“Eating your own placenta?! I’m pretty open-minded, but why on earth would anyone want to do that? ”
Placentophagy, defined by Wikipedia as, “the act of mammals eating the placenta of their young after childbirth,” is not a new phenomenon. With the exception of the sea lion, whale and camels, all mammals consume their afterbirth. There are several theories as to why, but according to one study done with rats, placenta consumption helped to reduce postpartum pain in the mothers.
There are even cosmetic companies that use human placenta in their preparations. Placenta facial serums fetch as much as $175. The placentas used in these preparations are derived from foreign countries such as China and Russia. Often without the mothers consent or knowledge. Placentas contain stem cells, amino acids, proteins, minerals and more. All of which are believed to nourish the skin. It’s a little known secret that placenta preparations are a huge hit within celebrity circles.
What are the benefits of consuming the placenta?
There are virtually no studies that examine the effects of placentophagy in humans. It would be challenging to conduct a scientific study like this. That being said, because I like numbers, challenges and knowledge, I decided to embark upon a placentophagy research in an attempt to understand it better.
When I launched my survey based study, my initial objective was to provide an anonymous outlet for moms to unleash their unbiased opinions about their placenta consumption experiences. I had read a lot about the supposed benefits. However, I wasn’t coming across very many real life experiences. I wanted to know if it did or didn’t work for moms who tried it.
My Personal Placentophagy Experience
While we are waiting for numbers, studies and statistics, I will share my personal experience. I have birthed 9 children. With my most recent, I decided to try placenta consumption based on personal research. I have a history of the all too common, “baby blues” as well as clinically diagnosed post partum depression. I also tend to bleed more than I would like post partum.
For these reasons, I decided that it wouldn’t hurt to consume my placenta. I had read that it provided benefits such as these and more:
- Faster milk production due to the high levels of hormones including prolactin
- Shorter postpartum bleeding due to oxytocin and urokinase inhibiting factor and factor XIII
- Energy boosts thanks to the high iron content
- A sense of well being from the natural progesterone and cortisone content
- A possible reduction in or total elimination of post partum depression due to the many hormones at play but specifically the corticotropin-releasing hormone which drops significantly after the birth of the placenta
- Reduction of pain due to oxytocin which has an opioid like effect
I swallowed pea sized chunks with water three times a day for a week. Thankfully, they had no taste and went down smoothly. After the first week, I took 2 placenta capsules three times a day for about 2 weeks.
- My milk came on day 3 which is typical for me
- My lochia was lighter than with my previous children
- I experienced the, “baby blues”. However, it was not as intense as what I remembered it to be.
- When I missed a dose, I could tell because I began to feel like a yo-yo
- I did not suffer from post partum depression this time.
Overall, I feel as though I had an easier time adjusting to my newly non-pregnant state than with previous births. I wish that I could, “prove” or, “disprove” that consuming my placenta had something to do with that. For now, I will continue to gather data and experiences from other moms in an attempt to try to put solve this puzzle. I am thankful that I consumed my placenta and I plan on doing it with all future children.
If you have consumed your placenta, we would be delighted if you would share your experiences with us. More than 155 mothers have contributed to our study. This ongoing study is expected to last for at least 2 years with results being released twice a year.
Claire Rembis’ experience inspired her to begin offering placenta services to families in Michigan, Ohio, Illinois and Indiana. She provides families placenta encapsulation, placenta tinctures, organic placenta salves, placenta artwork and more. Visit her at: www.itsyourplacenta.com or on Facebook. Or view her ”links” page for a wonderful source for information on placentophagy.