Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a particular way I should ensure the placenta is handled or treated from the time of birth until the specialist arrives to prepare it according to my wishes?
If you are having a homebirth, your midwife or doula will usually double bag it and ask if you want it refrigerated, frozen or thrown out.  If you call HVPS and it is agreed that we can begin the process within 48 hours of the birth then it's fine in the fridge. It should be stored in the back of the fridge where the temperature remains more constant than by the door. If preparation will not begin for more than 48 hours, it should be double freezer bagged (gallon size is perfect) and placed in the back of the freezer until the day before we are scheduled to come when it should be placed in the back of the fridge to start to thaw.

If you are having a hospital birth, be sure your provider knows before the birth that you are requesting the release of your placenta and that your birthing location has a policy in place. Please sign any hospital-required release forms upon admission to prevent any confusion after the birth. The placenta is not to be treated with any chemicals such as formalin/formaldehyde. The nurse can follow the packaging instructions included in our Placenta Transport Kit to safely package your placenta after the birth. Regardless of what it is packaged in, the placenta must be properly sealed and iced or refrigerated until preparation. The same guidelines as above apply for the proper refrigeration and freezing of the placenta. To avoid damage to the placenta please check that it is properly sealed in it's bags and container before refrigerating or freezing and also before transporting. Please do not keep placentas in the plastic delivery trays from the hospital, they leak blood out and allow environmental fluids etc to leak in.

If your clinical care provider has questions, you can direct them to the information we have written for medical providers at this link. A version of this information was also selected for publication by the Association for Placenta Preparation Arts.  We would be happy to speak with any nurses, doctors, midwives or other clinicians who have questions.

How do I obtain my placenta following the birth? 
If you are having a homebirth, your midwife or doula will usually double bag it and ask if you want it refrigerated, frozen or thrown out.  Follow the guidelines mentioned above for handling and storage.

If you are having a hospital birth, make sure you speak to your provider and nurse manager at your birth place ahead of time. You should specify, if it is not already part of their policy, that you require the placenta remain untainted by chemicals and fixatives. Your care provider should note it in your chart and you can note it on your birth plan as well. If the hospital requires documentation and does not have their own form, be sure to fill out and have your care provider sign off on the provided Placenta Release Form.

Each hospital has their own policy regarding placenta release and may have their own form for you to sign as well. If you are delivering at Vassar, please click here for a copy of their form. We haven't had an issue with placenta release at Vassar Brothers Medical Center,  Northern Dutchess Hospital, Kingston Hospital, Saint Luke's, Saint Anthony's, Northern Westchester Hospital, Putnam Hospital or Hudson Valley Hospital Center. Orange Regional Medical Center & Catskill Regional Medical Center have different policies than other area hospitals. Please clarify with your facility on your tour or with the Nurse Manager prior to your admission at the hospital. Be sure to get your hospital's placenta release policy in writing along with a copy of their release form, prior to your birth, so there will be no problems following the birth. If your birth place doesn't have a policy or their policy is against release, you can work with the Risk Management Department, Nurse Manager and Patient Care Coordinator to create a better policy. We would be happy to help facilitate this, however the need for change is best voiced by the healthcare consumer. Please let us know if you need our assistance.

In New York State, healthy birthing parents have the right to bring their own healthy placenta home according to the New York State Department of Health. See this e-correspondence (please note, for those of you finding this on Google and expecting blanket acceptance, that this is not an official statement from the DOH and should not be quoted as such, merely an e-mail response to an inquiry clarifying regulations) from February 2010 below:

"NYS regulated hospitals and medical facilities may, at the request of a patient or patient's representative, return a healthy placenta for disposition by the patient without violating any NYS public health law or regulation.

NYS does have regulations (10 NYCRR section 405.24(d)), requiring hospitals to implement waste management programs in compliance with the Public Health Law Article 13, Title XIII for regulated medical waste. Regulated medical waste is defined in the Environmental Conservation Law section 27-1502(2)(b) as waste generated in the diagnosis, treatment or immunization of human beings and includes "human pathological wastes, including tissues, organs, body parts and body fluids that are removed during surgery." However, waste material is material which is being discarded. If a placenta is not discarded but rather used for medical/religious/cultural purposes, then it is not classified as waste. There is no provision in statute or regulation expressly prohibiting the return of a healthy body part to a living patient."

Birthing parents residing in and/or delivering in NJ, PA & CT are subject to their own state regulations and hospital policies. According to representatives of each State, NJ, PA & CT have no laws or regulations pertaining to the release of healthy placentas to healthy mothers and placenta release is at the discretion of each hospital and care provider. Hawaii, Texas and Oregon are the only states with a law requiring placentas be released to mothers. Hawaii has a State Department of Health form for release and have had public policy set in place to facilitate the process properly since April of 2006. The Oregon law went into effect in 2014. The Texas law was passed in 20115 and went into effect in 2016.

In 2007, in Nevada, the courts ruled in the case of Swanson vs. Sunrise Hospital that the placenta was the property of the mother. The ruling stated that the hospital had to release the placenta to the birthing parent and also that the hospital had to establish a protocol and procedure allowing for the release of healthy placentas to healthy birthing parents.

Can you tell me a little about the supplies you use and how they are stored and sterilized? 
The supplies used in the dehydration and encapsulation process are all stainless steel and food-grade plastic. They are thoroughly washed with antibacterial soap and hot water & sanitized with bleach solution and hospital-grade cleaners. The stainless steel tools are also heat sanitized. They are stored between use in a sealed  container to keep them clean and fresh. We also sanitize each piece before use. HVPS follows the same guidelines for cleanliness and sanitation that are used in food service establishments. We have completed an International OSHA approved Bloodborne Pathogen course created specifically for Placenta Encapsulators in accordance with OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens Standard 29 CFR 1090.1030 and adhere to strict APPA standards for professional placenta preparation.

Do I need to provide anything for this process? 
We provide all the materials necessary for preparation of the placenta. including the Transport Kit. All you need to provide is your placenta. For Commemorative Placenta Services, you may provide your own keepsake jar or container if you so choose.

Do you offer other services? 
Yes, we have a Pregnancy Support Circle at Waddle n Swaddle in  Poughkeepsie in addition to offering birth & postpartum doula services. We run a bi-weekly Baby & Toddler Group at Hudson Valley Midwifery in Newburgh with a CLC who offers free breastfeeding & parenting support from birth through the age of 2. We can also create customized placenta and breastmilk jewelry for you.

How long will the process take?
The process usually takes about 24 hours split up over the course of two days. We usually begin the process on day one, dehydrate overnight and then return the next day to complete the process, however it can take up to 3 days for your capsules to be completed. For long distance locations outside of our service area we will refer you to another provider.

I've read online that there are different processes to encapsulate - do you prepare them in different ways? Which is the most effective in your experience? 
We offer the Traditional Steam Method of encapsulation. The Traditional Method has been used for centuries and involves lightly steaming the placenta prior to dehydration. Birthing parents taking these pills report a "slow and steady" building of energy and have great results. Research suggests the cooking food, such as meat products, makes the nutrients that are present more bio-available, which would in turn mean that the Traditional Method is of better use nutritionally than other options. Steaming prior to dehydration, along with dehydrating at an appropriate temperature has been shown to eliminate pathogens in a 2017 study by Dr. Sophia Johnson.

How long will the pills be "good" for?
Placenta pills should be stored in the provided amber container as light can break down the beneficial enzymes and nutrients over time. Store them in a cool dry place out of the reach of both children and pets while taking them during your postpartum period and then storing in the back of the freezer until you need them again (for PMS, menopause, or whenever you feel necessary). Pets have a noted interest in devouring these pills so if you have pets, be sure to store the pills where they cannot obtain them.

Are there other uses for dehydrated placenta? 
Additional pills may be saved for use in potentially life-saving herbal formulas prepared by trained Chinese Herbalists. According to my local Chinese Herbalist, placenta is very potent and can be a, "key ingredient in herbal formulas for adult patients and their children to help with certain types of chronic fatigue, cancer and rehabilitation post treatment, asthma, renal failure, heart disease, basically anything life threatening." In addition to saving your encapsulated placenta for menopause, you can save it for your Chinese herbalist to use in such a case. As long as they are properly stored and frozen, they should last.

What type of training did you go through? 
I am trained in contamination prevention and sanitation. I am trained and certified by the Association of Placenta Preparation Arts and I have completed International OSHA compliant Blood-Born Pathogens training especially for Placenta Encapsulation Specialists in accordance with OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens Standard 29 CFR 1090.1030 and adhere to strict APPA standards for professional placenta preparation. As a graduate of the French Culinary Institute & International Culinary Center, I am highly qualified to work with foods of all types although Placenta did not enter my repertoire until 2009 when I learned more about encapsulation from an Albuquerque midwife who authored a book on the benefits of placenta encapsulation. Additionally, I learned from other Placenta Service Providers around the country and internationally who have been preparing placentas for years.  I follow the strictest OSHA, EPA and APPA guidelines for cleanliness, sterilization and contamination prevention when working with human blood/organ tissue. HVPS works with one client at a time so there is never any risk of mix-ups or cross-contamination. We have prepared many placentas and trained many birth professionals in safe and competent preparation of the placenta through the HVPS- authored training manual and hands-on training course and co-authoring APPA standards & training modules for placenta professionals.

Can I process my own placenta?
We do not recommend processing your own placenta. It is most beneficial as soon after the birth as possible, when you should be resting and not working. Another reason is that it does take skill and knowledge to safely and appropriately prepare a placenta. If there is an APPA-trained placenta professional in your area, we would recommend using them before considering doing it yourself. If cost is a prohibiting factor, most professionals are willing to work with you because your well being is important to us. Many providers also accept credit cards, trades and bartering. If you cannot find a local Placenta Services Provider, you can do your own research and make your own decisions. Sometimes the cost of purchasing all the supplies you would need to do this safely and appropriately can cost just as much as hiring someone.

Where can I be trained as a Placenta Service Provider? 
HVPS has trained midwives, doulas and parents in placenta encapsulation. We no longer offer a stand alone training through HVPS. We can teach a Hands-On Placenta Encapsulation for Birth Professionals Workshop throughout the continental US following the completion of the online APPA training modules. The training includes hours of hands-on work involving actual placenta preparations, an illustrated training book on the various methods, options, regulations and research that you need to be a competent provider of Placenta Services in your area. If you currently have clients due who are interested in this service or you are interested in providing this service in the future, please contact The Association of Placenta Preparation Arts to sign up for professional training. Women everywhere should have access to safe, competent providers.

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