If you are particularly squeamish then may we suggest you do not read this post – it is about a therapy that most could call bizarre; a way to banish baby blues and keep a new mother fighting fit.
Now the placenta may invoke a lot of reactions from a new mother; from indifference to interest to utter revulsion – however there is a school of thought that envisages the placenta to have a lot of possible positive impact – a school of thought that believes that the placenta should be eaten. After all most mammals do eat their placenta; even herbivores.
It is known as Placentophagy and is thought to help the uterus clean itself and return to its pre-pregnant state.
It is also thought that ingesting the placenta that one has just produced after the birthing of one’s child also help protect the mother against the baby blues and helps in milk production.
Culturally speaking, the placenta is often disposed of by various elaborate or specific ways and there are primitive societies where the placenta is eaten as well. In Chinese medicine the placenta has long being use for therapeutic purposes.
This Time Magazine article speaks of one woman’s determination to eat her placenta and about a woman trained in Chinese medicine who proceeded to cook it, dehydrate it and fashion it into pills for easy consumption. This, it is claimed, was supposed to protect the new mother from post partum depression and alsoincrease milk supply to establish successful breastfeeding.
Some years back placenta eating had made headlines when Tom Cruise had announced his intention to eat the placenta produced after the birth of his baby though this was later denied by the Hollywood star.
So obviously placenta therapy is not a new idea. However, it is bizarre enough and for many a revolting enough idea; to question its efficacy if at all it is supposed to have any beneficial impact. Is placenta therapy really good for you?
Proponents argue that not only will the placenta ward off depression it will also meet the nutritional requirements of a new mother. The argument against this practice is that animals eat their own placenta because they need nourishment directly after the rigors or birthing.
However women have no such nutritional requirement so there is really no medical justification for eating one’s placenta.
So if you are a pregnant woman, would you consider placenta therapy? If so why; we would love to hear your thoughts.