You only have one chance to get your placenta encapsulated safely, so here is a quick list of 10 questions to ask before booking in with a Placenta Encapsulation Specialist. You should be able to find this information fairly easily on their website so if you can’t, that would be a good reason to ask outright.
1. Are you a Certified Placenta Encapsulation Specialist?
There are three main organisations that offer training for Placenta Encapsulation so your provider may be qualified through IPEN, PBI or APPA. IPEN offer face-to-face training and PBI and APPA offer online training.
2. Are you trained in handling Bloodborne Pathogens?
Most specialists as a minimum will complete a Certificate in Bloodborne Pathogens and Infection Control for Placenta Encapsulators and a Food Handler’s Safety Certificate.
3. What are your cleaning and disinfecting procedures?
Your specialist should be open and transparent about his/her procedures and be able to show you a written policy if requested or if they are adhering to the principles outlined in the Bloodborne Pathogens and Infection Control Certification. Basically, equipment should be disposable where possible (everything except knives, steamers, dehydrators, grinders and capsule machines) with all re-usable equipment being thoroughly washed, rinsed and then fully immersed (or wiped if unable to be submerged) in hospital grade bleach solution.
4. How many placentas have you encapsulated?
Most Encapsulators will readily know this and be happy to share this information with you. They should also have testimonials they can share with you or clients who are happy to relay their experience if requested.
5. What’s your policy if you have two women birth on the same day?
Some Encapsulators will have a backup Encapsulator and refer the second placenta on. Some will have a first in, first served policy and complete the first placenta then thoroughly clean and disinfect (or use a separate set of equipment) before beginning the second. Some will only process one placenta per day so if yours is the second placenta, it will be processed the following day.
6. What’s your refund policy if my placenta is taken at birth to pathology or if I’m no longer able to keep it?
Many will refund (less deposit) in this situation but some won’t so it’s worth checking beforehand. Most will keep their deposit for the administration costs and for being on-call for you.
7. What are your pick up and processing times?
These can vary greatly. Some will guarantee pick up within 12 hours or less, some will say 24-48 hours. Processing times usually vary from 24 to 72 hours (1-3 days). This is important to check because if your encapsulator can’t pick up for 48 hours and then takes 3 days to encapsulate that’s 5 days before you get your capsules. If you want them as soon as possible, be sure to ask about collection and turn around times.
8. If I birth late at night or early in the morning, what’s your pick up procedure?
Some encapsulators are on-call 24/7 so will come out to hospitals or your home at any hour. Most usually state pick up times anywhere from 5am to 10pm. Either way, it is always your responsibility to keep the placenta chilled while waiting for your encapsulator to arrive.
9. What do I do with my placenta while I’m waiting for you to arrive?
There is a 2-3 hour window from birth to when the placenta must be placed on ice or in a fridge, any longer than 2 hours and the placenta may not be viable for encapsulation. Please check this with your Encapsulator, you certainly don’t want to take any risks by leaving your placenta at room temperature for any length of time, particularly if this means you will no longer be able to have your placenta encapsulated and also because you may not have your money refunded in this case.
10. What happens if you are unable to pick up or process my placenta on the day I give birth?
Most encapsulators will have a reliable and experienced backup available for periods of time when they are either sick, if there’s an emergency or they are unable to process your placenta for other reasons. They should be explicit about this when booking and be able to provide you with a name and contact details should you need it.
By Carla Morgan
Carla and Moran are both qualified (trained) and extremely experienced Brisbane-based Placenta Encapsulation Specialists. For more information on encapsulation services please visit their respective websites below.
Carla Morgan - Birth & Baby Hub
Moran Liviani - 2Life Doula