With a little advance planning, parents can have a lifelong memento of their child’s birth (aside from their child, of course): A print made from the placenta. The placenta prints are made by taking the placenta after birth and placing it, along with the umbilical cord, on acid-free paper. The result is a work of art that looks something like a tree, which makes sense as the placenta is sometimes referred to as the “Tree of Life.” Once the print has dried, families can frame and display it as a conversation starter or keep it tucked away as a personal keepsake.
“People really love it. I think it’s a really great way to honor the birth,” said doula Raeben Nolan to KGW, who runs and owns Portland Placenta Services. “A lot of people are hesitant at first,” Nolan said. “Then they see it and they’re like, ‘Wow – that’s great! We’re going to frame it.’ They’re just really proud of themselves for making a cool placenta tree.”
If parents want to make their own memento, YouTube has several videos documenting the placenta printing process, which parents can follow in the birthing room. “I photographed a birth a few years ago where the parents had 4 small canvases waiting and soon after the placenta came out the father pressed the canvasses onto different parts of the placenta to create a multi-part wall hanging for their son’s room,” said Jada Shapiro who runs Birth Day Presence in Brooklyn, NY, speaking to Today.
Another option for parents interested in preserving their precious moments are placenta photos. If you want to get a jump on nursery decor, soon-to-be parents can also use their ultrasound scans as nursery decor. If you want to take your placenta with you, there are also portable options like this Etsy business that makes personalized placenta resin pendants.
If you aren’t interested in adding more art to your collection, Nolan offers other ways to maximize use of your placenta. Her company’s services include encapsulating the placenta to make it easy for new mothers to swallow to supposedly help stabilize their hormones, increase iron levels, stimulate milk production and shrink their uterus. Pills aren’t the only means of adding placenta to your diet, though. Nolan also turn it into a lemon-ginger-placenta tea for drinking or bake it into a lasagna or Korean Miyeok Guk Soup, although she told KGW, that while she’s offered that service for years, no one has taken her up on it.