You’ve heard or seen the question in some form or fashion: should I eat my placenta after birth? Capsules, stir fry, raw…there are various ways (and reasons) people have eaten their placenta after birth. You may be intrigued or you may be grossed out. Either way, doing a little research and learning why people choose to consume their placenta won’t hurt you. It may even change your mind!
The placenta is a fascinating organ. It is developed before your baby’s organs develop and grows as your baby grows. It delivers nutrients, hormones, and oxygen to your little one. In short: the placenta is keeping your baby alive. You will either deliver it after you deliver your baby vaginally, or the doctor will remove your placenta from your body if you undergo a c-section.
So what’s the deal with eating it?
Some benefits claimed to eating your placenta after birth are:
People who support eating the placenta say that it can raise your energy and breast milk quantity. They also say it can level off your hormones, lowering your chances of postpartum depression and insomnia. // webmd.com
Raise your energy with a newborn? Increase your breast milk supply? Level off your hormones and lower your chance of postpartum depression? Who wouldn’t want those things?
The placenta is fully equipped with vitamins B6 and B12, iron, and estrogen and progesterone which are both important hormones for postpartum. These are things you are able to consume through a healthy diet, as well. Medical professionals believe there is no reason to eat your placenta for these nutrients while many others believe differently. There have been no proven studies showing one way or the other and there are still many research studies underway.
In other countries, mothers have eaten their placenta for thousands of years with the belief that it helps new moms regain energy, boost stamina, and increase milk supply. The placenta also contains oxytocin, which is our love hormone that reduces pain. Oxytocin encourages bonding with your baby and boosts your immune system, energy, and recovery. There are plenty of anecdotal success stories of women who dealt with postpartum depression or a low milk supply in their postpartum months, then later avoided these issues by consuming their placenta after subsequent births.
The number of women who have eaten their placenta and claimed to have reaped a good deal of benefits is large. Encapsulating your placenta into pill form makes this much less “disgusting” and much more normal feeling; many midwives are certified to do this for a small fee. To encapsulate the organ, it is steamed, dehydrated, and then ground into 35 to 70 capsules.
Since there has been no proven harm in eating your placenta after birth, why not encapsulate it and reap as many benefits as possible? When you’ve got a newborn, you can use all the help you can get.
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