To encapsulate or not to encapsulate, but is that really the question? There are actually a ton of things that you can do with a placenta! Let’s call it a perk of living in a big city like Toronto. Be aware that more hospitals put placentas in the biohazard as a matter of course, so if you want to keep yours make sure your care provider knows that in advance. So, what are the options?
This has been a fade in recent years, but to be honest there isn’t a lot of good scientific evidence to suggest that consuming your placenta after birth is beneficial. Health Canada recommends AGAINST consuming your placenta and encapsulation services are now illegal. That said, there are many mammals who do eat their placenta as a way to gain back some of the nutrients lost in the birthing process. Animals who do this, do it in one sitting, not over an extended period of time. So, how this translates to humans is a bit ambiguous. There are many people who swear by placental encapsulation, some of the proposed benefits are:
- Balances your body after birth
- May help to replenish iron and B vitamin stores
- Could increase energy
- May improve mood postpartum
- May increase milk supply, although I have also heard that it may decrease milk supply
There are different ways that the placenta can be prepared before encapsulating.
- Traditional Chinese medicine preparation: Involves steaming the placenta with warming herbs, such as ginger, before dehydrating and encapsulating.
- Raw: Straight up dehydration and encapsulation, without any heating.
- Steamed: This one is similar to the Chinese medicine approach but without any of the herbs
Plant a tree
After your birth you can store your placenta in the freezer until planting season. Then, you can pick out a tree or bush that is meaningful to you, or that looks pretty, and place the placenta underneath it before planting. If you live in a condo or have a small yard, you can also consider planting a tree at at grandparents’ house.
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Make a tincture
A couple companies in Toronto offer tinctures made from your placenta. Making a tincture involves covering the placenta in alcohol for a period of time before straining and bottling the alcohol. This process is commonly used with herbs to extract their medicinal properties. It’s proposed that they have similar benefits to capsules.
Art and Jewelry
This is one that not many people think of, but there are some really impressive artists out there who work with placentas. Anything from prints to photographs to jewelry to sculptures. Google “placenta art” for some beautiful ideas.
This is a totally legitimate option. Many people don’t feel an attachment to their placenta and don’t want to take it home with them. That’s fine too!
This article is meant to provide information only, it does not substitute for personalized medical advice.