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Something I never thought I'd do: Eat my placenta

Written by: Mindy June 27 2011 OK, before you get too weirded out by the title of this post, I have two things to say: (1) I am not a hippie, and (2) placenta is like crack to the new mom. No joke. Before having any babies, I’d heard on and off that some women...

Written by: Mindy

OK, before you get too weirded out by the title of this post, I have two things to say: (1) I am not a hippie, and (2) placenta is like crack to the new mom. No joke.

Before having any babies, I’d heard on and off that some women eat their placentas. Some even have their placentas turned into pills. I found this more than a little strange.

Other placenta tales I knew of centered around “honoring” the placenta, but not ingesting it. For example, burying it in your yard. I didn’t find this idea half bad. In fact, before Caden was born, my sister gave us a pear tree to plant in his honor. I thought it’d be pretty cool to bury Caden’s placenta under his pear tree.That idea was too creepy for my husband, so I let it go. I did get to see Caden’s placenta right after he was born (picture included here for your benefit). It looks like … well, like an internal organ. Not exactly pretty, you know? So, we let the hospital dispose of Caden’s placenta and never thought anything of it …

Until, that is, Chloe was born. See, there are supposed to be incredible benefits from ingesting your placenta. It’s packed with vitamins and minerals and other life-giving nutrients. After all, it provides for your baby during the most vital growing stages of her life.

Humans are actually the only mammals who don’t eat their placentas after giving birth. All other mama-mammals do it because it replenishes their bodies with all the nutrients the pregnancy sucked out of them.

Ingesting your placenta is also proven to make an incredible difference when it comes to postpartum depression. Studies have actually been done on this. In fact, I know of one woman who had severe postpartum depression after birthing her first baby. For her second birth, she wanted desperately to avoid that. She found some practitioner who knew of an ancient Chinese way to cook a placenta and then eat it—just as you would any meat. The woman did this and never had an ounce of depression the second time around.

I began getting interested in “consuming” my placenta after I read it could boost energy levels. See, after Caden was born, I felt down-and-out energy-wise for weeks. This, despite a healthy pregnancy, easy birth, and all kinds of good food. To be honest, I was pretty impatient with my lack of energy lasting for so long.

As Chloe’s birth approached, I wanted things to be different. I figured it would not bode well to be so lackluster postbirth with two small tots to take care of. So we looked into our options. Now, I’m not a big meat-eater, so the concept of actually eating my placenta was not an option. But, encapsulation—aka having it turned into pills— was OK.

All we did was a quick Google search to find a midwife in our area who does placenta encapsulation. The one we found actually came over to our house a few days postbirth. It was a two-day, $200 process. I didn’t get to actually see it since I was hanging out in the NICU with Chloe during that first week, but apparently it involved a little boiling and a little dehydrating and then presto: a pretty little jar of vitamins. They don’t look any different than any other vitamins I’ve ever taken.

As for actually taking them … I’ve been thrilled with the results. Was it an instant energy-booster? Yep. Was it also a mood-enhancer? Absolutely. Are placenta pills the new crack for the postpartum woman? They should be!

Seriously though, I was amazed at what a difference they made. I just took my last one a few days ago and I’m actually a little nervous as to how life will be without my new drug. I don’t think it was the placebo effect, though if it was, who cares? Bottom line: It was highly worth it and is something I encourage every new mom to do. Just maybe don’t talk about it at cocktail parties. People tend not to handle the subject so well.