Entrepreneur turns afterbirth into food

Timaru woman Jo Jackson makes capsules and art works from  placentas. Photo by Rachael Comer.
Timaru woman Jo Jackson makes capsules and art works from placentas. Photo by Rachael Comer.
A Timaru woman's artworks are striking a ''cord'' with mothers. Jo Jackson works with placentas, or afterbirths, either processing them into capsules for mothers to eat, or making artworks.

Umbilical cord keepsakes are another addition to the business.

Miss Jackson, a mother of three, got the idea for the business from a friend.

''I've been doing this for just over a year and I do it for people throughout New Zealand,'' she said.

''I was friends with a lady who did it and she got me into it. I'm a real baby person and I decided to do it as well. I learnt everything from her.''

Women from throughout the country ship their placentas to Miss Jackson. They needed to be double-bagged, wrapped in newspaper and placed in a leakproof container or box, she said. They were transported by courier in an approved chilly bin, which Miss Jackson provides.

Miss Jackson then dries the placenta and grinds it down to powder and puts it into capsules. Depending on the size of the placenta, it will make about 100 to 300 capsules.

She believed the placenta pills promoted milk supply and helped people ''feel really good''.

''Placentas are full of lots of different hormones.''

''Placentas are one of those taboo subjects and when I first heard about all of this I thought it was a bit weird, but for some mothers it's a really spiritual thing and I am nice and calm when I touch the placenta.''

She felt honoured to be working with a ''sacred'' object and said she took sterilisation seriously. Demand was increasing and sometimes she received up to four placentas in one week.

''A lady sent a placenta with an old scarf and a letter to the placenta thanking it for nourishing her baby and saying for it to travel safely.''

For more information, visit babytree.co.nz.

- Rachael Comer of the Timaru Courier.

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