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Planning to Save Your Placenta? The Important Detail You Need to Know Before the Big Day

Simone and Michael Manzella can’t get enough of their baby girl, Dakota. 

“Everyone’s doing really good so we can’t complain about that at all,” Michael Manzella said.

But it’s what happened on the day Dakota was born last September, that led the couple to call NBC 6 Responds.  The couple had planned to have a home birth.

“We had a midwife and the whole deal,” said Michael.  “We wanted it to be came and special and nice.”

But when hours passed and Simone wasn’t dilating, they went to North Shore Hospital in Miami.
  
The couple, at that point, had been up for 24 hours. They were tired and stressed, Michael said. 

Their midwife, according to Michael, helped them check in at the hospital and one of the things he clearly remembers saying was that they wanted to keep the placenta.  

Michael said a hospital nurse explained he needed to have a cooler available to take it home and how it would likely be a couple of days before the placenta would be released to them.
  
But he said he didn’t know he had to sign a release of responsibility form in order to save the placenta.

“Nobody ever gave us the paper,” Michael said, adding he had no idea they had to sign anything until after it was too late and Simone’s placenta was no longer usable.

“I was actually very angry,” Simone said.

The couple told NBC 6 Responds the hospital apologized for what happened. 
North Shore Hospital would not talk specifics with us, but did send a statement that said:  “We respect the birth plan of every mother and family. In accordance with our hospital policy, we will honor a family’s wish to preserve the placenta if they request us to do so. This request must be made before the time of delivery in order for the placenta to be suitable for the family’s intended use.”

“I’ve never encountered a problem,” said Lila Aviles, a placenta encapsulator for Mainstay Doulas & Co. 

Aviles said she’s had clients who have delivered babies at North Shore Hospital.

“The key here is for the client to be informed,” she said, so that a patient knows what to ask for not just at North Shore, but at any other hospital. “If there is a waiver, you have to ask for them because it’s usually not included in the paperwork you do when checking in.”

Aviles’ company gets inquiries almost every day from families wanting to preserve placentas.  The company charges $300 for the service, which Aviles performs at a client’s home. 

Aviles processes the placenta and makes it into pills the mother can consume.

According to Aviles, the pills can help new moms even though there is no scientific research to prove it.

“During their postpartum period, they’re experiencing less pain while recovering, they’re seeing an increase in their milk supply, they’re basically experiencing less of the baby blues,” Aviles said.

Simone, meanwhile, will never know if the pills would have helped her after giving birth to Dakota.  But if she gets pregnant again, she now knows what she needs to do to make sure her placenta is preserved. 

If you’re pregnant and are thinking about preserving your placenta, here’s a list of some hospitals in South Florida and what they require patients do if they want to keep their placenta.

Baptist Hospitals (Baptist Main/Homestead Hospital/South Miami/West Kendall):  If a patient makes the request, they have to fill out a form at registration saying they wish to keep the placenta.

Mount Sinai Medical Center: On average, they get 8 to 9 requests a month from patients who want to save their placentas.  Mount Sinai requires that patients fill out paperwork related to preserving their placentas.

Holy Cross Hospital in Ft. Lauderdale:  Generally, upon patient request, a written authorization and proper arrangements need to be made in order to preserve a placenta.

Memorial Healthcare Systems (Memorial Regional/Memorial Hospital Miramar/Memorial Hospital West):  Patients must speak up during the admission process.  If they want to keep their placenta, they need to sign a release of tissue consent form.  

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