Placenta Services FAQ

Ericka answers our most frequently asked questions.

If you have any other questions about our placenta services, please let us know!

More information on our training and sterilization can be found on the Safe Handling Protocols page.

“Why do you sterilize your tools instead of just disinfecting them with bleach?”

This is a question we get asked all the time. While disinfecting with bleach may be acceptable, we were taught to heat sterilize tools in order to protect each client, and also myself while interacting with any blood or bodily tissue.

We believe it’s important to maintain very high standards on this issue as there is currently no regulating body for placenta encapsulation in Canada. We also took a Midwifery Assisting course in April 2013 which reiterated the importance of heat sterilizing as well as other methods of infection control to protect our clients and ourselves.

“Is there a difference between sterilizing and disinfecting?”

Absolutely! Disinfection refers to the process of inactivating most species of pathogens. Though many people consider household bleach to be good for high level disinfection, many pathogens have become resistant to bleach and it is very harsh to work with. We use a hospital grade chemo-sterilant which is either diluted to disinfectant strength (for countertops) or used at full strength for instruments. It’s guaranteed to be effective against viruses, bacteria and fungi and breaks down safely with prolonged contact with air and water, so after its final rinse no chemical residue remains that could contaminate your capsules.

Sterilization is the process in which all forms of life are destroyed. This can be achieved by dry heat sterilization, pressure canner (or autoclave) sterilization or with a hospital grade chemo-sterilant. Heat processing with the pressure canner (15 psi for 30 minutes) gives a typical steam temperature of 250 degrees F during the sterilization cycle.

These methods of sterilizing are referenced in several texts including Ina May Gaskin’s Spiritual Midwifery, A Book For Midwives & Practical Skills Guide For Midwifery as acceptable techniques for sterilizing instruments.

I’ve found that these terms are sometimes used interchangeably, so it’s important to ask questions about individual encapsulator’s practices to make the best decision based on your personal comfort level.

“How many placentas do you prepare at a time?”

We prepare 1 placenta at a time to protect our clients from any cross contamination. Our work space is set up with sterilized and disinfected equipment and then the placenta is prepared, dehydrated and encapsulated. Our equipment is then cleaned, dried and we disinfect our kitchen.

“If I need a C-section, can I still encapsulate my placenta?”

Yes you should still be able to encapsulate! You will need to remind your OB that you are planning to take your placenta home and have your cooler bag handy for your birth team to place the placenta on ice as soon as possible. Give us a call when you are ready and we will arrange for the pickup at your convenience.

“Will my decision to delay cord clamping or do cord blood banking impact encapsulating my placenta?”

No definitely not! We encapsulate the placenta, not the cord blood, so whatever you decide it will not impact the encapsulation process.

“Have you encapsulated your own placenta?”


“I’m not sure I want to encapsulate, do I have any other options?”

If you are unsure if you want to encapsulate, you might consider still taking your placenta home with you (still keep it on ice) and freezing it when you get home. Then, the option to encapsulate later still remains open.

If you still decide you don’t want to encapsulate, then you can throw it away, or bury it and plant a tree over top it in your backyard.

Please Note: This information has not been evaluated by the FDA or Health Canada. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Serene Mama provides placenta encapsulation as a preparation only service for Mothers who do not wish to prepare, dehydrate and encapsulate their own placenta in their immediate postpartum.