What supplies do you use and how they are stored and sterilized?
The supplies used in the dehydration and encapsulation process are all stainless steel and food-grade plastic. They are thoroughly washed with antibacterial soap and hot water & sanitized with bleach solution. The stainless steel tools are also boil-sanitized. They are stored between use in a sealed container to keep them clean and fresh. I also sanitize each piece before use. I follow the same guidelines for cleanliness and sanitation that are used in food service establishments.
Do I need to provide anything for this process?
I provide all the materials necessary for preparation of the placenta. All you need to provide is your placenta!
Is there a particular way I should ensure the placenta is handled or treated from the time of birth until the specialist arrives to prepare it according to my wishes?
If you are having a homebirth, your midwife or doula will usually double bag it and ask if you want it refrigerated, frozen or discarded. If you call me and it is agreed that I can begin the process within 48 hours of the birth then it's fine in the fridge. It should be stored in the back of the fridge where the temperature remains more constant than by the door. If preparation will not begin for more than 48 hours, it should be double freezer bagged (gallon size is perfect) and placed in the back of the freezer until the day before I am scheduled to come when it should be placed in the back of the fridge to start to thaw. If you are having a hospital birth, be sure your provider knows the placenta is not to be treated with any chemicals such as formalin or formaldehyde. The nurse may double bag it in biohazard bags and place it in a small sealed plastic tub or they may allow you to double bag it and bring it home in your own ice-filled cooler. Regardless of what it is in, the placenta must be properly sealed and refrigerated until preparation. The same guidelines as above apply for the proper refrigeration and freezing of the placenta. To avoid damage to the placenta please check that it is properly sealed in it's bags and container before refrigerating or freezing and also before transporting. Your vehicle upholstery will thank you for double checking the seals on the containers/bags!
How long will the process take?
The process usually takes about 24 hours split up over the course of two days. I usually begin the process on day one, dehydrate overnight and then the next day complete the process. For long distance locations outside of my service area I will refer you to another provider.
How do I obtain my placenta following the birth?
If you are having a homebirth, your midwife or doula will usually double bag it and ask if you want it refrigerated, frozen or thrown out. Follow the guidelines mentioned above for handling and storage.
If you are having a hospital birth, make sure you speak to your provider and nurse manager at your birth place ahead of time. You do not need to specify that you are encapsulating your placenta but you should tell them you are bringing the placenta home for religious/cultural reasons that require the placenta remain untainted by chemicals and fixing agents. Your care provider should note it in your chart and be sure to note it on your birth plan as well. Be sure to fill out and have your care provider sign off on the provided Placenta Release Form. Be sure to get your hospital's placenta release policy in writing, prior to your birth, so there will be no problems following the birth. If you birth place doesn't have a policy or their policy is against release, you can work with the Risk Management and Patient Care Coordinator to create a better policy.
Mothers residing in and/or delivering in NJ, PA & CT are subject to their own state regulations and hospital policies. According to representatives of each State, NJ, PA & CT have no laws or regulations pertaining to the release of healthy placentas to healthy mothers and placenta release is at the discretion of each hospital and care provider.
In 2007, in Nevada, the courts ruled in the case of Swanson vs. Sunrise Hospital that the placenta was the property of the mother. The ruling stated that the hospital had to release the placenta to the mother and also that the hospital had to establish a protocol and procedure allowing for the release of healthy placentas to healthy mothers.
Do you prepare the placenta in different ways?
I offer the Raw Dehydration Method. The Raw Dehydration Method is said to retain more vitamins and helpful enzymes and moms who take them experience a higher burst of energy with nearly immediate results. Some moms following a raw food, vegan or vegetarian diet sometimes prefer the Raw Dehydration Method based on their beliefs.
How long will the pills be "good" for?
Placenta pills should be stored in the provided amber container as light can break down the beneficial enzymes and nutrients over time. I recommend storing them in the fridge while taking them during your postpartum period and then storing in the back of the freezer until you need them again (for PMS, menopause, or whenever you feel necessary). Cats have a noted interest in devouring these pills so if you have pets, be sure to store the pills where they cannot obtain them.
Are there other uses for dehydrated placenta?
Additional pills may be saved for use in potentially life-saving herbal formulas prepared by trained Chinese Herbalists. According to my local Chinese Herbalist, placenta is very potent and can be a, "key ingredient in herbal formulas for adult patients and their children to help with certain types of chronic fatigue, cancer and rehabilitation post treatment, asthma, renal failure, heart disease, basically anything life threatening." In addition to saving your encapsulated placenta for menopause, you can save it for your Chinese herbalist to use in such a case. As long as they are properly stored and frozen, they should last well into menopause. You'd probably run out of pills before they went bad while properly frozen.
What type of training did you go through?
I am OSHA trained and certified in Blood-Born Pathogens & Sanitation especially for Placenta Encapsulation Specialists. You may request to see a copy of this certification, if you so choose. I follow the strictest OSHA and EPA guidelines for cleanliness, sterilization and contamination prevention when working with human blood/organ tissue. I work with one client at a time so there is never any risk of mix-ups or cross-contamination.
Can I process my own placenta?
I do not recommend processing your own placenta. It is most beneficial as soon after the birth as possible, when you should be resting and not working. Another reason is that it does take skill and knowledge to safely and appropriately prepare a placenta. If there is a professional trained in Placenta Encapsulation in your area, I would recommend using them before considering doing it yourself. If cost is a prohibiting factor, most professionals are willing to work with you because the mom and the pills are more important than the monetary value for our time and expertise. Many providers also accept trades and bartering. If you cannot find a local Placenta Services Provider, you can do your own research and make your own decisions. Sometimes the cost of purchasing all the supplies you would need to do this appropriately can cost just as much as hiring someone.
What are your fees?
I charge $300 for placenta encapsulation, keepsake, prints, and tincture.