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Thread: Eating the placenta....why?

  1. #1

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    Default Eating the placenta....why?

    I was at the hairdressers today and I was reading a magazine article that was telling of women choosing to have unassisted home births, I was really interested but unfortunately didn't get to read the whole story, however one of the ladies was a Doula and she described how she had eaten a bit of the placenta, I was wondering why she would do that?


  2. #2
    ~Belinda~ Guest

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    I have heard it's a delicacy in some countries but serioulsy, that's just revolting and I would definately not do it.

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    Oh I read that in Marie Claire. I have no idea, eww...

    ETA- found this info


    Then comes the practice of placentophagia, eating the placenta, is also practiced in some parts of the world. There are even meal like recipes for cooking placentas, including placenta stew, placenta lasagna, power drinks with blended placenta and others. Though some mothers have been reported to eat placenta raw.
    There are many reasons listed for eating the placenta, including it helping stem postpartum depression and it supposedly helps to contract the uterus after the birth. We know that many animals eat their own placenta, including as a means to hide the scent from predators.
    In our modern world this may seem barbaric and some have even said that this could spread HIV/AIDS or Hepatitis. While this is very true if people other than the mother consume the placenta, normally it is only the mother partaking of the placenta. In Chinese Medicine, the placenta is known as a great life force and is highly respected in terms of its medicinal value. However, in this field it is not cook, but rather usually dried. To dry a placenta you would simply dehydrate it in the oven, then using a mortar and pestle grind it up. From there you can mix it with food or ingest it within capsules. I have actually known one mother who did this drying technique. It is my only personal experience with placentophagia.
    Last edited by Heaven; November 2nd, 2007 at 02:59 PM.

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    From my own personal experience (I'm part Zulu & I asked my mother this years ago) in a tribal situation, the placenta is eaten because of the nutrients it gives the mother.

    The placenta isn't eaten if it covers the face of the baby, in which case it is dried and given to the child as an amulet (being born with a cowl is a sign of psychic ability). My great-grandmother ate my grandmother's placenta, my mother's placenta was dried and given to her (we have no idea what happened to it before mum left South Africa in her 20s but we know it never made it out of SA).

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    I was wondering whether it might have something to do with triggering hormones or something like that , she said that it was only a bit, not eating the whole thing.

    Thank you for sharing that schaz, that's really interesting.
    Last edited by rosehannah; November 2nd, 2007 at 03:08 PM. Reason: more to say

  6. #6

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    I can assure you it's a very, very rare thing you will find women doing. Moreso they will plant it at home but you even have to be careful how you do that, as it is so rich in nutrients that it can actually kill the plant.

    Animals eat the placentas of their babies so it's not really a weird thing to do when you look at it that way, but not something I would do. I can't eat anything rich like liver or kidneys....
    Kelly xx

    Creator of BellyBelly.com.au, doula, writer and mother of three amazing children
    Author of Want To Be A Doula? Everything You Need To Know
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  7. #7

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    Gabrielle Targett talks about it in her book Labour of Love - which I loved, but when I got to this bit - I found it a bit fascinating but off-putting as well. I gave it to a friend so cant recall exactly what she said but it was something to the effect of eating small peices that she had frozen and how it made her recovery much faster, she felt empowered and her milk came in quicker(in comparison to previous births). There were a few other things she mentioned - I will try to have a look in the book next time Im at a my friends place!

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    thanks everyone,
    while waiting for replies I googled 'eating the placenta' just to see what came up. Some very interesting sites out there mmm... there seems to be a name for it thought " placentophagia "

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    When my DH was 17 he worked in a kitchen at a hospital as a cook
    he had to cook a placenta up for a chinese couple after their bubba was born
    he said it stunk ! They threw out the saucepan and cooking utencils he used out afterwards as the stench was soo strong - a very offal type smell!
    apparently is is to assist the mother's recovery- its high in iron other things that are suppose to help heal.

    horses for courses!
    odette

  10. #10

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    DH wants to take the placenta home when we have our baby and plant it in the garden however i'm not so sure about it.... ewww gotta carry it home first!

    Kelly, I'll let DH know what you said about how it could kill our plants lol he may change his mind!

  11. #11

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    The lady that stitched me up said in her culture it was quite common to eat the placenta but she personally thought it was disgusting. The dr's actually asked if I wanted to keep my placenta to cook or bury, being drugged to the eyeballs at the time I yelled that that was absolutely revolting so they took that as a no and disposed of it for me lol

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    after my twins were born, they wanted to examine the placentas as my DS had stopped working properly but my DD was fine.
    My poor DH had to carry the placentas down to SCU for them - he said they were so warm and pretty heavy! My DD placenta as nice and pink and firm- but my sons was grey and jelly like.

    Ah well its the least he had to do !!!
    Odette

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    I have also heard that if a woman is suffering from a PPH that if she takes a bite of her placenta it helps to stop it. Not sure how keen I woul dbe to try this at home. However, if I was bleeding to death ......

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    Apparently if you place even a small piece of the placenta against the lips, it causes the uterus to contract, which is probably how it helps in preventing haemorrhaging. Apart from being high in iron and other nutrients, high in oxytocin perhaps? This was reported in new active birth, which cited confirming research. (Can you imagine how many takers they would have to be the subjects for that experiment...! LOL!)

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    Yep, I've heard that it helps to prevent PND, can stop PPH, is very rich in nutrients and can help post birth recovery.

    Not sure it I'll go there - I'll talk to my midwife about it. she might be able to help prepare it in a way that seems not too disgusting (ie capsules). I know people who have and will ingested their placenta - they are normal people, not freaky, but all trying to make use of natural resources to help them and their babies.

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    I agree that we should be getting back to using what nature gives us, I think we have become too used to buying things at a shop or that have been manufactured in a lab. Technology is good to but it has made us soft and lazy in some ways. This may be getting a little out there but I was just wondering what apes do, does any one know? It would be interesting to see some of the research about it helping with PND and PPH. The lady that I originally posted about, said that it tasted quite bland (I think that was the word) .

  17. #17

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    I met a chef at a party once who had been asked to prepare a meal with placenta for her friend who had just given birth and her husband.
    She said it reminded her a bit of liver so she prepared it a bit like a liver dish - sauted it very lightly with a few other ingedients for flavour.
    I wish I'd asked her how it tasted but I was too busy getting over the mental image of sitting down to lightly sauted placenta.
    TBH I wouldn't eat it but I do regret not burying mine. It was something that just slipped my mind at the time (both times) and I never put it in a birth plan.

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    Do public hospitals allow the placenta to go home? I always forgot to ask.

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