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Group B Strep Infection & Placenta Encapsulation

Can a Group B Strep positive (GBS+) mom use placenta capsules? In short, it depends on the type of preparation method.

​NOT ALL ENCAPSULATION PROVIDERS USE THE SAME SAFETY STANDARDS

Happy Bellies’ encapsulation process addresses the issue of bacterial pathogens using the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) method of preparation. We have safely prepared capsules for Group B Strep (GBS+) positive moms since 2011.

The TCM method has been used for postpartum healing as far back as 600 AD and satisfies the TCM principle that postpartum moms need hot, warm, and/or cooked foods to establish homeostasis in the body. More importantly, this method is in accordance with the USDA standards for raw meat preparation, as it involves a heating portion.

During the cooking part of the process, the placenta is heated to an internal temperature of at least 160°(F). At this temperature, pathogenic bacteria (i.e. E.Coli, GBS, Salmonella) are destroyed. We follow the same guidelines required of any regular food service establishment and our method (PBi method of preparation) is on file with the FDA and has been thoroughly inspected and approved by them.  

Happy Bellies’ has served many GBS+ moms since 2011 with excellent results, and has provided services to hundreds of new moms throughout Vermont and New Hampshire. A new mother’s (and her newborn) health and safety is our utmost concern. 

Recent CDC Case

There is a case regarding the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that is circulating throughout the media found here, where a baby tested positive for GBS after the mom took placenta capsules (this mom had never tested positive for GBS). So, how could this baby have developed a GBS infection from the mom taking placenta capsules?

Listed below are some possible reasons as to how the baby may have developed a GBS+ infection from the capsules taken by the mother; including a few discrepancies with the actual case study. Please not that the encapsulator who prepared the capsules in this CDC case must be set apart from Happy Bellies (and other PBi-trained encapsulationists) because of the reasons you will also see here.

1) The placenta in the CDC case was prepared using the raw method, which means the encapsulator cleaned and dehydrated the placenta; bypassing the heating portion. Most dehydrators cannot go above 160° (F). The encapsulator in question dehydrates at 115°-159° (F). This is dangerous as it does not allow the internal temperature of the placenta to reach safe temperatures for consumption. Bacteria cannot be destroyed at this temperature. Happy Bellies does not offer raw preparation for this very reason and it is one of the reasons why we advocate that a new mother should always know who will be handling her placenta and to inquire that they have proper certifications and food safety training.

2) Happy Bellies (and other PBi-trained placenta encapsulationists) only encapsulate in the new mom’s home. The encapsulator in the CDC case, offers a service where the placenta is picked up, processed, and returned to the new mom in capsule form. The condition of transport is unknown as is the real possibility of mix-up and cross contamination while working with multiple placentas. Cross contamination or a mix-up may have been factors, since the mother had not tested positive for GBS. The placenta of a Happy Bellies’ client never leaves their possession. This method eliminates any chance of cross contamination. We also only work with one placenta at a time, in the new mother’s home, where we sanitize according to OSHA standards, every time between placentas.

3) We recommend storing the placenta capsules in the freezer, while the encapsulator in the CDC case states to keep the (raw) pills at room temperature. 

A few discrepancies with the actual case study: ​

  • This inconclusive, single case study establishes no clear link between the baby becoming ill and placenta pills.
  • The baby in the case study became ill shortly after birth. This is a fact that seems to be generally overlooked. The case study starts out by saying the baby was sick with early-onset GBS, having developed symptoms shortly after birth (this would be well before the commencement of encapsulation services and the placenta may still have been in the hospital or with the new mother). Five days after the completion of an eleven-day course of ampicillin and a stay in the NICU, the baby re-developed a group B strep infection.
  • The report states that “transmission from other colonized household members could not be ruled out”, another fact that was generally overlooked.

Happy Bellies Special Guidelines for Placental Consumption

Special circumstances that are not contraindications to placenta encapsulation are the following: STI’s including HSV, HPV, Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, meconium staining, GBS+, Gestation Diabetes, HELLP, PUPPS (though some women choose to wait a few weeks before starting pills), use of antibiotics in labor, cesarean, labor epidurals and spinal anesthesia, IV medications such as Nubain, Pitocin, and Mag Sulfate.

Contraindications to placenta encapsulation: Hepatitis, HIV, confirmed chorioamnionitis*, or other uterine infection.

*For suspected Chorioamnionitis, neonatal sepsis, or other infection: placenta should be frozen/refrigerated after being cultured as per facility policies/order. If maternal/neonatal labs and the placental culture is confirmed clear, the placenta may be released only at the discretion of the clinician. (https://placentaassociation.com/for-medical-providers/)


Is Your Unborn Baby At Risk for GBS+?

My 10″ Video About Placenta Encapsulation

Placenta Encapsulation in VT & NH

​May all bellies be happy!

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