Eating Your Placenta – A New Pregnancy Trend?

PlacentaThere’s a new pregnancy trend gaining attention, but we have a feeling it’s not for everyone. According to New York magazine, more and more women are taking home their placenta from the hospital after giving birth and then eating it. Yes, eating it. The article, “The Placenta Cookbook,” focuses on a woman who is a professional placenta-preparer and mothers who have eaten their placentas.

Why would you want to eat this organ? Advocates for eating placentas claim the organ that once connected you and your developing baby can help produce milk for breastfeeding, ward off postpartum depression and increase a new mother’s strength if consumed. But all that has been scientifically proven is that the placenta has high levels of iron, vitamin B-12, and certain hormones. Some women have even had difficulty getting permission from the hospital to take the placenta home with them, after all hospitals consider them to be biohazardous waste.

While most mammals eat their placenta after giving birth, it has never been widely popular with women. However, placenta encapsulation services seem to be growing, albeit slowly, in popularity. These services dehydrate the placenta, grind it up, and create capsules out of them so women can swallow it in pill form. Though other women still go the more extreme route. Alexa Beckham, owner of Ruby Tree Birth, an encapsulation service told New York about her placenta eating experience. “After I gave birth, I threw a chunk of placenta in the Vitamix with coconut water and a banana,” she adds. “It gave me the wildest rush. You know the feeling of drinking green juice on an empty stomach? It’s like that, but much more intense. It was definitely physical.”

Is it only a matter of time before women celebrate leaving the hospital with a meal of placenta? Or will placenta eating always be limited to a small minority? Tell us what you think!

Image via Flickr

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  1. by Amirah

    On August 23, 2011 at 5:01 pm


  2. by Mie

    On August 23, 2011 at 7:30 pm

    It is not common, but some in Japan practice eating placenta after giving birth.

    They better DONATE CORD BLOOD before eating it :)

  3. by michele

    On August 23, 2011 at 11:21 pm

    if someone else was willing to do a placenta encapsulation for you, why not? it’s just like taking a vitamin when you take it that way…and actually, it does contain many vitamins that are good for mom and baby.

  4. by Jillian

    On August 24, 2011 at 4:41 am

    In Traditional Chinese medicine it is common to cook the placenta after birth, dry it to make it into a powder and give the child a tablespoon of it every year on their birthday becaue they believe it strengthens the child’s consitution.

    Such wisdom comes from thousands of years of observation and experience. I am always surprised when people reject such time honored wisdom because it is “gross” and without any investigation…and I believe we do so at our own peril.

    That said, when my son was born 18 years ago, they would not give me the placenta or the birthing cord.

  5. by Lakionsha

    On August 24, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    WOW. Just the thought makes my stomach turn into knots!! Just because something CAN be good for you doesn’t mean IT IS good for you. And if you want to be healthier ladies just TAKE A MULTIVITAMIN!!!

  6. by Zoey

    On August 24, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    There’s a reason animals eat their placentas and humans don’t – WE are civilized. Sounds like cannibalism to me. No thanks!

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  7. by Victoria

    On August 26, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    LOL at so many negative, hateful comments. If it’s not for you, it’s not for you. Let the people who believe it is good for them do it. Didn’t your parents ever teach you to not say anything unless you have something nice and constructive to say?

  8. by Teri

    On August 27, 2011 at 9:56 am

    Ewww…. Disgusting!!! Animals do it all the time but… GROSS

  9. by um wtf

    On August 30, 2011 at 10:31 am

    this is like borderline cannibalism!! the ONLY reason animals do it, is because they are DISCARDING of it. the only reason dogs and other animals eat the sack their babies are in, is because that’s the only way they can. just because animals do it, doesn’t mean we should. a lot of dogs eat poop, is this going to be a new trend?

  10. by oi

    On August 30, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    Some scientists believe that the main reason animals eat the placenta is to get rid of it so it doesn’t attract predators to them and their young. While I’m sure there is some nutritive value in the placenta, there is probably more risk than reward in its consumption.

  11. by jen

    On August 31, 2011 at 11:18 pm

    animals eat each other’s poop too. doesn’t mean it’s okay!

  12. by kim

    On September 1, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    If you’ve ever had an animal give birth the vet usually suggest if your present during the birth of their young that you help discard the waste because some animals do get sick from eating the placenta and all the waste and blood off of their young….so if it makes my dog sick and she basically has it in her to instinctively do it because she cant help it WHY would i voluntarily do it????

  13. by Jessica

    On September 4, 2011 at 11:17 am

    I think it’s hysterical that you people think this is new. When I was having my second child back in 2000, this was the new “trend”. I guess for a new generation of mothers we must recycle the old into new again. This practice has been happening in human cultures for thousands of years and was actually necessary to protect the health of the mother and the baby before modern medicine, as the placenta contains many nutrients that both mother and baby need. I never did it and I don’t think I would, but I certainly don’t look down on people that do.

  14. by For the SHEEP!

    On September 10, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    You Mainstream parents crack me up… HOW many of you that think this practice is GROSS also eat ANIMAL ORGANS and MEAT from animals? Sadly those that read such one sided magazines are SHEEP anyway! Keep reading junk and you will be fed junk. Probably the same ones that are also taking pharmaceuticals that are made with HORSE urine or vaxing your child with poisons… Oh and this is NOT a new TREND GEESH.. BAAAAAAAH!

  15. by Interesting Article

    On September 11, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    It’s very interesting to see the different views. At first it kinda turned my stomach b/c well I am pregnant! But when you break it down and think about it, it’s not such an unnatural practice. Funny that we “civilized” silly human being think it’s perfectly alright to slaughter animals by the thousands and lie to our children about where their food really comes from…But to take in something nutritional from our own bodies, full of antibodies for consumption is so taboo? I feel that if you can stomach it, and it hurts no one but rather could be beneficial to you OR your child, go for it. We may have evolved socially but we have severely degressed in spirituality as a society. Let down you inhibitions and maybe you could experience new perspectives.

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    On September 15, 2011 at 10:06 am

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  17. by Mama and Baby Love

    On October 13, 2011 at 8:13 am

    I ate half of mine (cooked) and encapsulated the other half. It made such a difference in how I felt emotionally and physically and I am so glad I did it. You can check out my blog post about it here:

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    On November 18, 2011 at 4:35 pm

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  20. by Mommalisa

    On June 24, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    Ya, sorry to break it to you this isn’t a new idea. Quite popular in China actually. However, since I’m not an animal I don’t feel obliged to try this. We don’t eat anything else that comes out of our bodies so why that? Gross.

  21. by Lucy

    On January 31, 2013 at 8:36 am

    I encapsulated my placenta after my last birth and I take the capsules when I am fatigued or just want a burst of energy and they are very successful in providing that for me! Also for the comment on “donating cord blood”, you wait until the cord stops beating all the blood with the stem cells rush back into the baby. That is why delaying the cutting of the cord is important. I delayed and my 3 month old has been healthy amongst his other four brothers who have had colds and stomach virus. I have even had a stomach virus while breastfeeding and he was not affected.

  22. by Allyson Bossie

    On March 15, 2013 at 7:52 am

    I can’t necessarily look down on someone who does this, but I don’t even eat animal organs, so I certainly wouldn’t do this. I think a lot of new hype just is that: hype. However, to each his own