If you have a midwife, you will probably be asked if you want to keep your placenta or have them dispose of it. With my first birth, I don’t even remember seeing it. The second, my midwife showed me and I felt the baby’s side and was fascinated, but didn’t really understand what would be the purpose of taking it home. With my third, I had a home birth and knew that I at least wanted to make a placenta print. I didn’t know that there were so many ways to use your placenta!
I do want to say that as a follower of Torah, I personally, would not consume the placenta. It is painted in a negative light in the scriptures. If you’re a believer, I encourage you to read scripture yourself and follow your own convictions about this.
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Ways to Use Your Placenta After Birth
Did you know that cutting off a piece of your placenta and putting it in your cheek or under the tongue could effectively control a hemorrhage? You could also suck on the cord or membranes. The hormones in the placenta are absorbed through the mucous membranes to facilitate the clamping down of the uterus, which helps stop blood flow. Read more about it here.
Parents wanting to have a gentle, less-invasive transition for the baby from womb to the world may want to have a lotus birth. Lotus birth is the practice of leaving the umbilical cord uncut after childbirth so that the baby is left attached to the placenta until the cord naturally separates at the umbilicus. This usually occurs within 3–10 days after birth. You’ll keep it in a placenta bag until the cord detaches. After that, you may wish to use the placenta for some other things listed below.
Umbilical Cord Keepsake
These are made by cutting the umbilical cord and making it into your desired shape and then dehydrating the cord so it is stiff. You can make them into hearts, spell out words, etc. Lately, I’ve seen them being made into dream-catchers too.
Placenta prints are beautiful pieces of art! Some women make them just from the blood by laying it flat and pressing a piece of paper on the top. Or you can paint it. You can make them from the mother’s side or the baby’s side! I made the one below after my third baby was born and it’s something I really treasure. I plan to put it in his baby book one day. If you plan to consume the placenta in any way, be sure to use food-grade edible paint.
Print On T-shirt or Fabric
Alternatively, you could paint your placenta with fabric paint and print it on a T-shirt or other fabric to make your placenta art wearable! Or scan your paper print and have a t-shirt company print it.
Make Into Jewelry
You can have tiny flecks of your dried placenta made into a pendant with resin and glitter for earrings, necklaces, key chains, etc. These turn out really beautiful! Likewise you can do the same thing with your breast milk!
This is when your placenta is steamed, cut into pieces, and dehydrated. Then it is finely ground into a powder and placed in capsules for you to take. Many mothers have reported decreased postpartum depression, more energy, reduced fatigue, an increase in milk supply, and much more!
Lots of moms eat placenta raw in smoothies and some prefer to cook it. It has similar benefits to encapsulating.
Tinctures can be made with raw or dehydrated placenta blended with vodka or brandy, storing for 6 weeks and then straining out the solids. It can be used for mental, psychological, and emotional instability, going through menopause, and even as a general homeopathic to boost health.
This uses your dried ground placenta and a combination of herbs, essential oils, wax, and carrier oils to make a first aid healing salve. Benefits include reduced appearance of C-section scarring, reduced appearance of stretch marks, healing for sore or cracked nipples, reduced inflammation for babies with rash or eczema, and more!
The two layers of the amniotic sac have healing properties and can be placed on wounds, cuts, burns, etc. as a biological bandage! HERBAL has a great post explaining further and details how to preserve your membranes for later!
Placental Blood Banking
Instead of clamping the umbilical cord immediately to save cord blood for banking, you could do placental blood banking. Read more about that here.
Many mothers, including myself, choose to bury their placenta under a tree or plant. It then continues to give nourishment to something else and every time you look at the tree you will think of your baby!
Instead of letting the midwife or hospital toss it, you could donate it to a birth class or doula/birth keeper or midwife training. Or a place creates life-saving and life-enhancing allografts to help patients heal.
Freeze It for Later
If you need more time to think about what to use your placenta for, you can always freeze it. That’s where mine will be until we find land to plant a tree over it! I double-bagged it in a gallon Ziploc in the deep-freeze.
Are you going to try any of these ways to use your placenta? Let me know in the comments!
*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.