Note to readers: this blog post contains gender neutral terms to refer to birthing persons and babies in order to promote inclusivity for those who identify as gender non-binary.
During pregnancy, your baby is able to communicate with you by responding to your movements, heart beat, voice, and emotions with their own set of movements and kicks. Through the placenta, your baby is not only nourished by your physical nourishment, but they are capable of internalizing your emotions as well. This connection is truly sacred, as it is the foundation of the relationship between parent and child. While inside your body, your baby is constantly secure, warmed by the comfort of the placenta, nourished by the foods you eat, and protected by its barrier from the outside world. This organ, the placenta, is the only organ the human body grows and expels based on the need. Attached to the placenta is the umbilical cord, which after birth, transfers blood to the baby’s body. This cord is the conduit between your body (the placenta) and your child. After it ceases pulsing, it no longer propels the parental/child physical bond, instead that bond takes place via breastfeeding and skin to skin.
The placenta is truly the ultimate example of love between a parent and their child. It is the source of life, and after birth can be honored in a variety of ways.
Options for placenta after birth:
- Lotus birth: where the placenta remains connected to the baby via the umbilical cord until it naturally disconnects
- Placenta consumption: raw or cooked placenta may be eaten after birth or put into a smoothie
- Placenta encapsulation: placenta can be dehydrated and made into capsules that can be taken as supplements after birth
- Placenta burial: to honor the placenta, parents may find that they want to return it to the earth and bury it with a tree or plant
- Placenta art or keepsake: placenta can be made into prints or even jewelry
- Disposal: for various reasons or parental choice, the placenta may be discarded after birth