The placenta in these settings changes form through the process of ritual and ceremony. It begins as an organ that kept these women’s babies alive in utero and ends as a powerful symbol of birth, spirituality, motherhood, fertility, and life.
Ezekiel 16:1-6. In this passage, God was speaking to the children of Israel that when they were born, their umbilical cord (placenta) was not properly treated and because of this they needed help. They were essentially living in the land of the dead and nobody pitied them.
“Connected by the umbilical cord, the placenta passes essential nutrients and oxygen from mother to baby, enabling growth and development over the course of nine months.” The placenta also filters out any waste products or substances to help prevent baby from contracting harmful infections.
The vein carries nutrients from the placenta to the baby and arteries bring waste back to the placenta, to be distributed and redirected by the mother, not to be stored inside the placenta. The foetal side is smooth and with the umbilical cord looks a lot like a tree, hence the nickname “Tree of Life”.
The burial of the placenta and umbilical cord is thought to restore the woman’s fertility and help heal her womb.
Africa. The Ibo of Nigeria and Ghana treat the placenta as the dead twin of the live child and give it full burial rites. In many African cultures, “zan boku” means “the place where the placenta is buried.” and bury the placenta under a tree.
The Hmong people of South Asia believe that a person has a spiritual connection with his or her placenta throughout life. It is important for the placenta to be buried at home.
So while scripture does not specifically forbid eating one’s placenta, it is mentioned in the context of being cursed rather than blessed. It is also put on an equal plane with eating one’s own children (which we know is not an act that El Shaddai condones).
In fact, they found many cultures with specific taboos against maternal placenta ingestion, and most had traditional practices that included ceremonial burial, burning, drying, hanging or placing in specific locations. The placenta often is held to have specific powers that help to protect the mother and/or child.
The placenta is always buried face down with the smooth side up. If buried upside down, the baby might vomit during feeding. The ground is chosen as the final resting place because Earth is revered as the creator of all life so it is natural that the placenta should be returned to Her.
Once delivered, the placenta is considered as medical waste and requires safe disposal and handling in accordance with advice from the local health unit and compliance with Environmental Protection legislation. Please note that medical waste must not be placed into the local government domestic collection service.
In most cases it is fine to take your placenta home for burial or consumption as long as you follow the basic health and safety precautions that are explained below. There are no laws or guidelines regarding the consumption of your placenta but there are precautions you can take to protect for your health and safety.
The placenta does not, technically, belong to the mother.
Our bodies may create it, but it is part of the developing child, which means it is also made up of 50 percent genetic material from the father.
In more earthy circles, the placenta is also nicknamed the “tree of life”—partly because its function is life-sustaining, but also because when looking at it, the veins do resemble a tree.
The placental membrane is where the mother and fetus exchange gases, nutrients, etc. The membrane forms by the syncytiotrophoblast, cytotrophoblast, embryonic connective tissue (Wharton’s jelly), and the endothelium of fetal blood vessels.
A lotus birth is the decision to leave your baby’s umbilical cord attached after they are born. The umbilical cord remains attached to the placenta until it dries and falls off by itself.
“For many Indigenous cultures, the placenta is a living being.” Some other cultures believe in a sort of twinning of child and placenta. In Ancient Egypt, the placenta was considered by many to be a child’s secret helper. Some Icelandic and Balinese cultures see the placenta as a child’s guardian angel.
Traditional Gullah medicine dictates that when a baby is born with a caul, with amniotic membranes over the face at birth, the placenta is made into a tea and then consumed by the child to “prevent them from seeing spirits that would otherwise haunt [them]”.
But placentophagy – the practice of eating one’s placenta after birth – is relatively common in China, where it is thought to have anti-ageing properties, and dates back more than 2,000 years.
Raven Lang, who is credited with reviving “the oldest known and most commonly used recipe for postpartum placenta preparation,” witnessed placentophagy while helping women as a home birth midwife and practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine in California in the early 1970s.
The placenta attaches to the wall of the uterus, and the baby’s umbilical cord arises from it. The organ is usually attached to the top, side, front or back of the uterus. In rare cases, the placenta might attach in the lower area of the uterus.
Hilary Duff, Chrissy Teigen, Kim Kardashian West, Katherine Heigl, Alicia Silverstone and January Jones have all ingested their placentas, either in pill form, smoothies or by some other method. (Tacos, alcohol-mixed drinks and truffles are the methods other moms choose.)
8 Things You Can Do With Your Placenta After Birth- Eat Your Placenta. A practice known as placentophagy, some people choose to eat their placenta after birth.
Donate Your Placenta.
Make a Placenta Salve.
Plant Your Placenta.
DIY a Placenta Shirt.
Create Placenta Art.
Buy a Placenta Photo Frame.
Traditionally, the whenua (placenta) and pito (umbilical cord) of newborn babies are buried in a significant place. The placenta is placed in a specially prepared receptacle and buried in a particular location. This practice reinforces the relationship between the newborn child and the land of their birth.
Probably the most common type of placenta ritual, many cultures and heritages bury the placenta, whether to honor the placenta itself or to symbolize connection and protection for the child.