how to dry a placenta - Mothering Forums
Homebirth > how to dry a placenta
XmasEve's Avatar XmasEve 01:42 AM 01-06-2003
I want to save my placenta, but don't have the capabilities to freeze or even refrigerate it long-term. Is there some way to dry it? What do lotus birthers do with the placenta and cord once it falls off?

Thanks, Meg

safe womb's Avatar safe womb 12:14 AM 01-07-2003
well lotus births just dry up. you can cook it VERY slowly for about 16 hours. I suggest cooking it for about 16-24 hours on 200 and then crush it into a powder and put it into caps and take it as a pill form.
I would do a search on the web to learn more about lotus births.
CookieMonsterMommy's Avatar CookieMonsterMommy 02:45 AM 01-13-2003
I'm sorry-I have no experience with lotus births, but I read your thread about not having long term refrigeration capabilities. Then I saw that you live in Alaska, and I thought (very stupidly) "Gee, why doesn't she just put it outside" lol, I'm sorry.
But in case you were interested, with my second child I intend to save the placenta, plant a tree and bury the placenta with it the day we plant it. That way we know that this placenta was used to nourish another life, and this tree will always have a part of our child in it. Might sound corny, but I figure when the tree gets bigger, it'll be a nice story to tell. Maybe I'll make it a fruit bearing tree, so that'll be even more symbolic-my body helping nourish the placenta, the placenta nourishing my child and the tree, and the tree in turn nourishing our whole family.

Mom of one child, hopefully many more in the future.
kama'aina mama's Avatar kama'aina mama 09:10 PM 01-13-2003
In terms of freezing it, you might be surprised how little space it actually takes up. It's really not that big. Do you have some purpose you wanted to save for?
XmasEve's Avatar XmasEve 11:15 PM 01-14-2003
Our apartment lease actually lists what you can have in your freezer. Oddly, placenta isn't one of the things allowed...

I want to save it for DD (3 weeks today). It's really her's, and what happens to it should be her decision, I think. Unless she wants to just toss it, then I'm stepping in!

Luckily, both DH and I have head colds so we can't smell anything, because it's just been drying au natural on the kitchen table!
kama'aina mama's Avatar kama'aina mama 12:13 AM 01-15-2003
Oh my goodness! I lost track of time and didn't realise you had the baby already! Congratulations!!! Have you posted your birth story? you were planning to go unassisted, right? Are you saving the umbilical stump also? I meant to but forget to tell dh. It came off during a diaper change and he tossed it into the dirty diaper and threw it away. I suppose I could have retrieved it but the idea overwhelmed me. I took it as a sign to let it go!
XmasEve's Avatar XmasEve 03:56 AM 01-15-2003
I had hoped to go UC, but had an awful hospital birth. Here's the story:

"No UC here. I try not to get bummed out about that. Didn't get the birth I wanted, but I got the baby I wanted more than anything. (I hope I'm not letting anyone down by not sticking with a UC, I still wish my circumstances had been right for it, and think it is a valid option for the people that can pursue it).

Here's the low-down: Had early labor from noon until 11 pm on Monday. I had been getting contractions every 5 minutes for a few hours, but they were only 30 seconds long. At 11 pm I decided to stop using the tub as pain relief because I wanted to move things along. As soon as I got out the contractions started coming one on top of the other. After a little over an hour of this I was in tears because I was so thirsty but literally didn't have a spare second to sip water "in between" contractions. So DH called our doula who came over and checked me- she immediately realized I was at 8 cm and pulled her hand out, scared to death she might break the water and have the baby come right then and there. She and DH had me go to the hospital. I didn't want to go, and made that as clear as I could, but they literally carried me to the car because I was shaking too badly to stand. Got to the hospital, and each step to the birthing room was agony, what with the contractions and my sobbing that I wanted to go home. I didn't want to use the birthing room- too clinical, as "homey" as they try to make it. They said it was that or the OR. I made them drag all the equipment out into the hall before I would finally go in the birthing room. I let them check the fht with a doppler, the fhts were great, they had been the whole time (I rented a doppler) and stayed good the whole time. Let the Dr. check me and I was a 7 and *oops* my water broke. Yeah, right, like that was an accident! And it was meconium stained. No one was surprised, and now I knew I was the intervention roller coaster. So I said I was going home, and prepared to leave. DH had a talk with the Dr. and came to me crying (and he doesn't cry) that he would support me, but was scared-- apparently the Dr. had told him that 50 years ago all babies born with meconium staining died at birth, and it warranted serious intervention. I was furious with the Dr., but love my DH too much to put him in that position, so I agreed to stay. Not happy feelings though, as it meant I had to go by Dr.'s rules or she wouldn't touch me. This means the baby would be suctioned on the perineum, cord clamped immediately, taken to warming bed, etc. We went through the whole list of Drs. in town and knew no one else would take us either. So, I tried to resolve me feelings and just get through with this as quickly as possible: it was 2 am and my goal was to be home before dawn. But you know my labor slowed at this point; didn't get less intense, I was still definitely in transition, and stayed that way until I started pushing at 4 am. Marion was born a quarter after 5. They did put her on my chest before taking her to the warming bed, so I have that memory at least. Once on the warming bed they intubated and sucked a couple vials of pea soup from her lungs. So, yes, that would have been quite dangerous at home, I think even with a midwife. So it was probably for the best that she was born at the hospital, but I think I will always be angry at the treatment we received that WAS NOT NEEDED, KWIM? And their attitudes were very rude. We ended up staying at the hospital until 6pm yesterday, but at least DH got some sleep-- I still can't stop staring at my baby. So, bummer, I had an icky hospital birth, but I got my perfect baby. She's a ball, but it's a cruel joke to have to deal with a newborn and physical postpartum issues at the same time. I have a 1st degree tear that I wouldn't even let the Dr. stitch. The tear was her fault, she forcefully yanked DD out as soon as she got her hands on her, and DD has some pretty big shoulders, even for being 8 lbs, 13 & some oz (and 20.5 inches)."

Hmm, looking back over this, what a fog I was in! And how I was lied to! I've since looked into things and learned the truth about some things. For example, they sucked a couple Tbsp. of meconium from her stomach, not her lungs. There's no harm in having mec in the stomach! If I had it to do over again, I would leave my crying husband and go back home. I'm sorry if I sound bitter, but it burns me up, what they put me and my baby through. Women and babies deserve respect, not lies and scare tactics.


I have saved her umbilical cord stump as well. I'm glad I was there when it came off, because I'm sure my DH would have done the same thing!
Juelie's Mom's Avatar Juelie's Mom 07:42 AM 01-15-2003
You know, I'm glad to see I'm not a freak. I have gotten so much crap from people about saving our placenta. So now whenever disapproving family and friends come over I offer them a placenta based dish, pointing out that our placenta still occupies our freezer. We are planning on planting it at some point. Initially I wanted to dry it and take it in caplets. I had heard something about it years ago. I searched online and asked around but no one knew anything about it or how to do it. In fact, I got a lot of funny looks over that one too. Does anyone know if there would be any benefit to me doing it now, 8 months after my birth???


kama'aina mama's Avatar kama'aina mama 05:29 PM 01-15-2003
Oh Meg, I'm so sorry the hospital gave you such a bad time! Congratulations on your babe and on saving the umbilical!

I have to say I am still scratching my head about the lease with the freezer list. THAT may be the oddest thing I've heard of all week. I mean, how detailed is the list? and can you tell what they are trying to actually keep out of your freezer and why? I mean, I doubt it's placenta, cuz it just doesn't come up that often!
XmasEve's Avatar XmasEve 10:18 PM 01-15-2003
Well, there's a lot of fishing and hunting here, and I've heard there was an incident with badly packaged venison that caused the landlord to have to replace the refrigerator. Who knew?
flannelhippos's Avatar flannelhippos 06:20 AM 01-19-2003
My mom (a midwife) prepares placenta's for her moms quite often. Here is what she emailed me on the drying of placenta - I think she pulled this from her own archives. She dries her placentas in a food dryer and doesn't do the "steaming" and they turn out just fine.

I know you asked basically about the drying but I thought I would include the "medicinal" part as well in case others are interested. I have had friends take the placenta caps following birth and have felt great results.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, placenta is considered a powerful and sacred medicine, full of life force. The use of placenta during the postpartum course aids in recovery from childbirth and minimizes post partum depression. The placenta is full of natural oxytocins which are responsible for contracting the uterus and minimizing postpartum bleeding. Also it contains hormones which have recently been shown to help in the relief of postpartum depression. Women who use placenta have said it makes them feel nurtured.

Dring the placenta

It takes about 12-16 hours to prepare the placenta. Cut the meat away from the membranes with a sharp knife. Discard the membranes and cord. To cook, wash excess blood from the placenta. Place it in a steamer over water. Steam
for 15 minutes, turn, and steam 15 more minutes until no juice comes out when pricked with a fork. (Steam over low heat, it has a tendency to boil over and that's a mess.) After steaming, slice the placenta in 1/8" strips, similar to making jerky. Slice as thin as possible. Place the strips on a cookie sheet and put it in an oven on the lowest possible setting for several hours until completely brittle-dry. Using a food dehydrator is even better, but will take longer. Powder the strips in a coffee grinder, or blender and encapsulate.

After the placenta is prepared it is taken, 2
capsules at a time, three times a day for two weeks postpartum or until no longer needed. Any remaining placenta can be saved and used homeopathically for those times when the child undergoes a separation from the mother. It can be kept indefinately, but for long term storage, freezing is recommended.

Hope this helps,