FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

FAQs

How do your services work?


Once you have booked services with Lancaster Placenta Co, we are officially on call for your birth! We have easy and convenient pickup hours from 8:00am - 10:00pm, 7 days a week, including all holidays. After your baby is delivered, give us a call during pickup hours to schedule your placenta pickup at 717-925-0154. Once we pick up your placenta, we get to work right away to ensure our clients have their capsules back as soon as possible.




What is the difference between the Traditional Chinese Medicine Method and the Non-Steamed preparation?


The non-steamed method skips the steaming process and goes right to slicing and dehydrating. You often will experience more potent capsules as well as receiving a higher quantity of capsules. The steamed TCM method involves lightly steaming the placenta with lemon and ginger. This method does provide a more gentle dose than with the Non-Steamed method, and often less capsules. It also infuses the placenta with heat. In many cultures new mothers are told to only consume food and drinks that bring warmth to the body to expedite healing.




Can I still encapsulate if I have a c-section or have medication?


Absolutely! If you have a c-section, let your nurse know that you plan to keep your placenta so that it does not go to pathology and instead, ask that they package it up for you. With medication, the general rule is that it is safe to have during pregnancy, then it is safe for placenta encapsulation.




What do I need to take with me to my birthing location in order to be prepared for the encapsulation process?


1. A cooler to properly store the placenta during your stay and for transportation home. 2. Your birth plan with one line regarding wanting to take your placenta home with you. Also discuss your plan to keep your placenta with your OBGYN or Midwife as soon as you book our services to keep all of your birth professionals informed. 3. Notify your delivery nurse(s) when you arrive at the hospital you are keeping your placenta so they can prepare any waivers for release awhile, and know in advance to prepare it for you to take home. 4. Payment – We take payment for our services at the time of placenta pickup. We accept checks, cash, and credit/debit cards for your convenience.




What size/type cooler should I bring with me to my birthing location?


For hospital or birth center births: We recommend a medium sized, hard sided, cooler. Soft sided coolers tend to leak over time, unless they have a hard plastic insert (those work without leaking), & smaller coolers (personal lunch sized) often are not large enough to accommodate the packaging hospitals use. Styrofoam disposable ones also are suitable & can be thrown away after use if that is preferred. Packaging ranges from your placenta being double bagged to being placed in a small round plastic container, large plastic (think jumbo ice cream tub) container, to square/round flat containers that are more of a tray with a snap on cover. Often the packaging at hospitals varies by each hospital. The Igloo Playmate cooler and the Igloo Ice Cube cooler seem to work well for clients, but please do not feel that you need to buy anything special, as you most likely already have a cooler around your house that will work perfectly. If you do use a personal sized cooler and you find the container will not fit you can always ask hospital staff to simply double bag the placenta for you so it will fit properly. All hospitals can and do double bag when asked, in order for the packaged placenta to properly fit in a cooler with sufficient ice. We’ll bring a cooler with me to transfer your placenta into at pick up, so we will not keep your cooler. It will only be used by you for storage until pick up. For Home Births: To prepare for a home birth you simply need to have something for your midwife to place your placenta into. You can place your placenta into a gallon sized Ziploc bag, and then double bag it, or an ice cream container that has been cleaned and sanitized and set aside will work too.




What is proper placenta care & handling for encapsulation?


As quickly as possible after the birth (at least within the first two hours after birth), the placenta should be placed into a food-grade container or bag and sealed tightly and refrigerated or placed on ice inside a cooler. Please be sure to replenish the ice often and it should never be left to melt. For Hospital Births: It is best to never let the placenta leave your site. Hospital staff are very busy and can easily be distracted and could accidentally discard your placenta or send it to pathology where it could be ruined for encapsulation. Your placenta is not their highest priority. Most hospitals will accommodate your wishes to take the placenta home by preparing it for transport, but once packaged they will not accept any responsibility for proper storage of it during your stay. We recommend that either your spouse/partner, family member, birthing partner, or doula is in charge of the placenta once it is birthed so that it is properly stored and not lost or damaged. PLEASE BE SURE TO BRING A COOLER WITH YOU TO THE HOSPITAL. This will ensure you can properly store your hospital packaged placenta following your birth. Medium sized, soft sided, or Styrofoam coolers all work well. Hospital staff will package the placenta inside a container or biohazard bag that is sealed. This container/bag may also be labeled and/or placed inside of a bio-hazard bag. Once the placenta is packaged by hospital staff, please leave it in that packaging to avoid any cross- contamination or a mess. As soon as possible, place the packaged placenta in your cooler and then add ice to ensure it will stay cold. Continue to replenish the ice as it melts to ensure the placenta does not spoil. If you have a private room & private refrigerator you can keep your placenta in there if the container fits until it can be taken home and placed in your refrigerator. Ideally, you do NOT want the hospital to store your placenta for you! This is the number one way a placenta accidentally gets lost/ruined/sent to pathology. If you forget a cooler simply take the tub that you are given in your hospital room (washing/baby bath tub) and fill it with ice to place the packaged placenta on the ice. As long as it is kept cool and not allowed to spoil it will be fine until we arrive for pickup or you take it home and get it into the refrigerator. Placentas can be kept on ice/refrigerated for a few days before encapsulation if necessary, without any spoilage, but the sooner it can be prepared for encapsulation the better. The packaged placenta should be stored in a cooler with ice or refrigerator until I arrive for pickup. For Birthing Center Births: At our local area birthing centers the midwives are very kind and will double bag the placenta for you, so you can promptly take it home with you, to be refrigerated. Please ensure you still take a cooler along with you to have it put on ice until we arrive for pickup, or you are discharged and take it home. The birth center may or may not have ice, it’salways a good idea to take a couple ice packs and ask them to freeze them for you upon arrival. For Home Births: Have your midwife place your placenta into the plain Ziploc bag, squeeze out the excess air, and then have her place it into the biohazard Ziploc bag and squeeze out the excess air and seal. Then place the bagged placenta directly into the freezer right away.




Will the hospital release my placenta to me?


The hospitals all have policies that allow for a mom to take her healthy placenta home with her for any reason (cultural, religious, nutrition, etc.) However, some hospitals are much more placenta friendly then others and some staff at some hospitals will not be the be the friendliest or most supportive in letting you take home your placenta with you. The way to ensure the best placenta release outcome is to be well prepared if necessary, to continue to request the release of your placenta. Hospitals that are not respectful of natural or holistic practices may try to convince you not to keep your placenta or tell you that it needs to be tested in pathology (because they know you cannot keep it once it is sent to pathology). You can simply deny any testing they suggest to you and continue to ask for the release of your placenta. It’s also a good idea to not let it out of your site, and to have your spouse or family member take possession of it immediately after birth to avoid this issue. We have encapsulated placentas from all of our area's hospitals, so if you have specific questions/concerns regarding your particular hospital for delivery please contact me and we can discuss this topic further. They may require you to sign a release form to have it released into your possession. This is just a standard form and perfectly fine. You should tell your doctor or midwife ahead of time that you plan to take your placenta home and write it in your birth plan. This way if there is an issue, you can deal with it before you are in labor. I also recommend that you mention your intentions again upon admission and then again once the placenta is birthed. Be friendly and cooperative when discussing your intentions to take home your placenta. You do not need to share with your OB or hospital staff what you intend to do with the placenta, just that you would like to have it after your baby is born & that it is not to be treated with any chemicals.




What if they want to take my placenta to pathology?


In rare cases your physician may feel that your placenta needs to go to pathology. If this does happen ask if they can do a visual exam in the delivery room instead, or see 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/consumption due to cross contamination and potentially the use of formaldehyde. Please be aware that 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 are NOT able to be encapsulated, so this is something that should be avoided if at all possible. Families may also refuse additional testing if they would prefer their placenta not be lost to pathology; so speak to your medical care provider about weighing the pros & cons of your choices. Please note that some area hospitals offer food safe examinations & food safe storage in their refrigerators when they know placenta encapsulation is desired. Please let the staff know your intentions and ask if these are options if pathology is mentioned.




What if I am induced/have a medicated birth/have a cesarean section? Can I still encapsulate my placenta?


Yes, yes, and yes. Your particular birth choices/outcomes do not affect whether or not your placenta can or cannot be encapsulated. We have encapsulated many placentas birthed by mothers who received epidurals, IV pain medications during labor, pitocin inductions, and had cesarean sections. Any medications or drugs that are considered safe to administer during pregnancy, labor, and delivery are also safe for placenta encapsulation.




What if I am opting for delayed cord clamping? Can I still encapsulate my placenta?


Yes. You can delay cord clamping up to 2 hours before the placenta needs to be placed on ice or refrigerated.




What if I am opting for cord blood banking/donation? Can I still encapsulate my placenta?


Yes, as long as you are opting for traditional cord blood banking only and no placenta blood banking. You will need to check with the company you are working with for their instructions. We have plenty of clients that have this done and still encapsulate their placenta.




What if I am opting for tissue banking? Can I still encapsulate my placenta?


If only the cord &/or part of the placenta is being banked then yes. If the entire placenta is being banked, then no.




What if I give birth prematurely?


Premature birth does not automatically determine your placenta being unfit for encapsulation and I have encapsulated numerous preterm placentas. I have found that most doctors and midwives will try to still accommodate your wishes to take your placenta home with you and will try to either do a blood test, send only a piece of placenta to pathology, or will only do a bed-side visual examination in order to not have to send the entire placenta to pathology. However, in some cases the placenta legitimately does need to be sent to pathology in order to determine possible preterm cause. Ultimately it is up to the decision of your doctor as to whether your placenta will be released or not.




What if there's meconium staining?


Previously it was thought that meconium was sterile, but new research is coming out showing that it is not, and the bacteria that may be present on the placenta is from your own natural flora. When preparing your placenta, we follow USDA food standards and meconium is not a problem and does not make the placenta unfit for encapsulation.




What if I get a fever in labor?


Fever does not always equal infection and is most commonly associated as a side effect with epidurals given during labor. If you have a fever for only a few hours before birth, then it is unlikely that the placenta is infected in any way. Your care provider can also determine if true infection is suspected by how the placenta looks, feels, and smells. Some area hospitals will also provide testing if they want to rule out infection, but inspection without testing is what is most common. Historically our clients that have been told a fever was associated with infection ended up having clear lab test results two days postpartum and the placenta was always able to be encapsulated. True infection, that renders the placenta unusable, has not been common during our practice and when it does occur there is no question that the placenta needs to be discarded. If you have a fever question following your birth, please contact us with details and we can go from there with the best plan of action.




What if my placenta has calcification, or the doctor says it's "old"?


Calcification, in any amount, is a variation of normal and does not make the placenta unfit for encapsulation.




What is the ideal time frame for encapsulation?


A placenta that has been handled properly and stored on ice and/or refrigerated must be picked up and the encapsulation process started, within 72 hours. The placenta should be stored in a cooler with ice or in the refrigerator until we arrive for pickup. However, typically we pick up majority of placentas for our clients within hours of birth during our pickup hours of 8:00am – 10:0pm and within 12 hours after birth if you deliver during the late evening and early morning hours. Although this is usually never the case, if for any reason it is not possible to start the process within the first 72 hours following birth, or you’re not sure if you want to book with us right away, the placenta should be frozen until you decide to book with us or it is possible to start the process. Double-bag the placenta in gallon-sized zip lock freezer bags and place in your freezer (chest freezer is the best option if available) and give us a call.




What if I give birth earlier or later than my EED?


We understand that birth is unpredictable, and we only use your EDD as a guess date and know to expect your call sometime around your due date. If your baby arrives earlier or later please give us a call as you normally would.




What if I didn't get a chance to send in my order form before going into labor?


Not a problem at all! You can take your order form to the hospital with you and fill it out after you deliver, and just give us a call as you normally would for pickup of your plcaenta between 8:00am – 10:00pm 7 days a week. We have many clients call us for the first time after they’ve already had their baby and we are happy to serve everyone regardless of when they contact us for the first time. It’s not too late to give us a call. If you forgot your order form when you went to the hospital, we will bring one for you.




When do you start encapsulation?


We are able to start as soon as we are notified that you have delivered your baby and we can make arrangements to pick your placenta up right away. You, your spouse, or your doula or midwife, can text/call our business line and let us know when your placenta is ready for pick up, and we will arrange a time with you to come for pickup typically right away. Pickup hours are 8:00am – 10:00pm 7 days a week including all holidays. Some hospitals require the placenta be removed from hospital premises within a few hours after birth. If this time falls outside of pickup hours, have a friend or family member take the placenta to your home and place it in your refrigerator give us a call first thing at 8:00am to schedule your pickup.




How/when will I receive the finished capsules?


It is typically a 48 hour process from the time we pick up your placenta until you receive your capsules back in the mail if you live in zip code that starts with 17***. We do try to utilize 9-5 delivery service when we can if we pick up your placenta early enough in the day. If you live outside of a 17 zip code it may take an additional day or two. You can upgrade to next day guaranteed shipping for an additional $25 if you would like to.




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) can be encapsulated up to six months after the birth (even longer in some cases). Has your placenta been frozen for a year or more? No worries. I can evaluate your defrosted placenta to see if it is fit for encapsulation, however I do not guarantee results, only provide the service. I have encapsulated placentas frozen long term (over a year) and the moms still benefited greatly from their placenta capsules, so please do not hesitate to contact me because you think it has been too long. When you have recovered from childbirth, you can even freeze the capsules and save them for future difficult transitions, such as the weaning of your child and menopause.




What if I am a vegetarian/vegan?


Not a problem and in fact many of my placenta encapsulation clients prefer vegetarian/vegan capsules. We offer a plain, non-flavored vegetarian capsule that does not contain animal gelatin. They are free of Preservatives, Gluten, BSE/TSE, GMOs, and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. This particular capsule is also our only option that is also GMO free. We also offer flavored capsules that are not vegetarian/vegan in Strawberry, Berry, Grape, Orange, and Lime.




Are herbs included in the finished capsules?


No. Placenta capsules are not an herbal supplement at all. Placenta pills are more in line with a whole food supplement. We do not place anything inside of the capsules other than your own dehydrated placenta powder. It is recommended that if a mother needs herbal supplementation it is done separately so proper dosages can be maintained and allergies to herbal remedies do not prevent you from taking your placenta capsules.




What type of supplies are used and how are they sanitized?


The supplies used during the placenta encapsulation process are all commercial and/or lab grade stainless steel, glass, food grade plastic, or disposable and the process is performed in our commercial purpose built facility. Disposable barriers are also utilized during the placenta preparation process to reduce contact with non-disposable tools as well. Everything is thoroughly washed with hospital grade soap and hot water and then disinfected and sanitized in bleach solution and an approved hospital grade EPA disinfectant. Disinfectants, such as bleach, destroy or irreversibly inactivate all specified organisms within a certain time, usually 10+ minutes. I follow the same guidelines for cleanliness and sanitation that are used in food service establishments and small laboratories/hospitals. As an extra step of precaution and offering peace of mind to our clients, we also sterilize our tools and equipment using an autoclave.




What type of training and certifications do you have?


We are trained and certified Medical Couriers and renew training and certification yearly. We have taken Placenta Encapsulation training through IPPA (International Placenta & Postpartum Association. We are trained and certified in Pennsylvania State Food Safety and carry state food handler’s card which we recertify for every year. We are trained and certified through Biologix in bloodborne pathogens and infectious disease control and renew training and certification yearly. We are trained and follow Universal Precautions set in place by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) which is an approach to infection control to treat all human blood and certain human bodily fluids as if they were known to be infectious for bloodborne pathogens. In other words, we follow the same strict safety protocols that hospitals use to ensure that our employees and clients are safe at all times.




How many capsules will I receive?


Placentas can range in size form 1-4 lbs and we have no way to predict the size until birth. However, on average, majority of clients receive 175-225+ capsules.




How should I take my placenta capsules?


Detailed recommended dosage instructions and storage instructions are right on the labels of all our placenta products for easy use. If you ever have any questions about the suggested usage, you can always give us a call anyime.




How long should I take my placenta capsules for?


We recommend that a mother takes her capsules for the first few weeks postpartum at least, but it is best to continue taking them until they are gone. Some clients do set a few aside for future transitions that they feel they would benefit from taking their capsules during, such as returning to work, future moves, travel away from baby, start of preschool/kindergarten, major illness, etc.




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 your placenta capsules will be placed in a sealed packer bottle and are very shelf-stable if kept in a dry, cool dark place, such as a cupboard. To help you to remember to take them, you may decide to store them with any supplements you may take, such as your prenatal vitamins. Placenta capsules do not need to be refrigerated and this is not recommended due to the humidity causing mold in the capsules. After 6 weeks it is recommended to freeze any remaining capsules in a Ziploc freezer bag, and double bag them. Your placenta capsules may be taken directly from the freezer if you still take them daily. Placing them in the freezer after 6 weeks preserves their freshness and potency.




What do I need to know about my placenta tincture?


In addition to your placenta capsules you may also purchase a placenta tincture. Your tincture is truly an added bonus! Placenta tinctures can be used in addition to and long after your capsules are gone, during times of trauma, transition, or emotional distress, postpartum anxiety, premenstrual symptoms, and more. Your placenta tincture is made by tincturing a small amount of the placenta in a high grade, 100 proof alcohol and will be ready for use when your baby is six weeks old. It is recommended to allow the placenta to steep for at least six weeks before use but for maximum benefit we recommend letting it steep for a full 6 months. Shaking it periodically will help it steep thoroughly. The tincture is very shelf-stable if kept sealed and in a cool dark place, such as a cupboard, and will last for many, many years. It does not need to be refrigerated. If you are interested in having enough placenta tincture to last your lifetime you may add 100 proof high grade alcohol (vodka) to the bottle as the tincture is used, never allowing it to get below 1/2 full, though this may eventually reduce the potency if done too many times. Tincture may be taken by placing it in a small glass of water or juice. Do not take directly on the tongue. Dosage is included on the bottle label, but 7-10 drops is the normal recommended amount to take and may be taken a few times a day if needed. You can fill dropper from the top, to only get steeped liquid. Though many practitioners may mention your tincture being able to be used for your baby as well, it is important to acknowledge that children have a delicate balance of hormones, and your tincture may disrupt this balance. Unless under the care and advice of a licensed medical/naturopathic/homeopathic practitioner it is my recommendation that placenta remedies (including tinctures) should only be used by the mother they were made for.




Can placenta be used externally?


Yes. Placenta balms and salves are great for burns, scrapes, cuts, C-section scars, eczema, dry skin, diaper rash, and as a nipple butter/balm and much more! Many studies have shown the benefits of placenta healing wounds faster, and its very nourishing qualities for the skin. Placenta, primarily with sheep placenta, has been used in the cosmetic and hair industry for decades because of his truly healing and nourishing abilities! All of our placenta balms are hand crafted over several hours and often infused with organic lavender, calendula, and/or chamomile. We use organic African shea butter, organic coconut oil, and natural beeswax along with your placenta powder to craft the balms.




What are more benefits of encapsulation?


Taking your placenta capsules are the best thing a new mother can give back to her body post-birth. They have been reported to help stabilize hormones, induce lactation & increase breastmilk production, support mental well being, provide more energy, lend pain relief and assisting in bonding.

  • Helps balance your hormones.
  • Replenishes depleted iron levels and provides 1/3 of your recommended daily intake (RDI) of iron.
  • Aids the uterus in shrinking back down to return to its pre-pregnancy state (reducing the risk of postpartum hemorrhage).
  • Reduces postpartum bleeding.
  • Induces lactation and increases milk production while helping to maintain a healthy milk supply through the breastfeeding relationship– this has been proven in a study.
  • Many women experience positive moods.
  • Increases your energy levels.
  • Can prevent or decrease your risk of experiencing the “baby blues” or Postpartum Depression and Postpartum Anxiety.
  • Many women feel they heal a lot faster and can get back to their normal routine much quicker.





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