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I Ate My Baby's Placenta!

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Here's why.


The practice of placentophagia, eating the placenta, is practiced in many parts of the world, and is said to stem postpartum depression and help to contract the uterus after the birth.

After Chrissy Schilling had her first baby over the weekend, her twin sister Kathy cooked up the placenta and they had a feast. They put it on pasta and on a sandwich. They even put pictures of the meal on Facebook!

Sure, some people thought it was gross -- but that didn't deter the sisters. "I think people being grossed out by this is mostly just 'fear of the unknown,'" Kathy says. "It's the same sort of reaction people have when it even comes to the cuisine of other cultures--what's normal in another culture can seem repulsive to one's own. Happens all the time! Most of the Western world can't even fathom having duck head on the menu, but it doesn't make the food any less acceptable as a meal."

She continues: "When Chrissy first brought up the idea about cooking the placenta, I looked around online and found the most inspiring article about it. The writer's attitude was just all-around positive and even a little playful about the subject, and I thought, 'Hey, this isn't such a big deal after all!' Other medical/health articles about placenta-eating shared the same general consensus--as long as the mother is good and healthy, no harm can come from eating the placenta."

What does she say to the haters? "I think the fact that the placenta is unquestionably attached to the concept of 'baby' (and who doesn't like a cute baby?) probably makes people take the matter personally and forget to look at it more objectively," she says. "The placenta became a simple piece of meat for cooking. And no babies were harmed in the process. That's my take on it."

What are their thoughts on the "meal" itself?

Twin sister Kathy says:

I would say that the placenta is so nourishing for the baby during pregnancy that there is still much to gain from it even after the birth. It's a good 6 lbs of meat that's just chock full of lingering blood, vitamins, and hormones that can still in part be transferred upon eating -- even through cooking. When I cooked it, I cleaned the surface blood off of it, but kept anything that seaped out of it into the sauce. I know I was feeling pretty giddy while eating, so maybe that was some of the happy hormones effects taking place.

The "recipe" was pretty simple, but preparation was very fun! First, I washed off any clots and snipped/tore away the membrane. Websites suggested this, and I imagine it's because it'd be chewy. The umbilical cord required a pair of scissors to cut through and I had to marvel at how incredible tough that piece was! After it was pretty clean, I sliced it into bite-size chunks, and cooked it with the basic ingredients I mentioned on my Facebook album. The taste of the meat itself was surprisingly tasteful (I thought it'd be bland, but it absorbed the flavors of the ingredients very well). It wasn't TOUGH, but not sloppy either. Just the right kind of texture that I like.

New mom Chrissy says:

The placenta is such an amazing organ in all its done for my baby that it didn't seem right to simply throw it away. My thought was "being the only organ that the human body makes that naturally exits the body, why not take advantage of it?"

By taking it in again, it was symbolic for me as a way to truly say "good-bye" to my 9-month pregnancy and "hello" to an exciting (albeit challenging) new chapter in my life. While eating it, I thought a lot about what my pregnancy had demanded of me all those months -- how careful I'd been in my diet, trying to give my body and baby only the best, how I practiced relaxation techniques to encourage a stress-free environment for my baby in her internal world, and how all that careful attention had resulted in this healthy organ and subsequently healthy baby girl.

Physiologically speaking, the placenta is still so rich in iron and hormones even after it's shed that I knew it'd help me in my immediate recovery from my long labor (24 hours). And it did! My daughter was born at 10:34pm, so it was far too late to eat the placenta that night--I was exhausted as was my sister (the chef). So we froze it and ended up eating it two days later for dinner. The energy levels I had before and after the consumption were immediately noticible to me. The first 24 hours after my daughter's birth, I would nurse on the move around the apartment, showing her around, but would have to take frequent breaks to sit because of how light-headed I felt. But after that second night, with a belly full of placenta, those dizzy spells completely vanished! Also, that same night my milk came in--pretty soon comparatively speaking--and I like to think that can be attributed to that extra burst of nutrients I got...all from something I completely manufactured from scratch!

They say it also helps with abating postpartum depression and though it may be too soon to tell, I feel like I'm on Cloud 9 and have the feeling it's going to stay like that!

What do you think about eating the placenta? Did you eat yours?

next: Baby Born from 21-Year-Old Sperm
451 comments so far | Post a comment now
Shenna April 9, 2009, 10:43 PM

Um…er…just color me gobsmacked.

kay April 10, 2009, 1:48 AM

Wow, I’m shocked at people who keep asking for the pictures to be taken down, saying that they make them sick. I’m a vegetarian and the pictures above look no different to me than if they contained cow meat, or pig meat, or whatever the heck meat-eaters put in their sandwiches and pasta. Honestly, my philosophy is if you’re going to eat meat, you should be open to eating all meat, and that includes placentas. From my POV, you have no right to judge someone else for this.

Gail Cooke April 10, 2009, 2:02 AM

Well first of all Kay, human waste/flesh is different from any type of meat. I’m sure if the waste was urine or feces you’d be singing a different tune.

Second, I don’t judge people who are vegan/vegetarian so your self righteous tone is not appropriate either.

Inconceivable April 10, 2009, 2:21 AM

This poor kid is either going to grow up completely screwed up because the mom is a loon or completely mortified when he/she hears what the mom did with the very placenta they grew in. Just when I thought our society couldn’t do anything worse or weirder, here comes another curve ball. And come on, the sister eats it too?!?! Beyond disgusting!

KFree April 10, 2009, 6:09 AM

If somebody invited me over to their home for a dinner of placenta I would puke all over their house and leave it for them to clean up.

KFree April 10, 2009, 6:18 AM

How self important must you think you are, if you think someone would enjoy feasting on the placenta you just expelled from your vagina?

katrina April 10, 2009, 8:16 AM

this is sick sick sick sick sick sick sick and sad and nasty grosss
and cannibalism something is wrong

Scott April 10, 2009, 10:06 AM


Tiffanianne G April 10, 2009, 10:48 AM

I think that all these haterz are closed minded we are not downing the people in other cultures that have to do this so why down the people that want to for the health benefits, the pictures are a bit much but what about all those crazy people on fear factor they did stuff like this. I don’t think I could do it but if they want the health benefits then go for it….I commend you ladies!

Nat April 10, 2009, 11:35 AM

There is nothing gross or weird in eating your own placenta!?!? What the hell is wrong with you people?!? I am planning to eat mine myself :) To miss out on such a good and natural source of vitamins and nutrients is wasteful and amazingly stupid. However, I could have done without the photographs :/ and I don’t think it is recommended to eat someone else’s placenta. To each their own.

Heather April 10, 2009, 11:47 AM

“I do hope that all the people freaking out here are vegetarian/vegan. Otherwise you’re being fairly hypocritical. To the people crying cannibalism, please. Anyone that’s ever bitten off a fingernail and ended up swallowing it is as much a cannibal as these women. “

Thank you for this. Anyone who thinks that even the description of cleaning the placenta, and the mention of (gasp!) blood, obviously thinks that the meat they eat was never bloody, never slaughtered, never just a mass of writhing warm flesh. They’ve never butchered their own meat and are happy to just ignore the fact that SOMEONE has to do it and pretend that their beautiful steak just grew that way on some tree or something…

Really the attitudes our society has about food are quite disturbing. We’re so detached from the production of it that we happily turn a blind and ignorant eye to it, oblivious to the reality of it, content to live in our sanitized little dreamworlds.

But I digress.

And the “are we animals now?” comment? UMMMM… ACTUALLY YES WE ARE. And “human flesh is different than other flesh?” I doubt the hungry lion deciding between us or a zebra would think so. Meat is meat.

Cannibalism is considered wrong because it implies killing a sentient being of our own species (and most — though not all — species don’t eat their own). Eating a placenta which is a naturally expelled (and not surgically or artificially removed) organ involves no death. I believe that was the point of that part of the post — not implying that anything that comes out of the body is therefore fit for consumption.

Most mammals eat their placentas raw after birth. Humans (and yes we are mammals!!!) can cook theirs, so we’re already more “civilized” lol…

And no, I didn’t eat mine. I ended up needing hospital births unfortunately, and couldn’t keep them. And I don’t personally like the taste of organ meats in general. But I’d probably do the freeze-dried capsules given the opportunity!

shauna April 10, 2009, 12:30 PM

there is no reason to eat it. stop being such a fukin nerd. OMG! i mean, wtf are you smoking??? April 10, 2009, 12:36 PM

Amen, Heather! Well put.

Jo Anna April 10, 2009, 12:41 PM

Wow. Really shocked at not just how repulsed people are by this, but how readily they seem to want to throw stones. It’s pretty shameful.

After the birth of my twins, I saved my placenta with the intention of trying to eat it after having read some good stuff about it as well. But I just couldn’t bring myself to do it, and couldn’t really sell the idea to my family.

So instead, we buried it in the front yard and planted a new on top of it, which I like to think ends up doing a whole lotta good all the way around.

Koo-Koo April 10, 2009, 12:43 PM

Wow I must be weird, all I did was bank my baby’s cord blood and donated the rest.

LisaL April 10, 2009, 12:44 PM

Absolutely 100% disgusting.
Would you want to cook up grandma when she died? I mean that is “meat” just going to waste right? Right?
Or how about those nice big tissue and blood clots that come out during a period! MM MM Good right Right? No?
Then WTF makes this any better than those 2 that I just posted?
It’s some crap to make people feel like they’re somehow different and better and more open-minded than the rest of us, when in fact, they’re just pathetic attention-seeking weirdos.
“OOO Hey look over here! We’re eating placenta! We’re so much better than you!”

Tara April 10, 2009, 12:52 PM

Heather’s post at 11:47AM seems to be the only logical, intelligent, thoughtful response I’ve seen thus far. Seriously. I think I’m most befuddled by the girl who earlier said that eating ground up animal meat squeezed into intestinal tubing and turned into sausage was “natural”, but this is not? It’s absolutely natural, and who the hell did they harm in the process? Not a person or animal. So, yes, it’s natural. My personal opinion is that it’s also not something I would partake in, but I have no right to inflict shame on these women for doing so.

Tara April 10, 2009, 12:54 PM

p.s. - LisaL, please get a grip on reality and yourself. The world’s cultural customers are much more varied than what goes on in your kitchen… or in your head.

Tara April 10, 2009, 12:55 PM

Er, CUSTOMS, not customers. ;)

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