6 beautiful things to do with your placenta following birth
As a midwife who has cared for birthing women, I’ve had the chance to look at many placentas and marvel at them. Something that starts smaller than a poppy seed and grows to provide complete nourishment to a developing baby for nine months is truly amazing.
Following baby’s birth, mamas are often so wrapped up in their beautiful bundle that they don’t give much of a thought to the placenta. However, there are a number of ways to preserve both the goodness and the memory of the connection between mama and baby… here are 6 beautiful things to do with your placenta following birth.
This post is brought to you by Encapsulate Me.
1. A cord keepsake
It is a common custom in western culture to have a family member or significant person cut the baby’s umbilical cord at birth to celebrate the beginning of a new life. Why not keep a piece of the cord to symbolise the bond you and baby shared?
Pieces of the cord can be shaped into a heart or baby’s first initial and then dried, ready to be added to a baby book or keepsake box. In some cultures, the umbilical cord is buried to keep the child grounded in life and to ensure that they will always return home. Another option is to place a small piece of dried cord into a glass locket or display case to be preserved and treasured.
2. A placenta print
Every placenta is unique and a print can capture the shape, veins and individuality of the ‘tree of life.’
A print can be created with blood from the placenta or with paint. If you wish to consume the placenta, food dye needs to be used rather than paint. A print allows the placenta to be preserved forever and is great for a baby book or framed and hung on the wall.
3. Placenta encapsulation
While there currently isn’t a lot of scientific evidence around the health benefits of consuming your placenta, many mamas have reported benefits. These include feeling a boost of energy, reports of milk ‘coming in’ quicker and women with previous postnatal depression have stated that they did not get it again.
While some people choose to consume their placenta raw, whether that be eating it as is, or including it in a meal or smoothie, most mamas who consume their placenta do so in capsule form.
If you choose to consume your placenta in any form it is recommended that you use someone who is specialised in the field of placenta preparation, preferably someone registered with the Association of Placenta Preparation Arts. These providers follow strict standards for storage, handling and preparation of the placenta.
There are two methods for placenta preparation. The first is the steam method, this follows traditional Chinese steaming methods, the placenta is then sliced, dehydrated, crushed and encapsulated.
The other method is the raw method where the placenta is sliced and dehydrated. In this method, the dehydration process takes longer to ensure any surface bacteria is killed. The theory behind this method is that higher concentrations of iron, hormones, minerals and nutrients remain, however, there is an increased risk of blood-borne pathogens.
To learn more about placenta encapsulation from a Perth-based APPA provider you can head to the Encapsulate Me website.
4. A placenta tincture
A tincture is a liquid extract. Traditionally, placenta tincture is used during any time of transition or emotional distress, and often it is used once placenta pills are gone.
To prepare a placenta tincture, pieces of raw placenta are mixed with a high-quality proof alcohol and left to rest for at least six weeks following the birth. Solid pieces of placenta can then be strained or remain, as long as they are covered by liquid. The standard dose is 7 – 10 drops in a glass of water or beverage, although up to 40 drops can be taken, twice a day.
5. A placenta broth
Placenta broth can be made when the placenta is steamed (usually in preparation for encapsulation). In China, the broth is following the steaming process and ingested in addition to the placenta itself. The broth can be consumed on its own, added to drinks (smoothies/tea) or foods such as soup or chilli.
Some mamas choose not to consume the broth but rather use it to water a plant that has been dedicated to their baby.
6. Bury and plant a tree
If consuming the placenta is just not for you or maybe you wish to create a cord keepsake and then you’re not sure what to do with the remaining placenta, you can bury it and plant a tree over the top. Many cultures including the New Zealand Maori and Aboriginal Australians do this to symbolise baby’s link to the earth.
Honouring the placenta by planting it with a beautiful tree that can grow along with your child, is a beautiful symbol of the bond between mama and baby.
If you would like to know more about creating placenta capsules or keepsakes you can find out more from Jenny at Encapsulate Me.
Jenny is a Registered Midwife and a Placenta Preparation Arts Specialist registered with the Association of Placenta Preparation Arts. She is based in the northern suburbs of Perth, Western Australia but can service the southern suburbs by special arrangement. See her website for further details.
This post is sponsored by Encapsulate Me.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration as Encapsulate Me and Wholehearted Family Health make no medical treatment claims. Services provided are not clinical, pharmaceutical, or intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any condition. Families who choose to utilise these services take full responsibility for their own health and product usage.