What Do We Do with the Placenta?

As you may have read in previous posts, more and more pregnant people are exploring home birth as an option, due to changes in hospital protocols, or for fear of being exposed to COVID-19 while they are in the hospital for their birth.

During a recent initial visit with a client who transferred into our care in the last weeks of pregnancy, we asked the standard (to us) question: “What do you want to do with your placenta?” In this case, the notion that there are options for the placenta hadn’t occurred to this client before that moment – which reminded us that there may be others who have similar questions. So, we thought we might take a few moments to chat about the much-neglected placenta, and what might be done with it in a home birth setting.

While there are quite a few options for placentas out there (I googled them this morning, and found many that were new to me, even after all these years!), there are really just a few ways our own clients usually want their placenta handled, so we are mostly going to stick to those, for the sake of brevity. Here are the top three choices most of our clients make:

Freeze It

Many times, a client is not completely sure what they want to do with it yet, but they know they don’t just want to dispose of it, so they ask us to bag it up and freeze it. After that, a common destiny for that placenta is to be buried under a tree that is planted on the client’s property. This is a lovely way to honor this amazing organ that was a crucial part of your baby’s beginning. We have some families who plant a tree for every baby – it’s so beautiful!

Encapsulate it

Another common choice for our clients is to have their placenta dehydrated and encapsulated, to be consumed in pill form. According to some traditional medicine, consuming the placenta has benefits in hormone balancing, and is said to improve postpartum mood, as well as other benefits. This article references a few available studies on the topic. While we don’t personally offer this service to our clients, we can refer you to placenta encapsulation providers in our community.

Dispose of it

Of course, many of our clients don’t want to do anything at all with their placenta, and in this case, we will examine it, show it to you, and dispose of it safely before we leave your home.

In addition to these most common choices in our practice, there are many other options out there, including placenta art, lotus birth, and more. Make sure to let us know at your home visit about anything you are interested in doing with your amazing placenta, so that we can help you make the necessary arrangements.

Happy birthing!