Placenta. It’s What’s For Dinner

Ok, maybe not for dinner, per se, but maybe after dinner with your daily vitamins.

That’s right. Women are choosing to ingest their own placentas after they give birth, mostly by way of encapsulation, but a few eat it in things like lasagna as a substitute for the meat.

This phenomenon hit the news late March when January Jones told People Magazine that she chose to “eat” her placenta after having her baby. Shortly after, a friend contacted me and, because of my past issues with postpartum depression, suggested I do the same.

Part of me wanted to pat her on the head and dismiss her as a nut job.

But I thought I would look into it…at least to know more about it before I decide not to do it. I mean, “weird” isn’t a good reason to just say no to something.  At least to me.

So I took her information, found some of my own, and well, decided to pass on the placenta pills.

But the arguments that I found for placenta consumption  weren’t all bad.

According to the website of a local doula, consuming placenta capsules helps

  • balance your hormones
  • enhance milk supply
  • increase your energy

And it goes on to suggest that the placenta capsules may even help with things like recovery after birth, preventing Baby Blues, and helping shorten bleeding after baby.

The site includes a very official sounding list of wonderful things in the placenta including “feel-good hormones and chemicals”.

The problem is that placenta ingestion has not been approved by the FDA and the site doesn’t say that anywhere.

I think that was the first red flag for me.

Medical experts and researchers backed the idea that it was nutrient-rich and packed with “good stuff,” but I’m just not a dare-devil when it comes to trying new things like this.

The biggest push for placenta consumption (to me and to other women) is that by consuming your placenta, you could be warding off postpartum depression.

As a sufferer of PPD and PPA, I give the side-eye to any “magic bullet” that can prevent it.

And so do the experts.  They agree that while the placenta is filled with “good stuff,” there just isn’t proof it prevents PPD or PPA.

“This is a scam, and a potentially dangerous one,” said Dr. Lauren F. Streicher, clinical instructor in obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern Medical School, who has never heard of placenta used as treatment for postpartum depression…

“There’s potential that women who need to get legitimate psychiatric help may look to this pill and not get the appropriate help they need,” said Streicher.*

I am currently 8 weeks postpartum with my second son, and I am not experiencing postpartum depression this time around.  And not because I ate my placenta.

My biggest worry is that a woman will take her encapsulated placenta, but still suffer PPD.  Then what?  Will she blame herself? Will she not recognize it because she is determined that the capsules worked? Then what? Severe enough PPD can turn violent…sometimes resulting in death.

Putting your whole trust in a non-proven way to prevent PPD is scary to me.

So I will pass on the placenta, thank you.

_______

*Source


Comments

  1. Although I didn’t do it, I completely support placenta consumption if a woman wants to do that. And I’ve also read that it can ward off “baby blues” or anxiety, but so can a lot of things, including medication, diet, talk therapy and exercise.

    I too have suffered from PPD, and I’ve tried many different ways of treatment. I would hate to think that any woman would take a magic “anything”, regardless of it’s been “proven” or not, and blame herself because it didn’t work. Because then she’s just uneducated with her illness.

    Honestly,my first antidepressant didn’t work for me, and the side effects were horrible, but I didn’t blame myself for that. I just figured that that particular medicine might work for some, but it simply didn’t for me. Then I tried a different one, and it worked better. Not great, just better than the first.

    And sure, antidepressants have been “proven”, but no antidepressant will work for anyone. That’s why it often takes ages for people suffering from depression and anxiety to tweak their medication and dosage amounts before they get relief.

    I guess what I’m saying, I just don’t think the benefits of placenta consumption should be discounted because it hasn’t been “proven”.

    • I support women who want to do it. It just wasn’t for me. My doc seemed to think it was more of a fad right now, even though I know quite a good handful of moms who have done it and felt positively about it. I also talked to a couple who said they wouldn’t do it again because to them, it was just a placebo…didn’t feel it did anything.

      I actually did all this research pre-Charlie, but just got around to typing it up now.

      I will say, if I ever change my mind (because I might, I do that sometimes), I would totally do the pill and not the “replace the meat” form of consuming it.

      That just gives me the heebs.

  2. OK, now that’s just gross.

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  1. […] And I for SURE didn’t plan to have the postpartum depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress that I ended up with. […]