Mad Men star January Jones has recently admitted that she ate her own placenta after giving birth to her son.
The placenta is a flat organ that forms during pregnancy and functions to filter toxins and provide nutrition for the developing fetus. Placentophagy, or the practice of ingesting one’s placenta, is controversial not only among mothers but by those in the medical community as well. Unlike other mammals, new mothers do not ingest the placenta raw. It is most commonly cooked, dehydrated, and converted into a powder form through a process known as ‘encapsulation.’
Proponents of placentophagy argue that it has numerous health benefits, including decreased insomnia, iron deficiency, and postpartum bleeding. They also claim it helps the uterus contract back to its normal size, as well as boost and increase energy, breast milk, and hormone levels which can ameliorate symptoms of postpartum depression.
While the aforementioned ailments can and often are treated pharmaceutically, these treatments often come with unforeseen, and sometimes fatal, side effects. In contrast, each woman’s placenta is hormonally unique to her, and, as such, presents no risk of side effects. The placenta also contains myriad nutrients and compounds that no one pharmaceutical could contain.
Placenta ingestion has its place in other cultures as well as so-called alternative medicine, such as traditional Chinese medicine. While the practice began in America in the 70’s as a New Age phenomenon, it is considered medical waste in the West and is not made available to the patient unless she requests it.
Jones makes a compelling argument when she states “We’re the only mammals who don’t ingest our own placentas. It’s not witch-crafty or anything! I suggest it to all moms!” Yet despite these and other accolades, scientists remain unconvinced. “Every ten or twenty years people say ‘We should do this because it’s natural and animals do it,’” Mark Kristal, a behavioral neuroscientist told New York Magazine. “But it’s not based on science. It’s a fad.”
What do you think? Is eating your own placenta fad or (nutritionally) fab?
via The Daily Mail