As a placenta encapsulator, many people ask me how to safely store the placenta after it is born. The answer isn't exacly straight-forward, as safe handling procedures for placentas isn’t common knowledge or something many outside of the birthing community have ever thought about!
Below are some general guidelines on how to safely store and handle your placenta in order to preserve its integrity, get the most benefits from encapsulation, and make sure what you’re ingesting is safe!
One word of caution: all the below guidelines are suggestions, things I tell my clients. You may notice my guidelines differ slightly from something you’ve researched elsewhere. Us encapsulators try to be as universal as possible and share information as best we can, but since there is no governing board over placenta encapsulation, things sometimes vary slightly. Like always, check your sources, ask around, and make a decision that is best for you that you feel comfortable with.
After birth: Placenta can be kept at room temperature for 3-4 hours before it needs to be transferred to a cooler or refrigerator.
Cooler use: For hospital births, I recommend parents bring a medium size cooler and a clean tupperware or double ziplock bag. The placenta needs to be kept cold until an encapsulator can do the pick-up or until it can be transferred to you home refrigerator. In the meantime, you can keep the placenta in a cooler and frequently keep it cold by replenishing the ice.
Refrigeration: Placenta can be in a refrigerator for up to 4 days before it should be encapsulated or moved to the freezer. Make sure it is covered as air-tight as possible and sealed, safe from leaking.
Freezing: Freezing a placenta is a tricky one. It is generally agreed upon that the sooner you ingest placenta, the more benefits you can assume you will get from it. It is the same idea as eating food that was just harvested from you garden that day versus eating food that has sat in your fridge for a few days. The sooner, the better! The same goes for a placenta that has been frozen. You can encapsulate your frozen placenta up to a year after it was frozen, however it is unknown how much of its benefits will have dissipated.
I hope some of these general guidelines help you handle and store your placenta safely and effectively! Remember, at the end of the day, placenta is just like any other raw meat – If you are going to eat it, make sure it is kept cold and is transferred to the freezer if left unused.
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