Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: January 26, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412964623 | Print ISBN: 9781412936361 | Online ISBN: 9781412964623| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Tiffany D. Pogue
Physically, the placenta is a membranic sac in which a human fetus develops. It is a vehicle by which oxygen, nutrients, and blood necessary for the baby's development are transmitted from mother to child. It is thought that, spiritually, the placenta carries vital energy that may be used to positively or negatively affect the child or its mother. Because of its spiritual potential, the treatment of the placenta following the birth of a child is an area of important religious attention. In ancient KMT, or Egypt, the placenta was considered to be a spirit double of the child. The Igbo of Nigeria associate the placenta with the infant, but not with the baby's spirit double, or chi . The Baganda people view the placenta as a second child that is stillborn and becomes a ghost. Because the placenta is thus tied to the well-being of the infant, ...