7 Things to Do With Your Placenta (Besides Leaving It at the Hospital!)

You've heard about women consuming it, but what else can be done with your placenta?
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Though not nearly as exciting as your newborn baby, your placenta is a pretty spectacular thing. It's the organ that provided nourishment and oxygen to your growing child for 40 weeks, so why just toss it out? Once routinely disposed of by hospitals, these days a growing number of women are holding on to their placentas—perhaps with good reason. While there isn't scientific proof that consuming your placenta has any health benefits, "Many moms report feeling a boost of energy after consuming their placenta, while others feel it helps them keep an 'even keel' through the postpartum hormonal ups and downs," says Jennifer Mayer, certified placenta encapsulation specialist and owner of Brooklyn Placenta Services. "Others feel it helps with breast milk production. It can be a wonderful postpartum holistic addition to your primary care."

While consumption may be one of the more popular uses for placenta, it certainly isn't the only option. Here are seven creative things you can do with this unique organ.

1. Eat it. A practice known as placentophagy, some women consume their baby's placenta post-birth, whether by encapsulating it and taking it in pill form or adding it to smoothies.

2. Wear it. Whether you go with a delicate pendant, beaded bracelet, or tiny drop earrings, having your placenta made into jewelry will make for a beautiful and constant reminder of your pregnancy and birth—and, of course, one heck of a conversation piece.

3. Make it into a salve. If you simply can't stomach the idea of guzzling your placenta down with some frozen strawberries at the start your day, many encapsulators also offer the option of a body salve, which purportedly may help with C-section scars, perineal tears, and cracked nipples.

4. Plant it. Don't have the  desire to swallow your placenta via pills, smoothies, or other consumable ways, but feel it's too sacred to dispose of at the hospital? One potential solution: Plant it! Planting the placenta has been a way to symbolize baby's link to the earth in certain cultures for years, but some modern moms like the idea of a planting their placenta alongside a tree in their yard that will grow with their baby. It's a sweet visual reminder of how mom and baby were once physically connected to one another.

5. Make a shirt. Get your creative juices flowing—so to speak—by inking a onesie or toddler t-shirt with your placenta blood. (Note: Best done before your child is old enough to tell you she doesn't want to wear a placenta-stained shirt.)

6. Make art. If placenta t-shirts aren't your thing, try making placenta prints to frame and hang in your home. Most moms go with a Tree of Life design, which can come out incredibly beautiful.

7. Turn it into a photo frame. Forget the $5 frame from Target; display your baby's first photo in a picture frame made of your placenta. Sure, it's a little meta, but when you think about it, why wouldn't you have such a precious and meaningful photo placed inside an equally precious and meaningful frame?

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