Placentophagia is the practice of consuming ones own placenta following a birth. Fundamentally, it is a tradition carried on by most mammals (yeah yeah, I know animals also eat their own poo). I'm not suggesting that we, as humans should follow examples set by animals, as that could get strange real fast. In addition to animals, many people groups around the world practice placentophagia. In countries where modern medicine is not readily available, women have relied on the benefits of consuming their placenta to relieve mood imbalance, excessive bleeding, and anemia following birth.
Placentophagia is absolutely still considered a fringe practice here in the United States, yet is gaining more popularity as women are looking to more natural methods for relieving postpartum issues without jeopardizing breastfeeding or committing to invasive, pharmaceutical treatments. Most often, women who participate in placentaphogia are simply looking to maximize their postpartum experience by boosting energy levels and warding off infirmities or depression.
I get it. Many are baffled that a woman would voluntarily eat her own placenta. To some this sounds more like a form of cruel and unusual punishment. Hoping that the placenta in its truest form will provide the greatest benefit, some women opt to "enjoy" a placenta smoothie, perhaps made with blueberries and orange juice. For those who can't stomach it raw, there is a modernized version of this tasty treat. Placenta encapsulation. The placenta is dehydrated (similar to beef jerky), ground, and then put into capsule form to be taken easily and tastelessly by the mother.
Following my birth with Grace Louise, I had my placenta encapsulated by some friends who were trying to get their feet wet in offering this service. After having such a positive experience myself, I decided to offer this service to other women in the area.
The pictures below tell the story of my first placenta encapsulation.
11 hours after the birth, I picked up the placenta from the hospital. The mom simply signed a release form and kept the placenta in this cooler on ice until I got there. This was the first placenta request at The Regency in Winter Haven. This mom was a pioneer. I love that I was able to be a part of that!
"Biohazard". The organ that gave life to the baby for 9 months is now in a biohazard bag. A Publix bag would have been more appropriate. Nevertheless, here is the placenta safely packaged for the car ride.
I don't mean to downplay the seriousness of safety when it comes to being exposed to someone else's blood. I wore gloves for every step of the process, used equipment bought specifically for this service, and disinfected before and after the process.
"Hi Placenta! Welcome to my home."