How should I handle my placenta before it's encapsulated?
As quickly as possible after the birth (within the first two hours after birth), the placenta should be placed into a food-grade container, then sealed and refrigerated or put on ice.
Will the hospital release my placenta to me?
In general, it’s no issue to get your placenta from the hospital. Make sure you mention that you are planning to encapsulate in your birth plan or birth preferences sheet, if you have one. Once you are at the hospital, make sure to mention to the nurse and to your provider that you want to keep your placenta.
Placenta release directly to patients is established as written law in the states of Hawaii, Oregon and Texas. The release of healthy placentas to healthy people is not prohibited by law in any state in the U.S. The legal precedent of Swanson v. Sunrise Hospital in 2007 demonstrates that hospitals are liable for the handling of placentas and upholds a patient’s right to the release of their placenta, free from any willful or negligent contamination
You may have to fill out a form to release your placenta from the hospital.
How long after birth can a placenta be encapsulated?
The encapsulation process should ideally begin within 24-48 hours of the birth. If it is not possible to start the process within 48 hours following birth, the placenta should be frozen. Double-bag the placenta in gallon-sized zip lock freezer bags. The placenta must be completely thawed before encapsulation, which will take at least 24-48 hours in the refrigerator. Placentas should never be frozen, thawed, and then refrozen.
Can I keep my placenta and decide to encapsulate it later?
Yes! A placenta that has been frozen can be thawed and then encapsulated for up to 6-12 months. Your specialist can evaluate your placenta and provide guidance for your specific circumstances.
How do I take my capsules?
Your specialist will provide you with general guidance. However, every person and placenta are different. Because placenta capsules are not highly calculated chemicals, it is important to listen to the cues of your body to determine your perfect usage amount.
How should my placenta capsules be stored?
Finished placenta capsules should be kept in a cool, dry place while being used. Do not store them in the refrigerator. For long term storage, or areas of high humidity, keep them in the freezer.
Can my placenta be encapsulated if I am having a planned Cesarean?
Of course! Placentas that come out during a Cesarean are no different from those that come out after a vaginal birth, unless you have placenta accreta or percreta (which you would likely know well before birth).
My provider/hospital told me I can’t have my placenta. What should I do?
Your placenta is yours to do with as you choose. Hospitals and providers can not legally prevent you from taking your placenta with you. You also have a right to full informed consent. Emphasize your desire to keep your placenta and ask your provider their reasoning. If their reasoning is based on hospital policy, your legal right to your placenta should override the hospital policy. Ask to speak to a patient advocate. If you desire to keep your placenta, you absolutely have the right to do so.
What if my placenta needs to go to pathology?
There are various reasons a provider might send a placenta to pathology, rendering your placenta unusable for encapsulation purposes. Depending on the circumstances, your placenta may not need to go to pathology. If your provider requests this, ask them their reasoning. Ask if it’s necessary and if you or your baby’s care are dependent on the results of the exam. If decisions for you or your baby’s care are dependent on the results of the exam, it may be possible for a small sample of the placenta to be taken so you can retain the rest for encapsulation.
How do I get the placenta to my specialist to process?
In most cases, your specialist will pick up the placenta from your place of birth. In the time of COVID-19, most hospitals are not allowing visitors to enter the hospital. If this is the case for you, you can have a support person hand off the placenta at the hospital entrance. If the hospital staff will not allow your support person to leave the room, they will need to accommodate your needs by sending a nurse or aide to hand the placenta to the specialist.
It is important to remember that you are the consumer and your needs and wishes should be accommodated to the best of the hospital’s ability. Most hospitals realize you are their customer and will be anxious to provide you with customer service. If a nurse or aide cannot be provided for the hand off, an exception will need to be honored.
My baby had a bowel movement (meconium) during birth. Is my placenta ruined?
No. Your placenta is perfectly fine. Meconium is not the same as feces. It coats the intestines and is made up of amniotic fluid and cells that have been ingested by the baby during pregnancy. Typically, babies expel the meconium in the first days after birth. Sometimes it’s expelled prior to or during birth. It has the same microbiome, or bacterial content, as the baby and amniotic fluid.
Unless an infection is suspected, heat and proper processing kill bacteria to levels well below food safe standards. In a nutshell, if your placenta has been prepared properly, your capsules will have no more bacteria than your lunch.
I heard placenta capsules will destroy my milk supply. Is this true?
No. There is a small faction of lactation consultants spreading misinformation regarding placenta encapsulation and milk supply issues. Studies show this simply is not an issue. Anecdotally, families report abundant supply after taking their capsules. Some even use the capsules to relactate or stimulate a more plentiful supply with positive reports.
To put it in perspective, lactation consultants don’t typically interact with those not experiencing lactation difficulties. Blaming placenta capsules for low supply reflects some confirmation bias on the part of a lactation consultant.