Guest Blog – Placenta Encapsulation. Author Tara Bungard

The Placenta – what will you do with your baby’s placenta?

The placenta is not often given much thought or discussion when a birth is planned.  Yet it is an amazing organ that has sustained your baby for most of the pregnancy.  So why is it so often discarded after birth?  Do we have options beyond submitting it to the hospital incinerator?

The simple answer to this question is yes!  But what are those options and why might we consider them?

All over the world there are elaborate rituals to honour the placenta.  The Navajo and Maori people bury a child’s placenta, as do the Parigi of the Celebes Islands who also plant palm trees to mark the burial site.  Many cultures (such as tribes in Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda and Sumatra) believe that the placenta is the baby’s sibling or twin or that the placenta has its own spirit.  In Iceland, they believe that the child’s guardian spirit lives in the placenta and their name for it means ‘guardian angel’.

Perhaps some of these rituals appeal to you and you might decide to bury your baby’s placenta, perhaps plant a tree or shrub to mark the spot as a permanent reminder of that special site.  Or you might consider some other use of the placenta, such as consuming some or all of  it in some way.

We are unusual among mammals in that we do not routinely consume the placenta after birth.  Aside from humans, only a few marine mammals and camels leave the placenta uneaten.  It may be that you have never thought of the placenta as a possible food source!  It is not something that appeals to everyone, but if you are interested there are many recipes that can make good use of a placenta.  You could make it into pate, blend it into a smoothie with a banana and some berries or even mince it up for use in a lasagne.  A quick google of ‘placenta recipe’ will give you endless ideas!

However, if the mammalian instinct to consume the placenta tempts you, but you find the idea of actually eating it too much, you may want to consider having your placenta encapsulated or made into a tincture or homeopathic remedy.

The placenta is rich in proteins which are essential for growth and repair and therefore useful when recovering from birth.  It contains high levels of CRH (our stress reducing hormone) and Vitamin B6, a lack of either of which can contribute to postnatal depression.

Consuming the placenta has been shown to enhance lactation; a study administered dried placenta to new mothers and 86.2% of them noticed an increase in milk supply.  It is also rich in iron which could go some way to compensating for the fact that you can safely lose up to 500cc during birth.

There are a number of placenta specialists in the UK who offer an encapsulation service and many also make tinctures and can arrange for homeopathic remedies to be made up from your baby’s placenta.  For more information or to find a specialist near you, go to www.placentanetwork.com.

If you live in Ely or the surrounding areas, we are fortunate to have a wonderful Placenta Encapsulation Specialist called Tara Bungard.  Please look her up at go to www.placentaoptions.com.

Whatever you decide to do with your placenta, take a moment to thank it for the wonderful job it has done nurturing your baby in the womb.  It truly is a miraculous organ!

 

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