Placenta Ends Up in Fifth Grade Classroom

Jeanne Sager

Flickr photo by Horia Varlan
A placenta that showed up in a fifth grade classroom in Colorado has parents peeved, but after carting one around in my body for nine months, I've got to ask: what's the big deal?

Taken into a science class for the kids to touch and feel, the problem seems to center around parental permission. They're OK with their kids dissecting an earthworm, but not touching what amounts to medical waste?

There, I said it. That little sac of nutrients that's helping keep your fetus alive for nine months isn't worth a hill of beans after you pop that kid out.

In fact, after you push and shove and scream and all that jazz, all you want to do is cuddle that cutie, and now the doctor is telling you you have to do it all over again to pass the placenta. Why don't they ever show that part on TV?

Of course birthing the placenta is significantly easier; something about no bones in there and already being -- shall we say -- stretched out?

And once it's passed, the hospital doesn't really care what you do with it. You can take it home and mix up a loaf for dinner. Have it ground into little pills. Or do what I did -- nothing.

My OB was all kinds of excited about the placenta, asking me if I wanted to see it, trying to explain what it does. I -- admittedly sort of rudely -- looked at him and said, "No offense, Dr. Z, but I'm more interested in her," and pointed at my little girl being swaddled by the nurses.

My husband took a gander in the name of curiosity, and then it was gone. It had served its purpose, and it was slated for disposal.

Which makes me that much more confused by the folks in Colorado -- there is no pro-life/pro-choice issue here. No baby is being harmed by the loss of the placenta. And let's face it -- if kids don't know babies come from mommy's tummy by fifth grade, we're all in a heap of trouble.

Does the placenta fascinate you?

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