Health and Fitness Pregnancy

Should you eat your placenta? The lowdown on placentophagy

It's become popular among celebrities including the Kardashians and Rochelle Humes, but is there actually any benefit to eating your placenta?

It’s pretty amazing that us women grow a new organ in pregnancy especially to nourish and support our growing baby. The placenta delivers nutrients and filters waste from the foetus via the umbilical cord, and while many of us don’t even see it once it has been delivered and served it’s purpose, some women believe it still holds a myriad of health benefits to both mum and baby in the postpartum period.

From preventing postnatal depression to boosting milk production and providing a rich supply of iron, the claims around placenta consumption may be tempting to many new mums. And while celebrities including Rochelle Humes, Kim and Kourtney Kardashian and Coleen Rooney all claim to have felt better after consuming their placentas after birth, the jury is still out on whether it is worth doing – or if it is actually damaging.

Kim Kardashian is among the celebrities to have eaten her placenta (Photo: Kim Kardashian/ Facebook)

What is placentophagy?

Placentophagy is the process of consuming your placenta after giving birth. While it is commonly dehydrated and turned into vitamin capsules, other women may consume theirs within a smoothie, or even create a tincture that can be used like Rescue Remedy.

While it is controversial practice, especially in the western world, humans are actually in the minority when it comes to placentophagy. With the exception of marine mammals and some domesticated ones, all other mammals consume the afterbirth.

What are the benefits of eating your placenta?

There are many supposed benefits to eating your placenta. Women claim it can help to prevent postpartum depression, boost energy and mood, balance hormones and increase milk supply for breastfeeding. However, little evidence supports these claims and they are mainly anecdotal.

Rochelle Humes had her placenta turned into pills and artwork (Photo: Rochelle Humes Instagram)

What are the risks of eating your placenta?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has previously issued warnings against consuming your placenta, stating that it can be potentially damaging to mothers and their babies.

Preparations such as encapsulation don’t completely destroy bacteria and viruses that the placenta may contain, such as group B strep, which can cause serious illness to newborns.

How much does it cost to have your placenta encapsulated?

Having your placenta dehydrated and turned into pills can cost around £200, while Placenta Plus, which Rochelle used, offers a package for £750 that also includes everything from placenta-infused face cream to a framed cord keepsake.

Would you ever consider eating your placenta or is it something you’ve tried? We’d love to hear your experiences.

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