Eating your placenta has often been joked about in western cultures and can even be quite a controversial thing, after all the thought is enough to churn most stomachs. That might be the case but placentas have been used in Chinese medicine since as far back as the early 1500’s and it is still really popular in certain cultures like Italian, Hungarian and Vietnamese. Placentophagy, which is the medical name for consuming your placenta, is becoming increasingly available in various different methods as it is said to be beneficial in the recovery of the mother (mentally as well as physically) and is reported to help mother’s with their breast milk supply. Even celebrities have been jumping on the band wagon! Although there are no official studies to prove the positive effects of consuming your placenta, women who have done so swear by it and reportedly have a lower rate of post-natal depression and baby blues.
What are the full benefits supposed to be?
- Helps stop post partum haemorrhaging and trigger the body to quickly heal internal wounds
- Significantly reduces blood loss Gives the body an immediate supply of essential vitamins and nutrients
- Provides the body with an immediate boost of hormones to begin healing the body after birth
- Gives the mother an immediate feeling of strength and balance
- Most mothers who have the smoothie report milk ‘comes in’ at day 2 post-partum rather than3-4 days post-partum
- Eases the hormonal transition to post-partum and helps prevent the ‘baby blues’ around the time when milk engorges the breasts.
So how can you consume your placenta?
The most popular method in modern society is to encapsulate the placenta, which is no different to taking cod liver oil tablets – something done by a large volume of the population. you can do this yourself at home if you have a dehydrator and a capsule making machine, or alternatively you can have a professional do the task for you.
Another method is to freeze the placenta and eat small pieces frozen, although this seems to be less popular and their is some concern that this can ‘kill off’ some of the benefits that the placenta has.
Placenta smoothies are another option, especially popular for women wanting to increase their milk supply as the raw fresh placenta (you usually put two or three chunks of raw fresh placenta into the smoothie along with water, banana and berries or other fruits of your choice) is said to hold the most benefits.
Finally there is cooking the placenta, with recipes like lasagne and cottage pie coming up trumps…
So could you? Would you? Knowing that it has potential benefits for you, which will pass onto your baby, is it something you would consider? For me I never had anything done with either of my placentas, however I do think that I would consider placenta capsules if I had another baby, although I couldn’t bring myself to stomach a smoothie!
I would love to hear your thoughts – have you done it? If you have did it help you? Let me know!