Things to do with your placenta when you don't want to eat it

Placenta encapsulation is the thing right now. I’m getting lots of enquiries from current clients about its benefits and wanting to know who can do it for them in Toowoomba.  Even so, ingesting placenta doesnt appeal to everyone and I field just as many questions about preserving it as a keepsake.  Besides its use in warding off postnatal depression and encouraging milk supply, the placenta is symbolic – this marvellous organ nurtures your baby through his first nine months of life, and it’s lovely to honour that in some small way after he’s born.

After most births (including unplanned caesareans) you can take your placenta home without drama unless pathology testing is recommended after a complication.

If the idea of doing something with your placenta appeals to you, I hope you find some good ideas in this list (I’m not an affiliate for any of these links, I just like them!).

1.  Placenta Burial

This is a common traditional practice in indigenous cultures and in some religious traditions, and one that has a fairly universal appeal.  The idea is that you dig a nice deep hole, pop your placenta in and plant a tree on top.  The placenta breaks down over time providing nutrients to the tree, and the tree stands as a living reminder to the time of your baby’s birth…growing and thriving through the years, along with your little one.  Fruit trees work especially well, and if you don’t own your house or plan to stick around for long, you can use a large tub for portability.

Check Out: Birth to Earth Biodegradable Placenta Burial Kit

2.  Placenta Print

The placenta is pressed onto paper to make a print, which you can then frame when dry.  This involves using the blood already on the placenta (if you’re going to eventually encapsulate it), or acid free inks/paint if you plan on disposing of the placenta after the print.  You can do it yourself, or professional encapsulators offer this as a service.

Check Out:  Placenta Print How To Do It

3.  Placenta Jewellery

This one is a little bit unusual!  Beyond the Willow Tree has perfected a technique for crafting handmade jewellery items from placental tissue.  These really are unique and quite beautiful.  I like these because they’re wearable and so personalised.  For those who dont swing on the crunchy side or just cant imagine where they would possibly hang a placenta print, it’s a subtle and low-key way of making their placenta into a keepsake.

Check Out: Beyond The Willow Tree Placental Artistry

4.  Make a Placenta Tincture

Yes, technically speaking it does involve ingesting your placenta.  But this is a little different to encapsulation – a small piece of placenta is steeped in alcohol for a number of weeks.  At the end of that time, the now infused alcohol is strained off and bottled, creating a tincture you or your baby can use, kind of like placenta rescue remedy.  You just use a couple of drops when needed, for example when your hormones are a bit off the rails, your breastmilk supply is low, or give to baby when she’s teething.  This is another service usually offered by encapsulators, or you can choose to DIY.

Check Out:  How to Make a Placenta Tincture

5.  Have a Placenta Show and Tell in Birth Suite

Many of my clients express interest during prenatals in seeing their placenta after birth.  In the heat of the moment after baby is born they often forget, but I always check again if they want to see it when when I notice the midwife doing her routine inspection of it after the birth.  Midwives are usually pretty fascinated by placentas, and are thrilled to give you the guided tour of yours!  You’ll see which side was attached to you, which side faced your baby, your membranes and the hole in them where your baby came through after your water broke, and the umbilical cord.  You (or your doula) can snap a couple of pics for posterity and then allow the hospital to dispose of it as usual.


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