Bathwater, Babies, And Bags: How To Deal With Medical Waste After A Home Birth

Home births in America are currently rising in popularity. While the majority of American women still give birth in a hospital or birthing center, many women are considering home birth with the assistance of a medical professional as a better option. Birthing at home allows you to relax in a familiar environment and gives you greater control over your birthing process. However, it takes extensive planning and there are many aspects of home birthing that parents may fail to consider. One aspect is how to dispose of medical waste such as needles or other sharps used during the birth and the placenta after birth. This article can tell you more about what you need to know. 

Know Your Local Laws 

Medical waste laws vary from state to state. In many states, you may be able to legally dispose of your placenta by burying it in your own backyard, as long as it does not leave your property. However, you will want to make sure you bury it deep enough to avoid attracting animals that would dig it up. In other states, an attending physician or midwife needs to be licensed to deal with the medical waste. If they are unable to dispose of the waste, you may have to contact a waste disposal team to dispose of the waste for you. 

It is important to realize that throwing medical waste in your regular trash or flushing it is considered illegal in most places. This includes sharps as well as larger waste products. However, items such as sheets that are simply stained with blood can often be bagged and disposed of in a trashcan with a secure-fitting lid. If you are giving birth in a tub, the bathwater can usually be drained directly into the sewage system after any solid waste is removed. 

Prepare a Plan With Your Birthing Team 

Whether you want to keep your placenta for your own consumption, dispose of it in a private ritual, or have it disposed of professionally, it is important to make a plan ahead of time with the people who will be attending your birth. You do not want to find yourself unprepared to dispose of medical waste. Similarly, you do not want to discover that one of the medical professionals disposed of your placenta when you had other plans for it. Your plan for disposal of medical waste and contaminated items should be written clearly in your birth plan. This can also ensure that you receive your placenta if you are planning to keep it but have to be transferred to a hospital during your birth. 

Contact a Medical Waste Disposal Company 

It is important that you contact medical waste services before you give birth if you will have to dispose of the placenta on your own. If you look for a local disposal company a month before your due date, you should have enough time to arrange a pick up and learn how to prepare your medical waste. The company may ask that you purchase a medical waste bag and a sharps bucket to contain your medical waste until it can be picked up. If so, they can instruct you on the proper way to bag and seal your waste. Any medical professionals you are working with will also be able to assist you in proper waste storage. 

While there are many benefits to birthing at home, there are also unique challenges that you will face. Dealing with medical waste is a challenge that will be much easier if you prepare and plan ahead of time. Having the proper equipment for disposal, a disposal plan, and an agreement with a disposal company can make the process quick and easy.