Congratulations! If you are expecting a baby or on the verge of delivering a baby! You might have a lot of concerns and questions about childbirth and this process as a whole. When we think about labor or childbirth, in our excitement to meet the little one, we often ignore a very vital part of our gestation period and one which was extremely essential for the well being of the fetus in the womb: the placenta. The placenta develops during pregnancy to provide oxygen and nourishment to the growing fetus and to remove carbon dioxide and waste from the baby’s bloodstream.
But is the function of the placenta over with the birth of your baby? No!
Saving placenta after the birth of your baby can be essential for his/her future well being. Delivery of the placenta is essential for the health of the mother and marks the end of your pregnancy and the beginning of motherhood.
This article will tell you the process of keeping the placenta and what to do with the placenta after the delivery?
What is placenta?
The placenta is the organ that is developed in the mother’s uterus after the implantation of the fetus to the walls of the endometrium- which marks the beginning of your pregnancy. It is a pancake or disc-like shape organ. It plays a crucial role in the period of pregnancy as it helps in supporting the growth and development of the developing baby. It is attached to the wall of the uterus, top, the front, or backside of it but it is seen that in some cases, it can be attached in the lower part of the uterus. This condition is known as placenta previa.
A woman who has Placenta Previa can face problems because it has no medical and surgical treatment to cure this but there are many alternatives to manage the bleeding caused by placenta previa.
Major functions of the placenta:
- The placenta provides oxygen and essential nutrients to the baby.
- It also plays a vital role in producing hormones like estrogen, human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), lactogen, and progesterone.
- It is attached on one side to the mother’s uterus and on the other side to the baby’s umbilical cord. Through this umbilical cord blood passes from mother to baby filtering all the impurities.
- It also filters out the substance that can harm your baby such as carbon dioxide and other waste products from your baby’s blood.
- It is also helpful in protecting the baby from any type of infection.
- After delivering the baby, it provides vital antibodies to protect the baby in the new environment.
Delivering the placenta
As mentioned, delivering the placenta is crucial to a mother’s health. After the delivery of the baby, the placenta is delivered within 5-20 minutes in normal cases. In some cases, it may take longer. However, it is advised to deliver the placenta within a maximum of 60 minutes of delivering the baby.
Generally, the delivery of the placenta is not very painful and women may even not realize it. However, in some cases, this does not happen because sometimes the delivery of the placenta can be painful or the placenta cannot be delivered due to several reasons. If the placenta is not delivered properly and entirely, it is known as the retained placenta. There might be several reasons for this condition and it can lead to complications for the mother.
Can you keep the placenta after birth?
Yes, saving placenta after your delivery is possible. If you want to keep your placenta post-delivery, just inform your doctor, nurses, and staff before going to the labor and check
about the formalities and policies of your hospital regarding saving the placenta. So that your placenta can be kept safely after your delivery.
Earlier, mostly women used to give their placenta to the hospital or eat it. There is a practice known as Placentophagy in which women save their placenta after birth and consume it. One can consume the placenta in several ways, raw, cooked, or dried. One can have the placenta raw by boiling it with water and cook it or can have it in the form of a smoothie. The placenta can also be dried and can be consumed in the form of tablets.
It is believed that the placenta retains the nutrients and can be advantageous to the mother after delivery. It is also believed that eating the placenta helps in postpartum recovery, breast milk production and to deal with postpartum depression.
There are many kinds of research regarding the placenta being advantageous for women post-delivery. There is no scientific claim about the advantages of saving placenta and consuming it. There can be risks associated with eating the placenta depending upon the health of the placenta. Consult your doctor before opting for this step.
What to do with the placenta after delivery?
There are several other things you can do with the placenta after delivery apart from eating it. We have made the list of the top 4 things you can do with your placenta:
Donate your placenta: The best option is to donate the placenta. The donation must be done through an accredited tissue bank. The nutrition-dense tissue helps in the healing of wounds and burns, spinal surgeries, and other medical needs.
Plant your placenta: In some cultures, there is the practice of planting the placenta post-delivery because of its nutritional value. It remarks on the connection between the baby and mother earth in some cultures.
Make a frame out of it: Yes you can make a photo frame out of your placenta and put the first picture of your little one. It can be a meaningful memory of the physical connection shared between you and your baby after the delivery.
Make jewelry out of it: Some companies convert your placenta in a nice piece of jewelry. You can make jewelry as a constant reminder of your pregnancy and cherish it.
What do hospitals do with the placenta?
Usually, women leave their placenta and umbilical cord after the delivery. Wondering what hospitals do with your placenta?
Hospitals mostly consider it as medical waste and dispose of it off. They can also donate the placenta for its nutritional purposes. The placenta can also be used by doctors and hospitals for research and study.
However, it completely your wish to what should be done with your placenta. You can decide it for yourself before the delivery.