August 17, 2010

Placenta—The Tree of Life.

Eww? Placenta is the ultimate provider of love and nourishment.

The placenta is an organ little discussed in birthing circles, yet deserves attention and respect. The ultimate provider of love and nourishment to your baby in womb, the placenta gives and receives from mother to baby and from baby to mother.

This tree of life collects nourishment (oxygen, nutrients) from mama’s blood through its branches (cotyledons) and passes this nourishment to baby’s blood which travels through the trunk (umbilical cord) and into baby’s body to nourish and grow baby. Then, baby sends what is not needed back through his umbilical cord to the cotyledons and mamas blood collects and removes these substances.

This organ of pregnancy is co-created between mother and child within the womb space, the creative center. It connects itself to the wall of the uterus, the muscle that houses baby, and connects through the umbilical cord to baby’s belly button.

The placenta, like all trees, is constantly giving and receiving. Trees receive nourishment through sunshine, fresh air, and clean water. They give oxygen to the earth and all beings. Our bodies are trees receiving nourishment through sunshine, fresh air, and clean water. We can give oxygen and life and love to others easily when we are well nourished. We nourish our babies well when we ourselves are nourished.

Your baby grows beautifully receiving the nourishment that you provide through baby’s placenta. What do you provide? Provide whole foods offered to us by the earth and prepared with love. Provide clean filtered water and drink to thirst to maintain hydration. Provide lots of fresh air and outdoor movement. Provide loving thoughts and kindness to yourself, your baby and others. Your baby grows beautifully within you.

The placenta gives and receives emotion and feeling. Pregnant mamas can recognize this when paying attention to the signs that her body gives her. What she feels, baby feels. What baby feels, she feels. They are one. What emotions/feelings does your baby send to you? What do you send to your baby? Send love.

Here is a simple meditation for mothers to use based on the meditations of Thich Nhat Hanh. Create your own as well.

Sit in a relaxed cross legged position on the floor, a blanket stacked underneath your sit bones will make the sit for several minutes more comfortable. Slowly repeat, following your breath:

Breathing in,
I nourish the tree of life.
Breathing out,
My baby is nourished.

Once baby is born onto the earth, the placenta is no longer needed within Mama’s body to sustain baby, as now, her body makes milk perfectly designed to nourish baby. What is typically known as “Third Stage of Labor,” is actually the placenta being released from Mama’s uterus. After baby is born and brought to the breast to nurse, her body produces another boost of oxytocin, the hormone of love, which assists in releasing the placenta from the uterine wall. This can take anywhere from 5 to 60 minutes and for the health and well being of Mama and baby, is best to let nature dictate its release, when no complications exist and birth unfolded without intervention.

Once the placenta is birthed, take some moments to look at it. It can be wrapped up and kept with your baby if you decide not to cut the umbilical cord and let it fall off naturally (lotus birth.) This does take some preparation and devotion on the part of the family for this to occur. Although this is not routine in our society today to leave baby and placenta attached together as one unit, there are positive energetic life force effects for baby to keep this familiar source of nourishment with baby until she is comfortably ready to release it on her own.

Some families offer the placenta back to the earth under a tree or plant. Some families cook and eat the placenta. Some families make it into Placenta Medicine. Some families throw it out.

During your pregnancy, discover the beautiful ways that your body works to grow your baby. It is truly a miraculous gift to grow, birth, and parent a little one. Honor and nourish  with love the changes within your body, mind, and spirit throughout this incredible journey. Make it beautiful!

What are your placenta plans?

*photo courtesy of Diksha Berebitsky

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