To eat, or not to eat… my placenta! I didn’t choose to eat my placenta, because it’s the “trendy” thing to do — ever since January Jones announced to People Magazine that she did it for the extra boost of energy after delivering her baby boy. Honestly I am more of a hippie at heart and wanted to complete my birth-a-thon with as much au natural goodness as possible. Did you know that we are the only mammals who do not consume our afterbirth? I mean everyone around me is obsessed with the Paleo diet, so I’m just expressing my own postpartum “hunter and gatherer” diet. I’m not saying that I made a Placenta Smoothie with some almond butter and strawberries or sautéed it with some garlic and onions and ate it with a fork and knife… no no no… instead I had my placenta encapsulated (i.e. it was like taking a daily multi-vitamin).
If you are thinking about consuming your placenta, the first step is to ask your doctor/ hospital if you are allowed to take it. I delivered at GW Hospital and my midwife examined the placenta to make sure everything was healthy and normal before giving me the green light to eat it! What you consume during your pregnancy determines how nutrient dense your placenta is. All my yummy homemade green juices gave me a three month supply of pills, but everyone is different. This is just another reason to stay super healthy and be very conscious of what you eat during you’re pregnancy.
Warning about placenta consumption: you DO have to take it with you from the hospital. My husband definitely thought my hormones had gotten the best of me when I brought a cooler and Ziploc bags to the hospital. “Mel—are you really bringing that home?” “No…” I said, “My mom is.” I had scheduled a professional placenta preparer (yes they exist) to come over and pick it up to perform the 2-day process of encapsulation (where it is steamed, dehydrated, and then grinded into small flakes that then go into gel capsules). Just before the placenta preparer came over, my husband’s Italian in-laws and grandparents came to see the baby and stock our refrigerator with TONS of food. OMG… I told my husband that “the PLACENTA is the first thing you see staring at you when you open the refrigerator in a nice CLEAR container!!” I didn’t want to make a big deal about it, so what’s a girl to do but smile and distract with my new baby J Luckily he is pretty cute…
Why does one do this?? Well there is a considerable debate over whether these pills truly work, but in my experience they worked like a charm!! The placenta is supposed to reduce fatigue, fight postpartum depression, help boost milk production, prevent blood clotting, and help with weight-loss. I can honestly say that I experienced each of these positive side effects and would definitely do it again!
As lovely as consuming your placenta may sound, it’s definitely not for everyone! So ask your doctor, do your research, and decide if it’s an option that you can stomach!