Just because someone is a birth pro (doula, midwife, etc), does not mean that they offer professional quality placenta services. Offering services without having formal training in placenta encapsulation is a huge red flag! Although there are many training organizations to choose from, APPA, IPPA and PBi are a few reputable ones. Without formal training, how did this person learn safe encapsulation protocol? Did they learn from YouTube (yes, people really do do that!)? Did they learn by helping their sister encapsulate a mutual friend's placenta? Did they learn from someone else who doesn't have formal training? Although the encapsulation process is fairly simple, it's not always straightforward and formal training goes a long way in making safe decisions. Having proper training in the OSHA standards of bloodborne pathogen handling and food safety handling are also important! Remember, it's not just your placenta that will be passing through the encapsulator's equipment, so proper training in storage, preparation and sanitation are absolutely vital to safe encapsulation!
2. PREP SPACE
So where does the magic happen? There are three different places that placenta prep usually happens: 1- In the professional's separate, dedicated workspace, 2- In the client's personal kitchen, 3-In the professional's personal kitchen. The first two of those places are appropriate for professional prep, the third is not. I personally prefer to work in my separate, dedicated workspace because it gives me more control over timing, safety, and sanitation (plus I have a placenta-specific fridge!) all while not taking over new parents' kitchen. It also means that there's no food, kids or pets going in and out of the prep space either! It's one thing to encapsulate your own (and only your own) placenta in your personal kitchen, but it's another to encapsulate multiple women's placentas in your personal kitchen. See the difference?
Who transports the placenta after your birth? Will your encapsulator already be at the birth with you? Do they have pickup hours or other limitations? Do they charge an additional fee for picking up your placenta? Some encapsulators have an option for you to drop off your placenta to their home or workspace and some absolutely will not transport a placenta at all. If the preparation is going to happen in your home, do you have someone else who can worry about transporting your placenta (and making sure it is stored correctly for consumption)? If you're planning a home or birth center birth, will your encapsulator still pick the placenta up from the hospital if you transfer or will it be your responsibility to get it to them? Are you responsible for picking up your finished capsules or will they be delivered to you, whether you're home or at the hospital? If these questions are not clearly answered on their website, inquire further!
4. PERSONAL ATTENTION
This quality may or may not be important to you in your decision. However, quality support from your encapsulator (or from anyone who you invite to be part of your birth and postpartum experience) can be a huge bonus and a major help in recovery. If you want to know how invested in your satisfaction and comfort your encapsulator will be, pay attention to communication before labor starts. Are they forthcoming and thorough on their website? Are they responsive to inquiries, emails, and texts? Do they give you thorough and specific directions for how to handle your placenta (each hospital and birth center are different)? Do they work with 4-6 clients a month or 40-60? Are they going to be able to offer you personalized guidance after your baby is born or are you just one of many clients to them?
I'm a human person living in ATX, so yes, cost is important to me too! And no, having a baby ain't cheap. I get that (believe me). However, when dealing with a service based industry, cheapest does not typically equate to best, so I suggest finding out exactly where you'll be losing quality to save that $150 (again, I get the allure). You can likely find an answer by sifting through the questions above with any encapsulator you're looking into working with or reading over their website.
It is my personal goal to provide the highest quality service and support to every woman and family I work with so that moms can have a more comfortable pregnancy and postpartum period. I'm always happy to chat directly, but you can also read more about my training, FAQs and protocols, and testimonials throughout my site.