Oregon Parents Can Now Take Home the Placenta: 7 Things to Do with It

Photo by: Brian Gresko
Bury It
In Samoan and Hawaiian traditions, the placenta is buried in the ground and a tree planted atop it. Neither my wife nor I have any connections to these cultures, we just ... more 
Photo by: Brian Gresko
Bury It
In Samoan and Hawaiian traditions, the placenta is buried in the ground and a tree planted atop it. Neither my wife nor I have any connections to these cultures, we just liked the idea that this organ which her body grew - I mean, how amazing is that? - wouldn't be incinerated with who knows what at the hospital. The plant and the burial is a way of honoring the work that her body did, and it adds another personal touch to the land, which is the same backyard which my wife played in as a child.
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Mon, Jan 6, 2014 5:31 PM EST
"And would you like the placenta with that?" This is what new-mothers might be hearing in Oregon, where it's officially become legal for parents to leave the hospital with their child's placenta. Under previous laws, placentas were labeled "hazardous medical waste" and destroyed on the premises, unless parents had a religious or cultural reason that required they take it home. Now, anyone can walk out of an Oregon hospital with both a child and the placenta. We took Felix's placenta home with us after he was delivered in a hospital here in New York City. Once home, we put the crimson little package in the freezer. Three months later, we celebrated Placenta Day: burying the thing in the backyard and plopping a Fothergilla shrub on top, which Felix now calls "his plant." It's doing great! We were part of a growing trend of people who want their afterbirth after the birth. What for, you may ask, besides burying in the backyard? Oh, but do you really want to know? Click on to find out what people are doing with their placentas these days. - Brian Gresko

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