A new trend for parents: placenta art prints

Raeben Nolan/Tree of Life Placenta Services

Placenta impressions

With a little preparation ahead of time, parents can have a lifetime memory of their child’s birth (apart from their child, of course): an imprint made from the placenta. Placenta impressions are made by taking the placenta after birth and placing it, along with the umbilical cord, on acid-free paper. The result is a work of art that looks like a tree, which makes sense because the placenta is sometimes called the “tree of life.” After the print has dried, families can frame it and display it as a conversation piece or keep it hidden away as a personal keepsake.

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“People really like it. I think it’s a really good way to honor the birth,” doula Raeben Nolan told KGW, who runs and owns Portland Placenta Services. “A lot of people are hesitant at first,” Nolan said. “Then they see it and they’re like, ‘Wow – that’s awesome! We will frame it. They’re just really proud of themselves for making a cool placenta tree.

If parents want to create their own keepsake, YouTube has several videos documenting the placenta impression process, which parents can watch in the delivery room. “I photographed a birth a few years ago where the parents had 4 small webs waiting and shortly after the placenta came out the father pressed the webs to different parts of the placenta to create a multi-part wall hanging for their son’s bedroom,” said Jada Shapiro, who runs Birth Day Presence in Brooklyn, NY, speaking to Today.

Another option for parents interested in preserving their precious moments are placenta photos. If you want to get into decorating the baby room, expectant parents can also use their ultrasounds as baby room decoration. If you want to take your placenta with you, there are also wearable options like this Etsy company that makes custom placenta resin pendants.

If you’re not interested in adding more art to your collection, Nolan offers other ways to maximize the use of your placenta. Her company’s services include encapsulating the placenta to make it easy for new mothers to swallow to supposedly help stabilize their hormones, increase iron levels, stimulate milk production and shrink their uterus. However, pills aren’t the only way to add placenta to your diet. Nolan also turns it into lemon-ginger-placenta tea to drink or cook into lasagna or Korean Miyeok Guk soup, though she told KGW that while she’s been offering this service for years, no one did not accept it.

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Elaine F. Brim