Willow Magazine CREATING LIFE - Page 83

Planting a Placenta Tree

Elizabeth Santos

The 22nd of April marked exactly 9 months since our little boy was born, so we decided to celebrate by planting his placenta in a special ceremony. This day symbolised the end of a cycle – he had been 9 months inside my womb and now 9 months outside in the world. It was a beautiful way to acknowledge his birth and pay homage to the miracle of life.

Whatever you choose to do can be very memorable for you and your family if it is infused with love and good intentions. It is wise to keep your placenta even if you aren't sure what you want to do with it initially. When you have time to reflect on its significance and a greater sense of clarity, you can make your choice.

In order to keep your placenta safe – put your preferences on your birth plan so they are in writing. Also tell your midwife and birth support person of your desire to keep it, so that it isn't thrown away after your labour, as is standard practice in some hospitals.

Following the birth of your placenta (also known as the physiological or third stage of labour) your midwife will check the placenta to make sure it is intact and that none has been retained in your uterus. She will then show it to you if you wish to see it. Keep in mind that some women don’t feel like viewing it at the time it is offered – but then report feeling sadness that they did not admire it, however briefly.

If you have elected to keep it, shortly after the clamping and cutting of the cord, the midwife will place it into the fridge in a named, sterile plastic container or bucket with a sealable lid. If you have a hospital birth, you can send it home with a trusted family member and ask them to refrigerate it immediately. The placenta needs to be refrigerated within 3 hours of the birth to prevent bacterial contamination if you wish to ingest it, or use it for tinctures or capsules. If you are not using the placenta fresh for these options but are open to them at a later stage be sure to freeze it within 3 days. Seek advice from an encapsulation service for more information.