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McConaughey Digs Placenta

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Want a new addition to your garden or something to ward off baby blues? After birth, have some afterbirth.

MatthewMcConaugheyplacenta.jpgNew dad Matthew McConaughey has revealed he kept his newborn son's placenta--well, actually his girlfriend Camila Alves' placenta--so he can bury it at the base of a tree in an Aboriginal tradition of "growing" health and strength. Which is weird, because the shirtless wonder is from Texas, but whatever.

In many cultures the placenta is often ritualistically disposed of but in western cultures it's often whisked away in the hospital and incinerated. But still, some women get pretty attached and simply can't let go of their uterine lining. Says one women on an "attachment parenting" website message board, "My whole placenta and cord have been in the freezer for almost 18 months. From what I have heard they get pretty stinky just left out. One would need to do something special to preserve it, I think."

Usually when something's reeking in our fridge, we toss it--but if this woman simply checked out the myriad of websites dedicated to placenta preservation projects, her question would be answered. One such site,, has ideas such as burying, framing, planting and even has a crafty umbilical cord idea, "The cord can be removed and twisted into a heart or wreath, then completely dried, leaving you with a lasting keepsake to remember this momentous time in your life."

Sorry, but some of us are just as content with that teeny tiny hospital name band as a way to commemorate a birth. For one thing, looking at it doesn't make us feel like throwing up. Think we're overreacting? Have you taken a good hard look at a placenta lately? It's basically a pound of slimy reddish flesh. Not exactly something that goes with the decor in most of our living rooms.


Not that appetizing is it? And yet some women insist on eating it--a behavior more commonly practiced by our furry animal friends. Sounds weird, and, well actually it is. Nonetheless, new mothers swear that by ingesting the uterine lining, they ward off those postpartum blues.

But momlogic contributer OB/GYN Dr. Hilda Hutcherson has her doubts. "There are no hormones in placenta that aren't already in the blood stream," she says. She also points out the lack of research on the subject. "I don't think there are very many women who are going to volunteer for a study where they have to eat their own placenta." You got that right! Although Placentophagy, the practice of making yourself a nice plate of placenta, is still relatively rare, there are plenty of recipes available online from pizza, placenta jerky, or a placenta bolognese. Serves five--if you can find five people willing to eat it.

In a quandary about what to do with that old placenta you've got in your fridge? Or does the whole subject give you the creeps?

next: Don't Take My Baby
20 comments so far | Post a comment now
foxymama August 11, 2008, 6:06 PM

WHAT! God help us. Guess it takes all kinds.

Tina August 11, 2008, 6:17 PM

Actually I did cook up my placenta when I gave birth. It was a way of being at one with my newborn son.

Anonymous August 11, 2008, 6:21 PM

that picture is discusting. yike I can’t believe something like that came out of me.

Jan Tallent August 11, 2008, 6:27 PM

I thought it was weird when they put it in shampoo. I loved my 3 kids AND my 2 so far grand babies but I will settle for a tooth or a curl, thanks, lol

Christine August 11, 2008, 6:30 PM

Would have loved to had the option to keep or preserve it when I had my boys, either time. I did keep my eldest sons belly button in his baby book when it fell off though.

~kat August 11, 2008, 6:32 PM

Yes creeps … total creeps! I have 5 kids and never not once thought of doing that or keeping it for that matter. I would have had it frozen somewhere for future medical needs if it wasn’t only affordable for the wealthy. Just couldn’t afford it at the time.

Carrie August 11, 2008, 6:56 PM

Placenta disgusting? I haven’t eaten mine, but it’s a beautiful testament to our awesome bodies, ladies. I mean really.

Is your uterus also disgusting? Is your birth canal disgusting? The breasts that nourish your baby - also gross?

Your body creates a placenta to nourish your child. How in the heck is that disgusting?

Do you think your husband is disgusting too?

Katie August 11, 2008, 7:51 PM

I don’t see what “attachment parenting” had to do with being attached to your pregnancy or anything like that… attachment parenting is a type of parenting, not being attached to your baby or pregnancy.

Either way, who am I to judge what someone does? He is putting the placenta in the ground, which means it will biodegrade, and go into the soil. Good for him! I get a kick out of his “hippie” style. And I don’t think it’s any different than some moms who keep the umbilical stub or first curl, etc.

Cathy August 11, 2008, 7:52 PM

When I had my kids, they asked me if I wanted to donate my placenta for burn victims. Of course I said yes. I did ask to see it first as I was rather curious. Have absolutely no desire to eat it. Gross.

April August 11, 2008, 8:15 PM

Well, there’s a big difference in burying the placenta in the ground, which is a tradition in other groups other than Aboriginal culture, and making pizza or jerky out of it.

Personally I’m pretty “meh” on the subject. I don’t see it as disgusting or gross but I’m not going to waste precious freezer space on it either.

Honestly, when I saw the picture, I didn’t think “Ewww, that’s disgusting!!!11!11@!!!” My first reaction was “Wow, that’s cool! I can’t believe that little pod-looking thing contained and grew a human being!”

Of course I have such a thing for Matthew McConaughey, anything he does is okay by me. Well, so far…. I mean, if he starts letting little Levi smoke pot when he’s like 12, I’m going to have to draw the line.

Amy August 11, 2008, 8:29 PM

To Carrie-
Yes. Insides are disgusting. The human body is, of course, a miracle. But bloody flesh is gross. And my husband is a man, so he can be gross sometimes too.

sblondon August 11, 2008, 8:59 PM

I can understand the idea of burying the placenta while planting a new tree. I kind of like that idea. I’m not sure I’d actually do it. But I like it. The idea of making a wreath out of it and hanging it on my wall is just too weird!! I don’t get that at all. Yes, I do think the life of a human is amazing! But come on. On the wall?!!

Erika August 11, 2008, 10:51 PM

I ate our placenta in a series of smoothies. It’s key for it to be cold and to have red or dark berries like strawberries or blueberries. While I think it was kind of cool, it really was for a practical reason: I lost a lot of blood and it helped me build new a lot faster than without it because of all the iron. It was certainly a lot more appetizing than the liver I was told to eat for the same purpose. No PPD and one really cool little baby came out of the deal, too. While I took the hard-core route there, I would totally not be interested in a wreath.

Anonymous August 12, 2008, 12:47 AM

The placenta may be a wonderful thing while it’s growing your baby inside your body, but once it comes out it’s a whole other story! I’m down with the burn victim donations.

BadMammaJamma August 12, 2008, 10:41 AM

Bleah, this whole article is trying to be funny, but all the writer has done is made fun of people who take this seriously. I see nothing wrong with the practice of burying the placenta in your backyard, or gasp, eating it in capsules or smoothies if the mom is so desperate to ward off post-partum depression. “According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, placenta is considered a powerful and sacred medicine, full of life force.” Reading the testimonials on is making me rethink my “oh jeez what will the neighbors think” if they found out. So at least one good thing came out of this… If I have a third, I’ll consider it seriously now.

Cindy August 12, 2008, 12:11 PM

I only saw one person comment about the biodegradable part of this equation.

I think the trees grow so much healthier, because they are adding a natural fertilizer to the ground as they plant the tree. As the placenta breaks down, it feeds the tree.

I think it is a wonderful tribute to his child and the son will get to see the tree grow, as the he, himself, grows.

Alexia August 12, 2008, 3:12 PM

I actually have my 1st babies placenta in the freezer still…we were planning on planting a tree & placenta together when it got warmer and then it just kinda got forgot in there LOL My second one, I believe, my midwife took to plant with one of her trees LOL

I’m not sure I could eat it though - that grosses me out a bit.

Melanie August 12, 2008, 5:31 PM

I actually had my Dr. hold mine up after it came out so I could see what it looked like. I wanted to keep it but my husband wouldn’t let me!

Frugal Babe August 14, 2008, 1:07 AM

I’m with Erika here. I cut my placenta into lots of little pieces and froze them in ziplock bags. Then I tossed them in the blender with my smoothies that I make everyday anyway. I include stuff like spinach, beets, and berries, so the color is already usually dark purple, and the taste is too strong for a little piece of frozen placenta to make a difference. It lasted for about 3 weeks after our son was born. I felt great, no PPD, no fatigue after about the fourth day (I was in labor for two full days, so I think a few days of fatigue after that is to be expected!). I don’t know if the placenta had anything to do with it, but it might have, and that’s fine with me. I’m a vegetarian, so it was also a great source of iron. It’s interesting, because I’m thoroughly grossed out by raw meat. But cutting up the placenta didn’t bother me at all, and I didn’t even notice it in the smoothies.

Amy Duvall August 17, 2008, 10:27 PM

I can’t believe anyone would eat human waste. The placenta serves its purpose well, and then your body disposes of it. I have had 3 children, and I never felt the need to eat my afterbirth. Seems very weird to me. My smoothies are fine without bloody flesh. There is nothing normal about eating that. I would probably have buried it in my yard next to my dead dog, but I was too focused on my babies to think of asking for my waste product.

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