Just kidding…I didn’t. But I have heard about lots of people who do, and I’ve become curious as to why.
According to the website WhattoExpect.com:
Eating placentas seems to make some sense. After all, the placenta is a baby’s in-utero power pack, providing the fetus with all the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients — not to mention oxygen — to grow from just a few cells to a full-fledged tiny person. The placenta is also loaded with iron and vitamins B6 and B12, as well as estrogen and progesterone, both important postpartum hormones. Fans of the practice say that eating the placenta can protect against postpartum depression (PPD) — but only if you eat your own (never eat another woman’s since there’s a risk of disease). Proponents also point out that most other mammals routinely eat their afterbirth.
Kind of makes sense, I guess. And, I’m all for anything that helps women deal with and get through PPD.
There are other practices associated with the placenta that have been adopted historically.
My grandmother told me that when she had her babies, the midwife took the placenta and threw it on the fire. However many “cracks” it made as it burned was equal to how many more children the mother would give birth to. Sounds legit.
Other placental rituals honour the connection between baby and placenta. In some places, the placenta is known as the child’s sibling or twin. In Nepal, for example, the placenta is known as bucha-co-satthi (the baby’s friend); in Malaysia, when a baby smiles unexpectedly, he or she is said to be playing with the older sibling—the placenta. The Ibo people of Nigeria and Ghana are said to treat the placenta as the baby’s dead twin, and give it full burial rites.
I’ve also read about people in western cultures planting the placenta in their garden with some kind of plant or tree to commemorate the birth of their child.
As for eating it? Research shows that there is little evidence to support reported health benefits of an afterbirth buffet. Nevertheless, there are infinite ways to prepare it according to the Internets:
You can make spagehtti.
By the way, I think it’s really selfish that this guy cooked up his wife’s afterbirth and ate it all by himself (washed down with a can of beer, no less) while she was still in the hospital.
You can make meatloaf. I would do anything for love, but I won’t do that.
Placenta smoothie, anyone?
You can make placenta jerky.
You can even make chocolates!
The latest one I’ve seen is placenta pills, where you ship your placenta off somewhere and they dehydrate the afterbirth goodness and form it into pills so that you can benefit from the nurients for months and months to come. Apparently, this is what January Jones of Mad Med fame did. Of all the options, this sounds like the most appealing to me.
So…did you eat your placenta?