Following the birth of my first son, I had no plans for my placenta other than to merely get it out of me. But during my second pregnancy, under the care of homebirth midwives, I requested that they save my placenta, for… well, I don’t know. I had vague plans to plant a tree in honor of my son’s birth, and bury the placenta at the site, but here we are, two years later, with no new tree and the placenta still in a Ziploc bag in our garage deep-freeze with my husband threatening to use it as fish bait. Although most women in the U.S. have no intention of doing anything with their placenta, a small but growing number of women are choosing to eat it, according to New York Magazine.
While most of us know how vitally important an organ the placenta is during pregnancy, filtering toxins while passing vitamins, oxygen and other nutrients from mom to baby, an increasing number of new moms believe that a placenta still has plenty to offer after birth and are engaging in placentophagia, or the practice of placenta consumption. Why, you might rightly ask? Beyond the fact that virtually all land mammals do so (leading some to think that there must be a reason behind this natural compulsion), placenta contains plenty of iron, B-12 and certain hormones, which some believe increase a new mom’s strength and milk production and even stave off postpartum depression (although scientific studies have yet to back this up).
While some hospitals have policies against releasing placentas to their former owners, those who have managed to tote them home along with their new babe have done everything from devouring placenta in stew, smoothie, jerky, or capsule form. And, like just about everything else nowadays, you can hire out your placenta prep—which is a good thing, considering how tired us new moms are before getting to indulge in any placenta. Should we ever have another baby, I’d actually consider the dehydration/encapsulation method (but I don't think I could stomach eating placenta for dinner)—with three kids at home, I’d think I could use any help I could get in getting back on my feet.
What about you, would you eat your placenta?