What can I do with a frozen placenta?
May 5, 2008 6:46 AM   Subscribe

What can I do with a frozen placenta?

My wife gave birth to a healthy baby boy last Thursday at a birthing center. They offered us the placenta and I unexpectedly said "Sure, wrap it up" and it's been sitting in my freezer since. I know that many people plant a tree with it, which may be a good idea for us. But how deep do you bury it? We have dogs, and don't want it to be dug up. Also, what are some other options? Do you know anyone who has actually eaten it? How would it be prepared? Any and all suggestions welcome. It will give us some good reading while we recuperate in bed and get to know our baby.
posted by Roger Dodger to Grab Bag (20 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
posted by uandt at 7:08 AM on May 5, 2008 [4 favorites]

As you describe, we buried ours under a tree. You just dig a regular depth hole for the tree - a couple feet. We kept the plastic bag on ours and between that and the tree being there we've never had dogs even scratch at it. But by dogs I mean a Corgi and a cockapoo - neither of them were huge diggers.
posted by GuyZero at 7:29 AM on May 5, 2008

Congratulations on the birth of your baby. I feel it's gross to eat something that came from your body. If it were meant to be consumed, it would be growing on a tree or out of the ground, not from your wife's uterus. With all due respect - its duty is done and now needs to become a memory dug a hole for, covered and walked away from.
posted by watercarrier at 8:35 AM on May 5, 2008

With all due respect to watercarrier, it doesn't NEED to be anything. Put it in a jar, frame it, wear it as a hat, bury it, eat it with fava beans. Whatever you do, enjoy what you are doing, cherish the moments and take lots of pictures.

Personally, I think consuming it, while appearing distasteful, could be a very intimate way of sharing the experience of the birth of your child. Then again, saving it for when your kid is older can score him lots of awesome gross points in school: "LOOK GUYS! IT'S MY ORIGINAL MEAT SACK!"
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 8:52 AM on May 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

I personally wouldn't eat it, but it is abstractly kind of neat that it's the only ethically sound way you could ever taste human flesh. Not to be creepy.

My parents also buried mine under a tree, and my brother's joined it when he was born.
posted by you're a kitty! at 9:23 AM on May 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

I would be cautious about eating it if it was not tested for infection before it was delivered to you. Since this was not at a hospital, it sounds like the placenta did not go through pathology before being delivered to you. Eating a placenta is called placentophagy.
posted by mattbucher at 9:30 AM on May 5, 2008

Best answer: Most of the women I know who've consumed their placentas have done so in the minutes, hours, or first few days after birth, in order to try to remedy hemorrhage. I have friends who've had it whipped into a smoothie (I wasn't there for that one), cooked up with onions, and dried and powdered and placed into capsules.
posted by houseofdanie at 9:49 AM on May 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

This was definitely the wrong thread to wander into at lunchtime.

Many congrats on the new baby!
posted by jerseygirl at 10:15 AM on May 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

Well, I was going to suggest that you keep it in deep-freeze because there is a lot of potential in placental stem cells. However, the fact that it's been sitting in your freezer has probably ruled out most medical applications. (Due to the biological equivalent of freezer-burn).

So I'd pitch it, personally, but I'm kind of unsentimental like that.
posted by chrisamiller at 10:18 AM on May 5, 2008

My second child is due in three days. No thank you, we don't want the placenta. It just seems against the natural order of things.

Bury it under a tree quick.
posted by baggymp at 11:00 AM on May 5, 2008

I personally think using it for anything is gross, but anyway to answer your question I have seen placenta hair products. Supposed to be good for your hair. I don't know how much truth there is to that but at least that's one more option.
posted by randomstriker at 11:51 AM on May 5, 2008

I think that the tree idea is lovely.

(I think that if you needed a barometer of how people will react to placentophagy, you've got it. Sigh. For what it's worth, I've only heard references to stew, and never heard a first-hand account of eating it, only supposed third- and fourth- hand accounts.)
posted by desuetude at 11:57 AM on May 5, 2008

The ick factor is pretty high for me, but friends who have consumed theirs (primarily by including frozen cubes of it in smoothies) swear that it helps with post-partum depression. Who knows.
posted by judith at 12:11 PM on May 5, 2008

In 2004, an item on the University of Chicago's Scavenger Hunt list was "A teammember's umbilical cord, to be eaten by that teammember." One kid's mother had saved his, and they won the points. (IIRC, he stuffed part of it in a Twinkie.)

So, there's that.
posted by CtrlAltDelete at 12:21 PM on May 5, 2008

Mod note: a few comments removed - take your hurf durf placenta nonsense elsewhere and don't fuck up someone else's question, thanks!
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:41 PM on May 5, 2008

Mod note: Yes, yes, placentas are hilarious. Please zip it with the jokey comments.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:41 PM on May 5, 2008

Best answer: Oh hey, I just clicked through the photo for the first time and you son has the same name as mine! Jasper is a cool name!

I just wanted to add, FWIW, that our second kid's placenta sat in our freezer for something like 2 years while we got around to getting a hole/tree for it. It was probably freezer-burned, but so what right? As long as you don't have a major power failure there's no rush to deal with it. Just keep it frozen until you feel like dealing with it.

Though I did occasionally show it to guests while it was frozen much to my wife's dismay. I mean, how often do you see a human placenta?
posted by GuyZero at 2:13 PM on May 5, 2008

I think that the way to go if you do want to eat it is widely regarded to be placenta pizza.

And no, I am no making that up. I have no idea if you cook the placenta with the pizza, but as earthy as I am I leave you to your own Google devices on that one.
posted by DarlingBri at 4:08 PM on May 5, 2008

Response by poster: Well, we talked about it, and can't really bring ourselves to eat it. But it is fun to think about. And since the wikipedia link points out that most mammals consume the placenta, it seems that it really isn't against the natural order of things.

I do forsee a new tree in the backyard. We were planning on planting a few this year anyway. And it's good to know that we aren't under some kind of time constraint for that. Thanks to everyone for answering, and thanks to the moderators for pruning the thread (even though I didn't get to read any of the jokey answers or feigned outrage).
posted by Roger Dodger at 4:56 PM on May 5, 2008

My daughter's is still in her dad's freezer. She just turned 9. There's not really room for a new tree at their house, so that option is out. I figure we will just keep it til she's old enough to bring it to school for a human physiology class show-and-tell or something.
posted by marble at 7:26 PM on May 5, 2008

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