For many of us the birth planning ends with a decision about cord clamping. But there are actually even more options to think about. So often the placenta is just thrown away as waste. It is a very special piece of the birth, highly regarded as spiritual in some places. Rather than dismissing this amazing organ perhaps you might choose to honor it and the baby-cord-placenta trinity in some way. 1. Lotus Birth- this is where the cord is not clamped or cut after delivery of baby and placenta. The placenta is kept loosely wrapped in a cloth sitting in a bowl or basket next to baby. The cord will naturally dry and shrink and break off. Then you are free to bury or otherwise dispose of the placenta. Benefits: First and foremost this method allows for full benefits of delayed cord clamping allowing full blood transfusion from placenta to baby. Detaching baby from his/her placenta is a very spiritual thing in some places. This allows it to happen naturally in its own time when both halves are naturally ready. It is also said that the cord stump heals faster compared to when it is manually cut. There is zero risk of tetanus, or other transmittable diseases, from unclean scissors.2. Extended Delayed Cord Clamping & Cutting - for those who do not wish to do a full lotus birth, or are unable to because they will be encapsulating their placenta, this is an excellent option. This option allows for more transfusion of blood to baby from the placenta. Some wait a timed amount, like one minute or five. Others wait until the placenta has stopped pulsating, signaling the completion of the blood transfusion to baby.Benefits: Studies are now confirming that delayed cord clamping improved a baby’s iron stores and hemoglobin levels, and resulted in an increased birth weight. Waiting an hour or more after birth to cut the cord has also been seen to result in quicker stump healing.3. Cord Burning vs Cord Cutting - the process of cord burning as actually quite simple and can be done in about 10-15 minutes. Two candles are used, one on each side, to burn through the cord, cauterizing it, and detach baby from the placenta. Benefits: This is regularly practiced in areas where tetanus is an issue to remove the chance a baby could become infected by unsterilized scissors cutting the cord. Asians believe the burning of the cord moves the Qi (life force) from the placenta to the baby.4. Making Placenta Prints- the process of making placenta prints is a fun and easy way to make a very personal keepsake. All you need is a large sheet of paper. You can get a few papers and try to lay the placenta down in different ways. Some people add paint and artwork once the print is dry, some paint the placenta and then make prints. If you plan to consume your placenta you would not want to use paint for prints.Benefits: Like a fingerprint this is a very personal one of a kind keepsake. They are used as art hung on a wall and the start of future anatomy & physiology discussion with your children.5. Burying the Placenta- traditionally this is done in a garden or holy site and a tree is planted over the placenta. Just keep the placenta in the freezer until you are ready for the burial. It can be done along with a blessing or ceremony of your choice. The selection of the burial site should be a place of honor.Benefits: Many people choose to bury the placenta for spiritual or religious reasons, honoring its existence and giving it full burial rites. It can be a way to give something back to Mother Earth who provided mom with nourishment throughout pregnancy.6. Placenta Encapsulation- a trained placenta encapsulator will dehydrate and grind up your placenta using traditional Chinese method (TCM), Traditional Method, or the Raw Method. The resulting grounds are then filled into capsules to be taken by mom. Tinctures and salves are also commonly made at that time for future use.Benefits: Many studies verify that consuming your placenta through encapsulation can benefit a mother. Reduced risk of postpartum depression through iron intake, balancing of hormones, increase in maternal instinct and nurturing, increased breast milk production, pain relief and more.