While it's only been a year since I officially started this work, I absolutely love it and know I have found my calling. I wouldn't be here celebrating doula month without the incredible mothers and partners I have been able to work with so far. Thank you all! Happy doula month to you and all the other inspiring doulas and mother caregivers I have the pleasure of knowing.
The placenta- this incredible organ that your body built from scratch and is the link between you and your baby for nine months. It is the only truly disposable organ we create. There are lots of interesting ideas and traditions of what to do with the placenta after birth. While science still hasn't proven the physical benefits of any, they may still be worth looking into. In many cultures, the placenta is highly respected.
Placentophagy (eating it!) is probably one of the most common, be it in a stir fry, raw, or encapsulation (putting it in pill form). There are options. The jury is still out with regards to scientific evidence on the benefits of consuming a placenta. But people draw on research and observation of other mammals and anecdotal evidence to draw conclusions about why eating it might be a beneficial. Read more on the Lamaze blog, Science and Sensibility, about the proposed benefits and ongoing research on placentas and what to do with them.
If you are one of the many that think consuming the placenta is not for you, there are plenty of other options you can consider for it and/or the cord.
- Taking a peek at it before your pracitioner takes it away for disposal (It's a pretty beautiful organ, particularly the fetal side whose branching veins, arteries, and cords, resemble a tree)
- Leave it attached to the baby (Lotus birth)
- Placenta printing
- Plant a placenta tree
- Umbillical cord teething ring- The cord can shapred into a circle, dried or dehydrated, and stored in the freezer and used as a teething ring later on.
Talk with your practitioner if you make plans to take home or take a look at your placenta. It's yours to take, but you may need to sign for it.
The ACOG report released earlier this year clarifying situations in which interventions and c-sections can be avoided. Knowing and discussing these with your doctor and doula may help you avoid an unnecessary c-section.
Here is what you and they should know. (Taken from Childbirth Connection's summary of the ACOG report).
Labor before the pushing phase
Labor during the pushing phase