Due to my inquisitive nature, I decided to look up on Google how the placenta is removed after a natural [i.e. vaginal] birth, and how long it takes.
As soon as I typed "placenta" in the search bar, this is what showed up on the suggested search items:
Needless to say, I was perplexed.
I had heard of people who bury the placenta as they believe that it too has a soul and therefore, deserves a burial. That much, I can accept as making sense in some warped way. But seriously, recipes?!
This prompted me to investigate it further and find out odd things one can do with the placenta.
A Lotus Birth is pretty much a normal birth, which the exception that the umbilical cord is never severed. Yep, you pretty much have Baby still attached to the placenta until it dries up and shrivels and detaches itself naturally.
I first heard of this through a friend of mine. My first reaction was "ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!!"
My reaction now is..... yep. Still "eeeeeeeeeeeeewwwwwwwwwwwww!!!"
I cannot imagine how awkward it must be to carry around Baby and Placenta. It is pretty much like having to move about Conjoined Twins, for example. At least that is the way I picture it in my head.
Speaking of pictures.....
Why opt for a Lotus Birth? Why indeed! Well, the practise has been leeched off by New Age practitioners off some Ancient Eastern Philosophies [not unlike lots of other theories and practises] such as Tibetan and Zen Buddhism, Hinduism, as well as other cultures such as Balinese practises. The reason for it seems to be that they believe that the Baby's aura remains intact.
There might be some medical validity to it all though - apparently there has been a reported absence of healthy neonatal weight loss and breastfeeding jaundice in lotus birth scenarios. These studies have shown a significant decrease in jaundice where the umbilical cord was severed later than 60 seconds after birth.
For more details:
Placenta Teddy Bear
But. This, I feel, is taking Craftiness a step too far.
Placenta Teddy was designed by a guy called Alex Green. It has been described as "a crafty alternative for those who don’t necessarily want to eat their baby’s placenta, but want to pay their respects to the life sustaining organ by turning it into a one-of-a-kind teddy bear."
The placenta must be cut in half and rubbed with sea salt to cure it. After it is dried out, it is treated with an emulsifying mixture of tannin and egg yolk to make it soft and pliable. Then, you craft it into a teddy bear.
My thoughts about this? Yep. You guessed it. "Ewwwwwwwwwww."
Then again, how different is having a Teddy made out of Placenta to having any goods made out of leather? Perhaps the disgust factor only comes into play because I know where Teddy is coming from. Hmmmm.
For more info:
Placenta Recipes and Pills
It is not uncommon for animals to eat their placenta [and sometimes, their young]... Does this mean we should be doing so too?
I'm referring to the placenta, not eating our young.
The practise of eating the placenta is called Placentophagy.
For those who are squeamish at the idea of eating the placenta, it can be turned into pills. The whole idea behind the consumption of the placenta - be it in pill form or otherwise - is that it is packed full of nutritional and hormonal properties and can help prevent postpartum depression and helps women speed up the recovery process after giving birth.
Research has shown that the afterbirth is indeed a packed with nutrients, but there is no hard evidence that humans benefit from consuming it. Having said that, in Traditional Chinese Medicine, the human placenta [a.k.a. Ziheche] is often dried up and used to treat several conditions, including infertility and impotence.
For further info:
After reading all of the above information, I got curious. I asked my midwife what happens with the placenta once it is out. She gave me a weirded out look and said "It is incinerated as biohazard waste. Why? Did you want to eat it?"