Placenta Encapsulation
The natural solution for your after birth recovery

A service by Sara Heumann with Tree of Life Doula Services and Birth Resources

Why Consume the Placenta?
The placenta is believed to be the Tree of Life in many cultures, and without it life would not be possible. Virtually all mammals consume their placenta at birth. There are important factors in it that support women to recover more easily after the birth of a baby. Reintroducing the placenta brings the body back into balance during the postpartum time, replenishing what is lost in childbirth. It is comfortable and simple to consume the placenta when it is prepared into capsules. You can take it with your daily vitamin.

Postpartum Depression (PPD) occurs to some degree in as many as 25% of women. Women with increased risk factors for PPD include those with personal or family history of depression, difficulty with relationships and those experiencing health problems with their baby. If you've experience PPD before, relapse in subsequent births is 35-60%.

Some benefits of the placenta include:

• Improved iron stores
• Lessening postpartum bleeding
• Increasing milk production, enriched with beneficial hormones, iron and proteins
• Increasing energy
• Curbing the baby blues
• Decreasing the risk of postpartum depression

IMPROVE YOUR IRON STORES The placenta contains iron. Between 8% and 33% of a woman's body stores of iron can be lost at birth through the placenta.

A woman's hormones plummet after birth regaining her pre-pregnancy level by the 5th day postpartum

Ingestion of placenta elevates levels of prolactin, the nursing hormone. Placenta has been used by Traditional Chinese Medicine for improving milk supply for centuries.
How Postpartum Fatigue Occurs:

Women lose iron at birth, through the infant, through the placenta and through bleeding. Iron deficiency develops gradually starting with a negative iron balance. Iron deficiency affects the quality of your life and may affect your ability to parent your newborn. You may experience symptoms even though your iron tests at adequate levels. Low iron symptoms include fatigue. Unrelenting fatigue is a leading indicator of postpartum depression. The placenta is high in iron and can replace the losses from birth. Prevention is much more preferable to going through the experience of postpartum depression and seeking treatment.

How does the placenta provide all these benefits to a postpartum mother?
The placenta is composed of beneficial hormones, chemicals, iron, and proteins that are lost during delivery but returned during consumption, enhancing the first few months with your baby. Some of the known healing properties include:
• Prolactin: Promotes lactation, increases milk supply, enhances the mothering instinct.
• Corticotropin Releasing Hormone (CRH): Regulation of CRH helps prevent depression.
• Placental Opioid-Enhancing Factor (POEF): Stimulates the production of your body's natural opioids, including endorphins; reduces pain; increases well-being.
• Oxytocin: Decreases pain and increases bonding in mother and infant; counteracts the production of stress hormones such as Cortisol; greatly reduces postpartum bleeding; enhances the breastfeeding let-down reflex.
• Thyroid stimulating hormone: Boosts energy and helps recovery from stressful events
• Cortisone: Reduces inflammation and swelling; promotes healing.
• Interferon: Stimulates the immune system to protect against infections
• Prostaglandins: Regulates contractions in the uterus after birth; helps uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size.
• Hemoglobin: Replenishes iron deficiency and anemia, provides a boost in energy
• Iron: Replenishes maternal iron stores to combat anemia. Increases energy; decreases fatigue and depression.
• Urokinase Inhibiting Factor and Factor XIII: Stops bleeding and enhances wound healing
• Human Placental Lactogen (hPL): This hormone has lactogenic and growth-promoting properties; promotes mammary gland growth in preparation for lactation in the mother. It also regulates maternal glucose, protein, and fat levels.
• Gammaglobulin: Immune booster that helps protect against postpartum infections

My Service Package Includes:

• An initial phone consultation
• Transportation of the placenta from the hospital in most cases
• Capsules, Healing salve and Rescue Remedy Tincture
• Reduced rate for Tree of Life Clients
• Postpartum visit when capsules are delivered
• Dream catcher cord keepsake included for an additional fee.


"I was really worried that I would have a rough time post-partum. I am the type of person who is susceptible to being high anxiety and when stressed I tend to get depressed. I certainly thought having post-partum depression would be a reality for me which is why I wanted to find a way to combat it. When I heard of placenta encapsulation it seemed crazy, something only the Hollywood starlets would do. However, after meeting with Sara and understanding that this was something within reach that really COULD assist me with my post-partum goals, I decided to take a chance. Thank goodness I did! Not only was the turn around of the placenta encapsulation super quick, but taking them was as easy as drinking water. I felt great! My energy was high and to this day I cannot think of a MOMENT that I felt affected by depression or anxiety. I took the pills as suggested and still have some left for those times that I am just blah. This is something I will do again with my next pregnancy and a process I have highly recommended to my friends."


"When I first heard of placenta encapsulation I thought it was a bit out there and it wouldn't be something that I would do. When I was about 7 months pregnant my sister-n-law was helping to paint the nursery and she asked if it was anything that I had considered because she wished she would have done it when she had her daughter and was defiantly going to try it the next time she was expecting. I was still skeptical but decided to do further research on it and after lots of internet searching, I figured what would it hurt to try it. I found Sara through an online search and contacted her about it and met with her to discuss it and decided to go for it. When I was 32 weeks pregnant I developed Choleostasis and had to be induced 4 weeks early. They normally have to send the placenta to pathology for testing but we were able to just have a piece sent so I could still have most my placenta encapsulated. Sara made a tincture, salve, and pills for me and brought them to me the day I got home from the hospital. I started taking them and I didn't have anything to compare it to since this was my first baby, however I never felt the way most people say they feel. I never had hormonal mood swings or baby blues and I had very little postpartum bleeding. We actually went to my family reunion 3 hours away 5 days after I had my son and I had the energy to do it. There were a couple nights that I forgot to take the pills and I would wake up sweating and it wasn't near as bad while taking the pills. I also used the salve for nipple tenderness in the early stages of breastfeeding and it was AMAZING! It helped like nothing else would. I have also had no issues with milk supply. I am 5 months post-partum and have over 1500 oz of breast milk in my freezer! I stopped taking the pills after a couple weeks but still had quite a few left over. When I came back to work after 12 weeks I had been feeling great for the most part but after a month I was exhausted. After lunch I would have no energy and by the time I got home I would nurse my son and want to go to sleep. After about a week of this I remembered I had some pills left over and started taking them to see if it would help my energy and it DID! The first day I took it again, I got home and started doing the dishes and suddenly realized, WOW, I'm not exhausted like I had been.

The salve has been great as well. I have used it on burns form cooking and it keeps it from blistering and they don't hurt like they normally would. I also use it for diaper rash occasionally when my son gets it. I cloth diaper so it is great because I don't have to worry about buildup on the diapers since it is all natural ingredients. It works so fast. He will be red, one diaper change and the next it is gone! I would highly recommend that anyone do this. My husband thought I was absolutely crazy and didn't want anything to do with it but after seeing the difference it has made he understands. I will defiantly have it done again."


"Sara is amazing! She came all the way to the hospital to pick up my placenta and delivered the pills, salve, and tincture back to the hospital a day and a half later in a gift bag with a sweet note. She also called me at home soon after we got settled in to make sure we were all doing well. I never had any bouts of depression, and have enjoyed every bit of being a new mom. On days when I would get emotional, my husband would say, 'Did you take your placenta pills today?' :) Apparently they were working well and he noticed when I didn't take them. I will definitely be using Sara with future babies." -Kelsey


"I recently had my third baby boy and Sara put together a gorgeous package for me including nipple cream, calming tincture and placenta capsules. I immediately saw an increase in my baby's dirty diapers when I began taking the pills. Also, I felt more energetic and even keeled. I would recommend using Sara for placenta encapsulation, she did a great job and I think taking the capsules is very beneficial." -Megan

Frequently Asked Questions:

How many capsules will my placenta provide? What is a Rescue Remedy Tincture? Salve?
Your placenta will yield approximately 75-150 size "00" capsules. The tincture lasts indefinitely and can be used in times of stress or transition, during your monthly cycle and even menopause. The healing salve is formulated with healing herbs, nourishing oils and placenta and offers healing properties to c-section scars once they are healed, hemorrhoids, perineal tearing, cracked or blistered nipples, eczema, sun burn, diaper rash, skin irritation and more.

How do I obtain my placenta following the birth?
Talk to your provider and nurse manager at your birth place ahead of time. You do not need to specify that you are encapsulating your placenta but you should tell them you are bringing the placenta home for religious/cultural reasons and that require the placenta remain untainted by chemicals. Your care provider should note it in your chart, and if you have created a birth plan, note it there too. The placenta will likely be placed in a storage container by your provider. Bring along several gallon size ziplock bags to store the placenta in case the hospital does not provide a plastic storage container and your own cooler to store keep the placenta in your room. The container should be put on ice as soon as possible. The placenta needs to be frozen if it will be more than 3 days from birth to when encapsulation process begins.

I've read online that there are different processes to encapsulate - do you prepare them in different ways?
I offer the Raw Dehydration Method and the Traditional Chinese Method. Both are effective. The Traditional Method has been used for centuries and involves lightly steaming the placenta with herbs prior to dehydration. Moms taking these pills report more of a "slow and steady" building of energy and have great results.

Benefits of the Raw Method:

• More of a stimulant. Mothers report very high energy levels.
• You usually get more capsules and have to take fewer per day so they will last longer.
• Preserves any enzymes or hormones that may be destroyed when the placenta is heated above 118 degrees.
• Less equipment and clean-up.
One caution about the raw method: Many mothers will benefit from being in bed, resting with their new baby for the first 10-14 days postpartum, breastfeeding, bonding, and healing from the birth. With raw capsules you may have such an energy boost that you don't give your body enough time to rest and recover. If you choose raw, make sure you don't overdo it with your activity level.
Benefits of the TCM method:

• A warming and sustained energy that has been used for centuries.
• In Chinese Medicine, raw foods are considered "cooling" and not suitable for the tonifying purposes of nourishing blood and restoring energy for a postpartum mother.
• Cooking may actually release essential nutrients and make the beneficial properties of the placenta more available.
• Steaming first should destroy any viruses or pathogens that might be present, making it safer for the encapsulator and the mother consuming the placenta.
• Tends to dehydrate faster. You can get your capsules more quickly in many cases, approximately 12-24 hours sooner.

What are the dosage guidelines?
The general recommendation is to take 2 capsules, 1-3 times per day for the first 10-14 days, and then adjust down as needed. If a mother lost a lot of blood after the birth or is having a more difficult time, more capsules may be desired. For other mothers, fewer capsules may be the correct dosage. Take your first couple of doses at a time of day when you will be up for a while. Taking them right before bed may result in a big energy boost and difficulty sleeping. Most mothers report feeling very balanced, with more energy than they expected to have after having a baby. If you miss a dose and feel tired, moody, etc., you will know that the dosage you were taking was working well for you. If you cut back on your capsules and still feel good, you know you can take fewer capsules. Listen to your body and it will tell you what it needs! Ideally a mother will take the fewest number of capsules needed to feel great so that the capsules can last for as long as possible. TCM prepared placenta should not be taken if the body is fighting off a virus, the flu or other infection including mastitis. Stop taking your capsules until your body fights off the infection. Some women save some of their capsules in the freezer for difficult times later in life, such as when their nursling weans, or going back to work.

How long will the pills be "good" for?
Placenta pills should be stored in the provided cobalt container as light can break down the beneficial enzymes and nutrients over time. I recommend storing them in the fridge while taking them during your postpartum period and then storing in the back of the freezer until you need them again (for PMS, menopause, or whenever you feel necessary). The Rescue Remedy Placenta Tincture is in a vodka base and will last indefinitely.

What type of training did you go through?
I am trained and certified in Blood-Born Pathogens & Infection Control for Placenta Encapsulation Specialists in accordance with OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens Standard 29 CFR 1910, 1030. After having the placentas encapsulated of the twins I carried, I experienced first hand the benefits renewed energy, emotional balance and an abundant milk supply. After getting through a difficult birth experience, I feel wholeheartedly that the placenta capsules supported my healing, mood and energy levels completely. I was trained through the organization Tranquil Transitions Placenta Services and I follow the strictest OSHA and EPA guidelines for cleanliness, sterilization and contamination prevention when working with human blood/organ tissue.

What about the umbilical cord?
In most cases the cord will be dehydrated and returned to you along with the capsules. If you choose, I can make a dream catcher. The cord is dried into a circle which encases the dream catcher, and the web is hand woven with beads and wild bird feathers are attached to the bottom. According to the Ojibwe people, dream catchers would filter out all bad dreams and only allow good thoughts to enter our mind. Once the sun rises, all bad dreams just disappear. It can be hung above the bed and is said to catch people's dreams. It is a keepsake that will stay with your baby as it grows.

Research Finds:

"Giving...placenta to a new mother following birth has become standard protocol among a growing number of midwives in the United States. By nourishing the blood and fluids, endocrine glands and organs, Placenta will ...reduce or stop postpartum bleeding, speed up recovery, boost energy and relieve postpartum blues." Homes, Peter. 1993. Jade Remedies, Snow Lotus Press, 352.


"Postpartum women in our sample reported that they believed placenta consumption was very effective in helping improve their overall mood." Jodi Selander, Allison Cantor, Sharon M. Young & Daniel C. Benyshek (2013): Human Maternal Placentophagy: A Survey of Self-Reported Motivations and Experiences Associated with Placenta Consumption, Ecology of Food and Nutrition, 52:2, 93-115


"During pregnancy, the placenta functions as an interface between mother and fetus for the transfer of nutrients and gases, and is responsible for the production and secretion of various hormones. The placenta is known to transfer essential nutrients such as A and B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pyridoxine, biotin, folate, and cobalamin), vitamin C, and vitamin D (Prasad, Leibach, and Ganapathy 1998; Smith, Moe, and Ganapathy1992), minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, and phosphate (Smith et al. 1992), trace elements such as copper, iron, selenium, and zinc (de Moraes et al. 2011; Lorenzo Alonso et al. 2005; Smith et al. 1992), and other substances necessary for fetal growth such as fatty acids, amino acids, and glucose (Donnelly and Campling 2008; Jones, Powell, and Jansson 2007; Prasad et al. 1998). The placenta is also responsible for the synthesis and secretion of a number of hormones across pregnancy such as progesterone, estrogens, androgens (i.e., testosterone, androstenedione, dehydroepiandosterone), human placental lactogen, human chorionic gonadotropin, placental growth hormone, corticotropin releasing hormone, oxytocin, and relaxin" (Di Santo et al. 2003; Gude et al. 2004; Guibordenche et al. 2009; Hall et al. 1977; Schmidt et al. 1984; Sugahara et al. 1985; Taylor and Lebovic 2007).


"It has been shown that the feeding of desiccated placenta to women during the first eleven days after parturition causes an increase in the protein and lactose percent of the milk... All the mothers were receiving the same diet, and to the second set 0.6mg of desiccated placenta was fed three times a day throughout the period. Certain definite differences in the progress of growth of the two sets of infants are to be observed. It is evident that the recovery from the postnatal decline in weight is hastened by the consumption of milk produced under the influence of maternally ingested placenta." McNeile, Lyle G. 1918. The American Journal of Obstetrics and Diseases of Women and Children, 77. W.A. Townsend & Adams, original press: University of Michigan.


"Powdered Placenta Hominis was used for 57 cases of insufficient lactation. Within 4 days, 48 women had markedly increased milk production, with the remainder following suit over the next three days." Bensky/Gamble. 1997. Materia Medica, Eastland Press, 549.


"All patients were given desiccated placenta prepared as previously described (C.A. II, 2492) in doses of 10 grains in a capsule 3 times a day. Only those mothers were chosen for the study whose parturition was normal and only the weights of those infants were recorded whose soul source of nourishment was mother's milk. The growth of 177 infants was studied. The rate of growth is increased by the ingestion of placenta by the mother... the maternal ingestion of dried placenta tissue so stimulates the tissues of the infants feeding on the milk produced during this time, that unit weight is able to add on greater increments of matter, from day to day, than can unit weight of infants feeding on milk from mothers not ingesting this substance." Hammett, Frederick. S. 1918. The Journal of Biological Chemistry, 36. American Society of Biological Chemists, Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, original press: Harvard University.

Placenta bakery: The science:

This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Sara Heumann is not a licensed medical provider or formally trained in Chinese Medicine and therefore not able to diagnose, treat or prescribe for any health condition. Families who choose to utilize the services and information take full responsibility for their own health. No results or benefits are promised or guaranteed, and results will vary for every individual.