Eating your Placenta

Some people cringe at the thought of eating your placenta while others believe it has several health benefits. The practice of eating your placenta is called placentophagy.  It’s not for everyone but there may be some advantages of it.  Today we’re exploring the topic of eating your placenta.

Placentophagy has been practiced in many cultures throughout history.  It isn’t currently commonplace for any particular culture, but mothers across the globe, from naturalists to celebrities, have reported its benefits.

The placenta (or afterbirth) is the very first element that begins to grow when you conceive.  It is the lifeline between you and your baby, providing nutrients, oxygen and hormones as your baby develops, and it also discards your baby’s waste.

eating your placentaChock full of vitamins like Vitamins B6 and B12, essential minerals like iron, fats and proteins, the placenta is a powerhouse of nutrition.  It has to be to sustain your baby for 9 months in the womb.  That is also why many women believe it is a good nutritional choice after childbirth.

The nutrients found in the placenta are known energy boosters.  Iron helps oxygenate blood flow, which can be invigorating.  Protein and fat are basic needs for organs and muscles to thrive.  Women who eat their placenta claim to have more energy after an exhausting childbirth and while taking care of a newborn.  The placenta also contains hormones including estrogen and progesterone that can reduce incidence of postpartum depression and increase breast milk supply, according to some proponents.

The placenta is the only human organ produced that is then discarded.  After a baby is born vaginally, the afterbirth is delivered and usually taken away as hazardous waste.  When babies are delivered via c-section, the doctor will remove the placenta after taking the baby.

For women who choose to eat their placenta, it must be stored in a refrigerator or freezer until it is consumed.  The placenta is like any other meat and can spoil easily.  It can also be ground into powder or pills.  If you do decide to try eating your placenta, be vigilant of side-effects.  If you or your baby experience any negative symptoms after eating your placenta you should notify your doctor immediately.

There is no concrete evidence that eating your placenta provides health benefits.  Like many practices in parenting, you have to weigh the potential benefits and risks under the consultation of your doctor and make a decision that is right for you.  While the nutrition found in the placenta can certainly be consumed in other areas of your diet, this nutrient-dense option is “delivered” once in a lifetime for each of your babies.

Sources:  WebMD and What to Expect

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