I know I've wondered after having my wisdom teeth pulled why I didn't ask for them, and what do they do with them anyway? Are they hazardous medical waste? It sounds silly to say it out loud, but when I trim my kids hair, I put it in the compost in the hopes that as it nourishes our garden in the following years that it will some how ground them to our home.
I didn't think to ask for my placentas and we didn't own any property when I delivered them so I don't know what I might have done, but now, in my semi-wisened years I would like to think I would have encapsulated and ingested it. A friend of mine buried hers under an apple tree and now that her son is grown and lives out of state, she mails him a couple of apples every year for his birthday. Why wasn't I so thoughtful?
Why? Because we are sadly disconnected from birth and all of it's processes prior to giving birth ourselves in our culture. However, we are fortunate to live in a place where you can find options if you are aware to look for them. We at Birth Journeys can do placenta prints for you, creating a unique piece of art that curiously looks like a tree (I'd like to think I would have done this too), something like the baby's foot prints. We can also refer you to a local woman who dehydrates and encapsulates placentas for women to ingest in the postpartum period. There are many studies showing the health benefits of this practice.
Visit this blog to read about some cultural practices around the world. Here are some other sites with great information;
Whatever you decide to do with your placenta, you should consider at least having a look and saying a quiet little thank you for the hard and magical work it did. They're really quite beautiful.