Now that's a million dollar question isn't it mums?! In 2015, this topic is constantly being discussed - far more so than previous years. Although the majority of us might be saying, "ewww, no way would I eat that!", it's fast becoming a trend with celebrities such as Kourtney Kardashian and January Jones tucking in. So, does that mean we all should?
Well let's do the scientific bit first - what is the placenta and what is its job?
The placenta is an organ attached to the lining of the womb during pregnancy, and linked to the baby by the umbilical cord from the mother. It passes oxygen and nutrients from the mother's blood supply to the baby. Waste products from the baby, such as carbon dioxide, pass back along the umbilical cord to the placenta, keeping the baby safe for the duration of the pregnancy. After the baby is born, it's a normal process to have more contractions which will push the placenta out - or it will be lifted from the womb during a Caesarean.
So, it's a fabulous organ that keeps your baby well, safe and helps growth.
Different cultures and their reasons for eating it:
- Asian and African continents consider the placenta to be a sacred substance, and many new mothers eat the placenta after giving birth.
- In Hawaii, women are legally entitled to take the placenta home from the hospital after giving birth, but this is not the case in all states, and they consider placenta eating a matter of religious freedom
- Americans on the mainland have slowly begun to adopt the practice of eating the placenta
- Dried placenta is used in some traditional Chinese medicine and is thought to be a restorative
- Navajo, among other native tribes around the world, bury the placenta and class it as ceremonially.
- But the practice of placentophagy is a more recent trend in western culture and is not without controversy.
Let's look at the 'unproven' claims of eating your placenta:
- It helps your milk production
- It helps prevent postpartum depression
- It will also balance your hormonal system
- It can lessen your postpartum bleeding
- It will also help in decreasing insomnia and night sweats
- Most commonly women have said it boosts their energy levels
- It will restore hormonal balance in your body when your menstrual cycle returns
- It replenishes depleted iron and other vital nutrients lost during pregnancy and childbirth
What about the negatives?
- It could be contaminated. The placenta serves as a filter to keep harmful things away from the baby, so that could mean they could be harmful to yourself
- Unless you have a cool box and ice to keep the placenta fresh and cold it may be hard to keep it 'food safe.' If you leave it to get warm there could be a risk of contamination.
- You could spread illness to yourself and others. Infections stay in the blood, so if for any reason you have any deficiencies, whoever eats the placenta may be eating those deficiencies as well
- You may not get any benefits
- You may not like the taste. It doesn't matter how many cloves of garlic, salt or pepper you care to use when cooking, I can only imagine it's not going to be a taste you will want to repeat.
So let's recap; it COULD be safe and it COULD have miracle effects, but it may also not help. I think it's down to the individual and their thoughts and beliefs.
If you fancy it, here are a few examples of how people whip it up:
- Make a smoothie and pop some fruits in with it (to take away the awful taste), hold your nose and don't think about it
- You could fry it up and cook yourself a lovely lasagne for everyone to enjoy
- Roast Placenta - this can be cooked just like your Sunday roast chicken
- Placenta Spaghetti Bolognaise - this recipe has a lot more added ingredients to try to reduce the taste of the placenta
- And it's safe for vegans!
To view free recipe's online visit: www.mothers35plus.co.uk