Here are some tips I give to my clients who wish to keep their placenta for encapsulation but can be used by anyone.
1. It is YOUR placenta, not the hospital's. You can keep it if you wish!
2. Put it in writing - make a note of it in your birth plan, discuss it with your care provider and have them put it in your notes. You don't have to tell them why you want to keep your placenta.
3. Remind hospital staff upon arrival and after baby is born that you want to keep your placenta.
4. Have your partner / birth support person / doula act as your Placenta Minder. Put them in charge of ensuring you get your placenta so you can concentrate on the birth and your new baby instead of worrying where your placenta is. This beautiful Placenta Minder in the picture made sure her friend's placenta was all kept even though it was manually removed in pieces.
5. If you are planning on consuming your placenta in any way, get it in the fridge or on ice as soon as possible. I recommend taking your own small cooler with you and asking the hospital for ice so that it doesn't have to leave your possession. Few hospitals will put it in their fridge for you as it is technically considered medical waste.
6. In the event that your placenta needs to go to pathology, request that only small samples are taken so that you can have the rest. If you are going to practice placentophagy, it is important that your placenta doesn't come into contact with any formaldehyde, preservatives etc
7. I haven't had any issues collecting placentas from my clients from any of the hospitals around Adelaide including private hospitals and from what I've heard most care providers have been helpful to these families in respecting their wish to keep their placenta.
[2017 UPDATE - Due to new policies, some care providers will tell you that you can't have your placenta for 7 days. If you want to take it home sooner, be firm that you DO NOT CONSENT to this policy. Policies are there to guide the staff, they are not law that you have to follow]
Some readers of Elemental Beginnings shared their experience with taking their placenta home from hospital on Facebook:
"I took in an ice cream container, and asked in my birth plan for it to happen. My lovely midwife each time (3 babies) just wrapped it in a plastic bag and popped it in the ice cream container and into the fridge for me. Easy peasy!" - Nicole
" I took my grand daughters home. The midwife wondered why i wanted it but was ok to do it. My daughter had to sign papers and it was put in a histo bucket for us." - Lee
"Our midwife placed ours in a plastic bag and then in an ice cream tub we'd brought in. As far as I can remember anyway. Then it went in the fridge until we were ready to go." - Amanda
"I had an unexpected cesarean and while I was being sutured and processing all that was going on around me, I finally yelled out, "my placenta!!!"
The ob looked over the curtain and replied sarcastically, " what are you going to do, plant a tree with it?"
I was so upset over the lack of his caring that its Me and my babies body part being "disposed" of,
I simply said "exactly"
He proceeded to say it was medical waste and was on its way out and I insisted they get it. My doula friend who attended me brought it in during recovery thrilled to show me it was still warm in the bag they placed it in (black garbage bag). I still have it in my freezer " - Niki
Have you taken your placenta home from hospital? Please share what your experience was like in the comments.