How Do I Value Placenta Encapsulation?
I often hear that encapsulation is expensive or that a friend of a friend will do it for $30 and then questions why my fee is comparatively higher. Have you ever wondered what goes into my placenta encapsulation fee? Is it an arbitrary number I made up? Is it based on what other encapsulators charge? How do I work it out and what do you get for your investment? Read on to find out ...
It is rare that someone will book me straight up without asking questions first – and I encourage you to ask as many questions as you need to feel comfortable with me. People like to know if I travel to their area or how the process works, sometimes this is a detailed email or sometimes a phone call or I’ll even offer to meet you in person if you have a lot of questions.
When you have made the decision to encapsulate your placenta you get detailed information on placenta care to keep it safe for encapsulation, how and when to contact me once you've given birth and I’m available to answer any questions you might think of in the meantime. If you think you might have trouble obtaining your placenta, I’m happy to speak with your care provider and answer any questions they might have too.
Once I’ve received a confirmed booking and put it in my calendar, I am on call for you from 38 weeks until you have your baby. I don’t leave town, my phone is always on and I will collect your placenta as soon as it’s convenient for both of us after you have let me know you’ve given birth. Some clients like me to collect it as soon as possible and others like to make a time so that they can rest and bond with their baby before I come into their family’s space. This might mean I need to re-arrange my appointments or leave a birthday party and that’s ok!
So that I can provide a professional service to my clients and maintain my work/life balance I limit the number of bookings I take each month. This can vary a little depending on things like school holidays but it is also something I need to be aware of when setting my price.
Unless the client has made other arrangements, I will come to you to collect your placenta and then deliver your capsules back to you in person. This means that for each booking I usually spend 2-4 hours in travel, plus any parking fees and time spent with you in person. I believe that all new parents (whether it’s your first or last baby) should be concentrating on recovering from birth and adjusting to the new family dynamic. You shouldn’t have to worry about your partner spending time away from you to drop off your placenta, or meeting a stranger in a car park or waiting for your capsules to arrive in the mail. It is more important that you get to spend time with all of your family, knowing that your placenta is being safely transported and you will get your pills back as soon as possible. And I don’t know about you, but I like the thought of getting to meet the person who is going to be handling my placenta so that I could ask any questions and they can ask me any questions to ensure my placenta is ok for consumption.
Each encapsulation will take around 3-4 hours plus dehydration time which for me is a minimum of 12 hours. Believe it or not, most of this time is spent on cleaning and sanitising. The area is thoroughly cleaned before I even take your placenta out and then all equipment is washed and sanitised if it is reusable once your job is done. My sink area, benches, cupboards and floor all get cleaned with a sanitising solution even if your placenta has been nowhere near them. I like to ensure that I am protecting my client’s safety as well as that of my own family from having your placenta in our home. Your payment includes personal protection clothing (gloves, apron etc.) for me, single use processing equipment and supplies, care and maintenance of any reusable equipment and all the packaging and information you get with your capsules. I even have a little fridge solely for the use of storing your placenta until I can work on it. All of this goes towards ensuring you receive the safest, highest quality placenta capsules and that I protect myself and my family.
My support doesn’t stop once you get your capsules. I am available by phone or email if you have any questions relating to your encapsulation. If it is a question I can’t answer, I will use my network of contacts to find out for you or provide you with further references. I also like to follow up on your experience with your capsules to see how they were of benefit to you and to give you a chance to provide any feedback to me if I can improve my service.
Experience and Education
Every placenta is a new learning experience for me. Every placenta is unique. Each client’s expectations and birth experience is different. When I process your placenta I bring this experience and knowledge with me. I have dealt with staff from all of Adelaide’s major hospitals as well as most of the private maternity hospitals, some regional hospitals plus lots of independent midwives.
I am always looking for ways to continue my education and improve my service. I collaborate with Australian encapsulators to stay up-to-date on best practice and new policies that might affect our work. I have spent the past few years learning all I can about placentas and encapsulation, safe food handling and storage, listening and sharing experiences with other women in the same field from around the globe and boy am I a sucker for a free webinar!
Self-Employment & Working From Home
While working from home provides me with the flexibility I need to look after my family (yes I’m currently sitting on the floor with my newly mobile baby crawling over me as I type), being self-employed also has its costs as I’m sure many of you already know. I provide all my own office equipment and supplies, pay for my own utilities and advertising, admin fees like those from paypal as well as all the travel and car maintenance costs. I am totally responsible for the health and safety standards in my home and work practices. I cover my own sick and holiday pay, my superannuation and any insurance or tax obligations I have. All these items need to be accounted for in the service fee I receive. When you break it down into the cost of sales and expenses, the hourly rate I get from encapsulating is really quite small. Another way to look at it is that if I don’t account for all my expenses and charge appropriately, then I’m really paying others to let me encapsulate your placenta for you! This is my work, it has value and we both need to treat it as such.
What Do You Get For Your Investment?
Your placenta is the sacred bridge between you and your babies that can be used as an invaluable and powerful tool in your postnatal recovery and I hope to honour it. My aim is to provide you with a safe and professional encapsulation experience while also respecting the individual requirements of your family that align with your pregnancy, birth and postnatal experience.
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I know what value I place on the services I provide so I'd love to hear from you too. Are you an encpasulator - how do you arrive at your prices? Are you a consumer - what value did you get from your placenta encapsulation?
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Kelly Harper is the owner of Elemental Beginnings Doula & Placenta Services in Adelaide. She provides placenta encapsulation and doula services to families during pregnancy, birth and in their fourth trimester.