Is Placenta Encapsulation Safe for GBS+ Mothers?

placenta encapsulation and GBS

Is Placenta Encapsulation Safe?

Recently, The Centers For Disease Control (CDC) released an alarming single case report, in which a newborn was found to have a recurrent infection of group B Streptococcus agalactiae (GBS, group B strep), that was attributed to the mother’s consumption of placenta capsules. This has many people asking, ‘Is placenta encapsulation safe?’ We will navigate the findings of this case report, explore how this occurred, and discuss placenta encapsulation safety.

 

What are the findings of this case?

The CDC report discussed findings about a newborn who experienced a recurrent group B strep infection. GBS is a common bacterium, found in a person’s intestines or lower genital tract. Group B strep is present in about 25% of pregnant women, and is usually harmless. If transmitted to a newborn during birth, it can cause a rare but serious, illness known as group B strep infection. Because of this, it is standard practice for obstetricians and midwives to test expectant mothers for GBS, to determine if colonization is present. In this CDC report, the maternal GBS culture taken at 37 weeks was negative, meaning the mother’s lab test showed no colonization. Very shortly after birth, the newborn exhibited signs of an infection and lab results revealed the infant tested positive for group B strep. The infant was treated with antibiotics and hospitalized for about eleven days. Five days after the newborn’s release from the hospital, the baby again presented with GBS symptoms and tested positive for the same strain of group B strep. The baby was treated and was again released from the hospital after antibiotic therapy. At this point, it was discovered that the baby’s placenta had been encapsulated. The mother had been taking the placenta as capsules from three days postpartum. The capsules were tested and found to contain the same GBS strain that had infected the newborn. The mother’s breast milk was tested and did not contain group B strep, thus breastfeeding was ruled out as a potential source of reinfection. The authors of this report infer that ingestion of the GBS positive placenta capsules may have elevated maternal group B strep intestinal and skin colonization, facilitating transfer to the infant. The authors conclude by stating ‘placenta encapsulation process does not, per se, eradicate infectious pathogens; thus, placenta capsule ingestion should be avoided.’

 

So, How Did This Happen?

According to the report, the mother hired a company to pick up the placenta from her hospital and encapsulate it. The encapsulated placenta was returned to the mother three days later, and she began taking her capsules until it was suspected that they may be a source of group B strep. The encapsulator, who remained unnamed in the report, prepared the placenta from a raw state, dehydrating it at temperatures ranging from 115°F–160°F. According the CDC, heating at 130°F for 121 minutes is required to reduce bacteria present in placental tissue.

There are three problems with this case contributing to the placenta capsules testing positive for GBS, possibly re-infecting the newborn, and demonstrating unsafe processing practices.

 

The placenta was dehydrated from a raw state: This placenta was not heated to an adequate temperature, and possibly not for a long enough period of time to kill pathogens, like group B strep. Proper encapsulation protocols, require a specialist to steam the placenta, at 160°F, and then dehydrate it at 130°F for twelve hours. This method drastically reduces the occurrences of potentially harmful bacteria remaining present in the placenta. If the placenta referenced in this case was processed properly, it would almost certainly not have tested positive for group B strep.

 

Infection was present in baby: It is not a contraindication to encapsulate a placenta if a mother is found to have GBS. But if there is in an infection occurring in the infant or mother following birth, the placenta should absolutely not be encapsulated or consumed. Responsible and properly trained encapsulators will always inform their clients about any and all contradictions to placenta consumption.

 

The placenta was not processed in the client’s home: Another concern, is that this placenta was picked-up from the mother’s birth place and processed in a location other than her residence. It is impossible to know what type of preparation space the specialist worked in, if proper food safety protocols were followed, and if precautionary guidelines and decontamination practices for handling potentially infectious and biologically hazardous materials were utilized.

 

So, Is Placenta Encapsulation Safe?

A placenta from a normal, healthy infant and mother, when processed correctly is almost always safe to consume. With proper preparation, placenta encapsulation and consumption possesses almost no danger to a mother or baby.

 

Final Thoughts

Though startling, this report is only a single case study, and represents the findings and extrapolated assumptions of the authors. This is not an official CDC recommendation pertaining to placenta consumption. The report should serve as a caution for businesses offering encapsulation remedies and for families searching for placenta services. The Nurturing Root steadfastly believes that a placenta should ONLY be processed in a client’s home, using the traditional method, which steams the placenta first, to eradicate possible pathogens. It is crucial that you are able to witness the sanitation protocols implemented by your specialist, and know for certain, that the placenta being encapsulated is yours, it is processed correctly, and it is not contaminated by another source. We strongly encourage you to read this post, that lists six tips to consider before hiring a placenta encapsulation specialist. The Nurturing Root has encapsulated over 650 placentas, to date, with a 100% safety record and we have received only overwhelmingly positive reviews from our families. We believe in absolute transparency in the encapsulation process. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns you may have about the CDC report or placenta encapsulation safety. Ohio families contact us here, and Maryland families, here.

The Best Free Holiday Events in Baltimore

holiday events in baltimore

The Holiday Season is arguably the most hectic time of year. There are just too many obligatory work, school, and family gatherings to attend.  While planning parties, making gifts, and baking goodies can be festive, it is also exhausting. In order to maintain that high holiday spirit, it is helpful to connect with family and friends in a meaningful way throughout the season. Intentionally gathering together, in engaging activities, is a wonderful way to stay present and celebrate. Here are five, totally free and exceptionally merry, events happening in Baltimore this December. Take some time to enjoy the most wonderful time of the year with those you hold dear!

Christmas Village in Baltimore

November 24 – December 24, 2016 @ 11am-7pm

West Shore Park, Inner Harbor

Explore a traditional German-style Christmas village with an appearance by the luminous Christkindl. She is the ‘færie gift-giving girl’ equivalent of our modern Santa. Peruse the market stalls for some holiday treats, including: gingerbread, waffles, mulled wine, and chocolates. There is also an array of handmade ornaments, gifts, and traditional crafts for purchase.

Fell’s Point Main Street Olde Tyme Christmas

Saturday, December 3, 2016 @ 9am – 8pm

Events centered near Broadway and Thames Streets

Enjoy an entire day of family fun at Olde Tyme Christmas Festival. Watch for St. Nick as he arrives by tugboat. Then enjoy breakfast with him at Barocina and Points South Latin Kitchen.  There will be a beverage garden and an eggnog contest.  At 5pm the tree-lighting ceremony will be held, followed by a lighted boat parade.

43rd Annual Mayor’s Christmas Parade

Sunday, December 4, 2016 Beginning @ 1pm

Commences at Poly/Western High School complex; ending at Chestnut Avenue @ 37th Street.

The Mayor’s Annual Christmas Parade is a 2.5 mile celebration route in the Medfield and Hampden neighborhoods. This quintessentially Baltimore event features several marching bands, dance squads, Christmas floats, Santa himself, and even a steam calliope! After the parade is over, stop by The Womb Room, and celebrate their grand opening. The Womb Room is a gathering space for expectant parents and families, hosting a variety of childbirth education, yoga, and wellness classes and workshops.

Holidays At Hampton

Saturday, December 10, 2016 @ 10am-8pm and Sunday, December 11, 2016 10am-4pm

Hampton National Historic Site, 535 Hampton Lane, Towson

Take a Yuletide tour of this 18th-Century Georgian estate, farmhouse and servants’ quarters.  Experience the various Christmas traditions of Hampton, including: a candlelight open house,  African-American storytelling, period arts and crafts, and a live harpist performance.

Winter Solstice Ritual

December 21, 2016 @ 7pm-8pm

First Unitarian Church of Baltimore

Gather friends, family, and neighbors to celebrate this earth-honoring tradition!  The First Unitarian Church of Baltimore is a radically inclusive community, welcoming all to participate in the winter ritual of light. Give thanks while enjoying songs, poetry and seasonal blessings. There will be a festive reception to follow.

Holiday blessings to your family from The Nurturing Root!

New Recommendations From The American Academy Of Pediatrics

 

The American Academy Of Pediatrics (AAP) 2016 National Conference and Exhibition concluded last week. During their annual meeting, the AAP discussed a wide array of topics, and presented studies regarding children’s health and wellness. During the conference, the AAP released updated recommendations on two important topics: healthy media use, and safe sleep practices for infants.

Healthy Media Use

The new media use policy released last week acknowledges most American  families are using screen-time on a daily basis. While digital media can have a positive impact on a child’s development, it needs to be used correctly. To help your family make smart media choices, here are the updated rules and tools for screen-time.

Infants and Toddlers: No screens (This includes phones, tablets, computers, and televisions) for children under 18 months. Previously the ‘zero media’ recommendation was up to two years old.  AAP recognizes that many families use video chatting apps, like FaceTime, to connect better with relatives.  Easing the age restriction  ales it more manageable for younger kids to begin using limited digital media. If you would like to introduce your child, aged 18-24 months, to screens only view ‘high quality’ programming or video chat for short durations. You should always be present to help your toddler understand what they are seeing.

Preschool, Ages 2-5 Years  Preschoolers should watch no more that one hour of media per day. Previously, it was recommended that children of all ages, have no more than two hours of screen-time per day. The AAP also clarifies that you should continue to co-view high quality programming with younger kids, whenever possible.

Children, 6 Years+ The advice for older kids is more ambiguous. The AAP recognizes that setting a universally specific digital media limit does not work for families. The new suggestions are to use good judgement; be consistent and clear with screen-time rules. Also make sure that your older child is getting plenty of play, rest, study, and conversation time throughout the day. A new and really important aspect of the guidelines, is communicating regularly with your kids about good online citizenship and treating others with respect.

This family media planner is a great new tool that can help you thoughtfully integrate screen-time boundaries and limits specific to your needs.

Safe Sleep Recommendations

The sleep guidelines released Monday are the updated recommendations for creating optimal circumstances and ideal infant sleep environments to reduce sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and other sleep-related deaths.

With this goal, the American Academy Of Pediatrics advises:

  • Immediate skin-to-skin contact, for at least one hour uninterrupted, after birth. Skin-to-skin contact helps regulate your newborn’s neurological systems.
  • Exclusively breastfeeding your baby for at least the first six months. Nursing your baby reduces her risk of sleep-related death by nearly fifty percent.
  • Infants be placed only on their back, in a crib, bed, or bassinet with a firm mattress, covered only with a fitted sheet for naps and at bedtime. The surface should be free from pillows, blankets, bumpers, and toys.
  • Avoid using sleep positioners, such as sleep wedges, foam pillows, car seats, ‘Rock ‘n Play’ sleepers, and automated infant swings. These surfaces can be too unstructured, soft, or inclined for young babies.
  • Do not swaddle or bundle baby while asleep. Swaddling may contribute to positional asphyxiation and is not proven to reduce SIDS.
  • Your infant should sleep in the same room, on a separate surface from you, until baby turns one year old. Room-sharing, sometimes called co-sleeping, has shown to reduce the risk of SIDS by fifty percent. In-bed and bedside co-sleepers, in addition to more traditional infant cots, bassinets, and cribs are all acceptable sleep surfaces.

The new policies also discuss best breastfeeding practices at night.  The AAP now advises mothers to bring baby to bed to nurse.  Insure all blankets, pillows, and flat sheets are removed.  When you are finished breastfeeding, or baby is sleeping, place your infant back in her co-sleeper. Bringing baby to a couch or rocking chair to nurse is not recommended.  The concern being mom and baby falling asleep in an unsafe position that could lead to positional asphyxiation.  Mom and baby falling asleep while breastfeeding in bed is the safer option.  The AAP does not endorse bed-sharing, rather ‘bed-nursing’ as an alternative.

The new AAP guidelines for media and SIDS reduction provide advice for what they consider optimal. There are also other organizations with different or more nuanced guidelines regarding screen-time and safe sleep practices.  Ultimately, as a parent, it is your responsibility to research which policies and recommendations work best for your family.

If you live in the Baltimore area and are looking to learn more about infant sleep, consider attending this event, on November 6th, 2016, hosted by Thrive Chiropractic and Parenting Works.

Celebrate Autumn With Pumpkin Seeds

pumpkin seeds

Autumn has finally arrived in Maryland and that means that is it pumpkin season. Almost everywhere you’ll find lattes, pies, and soups with its namesake. We are celebrating the harvest with the seeds of this seasonal squash. Also called pepitas, these little seeds are extremely nutrient dense, and contain a wide array of vitamins and minerals. Here are why pumpkin seeds are fall’s favorite superfood!

Protein During pregnancy you should be consuming an extra 25g of protein per day. Pumpkin seeds are a good source of vegetarian protein with about 5g in a one-ounce serving. Adding some seeds to a salad or a smoothie is an easy way to increase your protein intake. Pepitas are also particularly high in tryptophan, one of the 9 amino acids that comprise protein. Tryptophan is used by your body to synthesize the hormone serotonin; which is partly responsible for nervous system health, sleep regulation, and muscle growth and repair.

Minerals Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of several essential and trace minerals.

  • Zinc Just one-quarter cup of pepitas provide nearly 20% of your recommended daily allowance of zinc. Consuming adequate levels of zinc helps maintain your metabolism, improves immune health, and facilitates digestion. Zinc is also vital to proper fetal development. Increasing your intake will help ensure you have a healthier pregnancy, birth, and baby.
  • Magnesium Pumpkin seeds are also a fantastic source of magnesium. This macro-mineral used by the body to form teeth and bones, synthesize proteins, regulate metabolism and maintain heart health. Obtaining more magnesium may also increase blood flow and nutrition to baby via the placenta.
  • Iron During pregnancy, blood volume increases 40-50%, and iron is required to make all those new red blood cells to transport oxygen through you body and to baby. Pumpkin seeds are one of the richest plant-based sources of this essential mineral.

Omega-3  These fatty acids are crucial for brain growth and fetal development. Consuming sufficient amounts of Omega-3’s from foods like pumpkin seeds is linked to better birth outcomes including a higher placental weight, lower risk for preeclampsia, longer gestation, and higher birth weight.

B-Complex Vitamins  There are eight ‘B’ vitamins. All are crucial to normal body functions and a healthy pregnancy. The B-complex vitamins are essential for proper metabolism function, immune support, and normal nervous system growth in baby.

After you are finished carving your pumpkin make sure to set aside the seeds. Here are twelve plant-based recipes featuring pumpkin seeds. Enjoy!

Top 10 Baltimore Date Ideas For Pregnant Couples

Baltimore Date Ideas

Pregnancy is a transformative experience for parents-to-be. You may be wondering what life will be like with a new baby or how your relationship may change. Adding a child undoubtedly augments all aspects of life. Pregnancy serves as a really great exercise in being present. While you’re waiting for baby, enjoy some together time and connect. Here are ten Baltimore date ideas, that honor the now!

  1. Spa Day Enjoy a couples massage. Mom can benefit from a restorative prenatal massage, while Dad enjoys relaxing bodywork. Try Jessie Bernstein at Satori Wellness Center in Towson, The Loft (formerly Missy Kibelbek) in Hampden, or The Healing Path, which has locations in Mt. Vernon, Fell’s Point, and Baltimore County.
  2. Linger at dinner  Sitting together, uninterrupted, for a meal is a rarity for many new parents.  While you are still growing baby, enjoy dinners outside the home. My top picks are Petit Louis with two locations; Roland Park and Columbia and The Wine Market in Locust Point.
  3. Fake a Vacation Staying at a local hotel for an evening or two is the more accessible little sister to a ‘babymoon’. Kimpton Hotel Monaco, near the Inner Harbor, has great boutique hotel amenities. It is in proximity to many downtown Baltimore sites and attractions.
  4. Take a Long Stroll Taking a walk, especially in late pregnancy, can ease discomforts and even facilitate labor. For a picturesque water view, visit Fort McHenry.  If you prefer the canopy of trees, head to Lake Roland.
  5. Brunch Never overrated; brunch is perfect for special occasions. Wit and Wisdom delivers a fantastic Sunday brunch, located at the Four Seasons Hotel in Harbor East.
  6. IKEA A trip to IKEA is a right of passage for parents-to-be. Take a quick trip to White Marsh, or try the Prince George’s County store for the best selection of minimalist nursery staples.
  7. Practice Yoga The Birth Well at Baltimore Yoga Village offers two enriching options: prenatal yoga classes and a yoga for birth workshop. Both programs will help you connect and feel empowered during pregnancy and birth. Baltimore Yoga Village has studios in Hampden and Mt. Washington.  Heather Brown of Yoga Birth offers prenatal and postpartum yoga as well as a yoga-infused childbirth class.  The Yoga Birth classes combine evidence-based childbirth education with the mind/body connection of yoga, so couples can understand and experience birth as a sacred and transformative passage.
  8. Visit a Museum There are several great museums in Baltimore. Visit Federal Hill and stop by The American Visionary Art Museum.  AVAM hosts an eclectic array of works by self-taught artists. The Baltimore Museum of Art, in Charles Village, houses the renowned Cone Collection and has an exceptionally well-edited contemporary collection.
  9. Watch a Movie Both the Charles and Senator Theatres are landmark locations in Baltimore, where you can view a variety of mainstream and independent films.
  10. Picnic Relax and have a romantic afternoon picnic. Cylburn Arboretum offers respite from city life with its charming gardens. Patterson Park features a vast open lawn earning its nickname, the ‘best backyard in Baltimore’.

 

If you are looking for resources or recommendations during pregnancy, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Introducing Solids With Baby Led Weaning

baby led weaning

Both the World Health Organization and the American Academy Of Pediatrics recommend exclusively breastfeeding your infant for the first six months. As you approach this milestone, you’re probably thinking about introducing solids to baby. There are two ‘schools of thought’ regarding the the addition of complementary foods. Feeding milled cereals and puréed foods by spoon is the traditional approach. Another way to offer solids is through Baby Led Weaning (BLW).  This style encourages baby to feed herself and skip the spoon, completely. The following is a guide to help you learn about, and decide if, a baby-led approach is right for your family.

What is Baby Led Weaning?

BLW is a theory originated by Gill Rapley, a British health nurse. The word ‘weaning’ is the UK equivalent of Americans saying ‘starting solids’.  With BLW, you forgo spoon feeding, a parent initiated method, and trust your baby to nourish herself, a baby initiated approach

When is my baby ready to feed herself?

Spoon feeding is so popular and almost unchallenged in our culture. Many families choose to introduce solids prior to six months.  Before this age, babies are not developmentally ready to feed themselves. With BLW, you wait until baby is developmentally ready to eat. When your infant reaches the following milestones, she is ready to start exploring food:

  • is at least six months of age
  • has lost the tongue thrust reflex
  • can sit with little or no assistance
  • reaches and bring objects to her mouth accurately
  • shows focused interest in food and your eating

Why choose BLW?

It’s progressive and instinctual! A baby initiated approach to food is an extension of breastfeeding. A healthy, full-term baby can feed herself as soon as she is born. Baby tells you when she is hungry, she nurses at her pace, and knows when she is full. BLW builds on this philosophy and applies it to complementary foods. This style is also easier. Your baby enjoys the foods you cook for the entire family.  There is no need to prepare separate recipes for you infant.

How safe is BLW?

‘I am worried my baby will choke on food!’ The BLW philosophy makes sense in theory, but many parents are nervous to try this approach for fear of choking. BLW is as safe, or safer than traditional spoon feeding. As long as your baby is ready to feed herself, as listed above, she can engage in BLW.

baby led weaning info
What food should baby eat?

For safety, foods should be served in large chunks that baby can easily grasp in hand. These are a good start:

  • Soft fruits cut in big pieces – bananas, peaches, ripe melon, avocado
  • Steamed vegetables – sweet potato, summer squash, pumpkin, broccoli
  • Buttered toast cut in slices
  • Omelette
  • Pasta
  • Mini muffins
  • Steamed fish
  • Well cooked steak

Here are an additional 100+ foods and recipes to enjoy.
To learn more about Baby Led Weaning, check out Rapley’s series of books.

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