The placenta is a vital organ that nourishes a baby through the umbilical cord, but it’s typically discarded as medical waste after the baby is born.
Many moms say the potential benefits of keeping their placenta shouldn’t go to waste, though, especially when the organ played such an important role in baby’s development.
Though the thought is known to make many squeamish, options for using your placenta after the birth include consuming it directly (yes, eating placenta!), making it into capsules aka placenta encapsulation, using it for homeopathic remedies or even turning it into artwork. Others choose to plant it in their gardens at home.
The most commonly offered option in the area is placenta encapsulation. Reported benefits include increased milk supply and improved mood and energy, says Gina Hodgson owner of Detroit Doula Co., which offers the service to families in Oakland, Macomb and Wayne County.
Often done by a midwife or doula, encapsulation involves dehydrating the placenta soon after the birth, grinding it into a powder and filling capsules with the powder. Moms then take the capsules as a sort of “vitamin” after the birth, though professionals will point out that no medical advice is implied.
“Some people don’t have any results. We can’t make any guarantees,” Hodgson says. “Everyone’s different.”
Interest in placenta encapsulation and other services has been growing in the southeast Michigan area over the past several years, Hodgson says, and it’s no longer something only talked about in natural birth circles.
“We’re seeing a lot of mainstream moms become interested in placenta encapsulation, too,” she says. “We’re really excited that more mainstream moms are interested in it.”
According to the American Pregnancy Association, placental encapsulation appears to carry no inherent risk if ingested only by the mother, though the association points out that most available information on the topic is anecdotal. The association does note that a placenta should be refrigerated, like any other meat product, if it needs to be stored for any period of time.
Here’s a look at a few local resources for various placenta services.
- Contact: 616-821-5266
Placenta encapsulation, placenta tinctures, a homeopathic remedy for children, placenta salve and placenta smoothies.
- Contact: 586-737-7380
Placenta encapsulation (including umbilical cord keepsake).
- Contact: 734-626-8508
Placenta encapsulation, plus a placenta print and a cord keepsake.
- Contact: 248-812-9459
Placenta encapsulation, placenta art prints in color, cord keepsake and more.
- Contact: 248-302-5339
Placenta encapsulation (raw or powder), placenta smoothies, tinctures, prints and cord keepsakes.
- Contact: 734-757-7381
Placenta encapsulation, placenta smoothie, prints and cord keepsakes
- Contact: 734-766-6334
Placenta encapsulation, cord keepsake, a photo keepsake, plus home delivery.
- Contact: 313-673-6342
Placenta encapsulation in two methods: Raw Dehydration or Traditional Chinese Medicine.
- Contact: 734-347-2560
Placenta encapsulation, tincture, salve and prints.
Tomorrow’s Happiness Birth Services
- Contact: 248-790-0419
Placenta encapsulation and tinctures.
- Contact: 248-224-5100
Placenta encapsulation, placenta tinctures, placenta salves, placenta prints and herbal baths.
This post was originally published in 2015 and is updated regularly.