In order to keep your placenta in optimal condition for making remedies,
you'’ll want to put it on ice asap and then into the refrigerator or freezer depending on when we will be making our first visit. If you are planning a hospital birth, it is a good idea to bring a small cooler that you can fill with ice from the hospital. It is best to put the placenta in a food-grade container (glass or ceramic is best, ziplock bags are good as well). If you did not bring any of these to the hospital you can put the placenta in whatever container they have--sometimes it's a plastic tupperware type, sometimes a bio-hazard bag-- into the cooler on ice. If you are birthing at home, just put your placenta in a food-grade container and into the refrigerator or freezer within 4 hours after birth. Some families will do a modified lotus-birth and leave the umbilical cord uncut for 3-4 hours.
It is advised to let your care provider know well-ahead of time that you would like to take your placenta home with you. She or he may not know the hospital’s policy on this matter. It is not necessary to tell them what you are planning to do with your placenta. It is yours to take home; however, hospitals vary in their willingness to give women their placentas. There is a great article about hospital release of placentas here including a waiver you can print.
Ideally, we would like to get started on the placenta within a couple of days after the birth. Keeping it refrigerated for a few days is fine, but if it looks like it's going to be 3 or more days, then it's best to freeze it as soon as possible after the birth-- within 24 hours is best. The hospital is often able to store it in the freezer upon request. In the event that your placenta is sent to the pathology lab in the hospital, request that it is kept frozen.
How do I know my placenta is healthy?
For our safety, we cannot work with your placenta if it contains any transmittable diseases such as Hepatitis-B, -C or HIV/AIDS. If for any reason you were to end up with a uterine infection before or during labor, the placenta would be unsuitable for consumption. It is important that your placenta is handled in a manner appropriate for safe food preparation since birth (see above).
What if I have an epidural or pitocin during my labor?
Most drugs that are given during labor have a fairly short half-life and clear the system pretty quickly. Having said that, there isn't any research on what and how much remains in the placenta after the birth, so we don't know for sure.