Eating Placenta after Birth: Benefits & Risks

Eating Placenta after Giving Birth – Is It Safe?

The placenta is an organ attached to the lining of your womb, and it is the first thing that forms after a woman conceives. It connects your baby to you and the placenta helps deliver nutrients, oxygen, and even hormones to the foetus. The placenta also helps dispose of the waste inside the baby while in the womb. At the end of the pregnancy, the placenta is responsible for passing antibodies to the baby and provide him with immunity. As the baby grows, the placenta also grows. However, after the birth of the baby, the body rejects it. It is then pushed out when the baby is born or is taken out by the surgeon if you have a C-section.

Can You Eat Your Placenta?

Yes. Just like other types of organ meat, a placenta is also an organ which can be consumed. There are several ways to consume placenta, some people eat it raw, and the others eat it cooked. Some women grind the placenta and put it in a smoothie or use it in spaghetti or stews as a meat-based ingredient. But experts suggest that instead of doing it yourself, it is always better to work with someone who is well experienced in the preparation of placenta because not preparing it properly could result in a higher risk of bacterial infection. The safest way to consume placenta is to have a professional service make it into a special supplement. This process is called the placenta encapsulation. By this method, the placenta is ground into a powder after dehydrating it. This powder is then put in capsules which can then be taken like normal supplements.

What Are the Benefits of Eating Placenta?

The rise of the practice of eating placenta is based on the belief that it helps a mother get rid of baby blues during the postpartum period. Though this is not backed by research, the possible advantages of eating placenta could be:

  • An increase in the supply of iron.
  • Better production of milk.
  • An increase in energy.
  • An improvement in the mood.
  • Good maternal bonding.
  • Higher elasticity of the skin.
  • Sooner postpartum healing.

Placenta removal

How Can You Eat Your Placenta?

There are numerous ways to consume placenta. Here are a few ways followed by some women.

1. Placenta Pills

Encapsulation has become a trend these days. An expert can make this for you. After birth, they take your placenta, cook it and then dehydrate it. Then it is ground into a powder and placed it into vegetable-based capsules.

2. Cooked Placenta

If you have decided to cook your own placenta, then you should begin by cleaning it. You should drain all the blood, then rinse it properly until it is pink. You could cut away the membranes and umbilical cord. You could also hire someone else to do it for you. The problem here is that like any other meat product, it will spoil eventually, so you will have to consume it within a few days of giving birth to your baby. You could steam, roast, or sauté it and add garlic or herbs for better taste.

3. Eating the Placenta Raw

Except for camel, every other mammal eats their own placenta raw. You could do this too. It is said to be best for boosting immediate healing after giving birth. It is suggested that you thoroughly rinse the placenta and cut it into very small pieces. Rather than chewing it, you could swallow it whole.

4. A Placenta Smoothie

Many women eat it by blending a piece of it with mixed fruits and juices. You could add this in any smoothie recipe you like. This is a slightly more palatable way of consuming raw placenta.

5. Enjoying it In Your Favourite Dishes

You could finally add it to your favourite dishes. Sauté with a few spices, and you could make it your pizza topping. If you want to add it into lasagna, you could replace the cheese layer with a layer of the placenta. The benefit is that you probably will not have to fight for leftovers.

What Are the Risks of Consuming Placenta?

Many experts advise against the preparation of placenta that does not involve cooking since cooking destroys the viruses and bacteria which might spread diseases. They believe that encapsulation is also not a foolproof method. It is better to decide after you know the possible risks which may include:

1. Infections

Giving birth is never a very sterile process. Bacteria from this process which includes the faecal bacteria might contaminate the placenta which might result in you getting sick.

2. Infections in Baby

If you consume the placenta which is not prepared well, your baby may get infections.

3. Cross-contamination

It is important that the placenta is prepared in a sterile environment or else there would be blood-borne cross-contamination. The specialist who handles it must be well trained in safe food and sanitization methods and should have taken blood-borne pathogen training.

4. It Will be Hard to Keep it “Food Safe”

To preserve the placenta you will need access to proper refrigeration when you go into labour. Unless you do not have a cooler at that time, then you will need to make sure that within an hour someone takes it home to a refrigerator or a freezer.

5. You Might Not Even Get the Benefits

Many women hesitate when it comes to eating the placenta raw. It is mostly dehydrated and powdered to make it into pills or cooked or even frozen to be used in smoothies. Many of these practices might destroy the nutrients that the mother hopes for. To kill bacteria, you will have to cook it at high levels which could also kill everything you think are good.

6. You Might Not Like the Taste

Placenta has a gamy, coppery flavour since they are rich in blood. Some people say it tastes like liver and others also compare it to chicken.

Things to Keep in Mind Before Eating Placenta after Delivery

If you have decided to consume placenta, you should consider keeping the following things in mind.

1. Check the Birthing Centre

Most hospitals tend to throw the placenta away along with medical waste. If you want to keep yours, then you should arrange it in advance.

2. Send the Placenta to a Professional

The most common way to consume it is in the form of capsules. Send it to companies who will take steps to destroy the bacteria.

3. Follow Safe-Prep Practice

if you have decided to prep the placenta, then you can get instructions online.

4. Monitor Yourself

if you feel sick when consuming it, then it is best to not take it. Consult a doctor right away to protect yourself and your baby.

When it comes to eating your placenta, pros and cons are many. Furthermore, there is no concrete proof that says consuming placenta is beneficial for humans. Most women who wish to feel better or good do end up feeling that way. But this might also be a placebo effect. Many women might feel sick after consuming it, so nothing can be said for sure. So, it is always best to consult a doctor before you think of consuming your placenta in any form.

Also Read:

Difference between Postpartum Depression and Baby Blues
Tips for Recovering from Pain after Delivery
Blood Clots after Childbirth

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Aarohi Achwal holds a bachelor’s degree in Commerce and a master’s degree in English Literature. While working as an intern for an English daily, she realised that she likes writing above anything else. The idea of being heard without having to speak appeals to her. She likes to write research-based articles that are informative and relevant. She has written articles on pregnancy, parenting, and relationships. And she would like to continue creating content on health and lifestyle.