By: Krystle Crossman
When you are pregnant, your baby gets nourishment from the placenta. It is a sac that is filled with your blood and is attached to the baby by the umbilical cord. When the baby is born, the placenta comes out after the baby does. Most women have the doctor dispose of it and it goes into the medical waste bin. Others however choose to eat their placenta. Yes, they eat it. They either incorporate it into a special meal, blend it into a smoothie, or take it in a pill form.
Why would they do this, you might ask? Sometimes it is a cultural thing. Other times it is a way that the mother feels that she can connect with her baby. They contain the rest of the hormones and nutrients that the baby did not get before it was born. There are recipes on the internet for people wanting to ingest the placenta.
A study in 1954 tried to show that feeding new mothers freeze-dried placenta would increase lactation. Out of the 210 women that they studied, 71 had very good results, 110 had good results, and 29 had negative results. There have not been many studies on this practice, so it is unclear as to whether there are actually benefits to eating the placenta.
Many people say that it is natural to eat the placenta and there was nothing wrong with it before society started claiming that it was gross. There isn’t much evidence that supports this theory. The Egyptians and the Navajos believed that the placenta was sacred, and the Baganda considered it as a “second child” and was to be ground and consumed.
In current studies many of the women who consumed the placenta showed some benefits, but there were many that also showed negative side effects such as headaches and menopausal-like symptoms. With as little research as there is on this and the benefits not clear, would you eat the placenta after your baby was born?