Several news reports say cooking your own placenta after birth and eating it is becoming more common. But is this for real?
By Sarah Yang for TheBump.com
No, you didn't read the title wrong. According to several reports, a growing number of moms are eating their own placentas after childbirth for nutritional benefits. Two years ago, we read a piece in Time magazine about new parents hiring a "placenta preparer" to come to their home, cook the mom's placenta, then dehydrate it and make it into capsules -- all for the low price of $275! And in 2008, news spread about a Japanese company marketing placenta health drinks. The theory? Some believe that eating your own placenta helps with postpartum depression, breastfeeding and post-birth recovery. We thought it was just a crazy trend back then, but now placenta-eating has made front-page headlines again with a New York magazine article, "The Placenta Cookbook."
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Placenta-eating isn't a new phenomenon; it's actually been happening for decades. According to New York magazine, "placentophagia" -- the process of placenta consumption - -- exists in traditional Chinese medicine. Small doses of dried placenta are mixed with herbs to help with impotence and lactation problems. The New York magazine article reports that the first recorded instance of placentophagia in the United States was in the '70's, when people living in communes sometimes shared placenta stew. According to the reports, there are many different ways of consuming the placenta these days: You can encapsulate it in pill form or add it to everyday foods like smoothies (we've even heard of a placenta sandwich). As for the 'placenta preparers,' apparently there are at least a few businesses across the country dedicated to this practice.
While the placenta does have high levels of iron and vitamin B-12, there isn't a lot of scientific evidence out there that shows its actual effect on the health of women post-birth. However, some women have reported feeling much better after consuming their placentas. We guess we'll never know whether or not that's due to a placebo effect though. We have to admit, we're a little on the fence about this growing trend and were wondering what you all think. Think about it: Would you eat your own placenta?
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