Katie McCarthy column: Placenta consumption not that weird

June 14, 2013 

Last week, Kim Kardashian revealed that she was considering consuming her placenta after she gives birth to her daughter.

She says she wants to do this in order to look younger. Most people think she just wants attention.

A lot of the reaction I've read online points to placental consumption as a Hollywood fad. But encapsulation -- wherein the placenta is steamed, dehydrated, ground and placed into pills -- is available locally.

However, I've never heard of a fountain-of-youth effect from placentophagy.

And while it's true that there isn't much in the way of scientific data to back up the claims that consuming your placenta reduces postpartum depression or aids in lactation, it certainly doesn't hurt.

Which is exactly why my husband and I decided to have my placenta encapsulated following our daughter's birth.

The process was quick and easy -- the local hospital staff was very receptive to our request to keep the organ and the encapsulation specialist picked up my placenta at the hospital (we stored it in a cooler until she got there).

I had over 100 pills filled with my dried placenta delivered to my home when my daughter was two days old.

She is my first child so, admittedly, I have no prior experience with which to compare; however, I firmly believe that consuming my placenta helped in my recovery. And I'll do it again when the time comes.

Child birth is an arduous affair and the recovery process can be long and sometimes difficult.

But I suffered no depression or "baby blues," I had no difficulties with milk production. Aside from a run-in with the dreaded mastitis (during which time I stopped taking the pills -- I was advised not to take them while sick), my recovery was smooth and complete.

Under "Placenta for Healing" on the PlacentaBenefits.info website, Jodi Selander writes, "There are a variety of potential benefits to placentophagy. For one, the placenta contains vitamins and minerals that may help fight depression symptoms, such as vitamin B6. For another, the placenta is considered rich in iron and protein, which would be useful to women recovering from childbirth."

She also notes that, "Although the current scientific research is exciting, we have barely begun to scratch the surface of the potential benefits of placentophagy. Considering that placenta is a completely natural substance, created by a woman's own body, encapsulation of the placenta is definitely worth considering as part of a holistic postpartum recovery for every expectant woman."

We're also the only mammals who don't eat our placenta.

It may sound weird, but I think it's at least worth looking into.

While it won't make you look like a Kardashian, it may just help you get back to your old self again.

Katie McCarthy, kmccarthy@ledger-enquirer.com or 706-571-8515.

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