What Should You Do With Your Baby’s Placenta?
While placenta encapsulation is continuing to grow in popularity, even more options have become available when it comes to how you can use your placenta after birth. From banking placental blood to having it made into body salve, here’s what moms are doing with their placentas.
Image by: Melissa Jean Photography
Image by: Melissa Jean Photography
You’ve made your birth plan, but what about your postpartum plan? Just what exactly are you going to do with your baby’s placenta? While many women simply want to see it gone, numerous women are taking full advantage of this nutrient-dense organ.
When in the womb, the placenta is what provides your baby with oxygen and nutrients to grow and thrive. It also removes the waste from your baby’s blood. After you deliver your baby, you deliver your placenta. This is also known as the after-birth and is usually assisted by a nurse or midwife. In most Hollywood movies, the woman’s partner cuts the cord and then everyone lives happily ever after and placenta-free.
But recently, women have started to change the way they look at placentas.
Emerging postpartum trends
A growing trend is the controversial Lotus Birth practice, which states that you should leave your baby connected via the umbilical cord to the placenta until it falls off on its own, which can take between 3 and 10 days. First observed in chimpanzees by Claire Lotus Day, the idea behind a lotus birth is that by not cutting the cord, your baby receives all of the placental blood. Staying attached also supports the bonding process between mother and child, encourages rest and discourages baby from being passed around while they still have a delicate immune system. If you choose this option, it’s important to note that the placenta will not be suitable for encapsulation.
6 ways new mothers use their placenta
While there is no “right” thing to do with your placenta, here are options (including some you may not have known were even possible!):
- Consume it via placenta encapsulation
- Harvest stem cells
- Make a placenta salve
- Plant it in your garden
- Make it into jewelry
- Donate it
- Consume it with placenta encapsulation
For centuries, some cultures have been eating their placentas in a practice called, placentophagy. Studies have shown that ingesting it can help balance a woman’s hormones, boost milk supply and help lesson the severity of postpartum depression and anxiety. To find out more about eating your placenta and how placenta encapsulation works, have a read of our encapsulation article here.
Harvest stem cells with plancental blood banking
In a 2009 study done by the Children’s Hospital & Research Center in Oakland, scientists revealed the placenta as a source to harvest stem cells. The study also found there are actually more stem cells in placentas than in umbilical cord blood and they can be safely extracted for transplantation. Furthermore, it is highly likely that placental stem cells, like umbilical cord blood and bone marrow stem cells, can be used to cure chronic blood-related disorders such as sickle cell disease, thalassemia, and leukemia. If you’re interested in having your baby’s placental blood banked, you can find and accredited blood bank via the American Association of Blood Banks.
Make a placenta salve
Along with placenta encapsulation, many women choose to have their placentas made into a salve that can be used on c-section scars, perineum tears, hemorrhoids, stretch marks, eczema and even cracked nipples.
Plant it in your garden
Since the placenta and umbilical cord were essentially you and your baby’s lifeline during those magical nine months, many women feel emotional discarding it. A popular and meaningful idea is planting it along with a tree in your garden.
Make it into jewelery
Did you know that DNA jewelery is a thing? Neither did we! Companies like Breastmilk Jewellery can turn your placenta (and even your breast milk and baby’s first curl) into stunning jewelery you’ll have forever and always.
Donate it – intentionally
Most placentas end up in medical wasteland, but some hospitals work with private companies to donate discarded placentas because this rich organ can be used in tissue grafts to help in various surgeries. For more information on how you can donate your placenta, visit The American Association of Tissue Banks website to find out what you need to do on a local level to organize collection, testing and tracking where and how your donation is being used.
Interviews, stories, and guides on thetot.com contain information that is general in nature and should not replace professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you have a medical condition or concern or plan on trying a new diet, supplement or workout, it’s best to first consult with your physician or a qualified health professional.
- Planned or unplanned – pregnancy can be both a wild and wonderful ride. While every mother is going to approach the transformative experience differently, there are quite a few helpful things you can do to prepare mentally and physically.
- When you don’t have the right products, getting from Point A to Point Bwith a new baby can feel like you’re trying to tackle Mount Everest in flip flops. Don’t fret though – we’ve got 10 basics that will help you in the first 6 months!