The placenta is an organ that a pregnant person's body grows in their uterus while they are pregnant. It then leaves the body during the third stage of labor. It is the only transient organ in the body (grows and then leaves). Each placenta is unique to each pregnancy, containing genetically distinct material each time a person is pregnant. 

Here are a few of the placenta's functions during pregnancy:


  1.  Supplies adequate nutrition to your baby

  2. It filters the blood to eliminate the harmful   substances that might be hazardous to the health of your baby

  3. Transmits oxygen to your baby

  4. Allows for your baby's bio-waste to be discarded through your urine 

  5. Separates your blood from your baby's blood 

  6. Produces many hormones (progesterone and estrogen, for example) for you and your baby 

  7. Breaks down food particles you consume to enable the nutrition to reach your baby faster

  8. Paves the way to prepare the maternal tissues  and the uterus for baby’s delivery

  9. During the stages of pregnancy, the placenta moves  while the womb expands and grows. It is  the common function of the placenta to stay low  in the early stages of pregnancy, but it moves to  the top of the womb at later stages of pregnancy  to keep the cervix open for delivery


Image: Shutterstock

Placenta: After-birth

What happens to your placenta after birth? Believe it or not, you have the power over what happens to your placenta after both your baby and your placenta are born.

  • You can do nothing and the hospital will discard it

  • You can ask to see it and have your provider show you this amazing organ that you grew and that has been nourishing your baby for your entire pregnancy

  • You can ask to take it home with you in order to:

    • use it ceremonially (in a planting ritual, for example)​

    • encapsulate it for ingestion

    • reserve it for use raw in smoothies or other recipes

    • reserve it for the creation of homeopathic remedies like salves or tinctures

    • create a keepsake out of the umbilical cord

    • create a keepsake placenta print/painting

  • The above listed tasks can be performed by a placenta encapsulation specialist or yourself.  

What are the benefits of consumption?

There are numerous, recent, scientific articles (click here and here, for example) about placentophagia (the mammalian practice of consuming the placenta after birth). In addition, there are many anecdotal stories and experiences from postpartum mothers that support consuming the placenta. 

Consuming the placenta, whether via capsules or food, is believed to benefit mothers in these ways:

  • Help to balance your hormones

  • Replenish depleted iron levels

  • Assist the uterus to return to its pre-pregnancy state

  • Reduce post-natal bleeding

  • Increase milk production – this has been proven in a study

  • Make for a happier, more enjoyable post-natal period Increase your energy levels

The above benefits are listed in an article on along with additional information about placenta encapsulation. Check it out. 

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