Mother to sue hospital for refusing to release her placenta

Filed under: Activities: Babies, Mommy Wars, Your Pregnancy

A woman in Las Vegas is suing the hospital where she gave birth to her child because the hospital is refusing to release her placenta to her, and she had been planning to ingest it for its nutrients. Anne Swanson, 30, is an earthy mama who google searches reveal is an advocate for natural hypnobirth, and before the April birth of her second child by emergency C-section, she had planned to have her placenta dried, ground into powder and placed into capsules for the treatment of post-partum depression. The theory behind this non-traditional practice is that excess hormones build up in the placenta during pregnancy, and new mothers can take the pills and replenish depleted hormones and control PPD.

Swanson says the hospital has told her the organ was contaminated. "Like any other body part, placentas contain a lot of blood, which can carry infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis,'' said Twinkle Chisholm, a spokeswoman for the hospital. "We take great measures to prevent disease transmission.'' Swanson thinks that is ridiculous, because she does not have HIV or hepatitis, and believes she is really just a victim of intolerance for non-traditional beliefs. "I can keep my baby, but I can't have the link that connected us,'' Swanson said. "This was my last pregnancy. I am not going to have another placenta. To me, it was a big deal to have it, whether I was using it for medicinal reasons or planting it.''

Swanson is planning to sue the hospital, though concerns over legal fees have her considering the ACLU and Planned Parenthood for support. The placenta is scheduled to be destroyed tomorrow. There are no state or federal laws regulating whether hospitals should or should not return placentas to mothers. The hospital has not explained why Swanson's placenta is contaminated more than any other placenta, and it sounds to me like they are treating the matter this way because they think it's weird. It is a little weird, but I don't see how it's any of the hospital's concern what she wants to do with it. It came out of her body, wrapped around her daughter after sustaining her for so many months. If she wants to eat it, or bury it her garden, or wear it draped over her breasts during a naked solstice moon dance, I don't see why she shouldn't be able to do whatever she would have been able to do had she given birth at home according to her wishes.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.