Where Can Your
Placenta Be Prepared?
Your Home Kitchen
Some mothers prefer for their placenta to be prepared in their home kitchen. If you have a desire to observe the process and ask your specialists questions in person during the process, this is a great option. You can also have the specialist use your own equipment if you prefer.
Your Specialist’s Workspace
This could be the specialist’s home kitchen, a dedicated workspace within their home or a workspace apart from their home. If you prefer privacy after your baby is born and don’t want to see, hear or smell the process, this may be the right choice for you.
What is the Industry Standard?
Three of the major placenta training organizations agree that the placenta can be safely prepared in either the client’s home kitchen or the specialist’s workspace: Full Circle Placenta, Association of Placenta Preparation Arts and the Independent Placenta Encapsulation Network. Their trainers have a combined experience of over 76 years in placenta encapsulation and together have trained over 2200 specialists worldwide. They have found no evidence of differing safety based on where the placenta is prepared and they train their specialists how to encapsulate safely in any location. They believe that the mother’s primary concern should be choosing a specialist who is trained in proper disinfection and safe placenta handling wherever it is being prepared.
No Matter Where the Placenta is Prepared
These Things Remain Constant…
The placenta only comes in contact with the disinfected equipment or disposable materials provided by the PES (placenta encapsulation specialist). The placenta rarely, if ever, comes in direct contact with the location’s surfaces.
There is no chance of an accidental “mix up” occurring with a trained, ethical and trustworthy PES. Whether the placenta is encapsulated in your home or the PES’s space, the protocol requires working on only one placenta at a time per location.
The placenta is prepared using an identical protocol. There is no variation in preparation based on the location.
You can request thorough documentation on the condition of your placenta and how it is processed, including: weight, shape, size, abnormalities, variations, dehydration time, etc. You can review the PES’s protocol and ask questions about their training and experience.
The disinfection of the surfaces and equipment is precisely the same. Universal precautions are used in ALL locations. There is no reason for one place to be automatically safer than another.
The PES’s ethics, experience, professionalism and training do not change based on where s/he prepares a placenta.
Placenta encapsulation is not currently regulated on the federal or state level. It is not illegal to encapsulate in your home or anyone else’s home.
Benefits of Having the Placenta Prepared in Your Home
- You can choose to observe the preparation of the placenta in person if you wish.
- You can choose to observe the cleanliness of the preparation area in person if you wish.
- You will transport your own placenta to your home so that it remains in your possession.
- You can possibly have more in-person connection with your specialist.
- You have the opportunity to discuss encapsulation with any visitors while the placenta is being prepared.
Drawbacks of Having the Placenta Prepared in Your Home
- You must give up the use of your kitchen while the PES is working.
- You need to have adequate space, organization and cleanliness for the placenta to be prepared in your home.
- You may feel like you need to explain placenta encapsulation to friends or family members who visit during the process. It may be harder to keep it a secret if that is what you prefer.
- You are responsible for holding the placenta at your birthplace, transporting it to your home and maintaining a safe temperature.
- You must allow someone, usually a stranger, into your home during a sensitive time of transition.
- You will likely experience the sights, odors, and sounds of the entire placenta preparation process.
- If you have a hospital birth there may be a delay in receiving your pills since the process has to wait for you to return home.
- If the PES is injured in your home, you may be liable.
- The placenta will be left dehydrating 12-24 hours in your home under your supervision.
- Your kitchen will be exposed to your blood-borne pathogens and subsequently cleaned with strong disinfectants.
Benefits of Having Your Placenta Prepared in the Specialist's Workspace
- You can maintain your privacy and not have a stranger in your home.
- The encapsulation process can begin within hours of birth.
- You can choose which you prefer: having the PES transport the placenta OR transporting the placenta yourself to the specialist’s location.
- You can choose to observe the process via Skype or in person at their workspace, if you wish (and the PES offers it).
- If you have a hospital birth, you can likely receive your pills faster since you don’t have to wait until you’re home to begin the encapsulation process.
- The interruption to your postpartum time is minimized. It can be just 5 minutes for the pick up and 5 minutes for the drop off or it can be more extended and personal, if you wish.
- You do not have to explain to anyone what you are doing with your placenta. Full discretion is maintained.
Drawbacks of Having Your Placenta Prepared in the Specialist's Workspace
- You will not be able to control access to the preparation space at all times.
- You may not be able to observe the preparation process in person.
- If the PES is already preparing a placenta, you will need to delay the start of your placenta until the process is finished and the workspace has been disinfected.
- You may have less time for in-person connection with the PES.
Preparation Location Mythbusting
I read somewhere that preparing the placenta in my home is the only way to be sure that I am getting my own placenta. Is there any chance of a mix up happening?
When people raise this concern it falls in one of two categories: 1. Fear that the specialist will accidentally mix up placentas. 2. Fear that the PES will purposefully mix up placentas or give the you something other than your placenta in capsules. Let’s look at #1… Professional encapsulation specialists are trained on a very important premise: we only prepare one placenta at a time per location. That means when a PES receives a placenta they complete the entire process, deliver the capsules, disinfect their reusable materials and disinfect their workspace before beginning another placenta within the same space. If two clients give birth on the same day, the specialist either refers out one of the placentas, prepares in the client’s homes with multiple kits or simply prepares the first followed by the second (disinfecting between). A professional, trained and ethical PES doesn’t take any chances on cross-contamination because she highly values her client’s health and she doesn’t expect or need the client to be watching her to hold her to that standard. You should ask to see your specialist’s protocol to confirm their policy of only preparing one placenta at a time per location. Now fear #2… if a placenta specialist is so unethical that they would purposefully give their client a different person’s pills or something other than placenta, then encapsulating in their client’s home won’t stop them from doing that. An unethical placenta specialist could easily switch out the jar of capsules at their client’s home and no one would know. So the most important thing is for you to choose an ethical, professional placenta specialist that you feel you can trust and who will take the time to answer your questions, review her protocol with you and allay any fears you have. A professional placenta specialist will not instill more fear in you or make exaggerated claims that their system is safer than another.
How do I know that your workspace is properly cleaned if I can’t see you do it?
If you are hiring a professional to encapsulate for you, definitely choose someone with clear training, experience and good referrals.The PES can provide documentation of the protocol they follow for each placenta no matter where it is prepared. If you want to observe the disinfection of the space, you can choose to do so either in your own kitchen, if that’s where you want the placenta prepared, or in the specialist’s workspace via Skype (if they offer it). Most PES will do everything they can to accommodate the needs of their clients and address their fears. It is common for new mothers to be more concerned with resting in bed with their newborn than personally overseeing the disinfection of the workspace and a professional placenta specialist will respect that intimacy. You can trust a professional, ethical, well trained placenta specialist to use universal precautions and rigorous disinfection standards regardless of location. You should receive the same level of commitment to disinfection no matter where the placenta is prepared or who is watching.
Is it true that airborne microbes in the PES’s workspace can contaminate the placenta?
You probably enter other people’s homes frequently for a variety of reasons and eat food prepared in other people’s kitchens on a regular basis without fear of contamination by airborne microbes. All of us have a natural bacterial flora and in fact we have more foreign cells than native cells in our own bodies. We don’t live in a sterile world. This is a normal part of a healthy, functioning immune system! Airborne particles (dust, etc) are common in any preparation location. Pathogenic microbes (influenza, etc) typically don’t live long outside their host and the biggest concern is direct, immediate contact. For example, if a person were to sneeze directly on the placenta that could deposit germs (which may or may not be destroyed by preparation). If a person were to sneeze and then hours later bring the placenta into the space where they sneezed, those microbes are likely no longer in the air but on the surfaces which would be properly disinfected before preparation. The best precaution is for the PES to wear personal protective gear: an apron, mask, gloves and safety glasses. This protects both the client and the PES regardless of location. In addition, the PES can refer out to their backup if they are currently ill or if anyone with access to their workspace is ill.
If the PES transports the placenta could she be questioned by the police and have the placenta confiscated? Could she get into an accident with the placenta in the car?
Unfortunately, anyone can get into an accident while transporting a placenta, even the mother. If the placenta has to be transported home from the birth place, you can’t avoid the risk of an accident. Having the mother transport it herself does not mitigate this risk.
If a PES is pulled over by law enforcement, the officer will typically be concerned with addressing the reason for the citation. Absent probable cause for searching the vehicle, the officer has no way of knowing a placenta is there and no reason to ask what the vehicle might contain other than it’s occupants. If for some reason the officer does ask what is being transported the PES can simply provide her card and explain that she owns a placenta encapsulation business and her client has hired her to transport her placenta for her as part of that service. Since a placenta is considered a product of conception, not bulk medical waste or an organ for transplant, typically there are no laws about who can and cannot transport it. We have no fear of law enforcement inquiring about a placenta being transported or confiscating a placenta as there are no legal grounds to do so. Many mothers are exhausted from the birth, focused on their baby and would prefer to have the specialist handle the transportation in a safe and expedient manner. However, if the client prefers to transport the placenta themselves, they are welcome to, no matter where the placenta is prepared.