placenta, regardless of GBS status, exceed these guidelines. The Specialist will steam the placenta first (i.e. moist heat) according to Safe Minimum Cooking Temperatures for beef (an internal temp of 160ºF) and then dehydrate (i.e. dry heat) the placenta in strips at 160 ºF for at least 8hrs. When these standards are adhered to, there should not be any harmful bacteria (including GBS) present in the finished product.
In the CDC’s report about the late-onset case, it claimed the Encapsulator involved stated on her website, “the placenta is cleaned, sliced, and dehydrated at 115°F–160°F.” There is no mention of how long they are dehydrated for or steaming, which leads us to believe she did raw preparation before dehydration. It is therefore our opinion that those are NOT adequate protocols for ANY placenta, let alone one that is positive for GBS. If done correctly, there should not be any harmful bacteria present after encapsulation.
We are seeing a disturbing trend right now of care providers and nurses actively discouraging their clients from encapsulation because of the bad protocols this Encapsulator followed. We are also seeing local hospitals go so far as to refuse release of a placenta to clients who were treated for GBS. Some may not remember this, but in 2007 Anne Swanson sued Sunrise Hospital for not releasing her placenta, claiming it was a biohazard. Swanson won the case and now moms are free to sign a Specimen Release Form, which releases the hospital from liability. The decision to deny release of a placenta affects not only mothers in the Valley who wish to use our services, but it also affects the livelihoods of many professional Encapsulators in the valley, who abide by strict safety protocols.
In addition, we have had some very recent reports that care providers and nursing staff claim that antibiotics used to treat GBS during labor would pass to the baby, via placenta capsules or through breastmilk, causing the infant to produce antibodies which cause problems later on in life. Studies show that regular antibiotic use during labor for treating GBS does pass to the infant in utero. Therefore, the infant is already exposed to antibiotics, even without encapsulation. Any remaining antibiotics in the placenta are negligible, not only having passed through the encapsulation heating process, but the mother’s digestive system and through her breastmilk after consumption, to be passed on to the infant after birth. These levels would be minuscule and not harmful to the infant who was already exposed to a much higher level during the labor process.
We have also been informed by our clientele that some care providers and nurses tell them we cannot encapsulate when meconium is present. This can absolutely be true in some cases, but should be left to the Encapsulator’s discretion. In almost every case, we can rinse the placenta in a vinegar solution and remove the amnion layer of the sac, thus removing all traces of meconium before encapsulating. If we are not able to remove the meconium, we will inform the client that the placenta is not suitable for consumption and they will receive a partial refund.
There are absolutely cases in which it is contraindicated to encapsulate and ingest your placenta. For your reference, I have listed them below. Please feel free to pass along this information to other families, care providers or patients. Safety is absolutely important to us. Each of our clients also receives a disclosure form upon picking up her placenta which asks if any of these situations applies. If so, the client is informed we cannot encapsulate her placenta.
CONTRAINDICATIONS FOR ENCAPSULATING AND INGESTING PLACENTA
Uterine infections or chorioamnionitis
Heavy smoking during pregnancy
Heavy drug usage
Cancer of the placenta, choriocarcinoma.
Placentas that were stored longer than 4-5 hours at room temperature, with no refrigeration.
Placentas refrigerated for more than 4-5 days without being frozen.
COMMON SIDE EFFECTS OF PLACENTA CAPSULES
Digestive upset (usually solved by taking capsules after a meal)
Overproduction of breast milk
Thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope that it has at least clarified how we do business at Well Rounded Momma and we look forward to working with you in the future. Please don’t hesitate to give us a call, or send us an email if you have any questions at all about placenta preparation, or would like access to the studies and cases I listed above.
Sarah Sorvillo, CPES DEM Owner/Managing Member & Director of Placenta Preparation