Can a Group B Strep positive (GBS+) mom use placenta capsules? In short, it depends on the preparation method.
NOT ALL ENCAPSULATION PROVIDERS USE THE SAME SAFETY STANDARDS!
The Wombmart 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 for the last 8 years, since Wombmart's first day in business. This is the method which has been in use for postpartum moms since as far back as 600 AD. This method satisfies the TCM principle that postpartum moms need hot, warm and/or cooked foods to establish homeostasis within the body. However, and more importantly, this method is perfectly in line with USDA standards for raw meat preparation, as it involves a heating portion. During this part of the process, the placenta is heated to an internal temp of at least 160°(F). At this temp, pathogenic bacteria (such as E.Coli, GBS, Salmonella, etc.) are destroyed. We follow the same guidelines required of any regular food service establishment. Our method (the PBi method of preparation) is on file with the FDA, has been thoroughly inspected by them, and has been approved by them.
Regarding a case circulating in the media https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/66/wr/mm6625a4.htm, where a baby tested positive for GBS when the mom, who took placenta capsules, never tested positive, a few important details set us apart from that encapsulator:
1. The placenta was prepared using the raw method. From its raw form, it is cleaned and dehydrated, bypassing the heating portion. Most dehydrators cannot go above 160°. The encapsulator in question dehydrates at 115°-160° (F). This is extremely dangerous as it does not allow for internal temp to reach safe temps. Bacteria simply cannot be destroyed at this temp! Wombmart has never provided raw preparation for this very reason and it is one of the major reasons why we are (and have been from the beginning) advocates of a person knowing who is handling her placenta, making sure they have proper certifications and food safety training.
2. We only encapsulate in the new mother’s home. This person offers a service where the placenta was picked up, processed, and given back to the mom. The condition of transport is unknown. The possibility of mix-ups and cross contamination while working with multiple placentas is unknown. Cross contamination or a mix-up may have been factors, since the mother never tested positive for GBS. Our clients’ placentas never leave their own possession when working with us. This method eliminates any chance of cross contamination. We only work with one placenta at a time, in the mom’s home, sanitizing according to OSHA standards, every time between placentas.
3. We recommend refrigeration, while this encapsulator says to keep the (raw) pills at room temp.
We have served many GBS+ moms, with excellent results, and have provided services to thousands throughout NC since 2010. A new mom’s health and safety are our utmost concern! The staff at Wombmart Placenta Encapsulation services guarantee the safe and sanitary processing of the placenta.
**To address a few discrepancies with the actual case study:
1. It is a highly inconclusive, SINGLE case study and it establishes no clear link between the baby becoming ill and the placenta pills.
2. The baby in the case study was ill from shortly after the time of 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. The placenta may still have been in the hospital or with the mother). 5 days after the completion of an 11-day course of ampicillin and a stay in the NICU, the baby re-developed GBS.
3. The report clearly states, "transmission from other colonized household members could not be ruled out." Another fact which seems to be generally overlooked.
Placenta Use Guidelines:
Special circumstances that are not contraindications: 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 their pills), use of antibiotics in labor, cesarean, labor epidurals and spinal anesthesia, IV medications such as Nubain, Pitocin, Mag Sulfate.
Contraindications: 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 sets. If maternal and neonatal labs are confirmed clear and the placental culture is confirmed clear, the placenta may be released at the discretion of the clinician. (https://placentaassociation.com/for-medical-providers/)
Can I Get Group B Strep from Placenta Capsules? (Jodi Selandar, PBi)