Which hospitals/ birth centers does Womb Service work with?
Sharp Mary Birch (San Diego)
Sharp Grossmont (La Mesa)
Scripps Memorial (La Jolla)
Scripps Mercy (Hillcrest)
Kaiser (San Diego/Clairmont)
UCSD Jacobs (La Jolla)
Best Start Birth Center (Hillcrest)
Balboa Naval (San Diego)
Home birth within 20 miles of 92107
If you are sure you would like to sign up for placenta services, please register here. The following is general information and frequently asked questions. Once you have completed your registration, I will email you with specific instructions. If you birthing location is not on the list above, please contact me for a referral to a qualified specialist who can serve you.
Care and Handling
Bring a cooler with you to the hospital or birth center. This can be a styrofoam cooler or any medium sized cooler you already own. After the birth, the nurse will put the placenta into a sealed, cylinder container. The container goes inside the cooler along with ice to keep the placenta cold. Your hospital will provide the container and the ice! This needs to be done within the first four hours after birth. Your placenta should be handled like a fresh piece of meat. Ideally, you do NOT want the hospital to store your placenta for you! This is the number one way a placenta gets accidentally lost, ruined, or sent to pathology.
Never let your placenta leave your sight! Hospital staff are very busy and can easily be distracted. Your placenta can be discarded or sent to pathology where it could be ruined for encapsulation. I recommend that your partner or another family member be in charge of making sure the placenta is properly stored and not lost or damaged.
Will the hospital release my placenta to me?
All of the hospitals in San Diego have policies that allow a mom to take her healthy placenta home with her for any reason (cultural, religious, nutrition, etc.). The way to ensure the best placenta release outcome is to be well prepared with all of the information contained on my website, have a plan to store your released placenta, and openly discuss your desire to keep your placenta. I have encapsulated placentas from all of San Diego’s hospitals, so if you have specific questions/concerns regarding your particular hospital please contact me and we can discuss this topic further.
Some hospitals will require you to sign a release of liability waiver, but do not be surprised if a particular hospital does not require any special paperwork to release a placenta.
Let your OB or midwife know ahead of time your intention to take your placenta home and document it in your birth plan. This way if there is an issue, it can be addressed before you are in labor. I recommend that you clearly state your intentions upon admission and again once the placenta is birthed. You do not need to share with your OB or hospital staff what you intend to do with your placenta. Simply state that you would like to have it after your baby is born and that it is not to be treated with any chemicals. If you run into trouble having your placenta released, mention that you have a “profound belief in taking your placenta home with you.”
What if they want to take my placenta to pathology?
In rare cases your OB or midwife may feel that your placenta needs to go to pathology. If this happens, ask if they can do a visual exam in the delivery room instead, or ask if a small piece sent to pathology would suffice instead of the entire placenta. If your physician feels the whole placenta needs to be examined in pathology unfortunately it will no longer be suitable for encapsulation or consumption due to cross contamination. A small percentage of placentas actually need to go to pathology in their entirety. Most doctors will try working with you so everyone gets what they need. Placentas that are sent to pathology for examination cannot be encapsulated so this is something that should be avoided if at all possible.
What if…? Can I still encapsulate my placenta?
Your particular birth choices or outcomes do not affect whether or not your placenta can be encapsulated. I have encapsulated many placentas birthed by mothers who received pitocin, epidurals or have had cesarean sections.
When is it not safe to encapsulate my placenta?
It is not safe to encapsulate a placenta in the following cases:
– Mother develops chorioamnionitis or another uterine infection, usually due to a prolonged labor
– OB/ Midwife sends entire placenta sent to pathology for testing
– Placenta is not handled or stored properly
What if I give birth prematurely?
Premature birth does not automatically determine your placenta as unfit for encapsulation. In some cases the placenta will need to be sent to pathology to determine possible preterm cause. Ultimately it is up to your OB or midwife whether or not your placenta will be released.
What is the ideal time frame for encapsulation?
The encapsulation process should begin within 48 hours of the birth. I strive to pick up the placenta within a matter of hours after birth. Often times the placenta is still warm when I arrive! I process the placenta and deliver it back to you in pill form within 36 hours of pickup, sometimes much sooner!
If it is not possible to start the process within the first few days 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.
How long can a placenta be stored in the freezer before encapsulation?
Placentas that have been properly frozen, double-bagged and protected from freezer-burn, may be encapsulated up to six months after the birth (or longer in some cases). If you are unsure you want to book services prenatally, please do take your placenta home and freeze it. It is gone for good once the hospital disposes of it.
How do I know I will not receive someone else’s placenta?
I take great care to keep my placenta encapsulation service the safest available. Only one placenta is ever prepared at a time, so there is never a chance of an accidental switch or cross contamination of any kind. All materials used are either disposable or thoroughly sanitized and disinfected according to federal and state standards.
What type of supplies are used and how are they sterilized?
The supplies used during placenta encapsulation are all stainless steel, ceramic, glass, or disposable. Everything is thoroughly washed with soap and hot water , sanitized in bleach solution, and all stainless steel tools are heat sanitized in addition to the bleaching treatment.
How should I take my placenta capsules?
You will receive a detailed recommended dosage card along with your finished placenta capsules for you to keep and refer to.
How long should I take my placenta capsules?
I recommend that a mother take her capsules for the first few weeks postpartum, but it is best to continue taking them until they are gone.
When should I not take my placenta capsules?
If you develop an infection such as mastitis, flu, or a common cold with fever it is recommended that you discontinue use until the illness/infection clears. Once symptoms subside you can start taking your placenta capsules again.
How should I store my placenta capsules?
After the encapsulation process is completed placenta capsules will be placed in an air-tight, amber glass jar and should be kept dry. They should be stored on your counter or medicine cabinet. Please do not refrigerate as this could introduce moisture or condensation to the pills making them susceptible to mold.
What method to you use to prepare placentas?
I specialize in the ‘basic heated’ method that has been used for centuries and offers more of a “slow and steady” building of energy for the postpartum mother. I feel that this method better serves the new mother over the course of her entire postpartum period. The placenta is gently steamed with organic lemon, ginger and peppers.
A few reasons why I practice the ‘basic heated’ method of placenta encapsulation are:
– Most placentas are born via the birth canal, exposing them to bacteria, including maternal fecal matter. The steaming process helps to kill off this bacteria and can help protect against any potential illnesses from bacteria allowed to culture on the placenta before encapsulation.
– 5000 years of experience shows that the ‘basic heated’ method of preparation works to create a potent placenta medication through some form of cooking. All pre-industrial cultures with a tradition of placenta consumption use some form of cooking, curing, or tincturing, except when immediately used to curb bleeding during the birthing time.
– Steaming does not destroy the beneficial hormones of placenta consumption.
The other method I can use to prepare placentas is the ‘raw method’. Mothers sometimes report a higher burst of energy initially after raw placenta is consumed. This may lead a new mom to overdo it a bit, instead of using the time and her energy to rest and heal. I do offer raw preparation as a preparation option but prefer to discuss your reasons for choosing this method to help guide you with your decision.