The placenta is the first thing to form when a woman conceives. It’s an organ attached to the lining of the womb which connects the baby to the mother. It delivers oxygen, nutrients, and hormones to the fetus. Also, it disposes of waste. At the final stage of pregnancy, the placenta passes antibodies to the baby providing him/her with immunity. As the baby grows so do the placenta until the child is born and then the body rejects it and it’s pushed out of the body.
Can You Eat the Placenta?
After childbirth, you can choose to consume the placenta either encapsulated, blended in a smoothie or roasted with veggies. The placenta is just like any other meat organ and can be consumed. However, some experts suggest that before consuming it you need to find someone well experienced in the preparation to avoid any health risks.
Risks of Eating the Placenta
Experts are against any form of placenta preparation that doesn’t involve cooking such as blending into a smoothie because cooking kills viruses that spread diseases. They aren’t 100 percent in agreement with encapsulation too. However, you should decide after you’ve known the risks involved.
When giving birth, the placenta is highly prone to bacterial infections which include the fecal bacteria. Eating a placenta contaminated with such bacteria can lead to sickness. Plus, if you consume a placenta not well prepared you can pass the infections to the baby.
In the process of preparation of the placenta, chances are you might get other food contaminated too. You need to avoid blood-borne cross-contamination by letting specialist help you. Look for someone trained in safe food and sanitization methods. Also, they should have some training on the bloodborne pathogen.
3. You Might Not Gain the Benefits
Few women are willing to eat placenta raw. They prefer when it’s powdered into pills, cooked or used in smoothies. Most of the above processes destroy the nutrients the mother was expecting to receive. To destroy any bacteria present, you need to cook the placenta in high levels of heat which potentially kills everything you think is good.
Potential Benefits of Eating Placenta
There aren’t so many researches showing the benefits of eating the placenta. But the few research which has been done suggest that the placenta contains a variety of nutrients such as protein, fiber, and potassium as well as hormones including testosterone and estradiol. Additionally, some mothers across the globe claim that eating placenta helps to improve their postnatal health. Below are the commonly said health benefits of eating the placenta.
1. Improves Mood and Increases Energy
A blog published in Babble, an online magazine for moms, Elizabeth Stark explained how consuming placenta pills significantly improved her postpartum experience. “To my surprise, I didn’t experience mood swings and I had more energy while taking the pills,” she writes. “Though I don’t have a double-blind, peer-reviewed study to back up my claim, I feel confident that placenta-eating made those first few postpartum weeks easier.”
Also, Alice Ross, a mother of two, spoke to online magazine parents where she said that the pills gave her energy and made her feel a little bit grounded. She said that whenever she felt low, tired or crying, she would take a tablet and feel better. In addition to that, a survey was done on 189 women who had a history of postnatal mood disorder, approximately 40 percent of them had postnatal mood improvement after consuming the placenta.
2. Improved Milk Production
Telling someone that consuming placenta can increase milk supply is perceived as an understatement. However, many mothers commenting on parenting forum agrees that placenta consumption has a positive effect on their milk production.
3. Pain relief
The afterbirth pain is something most women dread. But advocates of placenta consumption claim that the practice can help one manage after birth pain. A study on rats found that female rodents who consumed their placenta had a higher pain threshold compared to those who didn’t.
If you experience any symptoms of sickness when consuming the placenta, you need to speak to your doctor right away to protect yourself and the kid against infections. The pros and cons of consuming placenta are way too many. Plus, there isn’t any concrete proof that consuming placenta is beneficial to humans. Many women who want to feel better do feel that way after consuming it. But this might be a placebo effect. Also, many women might feel sick after consuming it, so nothing can be said for sure. In case you’re thinking of consuming your placenta, it’s best you consult your doctor first.
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