Placenta FAQs

Where are you located, and are you willing to travel?

CVA Doulas provides placenta processing throughout the Central Virginia area including Farmville, Richmond, Charlottesville, Lynchburg and all smaller localities in between. We are also able to provide processing to the outlaying areas, including Petersburg, Roanoke, Bedford, and South Boston for an additional $35 travel fee. Not sure if we serve your area? Contact us to find out!


When is the placenta prepared?

The placenta preparation should take place as soon as possible after the birth, (ideally within the first 48 hours, but it can wait closer to 72 hours if needed). Directly after the birth, the placenta should be placed in an enclosed container; for home births, the placenta should be double-bagged in Ziploc bags and, if at a hospital, they usually put it in a plastic container for you. Then, it needs to be placed on ice or in the refrigerator/freezer until it is time for encapsulation. It can safely be stored on ice for up to 12 hours, in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours, but if you know ahead of time that it will not be prepared within that time frame, it is best to place it straight into the freezer. CVA Doulas provides all clients who secure bookings before their 37th week of pregnancy with a placenta transport kit and detailed instructions for how to store your placenta safely.


How many capsules will I receive?

The amount of capsules depends on the size of the placenta. Generally speaking, bigger babies have bigger placentas, and smaller babies have smaller placentas. On average, you can expect around 75 –150 capsules.


How do I store my placenta capsules?

Your capsules will be shipped to you in an airtight glass container. You should store this in a cool, dry cupboard for the first six weeks as you’re taking your capsules regularly. After six weeks, if you want to store the capsules for long-term use, then you should move them to the freezer. If you move residences, make sure to keep your capsules cool and dry until you can get them back in the freezer. Stored properly, your capsules will last many, many years.


 

I’m having twins (or triplets!) and will deliver multiple placentas. Can I have all placentas encapsulated?

Absolutely! In the case of multiples, we will process the placentas together. The cost for multiple placentas from the same mother at one pregnancy would only have a small additional fee of $50/placenta.

 

 

I would like to have/have had a traditional lotus birth. Is my placenta safe for consumption?

Possibly. A Partial Lotus birth would enable placental preparation as long as the placenta is kept on ice/in a cooler near baby for up to 12 hours. At that point, it needs to be moved to the refrigerator/freezer to ensure it’s safe for consumption. A Full Lotus birth does not enable placental preparation as the placenta is exposed too long, which causes its nutrients and hormones to transfer to the baby instead of being available for the mother through encapsulation or other preparation.


Can I encapsulate my placenta if I’m planning a hospital birth?

Yes! Your choice of birthplace has little impact on the consumption of your placenta. Your doctor or nurse may have questions about the process as they do not receive training on its safety or benefits. Feel free to connect them with us so we can help them understand what we do. Most hospitals are easy to work with when it comes to having the placenta released; however, you will need to let them know before the birth that you are keeping your placenta. A conversation with your care provider and a statement in your birth plan is the best way to do this. After delivery, the hospital will have you sign a release form or waiver. Once the placenta has been inspected and determined healthy, they will put it in an enclosed container for you. Please make sure they know that it is being used for consumption and it needs to be treated as such (e.g., refrigerated or placed on ice). Please also note that the hospital will not release your placenta if you have any of the following diseases: HIV, Gonorrhea, Syphilis, Chlamydia, Hep-B or Hep-C.


 

Can I have my placenta encapsulated if I receive medication during labor (Pitocin and/or Epidural Anesthesia) or if I have a C-Section?

Yes, to all the above! These interventions have no noticeable effect on your placenta capsules. Epidural anesthesia and Pitocin are said to break down very quickly after entering the placenta. In your birth plan, make sure you specify that you will be keeping the placenta, and that it needs to be refrigerated as soon as possible after the birth. Especially after a C-section, you will need to be vigilant about making sure your placenta is treated correctly. (Dads and doulas, this is your job!)

 

Is it safe to have my placenta encapsulated if I tested positive Group B Strep (GBS)?

Yes! Group B strep is a common bacterium that does not usually pose health risks to the mother. All bacteria in the placenta is killed off during the dehydration process. Rarely, however, Group B strep can lead to a uterine infection. If you developed a uterine infection or fever during your labor, your placenta would not be considered useful in healing, and would likely be taken to the Pathology Lab for testing. Otherwise, Group B Strep is not typically contraindicated in placenta remedy preparations.


 

Can I encapsulate my placenta if my baby passed meconium before birth?

Yes! Meconium was once said to be sterile, as it does not contain the same fecal bacteria as normal adult stool. Meconium is dangerous for the infant to inhale, but is otherwise harmless. The dehydration process kills off all bacteria present in the placenta during the preparation process, and your placenta can be thoroughly rinsed before being processed to remove the Meconium.


Can I encapsulate my place if I had Preeclampsia (PE) or Gestational Diabetes (GDM)?

Yes! Placenta encapsulation is not contraindicated for moms with Preeclampsia (PE) or Gestational Diabetes (GD). Although the placenta does seem to play a part, it is not usually unfit for consumption. After the birth, your placenta will be examined for irregularities and problems. Most of the time, the placenta is completely fine, and you should have no problem having it released for encapsulation. However, if your care provider does diagnose a problem or infection in the placenta, it will be sent to Pathology, and you won’t be able to take it home.


I was told my placenta was “abnormal.” How do I know if it’s safe to ingest?

Your placenta is as unique as your fingerprints. No two placentas are the same, as your body specifically makes each one for your baby. Sometimes a placenta can be unique; an unusual shape, size, or extra lobes. But “unique” does not mean “unhealthy.” The only situations in which a placenta wouldn’t be safe to consume are: if you developed an infection during labor (remember, being GBS positive does NOT automatically mean you have an infection); if the placenta was taken to Pathology; if it was not refrigerated and stored properly after the birth; or if you have HIV, Gonorrhea, Syphilis, Chlamydia, Hep-B or Hep-C. An arbitrary "abnormal" amount of calcification in the placenta does not preclude encapsulation nor does the amount of cords/vessels or the form of cord insertion.


What if the doctor wants to send my placenta to pathology?

Usually, if the placenta needs to be taken to pathology, you can negotiate a little bit and ask if they can just cut and use a small piece of it for examination instead of taking the whole placenta. However, if they insist on taking the entire placenta, you will unfortunately not be able to have your placenta encapsulated.


 

Can I have my placenta encapsulated if my baby was premature?

Yes, unless the doctor decides to take the entire placenta to Pathology. Moms of preemies need all the help they can get bringing in their milk, healing quickly, and balancing postpartum moods. If your doctor wants to culture the placenta, you can often negotiate to have just a piece of the placenta taken to Pathology so you that you can still encapsulate the rest.


 

What if I have a disease such as HIV, Gonorrhea, Syphilis, Chlamydia, or Hepatitis B
or C?

Unfortunately, for your safety and the safety of others, we will not be able to process your placenta if you have any of the above diseases. Also, if you have any of these diseases, the hospital will not release your placenta to you.