Gentle (no "icky" comments, or ignorant bashing, please; there are multiple resources out there on both subjects, please do your research,) conversation on Lotus Birth & Placentophagia, practiced together. Tips, stories, recipes, placenta bag ideas, etc.
I am a first time mom (due Aug 2012) and hope to practice both lotus birth & placentophagia. I would prefer to not "cut off a chunk" of the placenta, at least not until 24 hours after birth. I greatly believe in the sacred life of the placenta, and want to keep it intact until detachment, then to utilize it to the fullest (placentophagia.) I cannot afford professional encapsulation, so I'm thinking... lotus birth with minimal salting (to prevent rotting, but not over-do it! I feel like over salting defeats the purpose,) and herbs (rosemary, ...?) and as long as it doesn't gather a funk, I will consume as soon as the placenta detaches. Thoughts? I would prefer to not cook the placenta, either; though I have considered oven dehydration (very low heat.) I would really like to have "left overs" of the placenta, for rough hormonal times in the future. So, also, tips for home drying & encapsulation?
(If the placenta were to start to get funky, or things get too complicated, we will 'cut the cord,' and I will eat the placenta ASAP)
I have heard of people doing lotus birth and then eating the placenta, but in order to do that you don't want to skimp on the salt. Salt will not hurt anything, so you can use plenty and it's best to use plenty. It's a piece of raw meat. Unless you salt the heck out of that thing, it's going to rot by 24 hours, so definitely use tons of salt in addition to the rosemary and keep it wrapped in something clean which is changed every few hours (such as a diaper).
If you do end up cutting it because it gets funky, absolutely DO NOT eat it. The funk is from rot and you can get so sick from eating meat that has begun to rot. If it smells even the slightest bit bad, it's bad. Don't take the chance. Just cut it off and discard it. You don't want to spend those newborn days puking your guts out in the toilet bowl instead of gazing into that beautiful baby's eyes. :)
That said, if it makes it to falling off on its own and it still smells nice, the best way to eat it is to finish drying it in the oven and then encapsulate it yourself. Or if you don't want to encapsulate it, you can store the powder in the fridge and mix it into smoothies or add it to your food.
Originally, I wanted to do lotus birth and was planning it, but after research I decided to just eat the placentas after waiting a while to cut the cord. I ate the first cooked and with my second baby, ate it raw. I haven't tried salting or encapsulating, but if you are *very* careful, the placenta might make it and you can still consume it. Just do be sure to take good care of it. It would be a shame to have to cut it early AND lose the chance at eating it if it goes bad.
You don't need to salt a placenta during a Lotus Birth to avoid it rotting. Salt will facilitate the drying/preservation process but air drying alone is all that is required. It won't rot within 24 hours and it won't rot at all or smell bad at all so long as it's managed properly.
Proper management is simple:
1. Drain thoroughly (usually overnight is plenty or until blood stops draining out)
2. Wash/pat dry thoroughly (get rid of all blood clots and make sure to get into all the folds of the caul to make sure no pockets of fluid remain.
3. Air dry, or wrap in a breathable piece of fabric.
Salt, herbs, essential oils can be added to the placenta but are a matter of personal preference only.
If you plan on consuming part or all of the placenta it's best not to add any salt/herbs/oil and the placenta should be consumed within 24 hours (having said that I've know of women waiting a whole 48 hours with no problems).
If you aren't happy with the configuration of the cord you can soak it in water to rehydrate it and arrange it in a more suitable configuration.
If you want to air dry it you can simply place the placenta on a clean cloth but many people find bamboo steamers perfect containers for air drying placentas.