Are you a placentophage? If you want to smother your placenta in grilled onions or chew it raw, you’re among a growing group of placentophagy fans. Eating placenta (placentophagy) seems perfectly normal to some people and out of this world gross to others.
Eating placenta isn’t new, but it’s a hot topic you might want to consider for your birth plan.
Mammals with placentas are part of the Eutherian group. And most of them eat that amazing organ.
Humans are Eutherian mammals, too. So why shouldn’t women eat theirs?
In some cultures women eat their afterbirth or have sacred rituals for that.
So when you plan your birth, is a placenta meal or ritual something you want to include? If so, you can mention it in your birth plan so your birth attendants know to keep it safe.
The three ways women choose to ingest their placentas:
- Raw -believed to have the greatest amount of nutrients.
- Cooked – as you would a steak and seasoned the same way. Recipes abound for everything from placenta truffles to placenta chili.
- Dried – put into capsules that you can take over time like a vitamin.
Your midwife, doula, or other placental practitioner can do this for you.
Also, you can buy a kit and do it yourself.
Some women and care providers enthusiastically claim placentas help with a whole list of issues.
But the scientific community and some care providers are less convinced.
Let’s look at the pros and cons of placenta munching.
And then you can decide if you’ll include this birth preference on the final version of your birth plan.
PROS – proponents of placentophagy claim these benefits:
- Used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for strengthening a variety of body functions
- Full of stem cells, iron, hormones, proteins, and fats
- Helps lactation and increases milk supply
- Helps relieve uterine cramps
- Relieves or prevents postpartum depression
- Relieves or prevents insomnia
- Relief from menopause symptoms later
CONS – detractors of placentophagy argue that:
- Claims have not been scientifically proven through randomized controlled trials (RCTs).
- There are no studies that examine the risks.
- Placenta holds toxins, heavy metals, and bacteria as well as beneficial hormones and minerals,.
- Processing it may introduce bacteria.
- Heating the placenta above 95 degrees Fahrenheit may neutralize the benefits.
- There are no national standards for preservation or preparation of the placenta.
- There are no studies for the long-term effects of consuming placenta.
Some hospitals or birthing centers will pack up your placenta for you, but some may not allow you to take home.
Be sure to check what your hospital or birthing center allows before you write the birth plan.
If you decide to bring yours home, what do you need to include on your hospital bag checklist?
To learn more about postpartum choices, download our free Birth Plan eBook now. After three years of research, collaboration with more than 100 childbirth experts and resource centers from Healthy Child Healthy World to the American Association of Neonatal Nurses, the Best Ever Baby Birth Plan Guide is available for a free download.
This new resource for pregnant families is a compilation of top tips and advice from more than 20 nationally-recognized experts in the field including renowned pediatrician, Dr. Alan Greene and GraceFull Birthing founder, midwife Elizabeth Bachner. These trusted experts offer thoughtful guidance for whatever type of birthing experience parents want, in whichever setting they choose.
Published: December 5, 2016 | By SP Turgon, Certified Labor Doula | Reviewed by: Kim Walls, Natural Products Expert, Elizabeth Bachner, LM, CPM, L.Ac., Midwife | Last reviewed: December, 2016