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Getting Your Placenta Released From the Hospital and Your Rights

Wombmart has provided placenta encapsulation services for mothers across North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia who have had hospital births.

 

As requests have increased, many hospitals have begun to implement a standardized process for releasing the placenta to the mothers.

 

Please check with the hospital's administration, the maternity department, or the head of the Obstetrics and/or Pathology departments for information on their placenta release protocol.

Some of the hospitals would like to know in advance, while others will simply want to know upon your admission and will give you forms to complete prior to leaving. It is important to know your hospitals placenta release policy (and bear in mind that you may be the one to enlighten your doctor/midwife as they do not always keep up with the hospital's current policy for such a matter).

Here is a list of hospitals who have released placentas to Wombmart clients in the past (don't see your hospital below? Contact us directly to see if we have experience with your hospital):

Charlotte Area

  • Carolinas Medical Center (CMC) hospitals including CMC- Main, Pineville, Matthews, University, Northeast, Union

  • Novant Health (formerly Presbyterian Hospital)- Charlotte, Huntersville, Matthews

  • Lake Norman Regional Hospital

  • Gaston Memorial

  • Davis Hospital

  • All local birth centers

  • Catawba Valley Medical Center

  • Frye Regional

 

G'boro/W-S Area

  • Women's Hospital

  • Novant Forsyth Medical Hospital

  • High Point Regional

  • Randolph Hospital

  • All local birth centers

 

Triangle Area

  • UNC Hospitals

  • WakeMed

  • Rex

  • Women's Birth & Wellness Center

  • Duke Medical Center

  • All local birth centers

 

Women who give birth at home have the luxury of being in complete control over the care and handling of their baby's placenta. A woman who births in a hospital has to adhere to the guidelines and policies in place at their facility of choice. In some cases, there is no written policy, and mothers are then subjected to the whim of the staff on duty at the time they deliver. If you want to take your placenta home after its birth, you must have a plan before you walk through the doors in labor. Your chance of success will increase greatly.​​

Hospitals vary in their willingness to give women their placentas. Start by talking with your doctor. You do not need to share with your OB what you intend to do with the placenta, just that you would like to have it after your baby is born. Doctors do not always know the details of hospital policies - nurses spend the majority of time with patients, and they will be the ones who can best help you with your request. Call the hospital and ask to talk to a charge nurse. Express your desire to have your placenta, and ask about the hospital's policy for releasing them.​ (In our area of NC, SC and VA we tend to have success by asking to speak with someone in charge in the maternity and/or pathology departments and then asking them about their protocol for releasing a placenta after birth. ~Wombmart)

(Wombmart has a liability waiver and is available upon request.) If you run into resistance with the nursing staff, tell them you have this legal document that you are willing to sign, releasing them of any liability should they give the placenta to you. Each hospital should have their own version of a form called the Consent to Release Products of Conception (or something similar); the placenta applies under those guidelines, so ask if they would release the placenta were you to sign that form.

If they still say they will not give you the placenta, state the fact that you have a "profound belief" in the sacred nature of the placenta. You only have to have a profound belief in something to have it fall into the category of a spiritual/religious belief. So, if you have a profound belief that the placenta will help you postnatally, that counts. Again, you don't have to say what you will be doing with it - it's a private matter. A request based on a spiritual belief is more likely to be honored than one based on your desire to ingest it for its purported health benefits, which hospital staff will may view with skepticism.

As a last resort, it may also help to mention the recent court victory here in Nevada, in the case of Swanson vs. Sunrise Hospital. A judge declared that the baby's placenta was the property of the mother, and should be released to her.

Enter your negotiations with a spirit of friendly cooperation. Understand that your request may be the very first time the other person has ever heard about someone wanting to take a placenta home. Keep in mind that resistance may just be an initial reaction to something new and unusual, and probably fear-based. Knowledge and preparation help eradicate fear. Have a plan for your initial conversation, call in advance and be willing to cooperate with the hospital policies (some hospitals need to hold the placenta for a number of days before releasing it, for example).

Have a plan, a spirit of open communication, and be empowered. You give birth to your placenta just as your baby. You have the right to take them both home.

Originally appearing in the August 2007 edition of the PBi Newsletter

Written by Jodi Selander, Placenta Benefits International