The placenta is an organ that attaches a growing baby to their mother’s uterine wall. It provides nutrients, temperature regulation, eliminates waste from the baby, protects against infection and produces all the hormones baby needs. It starts developing upon implantation of a fertilized egg and continues growing with and nourishing your baby for 9 months.
It always seemed strange to me that this organ is thrown away with the rest of yesterday’s garbage. It’s been busy making a human for the past nine months…. it deserves some respect!
1. Artwork – Placentas have veins running through them which give them a beautiful appearance. Is it any wonder people often compare them to the tree of life? Immortalize your placenta by creating artwork with it. Simply get a heavy watercolor canvass and press against your placenta. For added color, paint can be used (although this may make it unsuitable for consumption later). Good with your hands? Mix small pieces of your placenta with clay and make a sculpture or bowl.
2. Back to Nature – Honor your child and the placenta by planting a tree. Simply bury the placenta before the tree is placed. How awesome would it be to watch your child and your tree grow together? You can also burn your placenta and spread the ashes some place that you or your baby love.
3. Consumption – The placenta is full of iron, vitamins B6 and B12, estrogen and progesterone. Consuming your placenta can help restore some of the vitamins and minerals a mother lost during the birth process, help milk come in, and ward off postpartum blues. The placenta can be treated like any other type of food; blended into a smoothie, cooked with spaghetti or stew. Indie Birth has a great page on DIY placenta options.
4. Encapsulation – This is what I did with my placenta, and I plan to do it again with my next birth. This is a great way to get all the benefits of eating your placenta if you don’t like the idea of eating your placenta! Those without a strong stomach (myself included) can choose to have the placenta dried, powdered and placed into pills or made into a tincture. You can DIY this or choose to have a professional do it. I went with a professional so it was one less thing I had to do after birth. My pills were ready and delivered to me by the time I got out of the hospital.
5. Body Care – The vitamins and minerals from your placenta can also benefit your skin as well. (Sheep Placenta is a popular ingredient for beauty and skin products). Use on c-section scars, blemishes, wrinkles and rashes. I wish I had save a few pills to create a salve for myself. Mamakins has a great recipe for a salve if you’re looking for one.
6. Jewelry – A beautiful option is to turn your placenta into a piece of jewelry to cherish. Hollyday Designs has a section dedicated to placenta charms and jewelry. With all the services that are able to turn ashes into diamonds, I’m curious if this could be done with a placenta as well. They are a bit on the pricey side, but might be an interesting option to explore.
What did you do with your placenta?