Eating the Placenta
- December 16, 2013
- by Melissa Lawrence
Hello, everyone! Melissa here with an interesting new discussion about whether or not you should eat the placenta after you give birth. I came across an interesting article by Heidi Markoff on what to expect if you consider placentophagy (the technical term for eating the placenta, which I’m still working out how to pronounce correctly!) and what you should do to prepare yourself for it. Personally, I’ve never really heard about it until recently but it’s not as uncommon as you may think. This trend has really been picking up steam as of late, especially with celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and January Jones publicly claiming that they would eat their babies’ placentas after birth. But, just because you can eat your placenta after birth, does that mean you should? This is not something that I’ve ever done, but that’s not to say that it won’t be the right choice for you. Let’s talk about the pros and cons!
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Is eating the placenta after birth worth it?
The main argument is that many mammals eat the placenta after giving birth, and humans are one of the few who don’t. Placentas are very vitamin and nutrient-rich, as this tissue holds all of the nutrients that go from mother to baby and help the fetus grow into a healthy, well-developed baby. Vitamins B6 and B12, progesterone, and estrogen are just a few of the mineral benefits of eating a placenta, and it’s arguably a healthy way to make sure that a postpartum woman receives a lot of iron. Others also argue that it helps with breast milk production and they claim that it can help with postpartum depression, too.
I read up a lot about this subject, and luckily, I have a sister who works at Columbia University as a high-risk OB-GYN who gave me better insight. There have actually been no clinical trials that have shown without a doubt that there has been any health benefit from eating the placenta. There have been a few very small studies that did show an increase in breast milk production and pain relief as shown in rats, but no control groups were used.
This isn’t something that has been extensively studied, so it’s really up in the air as to what health benefits, if any, come from eating the placenta. This is really something that you should talk to your doctor about to see if it’s worth your while.
To hear about what steps you should take before deciding to eat the placenta, watch my video! Mamas, please weigh in and share your thoughts in the comments section below. Is this something you have done, or would consider doing? I would love to hear your stories!