January Jones, Placenta Eater

The practice of placenta-eating grabbed headlines recently after Actress January Jones extolled its benefits in People magazine.

Jones had the organ encapsulated after the birth of her son, and credits her high post-baby energy levels to the placenta pills, which she pops daily and “anytime she feels tired or down.” People quoted her insisting, “It’s not witch-crafty or anything! I suggest it to all moms!”

If you read this blog regularly, you probably remember that my doula offered me the option of placenta encapsulation. She said that mamas who ate their placentas had increased energy and milk supply, and that the pills also helped combat postpartum depression.

Ultimately, I chose not to have my placenta encapsulated. Now that I have a two-month-old and find it near impossible to stay awake past 9 PM, part of me wishes I’d made a different choice. Maybe the pills would’ve helped with the exhaustion that’s part of life with a newborn and a toddler.

I have friends who did it, and their experiences in doing so intrigue me. Like so much about having a child, from pregnancy to birth to parenting, it’s personal. I love hearing the stories of people who made choices different than mine and how they played out.

I think it’s cool that Jones talked about placenta encapsulation in People. She knew she was inviting controversy. That the “Ew, gross!” comments would prevail. Because, well, eating your own organ is kinda gross. But by offering herself up as the poster child for placenta eating, and in doing so thrusting the practice into the spotlight, Jones may help others.

And sure. No press is bad press, right?

Let’s move beyond The Ew Factor for just a moment, though, shall we? It may help overcome breastfeeding challenges, stave off postpartum depression, and give new mamas the energy to make it through the inevitable difficult times. Speaking from my current seat on the New Babyland rollercoaster, that’s serious stuff.

Women such as Jones who choose to encapsulate swear it does these things. (Theorizing and personal experience are the main practice drivers here. As one friend who had her placenta encapsulated pointed out, there likely aren’t lots of studies to quote because who will pay for them? No one profits [monetarily] directly from a woman downing her own placenta.)

Have you done it? Would you? All experiences and opinions welcome.

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  1. by Cathy

    On March 27, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    Kudos to January for being upfront about her health practices. It’s no small feat to be a working mom. You’ve got to do everything possible to stay healthy when you are nursing and working. Eating placenta cooked with Chinese herbs has been practiced in Traditional Chinese Medicine for centuries and is one of the many secrets from the East. American women need exposure to these health secrets. We need to learn how to support our health with natural herbs rather than caffeine, sugar and junk food.

  2. by jen

    On March 27, 2012 at 8:01 pm

    I did it.. and plan to again in the future.. most people find it odd, but most people are afraid of the unknown … I can’t prove that I would have felt worse or more tired if I had not taken the placenta encapsulated pills, but I also wouldn’t take the chance of finding out what life without them would have been like.. I do know that my milk supply was through the roof, so much that I donated to another family.. that compared with no real lows has me sold! It is something that is natural instinc in the wild, so God must have known it would be good for something…
    Bottom line is, it can’t hurt.. will most likely help, why not.. new moms can use all the help we can get to be our best!

  3. by Ngozi Ofochebe

    On March 28, 2012 at 3:54 am

    It sounds so odd. I can ‘t imagine myself eating my own flesh and blood bcos of any benefit

  4. by Eve

    On March 28, 2012 at 5:41 am

    I did it, and I would do it again. I had a difficult birth and breastfeeding didn’t take off right away for me. I think it helped more than I even know. I stopped taking the pills after eight weeks. I don’t know why, next time I would continue until they are gone!

  5. by Berit Thorkelson

    On March 28, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    I totally see where you’re all coming from, ladies. Thanks for weighing in! xo

  6. by Liz

    On March 29, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    I did it with my 2nd and would do it again. I’m not sure if it really helped or not, but it definitely didn’t hurt at all. I had a good milk supply, decent energy, and no PPD after both kids though, so I wouldn’t say anything was super different for me due to the pills. Something nobody tells you is to take the pills AFTER you have something in your stomach. Nothing grosser than “placenta burps”…

  7. by January Jones, Placenta Eater | parentsnewz

    On March 31, 2012 at 10:15 am

    [...] Read the full article here: January Jones, Placenta Eater [...]

  8. by Annie

    On April 2, 2012 at 5:12 am

    This is the first I’ve heard about encapsulating the placenta. Most of the women I know have simply stewed and eaten theirs the old-fashioned way. This solutions sounds more likely to catch on in the populace at large. Kudos to Jones for talking about it fearlessly.

  9. by Annie

    On April 2, 2012 at 5:15 am

    But I forgot to ask: who does the encapsulating? What is the process? Is it entirely chemical- and preservative-free? If so, how is the placenta preserved?

  10. by Berit Thorkelson

    On April 3, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    Liz: Thank you for using the phrase “placenta burps.” That’s getting the point across :)

    Annie: My doula did it. Apparently you can be certified to encapsulate placentas. She dried it and ground it and could add other herbs if desired. I do believe it was chemical and preservative free. not sure how it is initially preserved before drying, but it was my understanding that the pills have a short shelf life unless frozen?

  11. by Sunshine

    On April 5, 2012 at 8:38 am

    Why not? Since it was my own placenta, I know it was drug free, steroid free and chemical free.

  12. by Lani

    On April 7, 2012 at 11:26 am

    I did it. I could most definetly tell a difference on days that I took the placenta vs. days that I didn’t. My husband noticed as well! I struggled with depression during my pregnancy and knew with prior boughts of depression that I could be in for a very difficult PP experience. I had NO PPD. My energy was higher, and it was funny because after I took it I would get a hot flash, it was like I knew it was working because 5 minutes after I took it I would start sweating (just for a minute and then it would go away). I really encourage people to look into it, it freaked me out at frist, but after research and reading I figured it was the cheapest form of anti-depressant that I could try and it was all natural!

    @Annie- My doula encapsualted my placenta, it is cooked, and dried then ground into pill form, my doula added iron as well. It is entirely chemical free and it is preserved by freezing. My left over capsules are in my freezer. You want to keep them in the refridgerator while you are taking them and if there are any left you can freeze them and use them during menopause to help with any hormonal imbalances that you may be struggling with.

  13. by Lori

    On April 8, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    Well I think telling women that it will help with breastfeeding etc is ridiculous! What studies have there been to prove this? I had 4 children, no postpartum problems, feed the first one for a year, second for 18 months and last two for about 2.5 years! And I didn’t need to consume my placenta! Maybe if most new mothers would just eat a healthy diet instead of the SAD them and their babies would be healthier! Time to wean yourselves from cow’s milk would be a huge start!

  14. by Christy

    On April 9, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    Want it to catch on like wildfire? Tell women that it will help them lose the baby weight faster. They won’t be able to grind it up fast enough!!

  15. by ConanTheRepublican

    On April 11, 2012 at 2:20 am

    OH MY GOD!!! I’m tryin to EAT, over here! HRRROOOP!!

  16. by Kate

    On April 11, 2012 at 10:36 am

    BARBARIC AND COMPLETELY DISGUSTING! Next will be advocating burning your firstborn alive in the stomach of MOLOCH for better returns on your investments… The Creator specifically says “DO NOT EAT BLOOD.”

  17. by anita guide

    On April 11, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    oh please … you’ve taken eating your young to a new level … three steps forward and two steps back … wonder what else you’ll eat … also wonder why you would even consider it in this day and age … I just want to throw up

  18. by DavLD

    On April 12, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    “Have you done it?”

    Yes, I have done it ….. or more correctly “TRIED To”.

    You see, I’m actually a male, and when that baby pushed itself out of my pee-hole, followed by the placenta ….. that sh!t hurt!

    So by the time all that crap was out, I was in WAY too much pain to have an appetite. I ain’t never going through THAT torture again, so no placenta = no eat.

    Matter-Of-Fact, since this was such a highly traumatic event for me, I’m just gonna let the wife do the rest of our future pregnancies.

  19. by Jill Cordes

    On April 17, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    I’m intrigued. And debated too. But ultimately didn’t. I think I would have had a hard time convincing my husband that we needed to do it (it’s not that expensive, but it’s not free either). I sometimes wonder if everyone who says it works could be coming from the power of suggestion with it though. Not that there is anything wrong with that. The mind is a powerful thing and whatever works! I just wish there were studies to prove it.

  20. by TOLMama

    On April 24, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    I encapsulated my placenta with my second baby and used it for about a month (I wanted to save as many as possible for future lack in breast milk or PMS mood swings). If I have another baby, I will do it again. It made all the difference in energy levels, mood stability and milk production. A night and day difference from my first birth. There have been studies based on good science, the best synopsis I’ve found is here:
    http://www.hypnobirthingutah.com/research-studies-supporting-placenta-encapsulation/

    Way to go January for getting the word out there!

  21. by Black

    On April 30, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    Questions: How do even know it’s your placenta in the capsule? Is there any regulation to this process?

  22. by Miss Truth

    On July 7, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    I just wrote about my experience here: http://www.misstruth.com/confession I was skeptical and quite honestly, disgusted, when I first heard about placenta encapsulation, but the more research I did, the more I became intrigued. When, at 38 weeks, we learned that our daughter was breech, and all plans for a natural, med-free birth went out the window, I figured, why not? I’m so glad I did- I never experienced any “baby blues” and my milk came in very quickly, especially for a cesarean birth. I would, and plan to, do it again!

  23. by Jessie Cadee

    On January 27, 2013 at 10:41 am

    For all of you who are so repulsed by this….ask the older women of your family if they have taken or considered taking hormone replacement for menopause.
    If they have ask what it’s made from…HRT estrogen comes from pregnant horse urine.
    Now that sounds yummy.