Adult holding naked newborn

1. How will my placenta get to you?

We pick up from most Franklin County homes and hospitals. If birthing at a hospital, we'll plan a time to meet your friend, family member or birth companion for pick-up just outside the hospital. The exceptions are Dublin Hospital and Grant Hospital, their placenta release policies make it impossible for us to plan a smooth pick up, so if you are birthing at one of those two hospitals, plan to take your placenta home with you and we will pick it up from your home. If birthing at home, we'll arrange a pick-up time that works for everyone. We'll arrange a time between 8 am & 6 pm. We do not do late night pick-ups. If you are outside Franklin County, we'll meet your support person in Columbus for pickup, then we will ship your capsules for an additional $15 shipping fee.

2. How should I store my placenta after birth?

The placenta needs to be refrigerated or placed in a cooler with ice within 2 hours of delivery. Be sure that it is in a leakproof container or double-bagged in ziplock bags. In Franklin County, Riverside, OSU Wexner Medical, and Doctors Hospital will package and release your placenta immediately, however, you are responsible for keeping it cold. Be sure to take a hard-sided cooler with you if you are birthing at one of those three hospitals. Currently, all other Franklin County hospitals will label and store your placenta in their refrigerator.

3. What is the difference between raw start and traditional steamed preparation?

During the steamed (traditional) preparation, the placenta is rinsed and then steamed over lemons, peppers and ginger before it is dehydrated and encapsulated. In contrast, raw-start means that after rinsing the placenta, it goes straight to the dehydration process without the steaming. Some people believe that the raw-start method is more activating. (Preliminary findings in research suggest that the raw-start method causes the placenta to retain slightly more vitamins and hormones than the steamed preparation.) As far as which to choose, it’s personal preference; however, the steamed method follows a more strict Food Safety process that is approved by the USDA as a safe way to dehydrate meats and organs.

4. How many capsules should I expect to get from my placenta?

The number of capsules will depend on the size of your placenta. The average number of capsules is around 90 - 120. A larger placenta will usually produce more capsules and a smaller one will yield fewer.

5. What do I need to tell my doctor or the hospital prior to delivery to be sure that they save my placenta?

When you arrive at the hospital, let your nursing staff know that you will be keeping your placenta. Let them know that it needs to be kept cold and not exposed to any substances (no saline, no formalin, etc.) Remind them again at the time of birth or shortly after. Most hospitals have a standard release form that you will sign, which releases them from liability and states that you are leaving the hospital with your placenta.

6. When should I expect to have my capsules?

You can expect to have your capsules delivered or shipped back to you within about 3-4 days of pick-up.

7. What if I live outside of Franklin County?

If you’re birthing at a hospital or at home in Franklin County we will pick up the placenta from that location (with the exceptions of Dublin Hospital and Grant Hospital). If you’re birthing outside of Franklin County, we'll meet your support person in Columbus for pickup, then we will ship your capsules for an additional $15 shipping fee.

8. What if my doctor or midwife wants to send my placenta to pathology?

If your doctor determines that your placenta needs to be sent to pathology (the lab) it’s very important to tell them to cut a sample from the placenta to send, and to not send the whole placenta. If your whole placenta gets sent to the lab there are no guarantees that it will be handled in a manner that follows safe food handling guidelines and, therefore, cannot be encapsulated.

9. What if I have preeclampsia?

Preeclampsia is not a contraindication for encapsulation. Talk with your care provider if you have any concerns.

10. What if I test positive for Group B Strep (GBS)?

If you test positive for Group Beta Strep (GBS) you can still safely encapsulate. Testing positive prenatally means colonization, it does not equal infection. Most people who test positive prenatally do not become infected. If you or your baby has an infection during labor or within 24 hours postpartum, your placenta would be considered infected and would not be safe to encapsulate. Here's a great article that goes into more detail about GBS and encapsulation.

11. What if my placenta has calcification?

Calcification is normal as a placenta and baby gets closer to their "due date" and is not cause for concern when encapsulating.

12. What if there is meconium in the amniotic fluid?

The presence of meconium is not an issue for encapsulation. The methods used in the steamed preparation ensure that the resulting capsules are safe for consumption. We do recommend the steamed preparation in the presence of meconium, per USDA recommendation and safe food handling protocols.

13. Isn’t the placenta like a filter and therefore full of toxins?

The placenta doesn't work like an air or water filter. It is a facilitator organ, transferring nutrients, gases and waste. It quickly moves toxins out of the placenta, away from the baby, to be processed by the parent’s liver and kidneys. The exception to this is heavy metals. Heavy metals have been found to settle in the placenta, so if you are a smoker, placenta encapsulation is not recommended.

14. When is it not safe to encapsulate my placenta?

Reasons it would be UNSAFE to encapsulate:

  • Chorioamnionitis
  • Uterine infection
  • Birth parent or baby with sepsis or other serious infection
  • Baby with symptomatic GBS infection
  • Some variations of Lyme disease (check with your doctor)
  • Clostridium difficile (C. Diff)
  • COVID-19 infection or known exposure
  • Prion Diseases
  • If you are a smoker, encapsulation is not recommended.