How do I keep my placenta after giving birth?
Your midwife or care team should give your placenta to you if they know that you want to keep it. Ensure that your midwife, delivery team and family are aware that you wish to keep your placenta and note this in your birth plan. Discuss your plan to keep your placenta with your midwife during your ante-natal appointments if possible.
How do I store my placenta?
Make sure that you have a clean container with a lid (like a sandwich box) and a water-tight food storage bag (new, zip-lock/resealable) in which to put your placenta. Please ask me for a label for your box. After the umbilical cord is cut the placenta can be placed into the bag and then the box and refrigerated as soon as possible. Your placenta must be cooled by storing in a fridge or cool bag at 8 degrees or below within 30 minutes of its birth.
If you are giving birth in hospital you should take a cool bag with SIX frozen ice packs. Place the ice packs and container into the cool bag. The bag should remain in the room with you when you give birth. Once the placenta is in the container do not leave it unattended or anywhere where it might be picked up or get lost. Wrap a carrier bag around the ice packs and placenta box to keep the frozen ice blocks in close contact.
In hospital it is unlikely that you will be able to use a fridge to store your placenta but many midwives will allow you to store your ice packs in the hospital freezer during labour. If your ice packs melt you must buy two large bags of ice so that you can chill the placenta within 30 minutes of birth (send your partner to find a local petrol station or supermarket).
How do I get my placenta to you after I have given birth?
I will collect your placenta from home or hospital. At the time of booking you will provide me with your due date. When you have had your baby and are ready for me to collect your placenta you (of a family member) can contact me by phone, email or text to confirm where and when to collect your placenta.
Are there any reasons that the hospital may not allow me to keep my placenta?
This is very rare. If there are significant abnormalities of the placenta your healthcare team may send your placenta for further examination. Other conditions, such as signs of infection during labour, may mean that consuming your placenta will not be beneficial to you. The most usual reason that you will not keep your placenta is if your hospital, doctor or midwife are not aware that you want it. Clear communication will ensure that your placenta is kept, if you want it.
Can I freeze my placenta?
Yes. You can freeze your placenta as long as it has been refrigerated within 30 minutes of birth. The placenta can be stored in a fridge for up to 5 days and if it has not been used by then you can place it into a deep freezer. I prefer to prepare placenta remedies from fresh placenta as freezing destroys the B vitamins. The other nutritional benefits remain and if you are freezing placenta, you should ensure that the bag is sealed carefully and not damaged by freezer burn.
I can make capsules and other preparations from frozen placenta.
Can I still encapsulate my placenta if I am banking cord blood?
Yes. Cord blood and/or tissue banking is increasingly common where parents choose to harvest and store haematopoietic and mesenchymal stem cells that may be used in regenerative therapies. Your cord banking service will collect the cord immediately after birth leaving the placenta for encapsulation. If you are looking for a provider, please visit www.cells4life.com.