Human placentophagy is the process of women eating their own placenta after childbirth. The human placenta also known as the afterbirth and is the human tissue excreted from the womb, which was in the ‘bubble’ in which the fetus grew to become a baby. This is something that not everyone is fully aware of.
People tend to think that babies develop in the womb and that’s that, but that’s only part of the story. The formation of cells that transform into a fetus, which transforms into a baby, all in the span of 9 months, are nourished by the placenta inside the womb. During this formation process, the placenta provides nutrients and oxygen to the developing baby and keeps it healthy, so long as the mother herself stays healthy, too.
While many mammals eat their own placenta after giving birth to their offspring, the practice isn’t standard for humans. However, human placentophagy is increasingly becoming a trend from everyday people to A-list celebrities like Kim Kardashian.
What fuels this relatively new phenomenon is the growing belief that mothers ingesting their own placenta comes with a variety of health benefits, most notably the eradication of postpartum depression. Nonetheless, there is very little evidence suggesting a link between human placentophagy and curing post-natal depression.
Most mainstream medical experts warn against eating the placenta of other women, because of the potential of contracting diseases from other women. One can thus see that this practice is worrisome as it is unconventional. In the following sequence, the women who have carried out human placentophagy illustrate the ramifications of this quirky world.
Arguably the most famous reality TV star in the world, Kim (in)famously confirmed that she ate her placenta after her 2nd child. This wasn’t a publicity stunt however, nor was it to promote human placentophagy and/or make it more acceptable to the masses.
She stated that she did it for her own health benefits, which were to prevent postpartum depression and gain all the (supposed) nutrients of the placenta. Having done it for those reasons however, thousands of other mothers will have done the same thing for the same reasons, bearing in mind that she wields great influence on her millions of fans worldwide, from Africa to Europe.
Already having two kids with her husband Kanye West, there is no telling if Kim will have any more in the future. Being as widely successful as they both are, it’s fair to say they might now just want to establish and raise a family, which began a few years ago. Seeing how cute her kids are and how maternal she is with them, it’s not far-fetched that a 3rd child could be on the horizon. Kim had the placenta freeze dried and placed into capsules that she takes daily.
Dominika’s story is interesting. First of all, she upfront states that she wouldn’t consume placenta on its own. Here too, it’s evident that human placentophagy isn’t something that everyday people adopt in their mentality, despite its rising appeal.
Nonetheless, when her husband cut pieces of her placenta and blended it into a strawberry smoothie, which is one of the most common types of smoothies, Dominika’s didn’t see anything wrong with that because she couldn’t taste the placenta. Having kept the placenta from the birth of her two children, she feels it’s something acceptable when taken in this way.
On the other hand, Dominika does go on to say that delaying cord clamping after childbirth produces placenta that ‘is not as juicy.’ She states ‘no blood or any other taste comes through.’ It needs to be considered, though, that ‘afterbirth’ must immediately follow after childbirth, as delaying its excretion is dangerous and can be fatal for the mother.
Therefore, the advice of a doctor or medical practitioner should be considered before intending to attempt human placentophagy.
In the final example of this article, Erin gave birth to twins at home. Her friend and neighbor at the time was a chef, who prepared her placenta with several ingredients to make a meal. According to Erin, it was cooked in liver and onions-style with lots of fresh garlic and brown rice. Rather exotic, but notable in this case. From the horse’s mouth, ‘It was delicious!’
Erin had been a vegan for 13 years prior to these meals. After eating her placenta, she felt ‘amazing and full of energy even after losing a good amount of blood.’ Once again, it’s evident that human placentophagy seems to really have some health benefits among these women.
Before jumping on the bandwagon, just to keep up with the Joneses, comprehensive investigation should be carried out in order to learn as much as possible about the potential benefits/side-effects of it. As can be see from this evaluation, most of the women who’ve eaten their own placenta experienced a metal-like, iron taste when doing so.
Some didn’t. Hence, it must be acknowledged that individual results may, indeed, vary.
In this example, this woman didn’t even wait to dry her placenta for subsequent ingestion. She just consumed it raw while mixed into a smoothie. Smoothies are a recent trend that’s picked up in recent years. It’s the cousin of juicing and is basically a concoction of numerous fruits, vegetables and yogurt, or protein powder mixed into one drink.
Sugar isn’t needed as the drink by virtue of the fruit, already tastes sweet. Adding a neutral powder, therefore, like supplementary protein power, or apparently in this case, placenta powder, goes unnoticed when it’s mixed into a smoothie.
Crysta did however notice a difference. When she added it normally to her smoothie, she couldn’t taste the placenta. When she, however, added more of the placenta, she picked up more of an ‘iron’ taste, which goes to suggest that excess placenta added to smoothies does effect a reaction in the taste buds of people’s tongues.
Like the saying, ‘Too much of anything is bad.’ Crysta exemplifies why one needs to be careful when trying these unorthodox health plans, in order not to cause a negative or allergic reaction.
Vanessa stands out from the women so far. A midwife team not only cut her placenta into small, mini pill-sized bites, but also froze them all in a freezer – all on her behalf. When she wanted to start consuming them, she took them out of the freezer and started an alternative method.
Instead of blending them to get a powder, which she could later mix into a drink or food, she placed a placenta chunk at the back of her throat and swallowed it whole. Then she would take a shot of ‘very flavourful soda or juice as chaser.’ She’d swallow 6 to 12 placenta bites a day, this way. Just like drinking a shot of Vodka and sucking a piece of Lime right afterwards. Original indeed.
When it comes to taste, there seems to be a consensus among the women. Vanessa perceived it to be ‘metallic,’ further suggesting the ‘iron’ taste the previous women have noticed. Moreover, Vanessa feels the thought of engaging in human placentophagy is more repugnant than actually doing it. The former is not surprising as most people cringe at the thought of consuming human tissue.
Furthermore, being quite open about her personal life, Vanessa doesn’t think ingesting her placenta is all that outlandish, since she apparently swallows semen anyway. Go figure.
Lauren took a different approach. She also decided to go the route of drying up her placenta and turning them into capsules. Doing it this way primarily eradicates the possibility of experiencing what it tastes like, but there was one challenge Lauren didn’t account for: she has an intense phobia of choking and thus doesn’t swallow pills well.
Obviously thereby beating the purpose, she chose to improvise and still have her cake and eat it. She simply opened the capsules and rather ingeniously sprinkled the placenta powder onto her food. It included ice creams, yogurt, applesauce and, according to her, even mashed potatoes.
In terms of taste, Lauren’s experience wasn’t too different from Crysta’s. Both picked up an accentuated iron taste and in Lauren’s case, she even admits that it was quite gag-inducing at first, but she got used to it. She attributes this to knowing that placenta was being ingested.
Once again, one can see that despite the growing trend of human placentophagy, there is still a rational resistance against consuming one’s own human tissue. This hesitation no doubt stems from common sense.
The thought of eating placenta is pretty gross to most people, but when hearing and reading about the benefits other women experienced, many are game to give it a try. The most common approach is to dry it up and mix it into food or beverages, as illustrated above.
Not this lady, though. Alison did it, presumably, the old school way. She cut it up into tiny pieces not longer than a centimeter and froze it. She divided it into 2 portions: 1 to be taken raw and the other for encapsulation. Her primary motive for eating it raw was because of the ‘nutrient and hormone content.’ Just like eating raw vegetables and eating cooked potatoes unpeeled.
While eating fruits and vegetables raw really does have enhanced health benefits as opposed to cooking or peeling them, the ‘nutrient and hormone content’ of human placenta is yet to be confirmed by scientists and doctors the world over.
Even though the practice seems to be increasing in some quarters, it is an act nonetheless based on a lot of hearsay and quite frankly, myth. Alison reported no strong taste of her placenta, just a ‘slightly metallic’ one. Once again, the metal taste is consistent with previous reports.
Another smoothie lover is Julie, who mixes her placenta in ‘a lot of frozen strawberries and orange juice.’ According to her, the placenta is not even noticeable this way. A method like this reverberates the love Westerners have for smoothies and how mixing ‘supplements’ into it is culturally accepted.
People love to get that extra oomph in their drink and the smoothie is a prime contender. Julie must have been experiential with her consumption because she noticed when she added less natural smoothie ingredients, the ‘iron’ taste would ‘come through.’ It’s therefore safe to say that placenta ingestion isn’t suitable to mothers allergic to ‘metallic’ food.
Human placentophagy among the women who practice it, is a strong sensation, regardless of the perception of the women doing it. Julie ‘never even noticed the taste unless she was really trying to.’ While this may prove good for other women keen on trying it, it must be noted that the ‘ritual’ is significant on the human senses and shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Eating or drinking one’s own placenta evokes a reaction. Care and caution should be taken before, during and after the consumption of it.
As some pregnancies have it, Baylie had a c-section. Her friend and midwife prepared her placenta. The midwife made it by ‘cutting it up in bits and frying it up with carrots, broccoli, lentils and topping it with fresh avocado.’ Accordingly, ‘it was metallic and mealy in flavor/texture.’ Additionally, Baylie’s midwife soaked it in Bragg’s Aminos (a seasoning similar to soy sauce), which made it ‘tolerable.’
Baylie was enthralled by the placenta. She mentioned feelings of love and closure, which made her ‘gush with tears’ afterward. She also felt ‘on top of the world’ even though her birth had been ‘traumatic.’ In her account, she was able to process the post-natal blues in days, rather than months/years as is the case with most women.
Seeing the benefits of the first go round, she decided to try it again with her second birth. Problematically, no one was around to help her cook it and she knew she would stay in bed. So her doula stepped up to blend it. Baylie ‘went heavy on the raspberries to cover any weird texture with the seeds, as a result of which, she couldn’t taste any weirdness.’
Kacie’s tale is simple. After giving birth to her child, a midwife made a smoothie to curb the bleeding and ‘threw a piece of placenta in!’ Apparently Kacie’s husband also had some of it too. Kacie loved it, plain and simple. Kacie expected to taste something somewhat bloody but didn’t.
This expectation is understandable, bearing in mind that the placenta, or afterbirth, is generally covered in blood when expelled from the body.
Like Superman, Kacie said she felt powerful enough to ‘take on the world.’ She remembers thinking that smoothie was ‘the coolest.’ Fair enough, when something seemingly makes you feel so happy and you get a burst in energy, then it really may be considered the next best thing to say… sliced bread.
Kacie’s experience is exemplary of the human placentophagy fad being picked up by more and more women around the world who undergo childbirth and want to fight against postnatal depression.
Kiera’s story is by far the most compelling. She suffered severe postpartum depression after giving birth to her 1st child. Then she heard about placental consumption and tried it out with her 4th childbirth! She was so compelled to do it because she wanted anything to help her to feel better. This can be the unfortunate, intense and detrimental effect depression has on a human.
When Kiera took her placenta, it was given in ‘a raw smoothie after birth, with strawberries, honey and Greek yogurt.’ There was no difference in it than a regular smoothie. The main and concluding difference, however, was that ‘it helped her recovery incredibly and uplifted her spirits.’
So as can be seen in this example, some health benefits do exist for some mothers, therefore ruling out human placentophagy as social idiocy is counterproductive in establishing placenta as a supplementary food group. Kiera’s account has to be considered by scientists when evaluating responses from mothers who have tried this method.
Here, this lady ate pieces of her placenta immediately after childbirth, both times her children were born. Cassandra couldn’t taste anything at all and wasn’t sure if it had an effect or not, only that her breast milk production went through the roof. For a 1st time mother, this can understandably be relieving, knowing her child won’t lack any milk nutrients.
This gave her an overall positive inclination to her own placenta.
After her second childbirth, she froze her placenta in chunks and made a smoothie with them as other mothers did. She did this ‘here or there’ or when she was moody or feeling depleted. In this instance too, however, she had no idea if anything worked or not. She also ‘didn’t taste anything at all.’
What certainly made her happy nonetheless was a nice placebo effect that the placenta gave her. So, here too, it’s evident that women seem to have a thing for eating their placenta for supposed health benefits. Whether the benefits are actually caused by the supposed nutrients in the placenta or not remains to be proven.
For Adrianne, she ate her placenta after both her childbirths for weeks thereafter. After her first childbirth, her friend brought it mixed in a smoothie (again), just a few hours after birth and Adrianne drank it all up. She says she never tasted anything out of the ordinary.
Then she prepared a smoothie for herself at home, after her 2nd childbirth and once more didn’t taste anything strange. She attributes this nonexistence of (even) a (slight) metallic taste to ‘adding enough delicious things in a smoothie, making the placenta have zero taste.’
This account has been reverberated by the women already mentioned. However in Adrianne’s case, there just wasn’t any taste at all. Perhaps she bombarded her smoothies with excess amounts of ‘delicious things,’ that even the metallic taste of the placenta, couldn’t stand against. It may be tempting to think Adrianne may have exaggerated somewhat about adding extra berries and other sweet ingredients to her smoothie.
In Allie’s case, she went the more common route. After delivering her 2nd child, she divided her placenta in two. Half of it was dried and consequently encapsulated and the other half was cut into cubes, which were frozen. These were then mixed into smoothies her husband would prepare for her. While he did this, she would stay in bed, letting her hubby pamper her.
In her take of it, she ‘never once noticed an off taste.’ This was further confirmed by her husband who taste-tested every smoothie beforehand. Like Kacie, Allie’s account and that of her husband would have to be considered when further establishing whether or not human placentophagy is beneficial to mothers or not.
As seen from this list, Kacie, Allie and Allie’s husband never tasted anything (off) in a placenta smoothie. That’s three different people saying the same thing, which can hardly be ruled out. Or perhaps we should ask what their recipe for the smoothies was.
For this woman, all the hype surrounding human placentophagy is indeed what brought her to give it a go. She consumed the entire placenta from her two kids childbirths and froze it in chunks that she mixed into a smoothie every day for a whole month after delivery.
In her own words, ‘When you go full force, the taste can be a little funky, but if you pace yourself, it’s easy to get it down undetected.’ One can see here an example of blind faith in something that isn’t widely proven to be true.
The health benefits Rebecca apparently experienced after every smoothie was feeling more energized, more balanced and more - colloquially speaking - ‘badass.’ It’s therefore safe to assume that it not only works for her, but that it’s absolutely awesome to do.
With such an overwhelmingly great account of eating her own placenta, Rebecca’s friends considering becoming mothers will no doubt be strongly influenced by her zeal, excitement and sense of being upbeat.