Kaitlin White is a Certified DONA Birth Doula, Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant, Certified Infant Massage instructor, and of course a Pure Birth Placenta Encapsulation Specialist! The following is a letter she wrote to her DONA Rep concerning the GBS scare in Oregon.
"So, I think it's important to start off by saying that like with all things pregnancy, birth, and postpartum that our clients ask us about, it's our job as doulas to either encourage them to do their research or provide them with all sorts of research so that they can make an informed decision that they feel comfortable about. Placenta encapsulation is no exception, and it's important for families who are considering this option to not only research whether this is something for them, but to also do their due diligence in making sure that the company that will be providing the encapsulation service for them knows what they're doing and is taking the proper safety precautions.
In this one particular case that the article is talking about the method of preparation used appears to have been the raw method, whereby the placenta is dehydrated from a raw state. To truly keep it "raw" it has to be dehydrated at a low temperature, which is why the Group B strep bacteria was not eliminated prior to encapsulation and hence why it was passed back baby unfortunately. I personally don't provide the raw method of encapsulation for families so I can't really speak to the practice of it . But I think that this was a really unique situation in that the mother did not test positive for Group B strep prior to birth, and shortly after the baby was born they believed there was an issue with sepsis before they confirmed that there was Group B strep. So whether the encapsulator even knew there was an issue with Group B strep etc. when the placenta was picked up is unknown. There's also several other possible factors in terms of the company's policy on processing placentas using the raw method that we just don't know about . Maybe they don't process the placenta on a high enough heat with the raw method to kill the bacteria for example? It's really hard to say what happened. But what we do learn from this article is that if Group B strep is present, or that the presence of Group B strep is indicated after birth, that making sure that the placenta is processed in the proper way is paramount.
So overall, as to whether this article is a good one to share with your clients who are considering placenta encapsulation, I think that it could be a good discussion piece or teaching tool. What I would make sure they know is that this report is based on one unique experience and that there are many women who are Group B strep positive who have successfully had their placentas encapsulated with no problems at all. That if they choose to encapsulate it's really important to update their encapsulator should anything change with the babies health or their health shortly after birth so that the encapsulator can assess whether it's still safe to proceed with the capsules or not. And that they make sure to research the method that they choose, whether it's raw or TCM and work with a company who takes extra precaution to make sure that the capsules will be safe."
I think it's all about empowering our clients to make informed decisions, and that this article could be a great way to start that discussion.
Placenta Specialist, Pure Birth Services