Friday, May 28, 2010

Placenta Rituals Around the World

Eat it, bury it, make art with it, burn it. Or, just throw it away. These are a few things that women in "Western" culture do with their placentas after their baby is born. Here are some other world culture rituals and beliefs regarding the placenta and umbilical cord (via

  • A tribe in Arizona dries the cord, and places beads onto it so the child can rub or bite it when teething.
  • Aborigines used to make necklaces from the cord for the child to wear, representing growth and aimed at warding off disease.
  • In Kenya, Masai midwives chew the cord with their teeth to separate the cord from the placenta. The midwife then pronounces, 'you are now responsible for your life as I am responsible for mine'.
  • In Yemen the placenta is placed on the family’s roof for the birds to eat, in the hope that it will guarantee the love between the parents.
  • In Malaysia the placenta is seen as the child’s older sibling and thought that the two are reunited at death. The midwife carefully washes the placenta, cord and membranes and wraps them in a white cloth to be buried.
  • In Nepal, the placenta is given the name ‘bucha-co-satthi’ – meaning ‘baby’s friend’
  • The Tanala people of Madagascar observe strict silence throughout the labour and birth and as the placenta is being delivered. When the placenta comes, everyone present claps and shouts “Vita! Vita!” – meaning ‘finished’.
  • In Sudan the placenta is considered to be the infant's 'spirit double' and can be buried in a place that represents the parents' hopes for their child (e.g. close to a hospital to become a doctor).


    1. That's all so interesting - thanks for sharing!

    2. Hormonal changes in the course of pregnancy make a pregnant woman vulnerable to illness and infection. Getting a regular prenatal check up is not enough to ensure overall health and wellness. Females need to ensure that what ever they consume is safe for them, and their growing child.


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