Things You Can Do with Your Placenta

Placenta Print Flower
Things You Can Do with Your Placenta. Photo © REW

The placenta does a lot of work in pregnancy. And once your baby is born, the thanks it receives is that it is cast out of your body, never to be used again. Yes, the world’s only disposable organ is the placenta. Once the pregnancy is finished, this previously vital organ is no longer needed. In many births, the placenta is discarded after a placental exam, but more and more people are choosing to do things with their placentas.

Here are some of the top things being done with the placenta after birth:

Placenta Prints

Placenta prints are a pretty neat art project. These can be done with as much, or as little, detail as you would like. So you might make the prints on generic paper or use it with craft paper or even a canvas. Part of that decision will be made by what you would like to do with the prints. If you are worried about how long they will keep, you will want to use archival paper, which is acid-free.

Your choice of ink will also be important. Some families decide to do it natural. This means you use the blood in the placenta in order to get a negative print. Some people use crushed berries. These are great options if you are going to do something else with it. If you are done when your art project is done, then you might use paint or ink. There are many ways to do placenta prints, you just need to follow a few directions.

Plant Something

If you want to celebrate your baby’s birth by planting something, a placenta planted under a tree or a bush can be the perfect thing to do. You will want to know that the placenta is an amazingly strong fertilizer. My advice is to plant the placenta and give it time to break down, perhaps as long as a year, before you will want to plant anything.

If you plant a tree or anything right away, chances are high it will die due to the chemical makeup of the soil.

Encapsulate

One of the things that has been becoming popular is to encapsulate and ingest the placenta. This is done by steaming/cooking and then grinding the placenta up and placing it in capsules to ingest. The why behind it is typically stated as being to help reduce the risk of postpartum depression. While there are no good studies that support this stance, there are studies being done. Ingesting the placenta is nothing new, and not inherently risky if you are only discussing a woman ingesting her own placenta.

Eat

Some people prefer to eat the placenta. This can be done in a variety of ways. This can include cooking, eating it raw, dehydrating, etc. There are plenty of placenta recipes being passed around if that is more your speed.

Store

The truth is, you might not have a clue as to what you want to do with the placenta. It might be something that simply means the timing is wrong.

Moms tell me that sometimes they are waiting to move from an apartment into a home before planting it. Sometimes families just don’t know what to do but want to keep their options open. If this is your case, I would advise that you freeze the placenta. A small plastic container works really well. I then would write the name of the baby on the top of the container. (This also helps if you have multiple placentas in your freezer. (No judgments!)) I would then add a zippered, clear plastic bag over it to prevent leaking before it’s thawed.

Nothing

And, at the end of the day, you can also opt to do nothing. This can include letting the hospital use it for research, having it sent away with medical waste, or not having a clue what happens to it once it leaves your body.

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