Would You Eat Your Placenta?

Via Kate Bartolotta
on Mar 28, 2012
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January Jones decided to eat hers after the birth of her son and has been taking lots of flack for it in the press.

I’m a pretty crunchy mama. I loved breastfeeding, co-sleeping, babywearing and all the other good crunchy mama stuff. But, I have my limits. This might be one of them:

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January Jones made a statement that we are the “only mammals that don’t do it” and that’s probably true. I’ve tried a lot of unusual things for my health—I even tried my breast milk—but…placenta? Anybody tried it? Considering it? Could you eat your placenta and still be vegan?

Relephant (and somewhat horrifying): Inhabitots will make you a teddy bear out of your placenta.


About Kate Bartolotta

Kate Bartolotta is a wellness cheerleader, yogini storyteller, and self-care maven. She also writes for Huffington Post, Yoga International, Mantra Yoga+ Health, a beauty full mind, The Good Men Project, The Green Divas, The Body Project, Project Eve, Thought Catalog and Soulseeds. Kate's books are now available on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com. She is passionate about helping people fall in love with their lives. You can connect with Kate on Facebook and Instagram.


43 Responses to “Would You Eat Your Placenta?”

  1. I never thought I'd say this, but I might try it with my next child. I felt SO AWFUl in the eight weeks after my first that I can't help but think there might be something to this. I'm no ultra hippy. I'm a yoga instructor, meditator, cloth diaper-er, and health conscious mama, but I'm NOT vegetarian, co-sleeping, or baby slinging. I breastfed my son to a year, made his food, keep hi, in positive energy, but I'm a normal girl. I did not feel normal post partum I had a beautiful pregnancy. I taught yoga past my due date and felt alive and vibrant. Childbirth kicked my ass. Not sleeping. Learning my baby. Vata imbalance. I don't know. It might be an answer..

  2. Katy Poole says:

    I was actually invited once to a "placenta" party for which the new Mom made soup out of the after birth to serve to the guests. (Apparently, it's great for skin tone!) I politely declined the invitation, though I did attend the "after" party which involved planting a tree over the remainder of the placenta.

  3. elephantjournal says:

    Hell yes! My momma did I think, or at least was open to it. ~ Waylon.

  4. Lisa says:

    Did it. Dried it encapsulated it and took it for the first 8 weeks. No post partum depression at all. Don't know if it was because of the placenta consumption, but seriously no big deal. Would not eat someone else's. That seems pretty gross. I mean you don't see other mammals going around eating their pasture mate's placenta. Do you?

  5. Tarafirma says:

    Are you going to finish that?
    The pllacenta is supposed to contain a serious amount of nutrients..a perfect food for a new mom who's energy has been spent on labour…other mammals do it, they are also more likely to give birth in solitude…no friends drop delicious meals by…no take out..limited access to nutrient rich foods (green smoothie anyone?). I'm not a stranger to it, I know people who have… Im due in June, and I doubt Ill do it, buy I don't hold judgement on others who do.

  6. I've heard a lot of women say that. I think once I got past the first six weeks or so of constant narcolepsy things felt better. Might help!

  7. Yes! I have a few friends who planted & some who ate. I guess if you are going to use placenta for health, using your own or a friend's is the most ethical way to go!

  8. I think I would do the capsules if I ever have more kids. Had I known that was an option, might have done it! You have to ask her when you go visit..I'm curious!

  9. The baby mammals sometimes do. I would have to do the capsules. Having been present at many births (human and other mammals!) I know what that distinctive placenta smell is. It would take a loooot of Sriracha to get that down!

  10. True! Most cows don't have their friends wandering by with a casserole-funny!

  11. Trysta says:

    After experiencing the difference in healing that placenta encapsulation has first hand, I became a placenta encapsulation specialist! I now offer this service to mamas in the Denver Metro and Mountain areas (in addition to being a Certified Master Herbalist). Not only does it support energy levels, emotional well-being, lactation but also decreases healing time. In Chinese Medicine it is said to increase the "Jing" energy of a women that is lost during childbirth. All of the mamas I have worked with have had amazing healing and those who have had previous children with which they did not take placenta capsules, have expressed the stark contrast in their healing process. Its amazing!

    I would be honored to support any mama interested. (Here are two links)

  12. Madhya says:

    The day after I had my son my midwife took my placenta, dehydrated it, ground it and put it into capsules. I took them for a month and I wish I could take them everyday now. I had sonmuch energy, never tired even I wasn't getting any sleep with a newborn. I never felt any post partum drepression and I felt nourished and happy, I highly recommend doing thismafter birth. Drop your judgments and reactivity around this ancient practice? It has nothing to do with veganism, it is your own body replenishing itself.

  13. Sej says:

    She didn't eat it "sauteed with garlic"; she had it dried, crushed, and encapsulated into pills. Please, if you're going to post something as attention-grabbing as this, tell the whole story.

    And yes, I would do the same if I had the chance.

  14. Jenifer says:

    I left the option open for myself. I wanted to lotus birth (which means keeping the placenta attached until it comes off naturally in about 3-6 days), but I also was interested in this.

    I decided to let my intuition/feelings decide after the birth.

    We left the placenta attached for 8-9 hours, and then decided to remove it. But, we were quite fascinated by it, and I didn't really want to eat it so much as look at it and enjoy it and so on. And so we did. It was pretty funny — as if we worshipped the thing. LOL

    Then we buried it under the roses.

  15. suri_k says:

    Is there any scientific evidence to this? I find this gross in so many ways , it would not be very different from collecting your period blood and drinking it , really . Many animals eat their poo too once in a while …thank god we are the only ones who dont!!! Just because most animals do it that doesnt mean we should specially when there is no evidence whatsoever of its purported benefits.. What about meconium ? Some babies expell meconium before birth if they are stressed out….
    I would say it sounds like a lot of new agey woo woo ….well , anyways thats my opinion …good luck in keeping it down .

  16. suri_k says:

    Sorry forgot to say, where are your critical thinking skills people?? Are we living in the middle ages?? What happened to reason?? The only "evidence" provided here is anecdotal…basing your decision on someone elses anecdotes is not very smart.
    There is a lot of superstition going on these days …its a shame .

  17. Ben_Ralston says:

    Your child is very lucky. I've healed Placenta related trauma, and I think it's the biggest trauma I've ever come across. This 8-9 hours were very valuable, I'm sure.
    Lucky roses too 🙂

  18. Amarnath says:

    Some doctors are beginning to say it is a cure for Post Partum Depression, but it actually just prevents it.

  19. Jacquie_O says:

    Lol, I was going to mention the poo thing too 🙂 Wouldn't eat either 🙂

  20. Nice-thanks for the links!

  21. Hmm, well, my only judgments were whether I felt I could do it. I'm vegan & the idea of eating something fleshy scares me a little (a lot). I love what all the commenters have has to say though!

  22. Via Facebook:
    You and 13 others like this.

    Joules Kathy Moss yes
    13 hours ago · Like

    Joules Kathy Moss gahhhead… freak out
    13 hours ago · Unlike · 2

    Scott Hales it's unlikely..
    13 hours ago · Like

    Scott Hales Not that there's anything wrong with that..
    13 hours ago · Unlike · 3

    elephantjournal.com No, Joules Kathy Moss that's why I asked. It seems to have legitimate health benefits. Just not sure I could do it! ~ Kate
    13 hours ago · Like · 1

    Victoria B. I'd definitely TRY it.
    13 hours ago · Unlike · 1

    Amy Kalyn Sims I'm currently 23 weeks pregnant and planning to ingest mine. I'm going to have it encapsulated so that it can be taken as needed during the healing process.
    13 hours ago · Unlike · 5

    elephantjournal.com I think that was what January Jones did as well. I could probably deal with capsules. Maybe. ~ Kate
    13 hours ago · Like · 1

    Andre Walker Not really that big a deal and tons of benefits…
    13 hours ago · Like · 1

    Angelina Shuman i am a doula and encapsulate placentas for my clients who wish to consume them.
    13 hours ago · Unlike · 6

    Sonja Chenard No….no I would not.
    12 hours ago · Like

    JD Koziarski It actually does *not* have any proven health benefits for first world human beings who have first world nutrition. The amount of bogus medical/health information out there is staggering.

    12 hours ago · Like · 4

    Nicole Wagner Seriously disgusting – but as pple mentioned if possible in pill form, possibly – however, as we can pretty much put our hands on the best nutrients possible with various herbs, power plants (raw milk for some), apple cider vinegar type foods, what's the point? It's one thing if we were in serious need of some nutrients for survival, but of we can get those nutrients in other arenas, then Hellz no
    12 hours ago · Like · 4

    Jessica Morsell
    I was never given the chance. The problem for many might be opportunity. Despite having hired what I thought was a pretty crunchy midwife, I wound up with 36 hours of medicated labor and the worst clinical experience possible. My detaile…See More
    12 hours ago · Like

    Sarah Cooper Evans Yes, I did with my second. It was encapsulated. Definitely no regrets
    12 hours ago · Like · 2

    Tishana Trainor Yes. Next question…..
    12 hours ago · Like

    Kim Ediger I have given birth 4 times and NO…. I did not and would not !!!!!!!!!!
    12 hours ago · Like · 2

    Jessica Moore-Irvin Yes, capsules, though i didn't with my 2 live birthd. I disagree that there is no benefit. Stem cells are harvested from placentas!!
    12 hours ago · Like

    Valeria Moore OK, so research studies have found over 300 different toxins in umbilical cord blood that should not be there. That blood comes through the placenta.
    11 hours ago · Like · 1

    Kim Goldstein Golden I did and can tell say that they made a huge difference!
    11 hours ago · Like

  23. Missy Gardner encapsulated is the way to go. you're eating way scarier crap when you eat a hamburger.
    11 hours ago · Like · 2

    Carolyn Flyer Valeria, I just read that it filters the toxins and doesn't store them. I'm 30 weeks and plan to encapsulate.
    11 hours ago · Like · 1

    elephantjournal.com Love all the feedback! If you comment on the blog, they'll stick around longer. ~ Kate
    11 hours ago · Like

    JD Koziarski It's amazing the absolutely pointless, insane things people will do. Nobody here can actually explain why they'd do something like this. Remember: If you think there are health benefits, science says you're wrong. People can do what they want, of course, but it'd be good to actually research a little.
    11 hours ago · Like

    Sara Strother Freeze dried and encapsulated- huge benefit to me after the birth of my daughter in January. Capsule form there is no smell or taste.
    11 hours ago · Like

    Melissa Barth Long Men need to stop commenting On this.
    10 hours ago · Like

    elephantjournal.com Please take the convo over to the article, so our readers can share your two cents. Support indie media, not just FB! ~ Waylon
    10 hours ago · Unlike · 1

    Aigul Umurzakova I think, no.
    7 hours ago · Like

    Michelle Keenan Dickins Never never never.
    5 hours ago · Like

  24. __MikeG__ says:

    Keebler Placenta Pops?

  25. Padma Kadag says:

    We really don't need to be so serious about eating or not eating…Im a male so really it doesnt concern me. I am a little amused by Kate's honest , "I'm vegan & the idea of eating something fleshy scares me a little (a lot)", this is amusing to me because there is so much anxiety around diets which are supposed to be moral and healthy. These intellectual pursuits around diet cause anxiety at many levels and yet they also cause self satisfaction and a "lightness". Kate's fear is an interesting and honest admission. Maybe Kate could "flesh-out" her feelings a little more here… Oh, also my wife and I buried the placenta under a tree for both of our children.

  26. Mojodancer says:

    Oh come on, it's not so weird. It supposedly designed to help the woman stay healthy. You can freeze dry it. Whatever. Some people felt this way about breastfeeding at one point. I think she is very cool for sharing that she took up this ancient tradition. Cut the shame with the body. People eat animal liver, animal flesh, let their dogs lick and kiss them in the mouth. Wake up to the wisdom of the feminine body, the natural way of birth and ancient wisdom.

  27. guest says:

    sadly correlation does not equal causation..

  28. guest says:

    thank you for a sane comment…

  29. guest says:

    yes yes yes! reason and evidence based medicine seems to be going down the drain right now. The plural of anecdote is not data.

  30. suri_k says:

    yes , except its not an ancient tradition , it was born in the sixties its just hippie nonsense … Humans are the only animals that dont eat placenta ..until now ..that is
    Those who eat other peoples placenta , have you ever thought about STD s , HIV, hepatitis and other diseases ? specially if you eat it raw … theres a good reason most people are grossed at the idea of eating placenta.

  31. Happy to! I am a vegan for ethical reasons but have never really enjoyed eating meat. It grosses me out to think of eating flesh. I mentally just can't get around the fact that that's what it is. No judgement on anyone else…I know and love a lot of omnivores. Just my own weirdness I guess!

  32. ha! (as long as they are gluten free…)

  33. I think it's much weirder for women to have a baby laying down in bed hooked up to wires and tubes than it is to do something that's been done traditionally for centuries. I found the public reaction interesting and was curious what other people thought…I'd consider doing the capsule version if I have more kids.

  34. Mojodancer says:

    It's not a hippie invention but if it was, that would be ok. Read about it.

  35. Eric says:

    HAHA!! yeah, I love hot sauce on everything but…(that was funny, thanks 🙂

  36. M says:

    It’s ridiculous for people to have qualms about this as vegans, except for the actual act of eating flesh, which understandably, might be a bit of an obstacle. Isn’t the whole point of veganism to be compassionate towards and conscious of other life forms, and to not cause any undue harm to living things?

    Well, you don’t have to kill anything to eat your own placenta. Think about it. In some ways, you might even consider this MORE compassionate than eating plants–they are living, breathing life forms as well, but having left ourselves very few options, we’ve got to eat SOMETHING.

    Eating placenta is just recycling! 100% post-consumer material.

  37. Absolutely…there's no compassion issue here. Besides my ethical reasons for not eating animal products, eating flesh also just grosses me out. And my question was more silly that anything else, but was sort of curious if anyone who chose to eat her placenta (in whatever manner) was also vegan/vegetarian.

  38. suri_k says:

    All the information provided in there is not backed by any scientific reasearch whatsoever.. the most recent antropological research shows that not only placentofagia is absent in human history , it is actually a taboo in most traditional cultures . is it not obvious who is making a buck from this? pill makers , yes .
    Hippies and new agers always justify their eccentricities with the "ancient tradition" , "ancient knowledge" argument even when it is not true.

  39. Suri_k says:

    Kate you should really check your facts it has not been done traditionally for centuries it is actually a taboo in most traditional cultures, research shows it is not a natural or normal occurrence in humans…and probably for good evolutionary reasons ..  Also those wires and tubes  save millions of lives  every year .

    Actually , science is the only reason you have all your teeth in your mouth , it is the only reason  you will probably get to see your grandchildren . and i am sure  if one of your loved ones developed a life threatening condition like a ruptured apendix  she would probably be saved by science , not a witch doctor .

    Giving science a bad rap is selfdefeating , we all enjoy the benefits of science everyday in every aspect of our lives .
    I bet you never question the validity of science when you use your computer, take a flight to visit relatives , use your cellphone  , turn the lights on when it is dark , brush your teeth , drive your car , etc

    What is worse , this kind of myth spreading and pseudoscience  hurts society as a whole, it promotes backwardness instead of progress and takes advantage of peoples gullibility and lack of critical thinking .

    Anyway , check your facts . If you are affirming something like "its been done for centuries" at least get your information from unbiased reliable sources.

    Here , i did your homework , an actual scientific paper on the subject:

    -Placentophagia in humans and nonhuman mammals: causes and consecuences
    Mark B Kristal , University at Buffalo http://www.acsu.buffalo.edu/~kristal/placentophag

  40. Whew! Well, I haven't read your paper yet, but would mention that in Traditional Chinese Medicine, placenta has been eaten for centuries. The point of this post was to start discussion on the topic—not end it.

    I absolutely, wholeheartedly believe in science. In fact, I have a 4.0 in all the sciences I've completed in the past two years, including 4 terms of Anatomy & Physiology, Pathology and Kinesiology.

    I also believe that there are many things that have been done traditionally (and not by witch doctors) that science can't fully explain yet. There is room for both. I definitely roll my eyes at some holistic therapies, but more and more the medical community is making room for complementary therapies.

    Obviously, anecdotal evidence is not science, but often scientific discoveries begin from curious investigation into anecdotal evidence.

    I love that you are sharing a different perspective. It would be great if you could do it in a way that is less condescending towards those who don't share it.

  41. Ashley says:

    I would and I did! Raw in a smoothie. My husband made himself what he called a"placenta scramble". Not sure if it helped or not – I had severe postpartum depression with my son, but his birth was incredibly traumatic and we were separated for 12 hours afterwards. With my daughter I had a picture perfect home birth, after which I consumed her placenta. I didn't have PPD at all but I suspect it's a combination of factors. I think I'm still vegan. It came from my body.

    I'll be honest, though, it didn't taste good.

  42. So sorry for the rough time, but awesome to hear how well your home birth went! and thanks for your honesty!

  43. Distinctly not an evidence-based practice… Read more http://www.shininglightprenatal.com/2012/03/29/pl