Eating The Placenta: What’s it all about?

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Kim Kardashian eating away her placenta after the birth of her second child, Saint West; has been breaking the internet. Apart from her, celebs like January Jones and Alicia Silverstone have tried it too. But, what is it all about? Sounds weird and some might feel sick to the stomach just thinking about it. Nonetheless, it makes for a very fascinating read. Here’s why:

Although not quite a new trend, eating one’s placenta has recently become very popular. Doctors claim there are three ways to consume it, drying the placenta and popping it in the form of a pill, eating it raw (as soon as possible since there are chances of it spoiling just like any other form of meat) or even stir frying it! Scientifically termed as placentophagy, it is practised both among animals as well as humans particularly tribal women and celebrities.

What is a placenta?

Many of you may not be familiar with what a placenta is. A placenta is the first organ that forms when a woman conceives even before the baby starts to develop. This vital organ is useful for transmitting nutrients, hormones and oxygen to the baby by connecting it to the uterus of the mother. All the waste generated by the baby also gets carried away by the placenta. This is the only organ that the mother’s body produces and eliminates after birth. During a vaginal delivery, the placenta is pushed out like the baby and during a Caesarean, the doctor removes it.

Researchers at the Northwestern University School of Medicine claim that it keeps your energy levels up as well as increases breast milk production. Your pregnancy might cause imbalances in the production of hormones which eating the placenta can do away with. It can also fight insomnia. promote skin elasticity and depression post birth.

The Cons:

Eating the placenta has not been quite an area of research. There is lack of medical evidence to prove its effects. Scientists believe that eating placenta is common among dogs to reduce labour pain. But that’s got to do with dogs and not necessarily humans. Moreover, it does contain fats, iron vitamin B6 and B12 as well as protein, but a healthy diet can easily suffice for it. There are chances of an infection spreading for consuming raw placenta. The pill contains powder dried placenta and hence, that might kill the useful nutrients. Since the placenta also acts as a filter for toxins, it might cause harm. However, it is advisable to have one’s own placenta and not that of any other woman as it exposes you to the risk of acquiring diseases.

Many hospitals might throw it away or even allow you to consume it. They generally treat it as medical waste and dispose it. Ensure that you have already intimated them of your plan. You must know their policies before deciding to have it.

Anushree Ghosh


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