Is it safe to eat your own placenta after childbirth?

Eating your placenta afterbirth, is called placentophagy. While it is not a new idea, but it has been getting a lot of buzz lately. Apparently, eating your placenta will keep you away from postpartum depression and will also keep your energy levels high.

The placenta is a baby’s in-utero power pack, which provides the fetus with all the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Not to forget it also provides the baby with oxygen. In nutshell placenta helps the baby baby to grown from few cells to a full-fledged tiny human.

The placenta is also full of vitamins B6 and B12, iron, as well as estrogen and progesterone (both important postpartum hormones). People who follow the practice of consuming placenta believe that it protects them against postpartum depression (PPD). But only if you eat your own. Supporters also point out that most other mammals normally eat their afterbirth.

What’s the truth?

In reality there is not much proof to say whether the practice benefits humans. Very few studies have linked placenta-eating with increased breast-milk supply and pain relief (the latter only in rats). Having said that, no studies have looked at the possible risks.

The crux of the whole discussion is: Mainstream medical experts believe that there is just no proven reason to eat your afterbirth.

Still curious to try? Then keep the following in mind: 
  • Check your hospital policy: Before you go into labour check for the hospital policy. Most hospitals consider the placenta as biohazardous waste and dispose it along with other medical waste. If you want to keep yours, you need to arrange that in advance. Check with your doctor too. If he or she’s not a supporter of placentophagy, then you should try to find a doctor who does support it.
  • Follow safe-prep practices:Once you have got your placenta, freeze it or cook it right away, or like any meat placenta can get spoilt. Some new moms grind the dried meat into a powder, and turn the powder into pills that can be swallowed daily. If you go choose this option, then make sure no other herbs or unknown ingredients are added to the mix. Other mothers who have stronger stomachs, cut the membranes away from the placenta, then cook it like any other type of meat. Some also make a smoothie with frozen placenta.
  • Monitor yourself.No matter how you decide to consume your placenta, stop taking the pills or eating the meat if you feel sick after ingesting it. And if you do experience don’t wait, talk to your doctor, who may suggest a therapy or antidepressants.

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