The Often Disregarded Life Giver.
How amazing is it that during pregnancy, we literally grow an organ! We truly are amazing.
The placenta plays a vital role during conception, pregnancy and birth, and it is extremely underrated just how important this organ really is. The more we understand it, the better we can appreciate just how magical it truly is.
The placenta, in simple terms, is an organ that delivers nutrients and oxygen to your baby, while removing waste and carbon dioxide. The placenta begins developing shortly after the egg is fertilised, and during your baby’s time in your womb, the placenta is it’s life force. This is why it is so often compared to the tree of life symbol, because of its physical and metaphorical similarities between the two.
Attached to both mother (by tissue attached to the uterine wall) and baby (via the umbilical cord), the placenta is the epitome of the mother baby dyad working together perfectly. Once baby is earth side, and no longer needs the placenta for oxygen and nutrients, it is expelled from the mothers body, with the help of oxytocin ( that wonderful love hormone) and after birth contractions.
In western culture, it has become routine to dispose of the placenta with little thought, often with many parents never having seen their placentas. But this is slowly changing, with more and more individuals choosing to honour their placenta in a variety of ways. One popular way of honouring and utilising the placenta includes placenta encapsulation. This is where the placenta is steamed, dehydrated then grind up into a fine powder, where it is then put into capsules to be swallowed. It is said to help with postpartum exhaustion, burn out and the big hormonal shifts that take place in the postpartum period.
In some cultures, like the Maori of New Zealand, the placenta is buried in a ceremony, honouring the baby’s link to the earth in which it lives and grows. Other individuals choose to have their placenta made into a print, while others cut it up and consume it in smoothies!
Regardless of what you intend to do with your placenta, it definitely deserves appreciation for its role in bringing baby earth side and keeping them nourished and healthy while in the womb.
With my first two births, I didn’t even have the chance to look at my placentas. When we decided to birth at home, it was important to me that I got an image of my baby attached to this amazing organ that kept him healthy and nourished for so long. We decided to bury Wiley’s placenta at my mothers and stepfathers property- the same property where my husband and I were married 6 years ago! Such a full circle moment.
Even if you choose to have the hospital or birth centre dispose of your placenta, I highly recommend asking to at least have a look at your placenta, they really are amazing!