Care for a little salt with that madam?

Ok, if you’re feeling squeamish or perhaps are in that green and wobbly stage of early pregnancy it may be time to look away. Go for a walk, smell some fresh laundry and come back later when I’m writing about something other than eating, distilling and encapsulating placentas.

I will freely admit that until I started to look in to this for a couple I’m working with I hadn’t really given it much thought, other than ‘ewww’ when someone mentioned eating their placenta and a vague feeling that it was slightly too out there even for me.

However, google is my friend and has done a rather good job of educating me and changing my view. So here’s my rundown of what I’ll be sharing with my lovely December couple when we meet at the weekend.

Why do people do that?
Whether they choose to fry it, munch on it raw or distil it (more on that later) people are ingesting placentas not because they taste delicious but because they believe that placentophagy (as it’s known by science bods) has a huge range of benefits for a woman in the immediate postpartum period and indeed throughout her life. They believe these benefits include:
– balancing your hormones
– enhancing milk supply
– increasing your energy.
– recovering more quickly from birth
– bringing the body back into balance
– preventing the “baby blues”
– shortening postpartum bleeding
– assisting the uterus to return to size
– increasing postpartum iron levels

Is there any science behind it?
As you can imagine it’s not an area the science community has spent years researching in great detail, but there is a bit of research behind it.

This is a useful page which summarises a lot of the research out there. Broadly speaking there are a small number of studies which indicate that some of the above may be rooted in fact, but there isn’t the evidence out there to resoundingly support every claim.

Another quasi-scientific fact that supports a belief in placenta ingestion being a good thing is that every mammal apart from us does eat their placenta. I’m a great believer that nature is too clever to do things just for the fun of it. And come on, how fun can chewing on your own placenta be?

Ok, so how?
If you google ‘placenta recipe’ you’ll find 101 ways to sautĂ©, blend, smoothie, braise, roast or grill your placenta. I’m battling with my inner-‘ick’, but if you aren’t, many people believe this is the best way to get all those goodies in to your system.

If you feel you need a bit more processing between you and the placenta, perhaps encapsulation is for you. Here’s a detailed blog telling you how to do this yourself  or if you think you might have other things on your to do list there are plenty of professionals who’ll pick up your placenta and return with a bottle of pills for you a mere couple of days later.

Finally, you may want to make placenta essence which will not only be good in the postpartum period, but should last you your whole life. It does contain a lot of vodka so if you’re someone who raids the cupboards for interesting looking booze at the end of a night out do make sure you hide it far, far towards the back.

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