Eating the placenta

Joanna - posted on 02/26/2010 ( 138 moms have responded )

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I recently heard about how some moms eat the placenta after birth... It's something done in 3rd world countries and also here with the more natural mothers. At first I was disgusted... the thought made me sick. But after doing some research, I learned that the placenta can be dried and put into little capsules. There are so many benefits to this, including help with post-partum depression. After doing my research I decided to do the encapsulation!

But there is SO much debate, there are topics on this in 2 forums I'm in, some are all for it (I know some doula's who prepare it, and some who've eaten it raw, etc), some think it's gross, that it's cannibalism (which it could very well be since it is human flesh, even though it's your own).

So I wanted to see what some moms on here think! Post your gut reaction, maybe google it to read about it, share any stories if you have done it... just try not to be judgmental!

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Kate CP - posted on 03/03/2010

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Caitlin, the main reason why animals consume their placenta is because it contains vital nutrients and calories that were expended during labor. Even after the placenta has been eaten, bodily fluids like blood and mucus are still present and can't be removed simply by eating them. The pheromones remain for a while after birth which is why in the wild many mother will move their young shortly after birth.

Sharon - posted on 03/03/2010

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Hi Donna, no I don't mind. I gave it a go raw at first but found it extremely hard so I cooked it. It doesn't taste that much like liver but is a very strong taste, you can't really compare it to any other meat.

April - posted on 03/02/2010

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Like Kate C. said... I also thought of the animals that eat the placenta after having given birth. We are part of the animalia kingdom, right?! There's got to be a logical/scientific reason that an everyday thing we can an animal would eat it. They are not stupid either. Maybe we could learn from them, more than we already have.

Bernadette - posted on 03/01/2010

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Ok, not shared with many, because of the potential YUKE response! When i was 22, in California, and an avid vegetarian and homeopath, I birthed my first child naturally under water. I am an Aquarius, always enjoyed the water and felt extreamly relaxed and comfortable birthing my babies in water. Anyhow, i too read benefits to eating the placenta of the baby. It made sence to me, it was a complete natural circle. Somewhat primal, and instinctual. A full circle to natural birthing. I was unable to do this with my second child 4 years later. She too had been birthed with a mid-wife, at home, under water, in a different state. However, the circle had be made for me. I reaped the protein benenfits, the spiritual benefits and the " i am a part of the circle of life' benefits. Do what you feel is right for you, don't let anyone push you. Know who you are doing it. You will have to answer these questions as you grow older and explain to your children as they mature and become parents. Good luck on your decisiohn and congradulations. ~Bernadette~

[deleted account]

There's actually a scientific name for it: placentophagy - the act of mammals eating the placenta of their young after childbirth. (Wikipedia.)



Apparently it contains all sorts of goodies including vitamin B6, a hormone called CRH (corticotropin-releasing hormone), a known stress-reducer. It's also claimed to lower the risk of post-partum haemmorrhage and increase milk production. Good stuff, eh? See http://www.associatedcontent.com/article...



I believe many cultures worship the placenta and, in some cases, eat it.



Despite all the benefits, it's definitely not for me!!

138 Comments

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Elfrieda - posted on 04/30/2012

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I didn't find the placenta that gross when I gave birth, it was more, "oh, cool, let me touch it." But I have to say the thought of eating it didn't cross my mind. I didn't really like just letting the midwives take it away though. I think next time I'll bury it under a tree like someone else suggested.



If other people want to eat it, it's okay with me. I can see how it would replenish some iron and things after losing all that blood, and that you'd rather eat something you grew yourself rather than rely on a cow that grew up in who knows what kind of conditions.

LaCi - posted on 03/17/2010

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Taha. I was just reading. "Would you suck a wound after you got cut?" absolutely. It is my first instinct, wound goes straight to mouth.



Then, after reading further, some people are pretty touchy about this subject. I think thats pretty strange. No one is making you eat a placenta. Settle down :)

Joeline - posted on 03/16/2010

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i use to have a friend tell me tht she wanted to eat it i was grossed out by tht and then jst found out tht u can really do tht wow very interesting but very ishy

Vivienne - posted on 03/06/2010

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Placentas are big, aren't they? A little too big to eat in one sitting. In traditional cultures was it just the mum who ate it?

Anissa - posted on 03/04/2010

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wow my first gut instinct was to gag but then you said in capsule form ...interesting. definately food for thought, no pun intended lol. but if research says of its possitive effects then i say go for it. and if youre worried what others think, dont tell them.

Sandy - posted on 03/04/2010

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Wow!Not this century!!This might not be as healthy as you think!1Would you drink your menstural blood every month??Or suck a wound if you got cut,?I would not recommend it.Their is vitamins& supplements out there for you to take.If your that hungry!!!Eat a good meal !!that has plenty of nutrition for your needs!!

Louise - posted on 03/04/2010

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sry i dont agree with eating it.... and maori's dont cook it in the ground..they bury it either in the ground or in apot and plant a tree..on there home land.

[deleted account]

other animals do it, its a way to gain back nutrients lost. I dont think i could do it, but if your up for it go for it

Tiffany - posted on 03/03/2010

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Being a vegetarian I am gonna go with not eating it...but I have heard of some cultures that will bury it, possibly along with a tree sapling...maybe this would create some ritualistic significance for you?

[deleted account]

I can't get the cannibalism thought out of my head and no amount of research or differing opinions is going to fix that.....So, not a chance!

Kylie - posted on 03/03/2010

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hrmm i buried my placenta under a weeping mulberry tree and we had the most amazing crop 6 months later. Usually it takes at least 3 years for these trees to establish and fruit like this one did. I ate the fruit by the bucket full and made jam with it and gave it to my family..so we all had some of the placenta..sort of :)

Nicki - posted on 03/03/2010

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wow!thats wierd.it sounds new agey...lol.i know that animals do that...but never heard of humans doing that.

Barb - posted on 03/03/2010

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"what can a placenta do for post morteum depression..... lets see.... "NOTHING".... its all psychological.......some one just fooled a whole set of people and gave them a "placebo" to appease them and made some good money from it...."



As someone who SUFFERED from ppd, to the point that I almost took my own life and nearly lost my fiancee, it is NOT ALL IN YOUR HEAD!!! PPD is a very real thing that people need help with. Not everyone needs drugs, but everyone that suffers from it needs a support network to help them get over it. It's ONLY un-educated people that say it's "all in your head."

Emma - posted on 03/03/2010

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It is well known and recently more understood that animals eat the placenta so that carnivores cant smell it and come looking for dinner! Not to do with replacing lost nutrients, dont believe everything you read!

Jess - posted on 03/03/2010

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My Gut reaction : Ewwwww !!!! But thats just me, I get queazy at a lot of things, even my own blood makes me dizzy. I never had any interest in doing anything but send my placenta off to the biohazard bin ! But I did ask to see it, I was curios to see what it looked like. I have heard of people doing prints with the placenta... I think its called "Tree of Life" But I could be wrong with the name, they just lay the plancenta out on paper and make prints of it, loosely resembling a tree. I think thats as far as I would go with it personally.



If you can stomache consuming it in anyway than go for it. But I would research any negative side effects. My doctor has always said its bad to consume your own blood... like when you cut your finger... don't put it in your mouth because you can get very very sick from the blood...... soooo i'm guessing the placenta would be very much the same !

Caitlin - posted on 03/03/2010

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aside from the ick factor- it's not for me but you do what you like. and if there is research on PND then look into it fully and make the best decision you can.

but to those referring to animals eating theirs- my understanding was that this was predominantly to remove as much smell/trace of the birth which attracts predators to the weakened mum and newborn bub, not necessarily for any nutritional gain. so since we're unlikely to be stalked by a savage predator within hours of our bubs birth i'm not convinced the 'animals do it' argument is valid.

DeLores - posted on 03/03/2010

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I have heard about putting it in shampoos... but never eating it... I have to say the I personally wouldnt... and here in Texas, they wouldnt let you keep it anymore anyway... but no, I wouldnt do that

Rebekah - posted on 03/03/2010

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I'm all about natural alternatives! Good for you for being open and wanting to talk about it. We need more moms who aren't ashamed to speak their mind about things that others see as "taboo". I had my second son at a birth center and decided to take home my placenta for educational purposes and I have never been so teased or harassed until then. I'm like, guys this was my baby's life support, have some freaking respect!! I've never considered consuming the placenta via capsules but I'd be totally open to it!

Tcordukes - posted on 03/02/2010

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i wouldn't do it, But Funny story.....

When was in Labour with our second, i had a pregnant midwife and she asked my husband half way through the labour if we would like to keep it? My husband was quite discussed (he didn't cope well with the whole birthing thing... lol) anyways his response was.
No WAY!!!! are u keeping yours? Her response.. I actually still have my daughters at home in the freezer.. were planning to plant a tree....
My husband felt pretty bad it was quite funny... lol....

Crystal - posted on 03/02/2010

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i have heard of making soup out of it. i do not think i could eat it even know that it is healthy. i could not get in the mind set if i tried. good luck and hope you do what you want

Iridescent - posted on 03/02/2010

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Nicole, nobody said it would help with "post morteum depression", because for that to be the case you'd need to feed it to your dead grandpa or some such thing. Your statement literally means "after death depression". It's proven to help with Post PARTUM Depression, which literally means "after birth depression".

Tara - posted on 03/02/2010

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yuck, sorry but it sounds dumb, I'd never do it! thats me.. ifyou want to do something that can help change/save a life, bank cord blood. stem cells thats a regret I have... research that, I think it will make better reading!! good luck

Ali - posted on 03/02/2010

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I support the encapsulation. I didn't do any research on the subject, but had I known that ecapsulation was an option, I definately would have done gone that route. I just assumed that the raw form was the only way it was handled. My husband wanted to make a face serum out of it for rejuvenating purposes, but that didn't happen either. The health benefits are amazing, rather than thinking of it as gross, just think of it as concentrated life... that sounds pretty appealing to me. :) I'll defiantely be doing the encapsulation with my next one!

Zatonda - posted on 03/02/2010

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never know til you try,keep us posted if it made a difference, I'm sure it can't be that bad if a baby required it.. good luck.

Olga - posted on 03/02/2010

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There are millions of moms who chose not to eat their placenta and they are doing just fine. Why burn your brain about this? Save your energy for when your baby becones 13 years old. Your are really going to need it then.

Ame - posted on 03/02/2010

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hey Joanna i ate part of the placenta and it wasnt too bad...you don't have to eat the WHOLE thing for it to be beneficial...we have also kept some of our baby girls placenta to plant under a tree at her naming ceremony but a few slithers we had fried with pepper and had it on crackers!kinda tasted like chewy pate'...hehe:) my mother was our midwife(which was awesome)and wve always been a bit on the natural side of things and she suggested it to us and after doing a bit of research my husband, mum and I all tried abit...i know it might sound weird but it was a lovely family bonding thing. my mum said she would never have some of her clients but her own flesh and blood...why not just once off!!! i felt quite quite whole & at peace after having some of the life line that helped produce our beautiful baby daughter inside me for 9months, who is so chilled out, sleeps very well, no PND for me and my milk supply is just great...placenta maybe helped???:) in the end eating it didnt kill us and so why not!!! good luck with your decision...but when uv made it stick to your guns no matter what anyone says to you...wve got a few sideway stares when people have first found out but then actually become quite interested to go and do their own reseach!!!

Heidi - posted on 03/02/2010

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my opinion is that the women in 3rd world countries probably eat it for the extra nutrients that they may need, we don't live in a 3rd world country therefore we are able to find ample nutrients at the grocery store. If you are fearful about suffering from postpartum talk to your doctor. If you are set on the idea the capsules would be the "easiest to swallow"

Cassy - posted on 03/02/2010

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Okay, honestly, I felt as though I was going to vomit. I guess everyone is different though! *great! my husband just said dinner's ready....ugh*

Katherine - posted on 03/02/2010

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This should be a SUBJECTIVE conversation. Although it is not relative to you it is relative to others

Christine - posted on 03/02/2010

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i can understand 3rd world but other then that no, we here in the nz plant it under a special plant or tree

Joanna - posted on 03/02/2010

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April, if you find a doula in your area, ask her... likely her or someone she knows does the encapsulation (it's more common than you think). I did a google search for "placenta encapsulation in ___ county" and found one so quickly!

April - posted on 03/02/2010

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Yep, first reaction: "OMG! Gross!" Then I read on... "help with PPD?" Hmmmm... I'll look at that more closely, but I'd guess a person would have a hard time finding someone that could do the encapsulation process? I'm with you. I have a problem with depression and don't like taking meds while breastfeeding, but I also don't want to feel or act stupid toward anyone esp. the baby if I were to stop taking antidepressants for a while.

Kate CP - posted on 03/02/2010

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Nicole, that was the rudest, most ignorant post I have seen in a while. Do some damn research and you will see that yes, it is very beneficial. Why the hell do you think so many animals do it? For the taste? They do it because they need the vitamins and hormones because they just LABORED for a long time and need the calories back. If you don't like it, fine. But lighten up and don't be so bloody rude.

Joanna - posted on 03/02/2010

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Nicole, you need to settle down. Did you read the responses? Did you even look into this, do any online looking? It's funny, you are in a third world country, but you're on facebook? I didn't say it was in ALL 3rd world countries, did I? I don't even know where you are. But if you WOULD HAVE looked around online, even done one damn google search, you would see that women in different tribes and villages all throughout the WORLD eat the placentas after birth. These are organs that delivered nutrients to your baby starting at about week 14 of gestation... they are FULL of nutrients even after birth, nutrients that a new mother can benefit from. I think you need to back off, Nicole - this was the most judgemental post here, and what did I ask? I asked for you to do your research and not be judgemental. Are you just bitter because when I said third world you thought I meant you?

User - posted on 03/02/2010

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What THIRD WORLD are you talking about........ exactly... because I am from what is considered a third world country by some and we on this lovely isalnd would never dream of doing something so NASTY and DISGUSTING.... You have got to be out of your FREAKING mind to make such a silly comment... lets just say that some one found a way to get rich off of some really lost souls.........I for one know of hair produsts that are made with the placenta to aid growth... and its manufactured and sold in the USA....not in the little"BACKWARDS" third world countries that you speak of.....what can a placenta do for post morteum depression..... lets see.... "NOTHING".... its all psychological.......some one just fooled a whole set of people and gave them a "placebo" to appease them and made some good money from it....

A - posted on 03/02/2010

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Not my cup of tea, but I do see the benefits of either encapsulating it or saving it for later use. I know the same thing can be done with the umbilical cord and both things can be saved into a Cord Blood Bank.
The placenta has lots of nutrients that are super beneficial to our bodies, and as grosse as it may be, it really helped the babies get big and strong. Since there is so much possitive things from these two items (placenta, Umbilical cord) I was planing in saving it in a Cord Blood bank...it is super expensive, but you could save the life of a family member (any child and parent).

[deleted account]

Sharon, if you don't mind my asking, how did you consume them? Raw, cooked or encapsulated?

Joanna, I don't see a problem with this at all. I had read about the benefits of the placenta whilst pregnant with my first, but then I read somewhere that it tastes like liver which put me totally off the idea. As it was, I didn't like meat while pregnant so the idea of eating liver was stomach churning. That being said, my alternate idea was to still take the placenta, bury it and plant a fruit tree on top. That whole "circle of life" thing as well as planting something that could help provide food for us. I ended up completely ditching the idea because we lived in a rented house at the time and I couldn't see me keeping a frozen placenta in the freezer for who knows how long before we bought a house.

You should be commended for having an open mind and trying to find a natural alternative to pharmaceuticals for your PND. But, maybe you'll be lucky and not suffer it this time around? We can always live in hope.

Sharon - posted on 03/01/2010

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I have had 2 children and with both I have consumed the placentas. Whilist pregnant I felt compelled to do it. I did the research etc and decided if was for me. Unfortunately I was looked down upon with my first as I had a few problems and needed to go to hospital, my second was a home birth and the doula didn't mind at all. I think the benefits are far to great to pass it up. After I was left feeling revitalisied mentally, phyically and spiritually. It's true we are not dogs, cats or cows but we are still mammals. Go for it Joanna!

Faye - posted on 03/01/2010

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The placenta is used in Chinese Medicine in pill form as a tonic. It is highly nutritious. Spiritual Midwifery is an old hippie midwifery book that would have information about this. Animals all eat the placenta. They don't think about it, just know that it's good nutrition. A blender might be a good tool. I'd just explore the options and see how you feel when the time comes. It doesn't matter what anybody else thinks. Gross or not gross, those are values society places on what is currently in style. Those opinions don't mean anything.

Carol - posted on 03/01/2010

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Sounds gross. Remember, their immune systems are stronger than ours..lol I have mine in a little ziploc baggie, although I think the worms already ate it! Not judgmental, if it really has benefits. I wouldn't :-)

[deleted account]

i think if your research says the benifit of eating is greater than not then go for it, in capsul form of course

Kate CP - posted on 03/01/2010

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Tiffany, NO BODY has said anything rude or judgmental. She asked for opinions and she got them. If you don't like it, quit reading.

Tiffany - posted on 03/01/2010

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seriously stop being so rude people! and do your research it is actually really good for you. Dont judge others less you be judged!

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