What should I do with my placenta?

Don’t let me send you on rummage through my freezer if you’re squeamish. You might stumble across my placenta. Or maybe I should call it Talitha’s placenta?

Just when you thought I’d never stop talking about my boobs and the breastfeeding battle they’re engaged in, I bring this in. I know. Sorry.

Before getting pregnant I didn’t even know what a placenta was. In fact, I didn’t figure it out until I started writing the birth plan and read about the third stage where you pass this floppy organ the size of a dinner plate out.

The more I learned about it, the more intrigued I was that my body knew how to take care such good care of my baby, nurturing her without my knowledge.

I began to think that I might like to take a look at it. To (don’t laugh – OK, if you must) thank it. I know, what kind of weird hippie am I? Well, it gets worse.

I stumbled across stories of people burying placentas and growing a tree over them to symbolically remind the children of where they’ve come from. I read somewhere that bits of the placenta grow out for miles when you do that. Amazing, if it’s true.

Then I read a Juno article about placentophagy. That’s right. I got it into my head that I wanted to eat the placenta.



The idea of having it incinerated seemed wasteful. If it was so full of nutrients and energy, if it could speed recovery and ward off postnatal depression, if it could potentially help and wouldn’t harm – why not?

So, figuring that I’d not be in the position to make a placenta smoothie myself after giving birth, I told my birth partners about the idea.

They were not keen. My dad happened to be around while we were discussing it and warned that I might live to regret it. I still don’t understand that statement. Recovering ten weeks later, I wish I’d given the placenta smoothie a go.

Yup. I didn’t eat it. Not because I’d lost my resolve but because I ended up giving birth in hospital. Everyone there were surprised that Laurence was taking it home. They struggled to work out what to put it in. I hope we’ve inspired a placenta take away box.

Thing is, I couldn’t bring myself to tell people what I planned to do with it. It must stood out in my notes because people kept asking about it and I kept saying I didn’t know. Then they’d assume I was going to plant it and warn us that we needed to bury it six feet under, yada, yada, yada.

Then we came home and I couldn’t do it for two reasons. One, there were always people around and I felt like it required privacy. Two, because it was frozen and hacking it to bits in that state seemed wrong and more hassle than I could put my husband who’d finally agreed to make my placenta smoothie through.

Love is agreeing to stick a piece of placenta in a blender.

So, there it waits in our freezer. The latest suggestion comes from my in-laws. They’re having some major works done on their house and we may be able to bury it beneath the new foundations.

I love that. It’s just right for our Somerset baby. I wonder what the builders will think.


8 Comments

  1. August 22, 2011 / 9:44 am

    I was fascinated to have a good look at my placenta when it came out. I was quite happy for the hospital to dispose of it though!

    Good luck deciding what to do with it!

    • September 5, 2011 / 9:07 am

      Thanks. It is an intriguing organ. But not very pretty so I understand.

  2. Ann
    August 22, 2011 / 8:19 pm

    My new favorite quote: Love is agreeing to stick a piece of placenta in a blender.

  3. August 24, 2011 / 10:19 pm

    I have to agree with Jennifer on this one, I had a good look but then was happy to see the back of my placenta!  I was amazed at how big it was.  Let us know what you decide and if anyone passes out in the process!

  4. September 15, 2011 / 8:48 pm

    I forgot to look (you’d have thought I’d have remembered third time round wouldn’t you, but even then I forgot…).  So I’ve never seen one and probably never will (unless you count the one I was attached to of course!).  But what about the encapsulation idea – wasn’t that also in Juno…? You can get it turned into (significantly more palatable I imagine) little pills….

    • September 20, 2011 / 12:59 pm

      I love the idea of encapsulation but I’m not sure the placenta would any longer have nutritive value for me. I think at this stage its symbolic power outweighs anything else. I can totally get forgetting to look  – you’re generally a bit, um, distracted when you’ve just given birth!

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