Should you keep your placenta?

When you have a baby, you’ll need to make a decision on what to do with your placenta. I’ve heard many mothers regretfully tell me they didn’t even look at their placenta after birth and how they wish they had. It is a fascinating organ that you grew and that nurtured your baby. I’m passionate about sharing information so that you know that you have options and you can make the choice that is right for you.

There are as so many differing beliefs and customs around what ‘should’ be done with the placenta after birth. Some cultures believe it needs to be buried, some people dehydrate the cord as a keepsake for the child and placentaphagy and placenta encapsulation is becoming increasingly popular.

In many western countries, the placenta is considered clinical waste and many women leave their placenta’s at the hospital to be disposed of. Birth is all about the baby and the placenta may be given little thought at the time.

If the mother wishes to take her placenta home, she is more than welcome to. It is usually placed in a plastic bag and then into a bucket.

You can plant it!

If you decide you’d like to do something with your placenta- burying it under a special tree is easy and can be a nice ceremonial process. If it is buried under a fruit or flowering tree, then each year it is a reminder of the organ that nurtured and helped your baby grow. Kids usually love picking flowers or eating the fruit from ‘their special tree’. If you are renting, you can always plant the tree in a big pot so it can be moved to your next place. I’ve heard countless stories of women with their childrens’ placenta’s still in their freezer at home- waiting for the right time or place to bury it. There is a sense of respect for the placenta and a desire to honour its role in the pregnancy and birthing journey. Burial is one such way!

You can keep it attached!

Have you heard about lotus birth? This is the practice of leaving the placenta attached to the baby until the cord naturally falls off in it’s own time (without cutting it). This usually happens in a few days to a week. Some people believe there is a spiritual connection between the placenta and baby and that it’s best to allow the baby to choose the time to let go of the organ that sustained it. Once the cord has fallen off the baby, the placenta is usually buried.

You can eat it!

Get over the ‘eww’ factor and read on!

More and more women are choosing to consume their placenta. There are many ways to go about this. Placenta encapsulation has become the more socially preferred method and is becoming increasingly popular by the day. This is a process that turns the placenta into capsules that look and taste like other vitamins or minerals. The placenta contains many beneficial nutrients, hormones and vitamins that can help the new mother.

Scientific studies have been published that link placenta consumption with increased milk production.

Advocates of placenta encapsulation have found that ingesting the placenta helps improve moods, balance emotions, increase milk supply, increase energy, reduce bleeding, boost iron levels and aid in a quicker recovery from birth.

Further research needs to be done to scientifically validate the anecdotal evidence.

In my personal experience, the majority of women who have tried placenta encapsulation have enjoyed many positive benefits and then become enthusiastic to recommend it to their friends.

Testimonials often include comments like:

  • The capsules are having a really positive effect on my mood

  • I have excellent energy levels

  • I’m amazed at how fast I have recovered after giving birth

  • My milk is abundant

Placenta encapsulation is particularly worthwhile to consider if you are low in iron, have had previous postnatal depression or have had low milk supply in the past. New motherhood brings many challenges, so why not make this time a little easier?

Even if you’re not ready to decide what you want to do with your placenta yet, I recommend making a plan to keep your placenta so that you can keep your options open and avoid any ‘placenta regrets’.

I’m happy to answer any questions you may have about placentas. Please make contact!