Unfortunately, if an infection develops shortly before or during labor, the current recommendation in the field is that it renders the placenta unfit for consumption.
I have some reservations about this blanket recommendation, however, and encourage individual clients to still contact me so we can discuss your particular situation.
When working as a labor and delivery nurse, I have observed varying degrees of infection. I have also noted overzealous doctors diagnosing an infection when they had no verification of a true infection. I would encourage women who are diagnosed with an infection to gain verification of this and ask questions, particularly if you are not noticing severe symptoms.
One issue not fully disclosed to women, but fully aware of by the medical staff is that an epidural commonly and routinely can cause a fever during labor. This is a tricky situation on many levels because the fever does not indicate an infection, but is simply a reaction to having an epidural. When a fever appears during labor, often times, unnecessary antibiotics are given, extra tests are done on the baby after birth, and the placenta is sent to the laboratory for testing. All these precautions are taken when there was not an infection present to begin with. This is why if having your placenta encapsulated is important to you, make sure you ask questions and make sure you truly have an infection.
I would also go so far as to say that in the case of a mild infection, I would choose for myself to still encapsulate. I know the steaming process kills the bacteria present and I would feel comfortable for myself to make that decision. Also, if you have a cold or other infection in your body, not in the uterus, the placenta should still be fine to encapsulate.