There are a few additional things you will need to think about or do before you birth in order to have the best placenta experience possible.
Talk To Your Care Provider
Talk to your care provider about taking your placenta home right after the birth. If you are birthing in a hospital, many of them have a general policy of holding the placenta for 5 to 15 days and then discarding it without notifying you. You will need to make special arrangements with the hospital staff to either release it right away, or have it immediately frozen rather than refrigerated if they insist on keeping it for a while. For more information and advocacy tools, please see the Hospital Release of Placenta section.
Depending on your place of birth and its placenta release policies you should consider what sort of container or cooler you will need for your placenta post-birth and how it will need to be stored and transported. If you are birthing at home or in a birth center, your midwives will honor your request to keep your placenta and will usually double bag it for you in gallon sized plastic zipper bags or whatever container you provide. If you are birthing in a hospital, they will have a container for your placenta - usually a large plastic bowl with a secure lid surrounded by one or two biohazard bags. If you birthed at home you can simply keep your double bagged placenta in the refrigerator and if you birthed at a separate birth center or hospital, then you will probably want to have a portable cooler to take it home in. Bring a few extra zipper bags so that you can fill them with ice to keep the placenta cool until you can get it home. You may also want to pre-designate someone (partner, doula, friend or other family member) to take your placenta home for you.
Consider Delayed Cord Clamping
In your birth plan and at the time of birth, insist on delayed cord clamping (although this may not be possible in emergency situations). By delaying cord clamping and cutting at least until the cord has totally stopped pulsing, the placenta is naturally drained of fetal blood. Early cord clamping leaves the placenta engorged with blood and the baby may be deprived of up to half of his or her blood volume and precious stem cells! For more information, please read the cord clamping articles in the Further Reading section and watch this wonderful, short video on the benefits of delayed cord clamping.
Don't Forget to Contact Me!
Please contact me at some point in your pregnancy to retain my services. I do not require any down payment but it does really help if I at least have your due time on my radar. At that time please let me know if you have any other questions about placenta medicine and art or if you have any other cultural, religious, personal or dietary placenta rituals you would like me to help facilitate as well. You will also need to contact me within the first 24 hours after the birth so please have my phone number handy.