Dracula Cunt (buncombe) wrote in little_details,
Dracula Cunt

Placenta Burial in the United States

My question: I know that recently there's been some hubbub about what to do with the placenta following birth (I guess Rod Stewart had a burial ceremony, which brought it into the news), and I know that placenta burial is part of Navajo tradition (among many other cultures), but I'm wondering if anyone has an idea (or at least anecdotal evidence) of when this began to gain "popularity" (i.e. not as part of any one established ethnic/religious/spiritual tradition) in the recent history of the U.S.

Specifically: is there any possibility that an American of European decent who is not a recent immigrant would have even thought to bury the placenta after giving birth at some point between the early-1940's and mid-1950's? The time is pretty vague but within that 15-ish-year period. The mother in question would have been living on the fringe of "respectable" society anyway, but I'm wondering if the idea of a ritualized placenta burial would even occur to someone living at that time.

I'm assuming that because of general 20th century Western medical practices (especially mid-century), the very fact that she would have the placenta would indicate an unassisted home birth [Edit: Bad phrasing. Home birth without medical assistance]. In this case, I have seen it indicated that placenta burial can be considered simply a safe disposal option, but I'm looking specifically for this to be a spiritual action on the mother's part, with reverence to the burial site.

I realize that if this doesn't make sense with the time period, I could make it up (being fiction and all) but because I've already put a lot of effort into making this story historically/culturally/technologically accurate I'd rather not include this idea if it isn't reasonable.

I'm a little worried that I've failed in my own searches because of the variety of possible search terms here. However, I have spent some time on this and I've come up mostly with articles that deal with other cultures' traditions, and then suddenly jump to America or Western Europe today without an explanation of when these practices were adopted. If you think I've simply missed an obvious mode of research, I'd really like to hear your suggestions, and I apologize.

Thank you very much in advance!
Tags: ~medicine: reproduction

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