Petrucco, from Bristol, turns umbilical cords into unique, arty keepsakes and the placentas into health products.
She started her business after trying placenta pills – something used by the likes of Kim Kardashian and Coleen Rooney – before learning to make her own tablets, smoothies and face creams from afterbirth.
She also takes the umbilical cord from the placenta given by her customers, dries it in a special oven, and shapes it into bespoke gifts for the mum.
Nicole explained: ‘They can frame the keepsake or use them how they like.
‘A lot of ladies aren’t expecting them, but they are a really sentimental thing to have. They absolutely love that. It is really special.’
So, how did Nicole get into her line of work?
Well, Nicole, a mum-of-one at the time and a fan of alternative medicine, trained as a doula in 2010, a role that means she gives non-medical help and support to new mums, assisting them with both pregnancy and childbirth.
A year later, she gave birth to her second child, Charlie, now five. Having learned of the health benefits of consuming the placenta during her second pregnancy, Nicole decided to turn her own placenta into capsules and smoothies.
Nicole, also mum to Lola, eight, and Sky, two, explained: ‘When I was pregnant, I knew a lady who did placenta encapsulation. She offered me a discount so I opted for the tablets and a smoothie.’
Nicole consumed the placenta products up to three times a day for around six to eight weeks after Charlie’s birth, and she described the entire journey as ‘incredible’.
She said: ‘One of the biggest differences was how quickly the bleeding stopped after pregnancy. Mums are often told to expect bleeding post-natally for six to eight weeks, which is a long time.
‘I found with the capsules that my bleeding had completely stopped after six days.
‘Physically, it made me feel like I was back to normal. My milk came in properly – really quickly, too. It was 12 hours after the smoothie. Normally it takes three to four days.’
A few months later, Nicole’s friend said she was also interested in placenta encapsulation, and so Nicole helped her to do it.
Straight away, more and more new mums were coming to Nicole for help.
To meet the high demand, Nicole completed a training course through IPEN – an international placenta remedy training network – to allow her to provide the service for strangers as well as friends.
Now, single mum Nicole works with between one and two placentas each week, charging around £150 per mother for the basic encapsulation service.
Turning her art into a business, Nicole now turns placentas into both capsules, smoothies, and umbilical cords into sweet gifts for the mums as a congratulations on their birth.
Mums are given guidelines on how to store the placenta in ice, to preserve it until Nicole arrives.
She then collects it from the mother usually in coolbag and icebox, either at the hospital or at home, within 24 hours after the birth.
Nicole takes the placenta – which is packed with iron, protein and vitamin B6 – back to her home kitchen, where she starts to prepare it under very strict health and safety guidelines.
If her customer wants a smoothie, she keeps some of the placenta back and then grinds the rest. For other clients, she grinds it all into pills.
To make the pills, the placenta is cut into strips and dried in a special oven for 14 to 16 hours. Nicole then grinds it into a powder before using a capsule filler machine to make the pills.
So that mothers can begin benefiting from the nutrient-packet placenta products as soon as possible, Nicole delivers the pills within two to three days.
For the umbilical gifts, the process starts with first removing the umbilical cord from the placenta. Nicole then dries it in a specially made oven to turn it into bespoke keepsakes such as dreamcatchers and drums for the new mums.
She explained: ‘I make the umbilical cord keepsakes as standard. I twist them into a shape – usually a heart – and put them in a little bag for them.
‘For some women, I also work with the membrane that the placenta and the baby sit in.
‘I carefully remove it and cover it in salt. I lie it in salt until it’s dry, but not too dry to ply it.
‘I use willow as a frame for the dreamcatchers, or I have reclaimed old very small tribal drums. I manipulate the membrane on to whatever frame I’m using and then sew it all together with silk thread.
‘Then I can decorate them and the result is a really lovely memento.’
Nicole says that she wants her service to open women’s eyes to see that they have total choice over their bodies. She said: ‘It’s quite common that people donate the placenta to the hospital,’ said Nicole. ‘But it does actually belong to the mother.
‘I want to make sure that people realise that they have a choice, as there are a lot of things they can do with the placenta. It has been viewed as a waste product, but it can be so beneficial.’
‘I get a lot of really great feedback from my clients all the time. Women do feel like it really helps them recover after giving birth, so I work as quickly as I can,’ she added.
Though Nicole admits that the reactions to what she does have been ‘mixed’, most people are generally ‘intrigued’ and want to hear more about her work.
Writer: Hattie Gladwell for Metro.co.uk