Kim Kardashian, in a recent article for the Huffington Post, says she is interested in consuming her placenta. Yuck, right? Well, not so fast. I don’t know much about the reality star Kim Kardashian, but she may not have a completely ridiculous idea.
The placenta is often called the afterbirth or even in some cultures, the baby’s twin. In Greek it is derived from the word cake due to its round and flat appearance. (Funny it is even associated with food!) It functions as an organ that sustains a baby with nutrients and oxygen through the nine months of development in the womb caring waste and gases away from the baby.
Most mammals, even some of the vegetarian ones, participate in what is known as Placentohpagy, the eating of the placenta after birth. For me personally I grew up on a farm and have seen animals do so. One of our cats had given birth on our back step and afterwards, though there was other food and water available, scarfed the placenta down then cleaned and nursed her new kittens. It wasn’t gross; it was nature.
There have been very few studies on Humans and Placentohpagy though the practice has been around for centuries. In many cultures such as the Chinese and Vietnamese, this practice is common by preparing the placenta through a drying method. Some have even been known to give it to their grandmothers during menopause!
After childbirth the hormones, oestrogen and progestrone, that swarmed your body during pregnancy drop drastically within 4-6 days. This change can cause a symptom normally known as the baby blues. Not to mention at this point you are a little sleep deprived and still recovering from recently having a baby.
With my first child, I experienced a hint of the baby blues. And they are no joke. I wasn’t “depressed” in the idea of being sad or hysterical. I was just a zombie. For months after my first born the house was a disaster. I had little or no energy; I would just sit on the couch, take care of the baby, and wear my pajamas all day. It wasn’t because I was lazy or a bad mother. I could not physically or mentally do anything more.
So, to off set this occurrence I decided to try something else. When my midwife mentioned placenta encapsulation I was hesitant. The other benefits my midwife informed me of, besides the hormone help, were an increase in milk production and quicker recovery after childbirth. Which really appealed to me. And I have to say she was right!
The day after I gave birth to my second child, my midwife who is certified in placenta encapsulation, came over and began the process. From what I understand of the preparations this is what she did: First she cleaned the placenta then chopped it up, Secondly she put it in a dehydrator until she could finally blend it into a powder Lastly, she put small amounts into capsules for me to swallow.
When my milk came in a couple days after the birth, my breast became engorged* I was taking the capsules three times a day so I cut back to one a day. I was amazed at how quickly I was recovering and how much energy I had compared to the post partum of my first birth. After a week I stopped taking the pills and was still feeling good until about the one month mark.
I began to experience the baby blues, crying constantly and feeling mixed emotions about being a mother. Joy for my precious babies, but also depression and feelings of being trapped. I called my midwife who suggested taking one capsule a day and it really helped! Now whenever I start feeling tired or overwhelmed I take one and am amazed by feeling so much better.
I wouldn’t suggest this method for everyone because culturally it isn’t comfortable for most people. However, if you are a person who would like to quickly recover from childbirth and have an upper hand on the baby blues then it might be something to try.
*Engorgement is a very painful experience for most women. The breasts become overly full and even nursing your child constantly doesn’t bring much relief. Use ice packs if this happens and ask your midwife or doctor for ways to relieve it.)
The article from the Hunffington Post
For more info on what other cultures do with the Placenta!
Kim Kardashian photo source: