Eating Your Placenta and other things to do with it.

Placenta Sandwich? (nope, it's not really, but there are placenta recipes below)

Recently on the Twiniversity Facebook page we asked “Did you ever consider eating your placenta?” with over 90 comments, you can say it was a hot topic.

Perhaps I’m close minded, but I assumed most folks were leaving their placenta for it’s trip to the medical waste plant, but surprise… not everyone does, more and more moms are taking it home!

Some may balk at the topic, some may say it’s CRAZY. Others would say you are crazy NOT to eat your placenta, but regardless folks see this topic in a mostly black and white kinda way.

One mom commented “Oh holy fear factor, no!“, another commented, “You bet I did…sauteed that sucker with mushrooms and onions, garnished with parsley and a side of mashed tatoes. mmm mmm mmm!“. You’ve got to respect the diversity of our families.

For the skeptics, let’s get some quick Q & A stuff out of the way:

Why on earth would you want to eat your placenta?

Recently, Dr. Sanjay Gupta explained that there are theoretical effects that say eating your placenta is a good source of nutrients and may help with postpartum depression*.  Websites like Placenta Benefits go on an on about the crucial benefits of ingesting your afterbirth, however after hours and hours of research I have not found any HARD evidence that proves any there are ANY benefits… but neither could I find the reverse. So as of now, I can’t argue for it, or against it. In all sincerity, since I suffered from such bad post partum depression, if I knew this was an option, I might have considered it myself.

The folks at Brooklyn Placenta Services say on their website say “Placenta capsules are used to: Balance your hormones, support breast milk production, increase your overall energy, and combat fatigue and aid with sleep disorders”. They go on to list the that Placenta capsules may help “shorten postpartum recovery, balance your mind, body and spirit, prevent “baby blues”, shorten postpartum bleeding time, assist with uterine involution process and decrease likelihood of iron deficiency.

But their site also adds the disclaimer : “The information on this page has not been evaluated by the FDA. Brooklyn Placenta Services does not intend to make medical treatment claims. Services provided are not clinical, pharmaceutical, or intended to diagnose or treat any condition. Families who choose to utilize the services on this page take full responsibility for their own health and capsule usage.”

So does it work? Doesn’t it work? I guess it might be a while before the government chimes in and does some studyin up.

Ok, so despite what you have read about the effect just being “claims”, you decided you are going to do it. You are going to eat your placenta. Now what?

The first thing you need to do is find out the rules for bringing it home. Many states say that a placenta is only considered “waste” if it is going to be tossed in the trash.  If the parent ask that the placenta be returned to them, then it is then not considered “waste”. So that’s your legal leg to stand on IF you want to bring your placenta home. Check with the rules of your local state/providence if you want specific details.

Once you’ve liberated it from the hospital, you can prepare it in several different ways for consumption. You can:

You can cook it (warning: clicking some of the recipe links will show you photos of real placentas).

  • Placenta Lasagna

    Placenta Lasagna

  • Placenta Sandwich
  • Placenta Pizza
  • Placenta Spaghetti (I’m seeing an italian food trend here, no?)
  • Placenta Jerky: Cut off the cord and membranes.  Steam the placenta, adding lemon grass, pepper and ginger to the steaming water. The placenta is “done” when no blood comes out when you pierce it with a fork. Cut the placenta into thin slices (like making jerky) and bake in a low-heat oven (200-250 degrees F), until it is dry and crumbly (several hours).

If you don’t think eating it will be an option for you, consider taking Placenta Capsules. Companies like the Brooklyn Placenta Service can do it for you. The prices range from $150 to $280 for the services depending on where you live, however you may be able to find it cheaper if you look around.

Websites like the Placenta Bakery will give you a directory of the folks in your area who can help you.

Not into the idea of eating or ingesting at all? How about planting it?

“I have two in my freezer. Going to plant a tree with them one day.” says one Twiniversity Facebook fan.

This info is pretty easy to find. There was even an article on planting your placenta on the TLC website.  If you are worried you might move, consider planting your placenta, along with a small tree, in a pot. That way, if you move, you’ll never have to worry.

Still need more options? What about a Placenta Bear?

 

Placenta Bear by designer Alex Green. Image from inhabitots.com.

If the bear is out of your comfort zone, what about a placenta print?

Well now you know what your options are. Regardless of what side of the fence you are on, yuck or yay, the fact remains that it’s a moms choice, and how lucky are we to have that choice.

Many cultures around the globe never have to read an article like this. They simply do what their mom did, and what her mom did before her. Traditions like this are what keep our world so interesting and diverse.

I applaud all the mama’s out there who opted to do something out of the “ordinary”.

 

* Dr. Sanjay Gupta said this on an episode of the Anderson Cooper show after the launch of an article in the New Yorker.

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