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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
Logical April 10, 2009, 4:00 PM

Placenta is human blood and tissue. I’m going to repeat that again in case you didn’t catch it. Placenta is human blood and tissue. It is human cells. There is no two-ways about it, and it’s not “borderline”. It’s cannibalism, plain and simple. Cannibalism is eating human flesh, placenta is made of human flesh.

And eating your own organ just makes it auto-cannibalism. I don’t understand what’s “beautiful” or “natural” about it. It’s revolting, and a couple steps backward for civilized society.

Heidi April 10, 2009, 4:34 PM

This is a little gross, but I think it’s okay. I think it’s fine that the mother ate her own placenta, but I’m a little iffy about the sister eating it too. For the mom it was her own blood and stuff, so I don’t see any harm in her just putting her own stuff back into her body. But the sister eating it too? Maybe this should just be something for the mother, if she so chooses. I don’t know if I would do this, but then again, I don’t know if I would even have a baby, so… To each their own. They didn’t hurt anyone in the process, so I don’t see why everyone’s throwing a fit. It’s a mother making choices about her own body. Deal with it.

MMMMMM April 10, 2009, 4:45 PM

I’m in!! You should just wash it down with a nice warm cup of semen, because we all know that’s pure protein, so we can’t let that go to waste!!

elizabeth April 10, 2009, 4:47 PM

When I had a home birth in the late ’70s the doctor encouraged mothers to eat their placentas. I did it for both births & felt much better for it. It has been a part of the natural birth experience for a very long time. I commend both of you for sharing.

Jacque April 10, 2009, 5:19 PM

I wonder if all the people making the “Ew gross!” comments actually read the article and noted the benefits. I haven’t eaten a placenta, but I am planning on getting it dried and encapsulated to take in pill form.

jess April 10, 2009, 5:28 PM

what is to stop these people from eating the baby if it was a stillborn?

Robin April 10, 2009, 5:40 PM

Oh, come on people. You eat cow and pig and chicken parts. How is this any different!? In fact it’s better because you don’t kill something in order to eat it.

Anonymous April 10, 2009, 6:06 PM

Why would anyone consider this a good idea.

I feel sick after reading that.

SesshoumarusGirl April 10, 2009, 6:39 PM

Some of you need to grow up and open your minds a little.

Also, why all the “ewww, gross” BS? You don’t like it, cool, don’t do it. I would be more willing to do the pill thing, rather than eat it cooked. But hell, I think its a great idea.

And another thing, why the judgment toward this woman and her sister? Disagree, sure …but look in the mirror before throwing stones.

Enough with the fake outrage …we eat undeveloped chicken’s right? (eggs)

Get over it people! :)

JD April 10, 2009, 6:48 PM

Lemmie know when there’s a restaurant serving this. I want a placenta layer-cake.

Revolted April 10, 2009, 6:51 PM

This is cannibalism. If you had a piece of your liver removed, would you cook it and eat that too???

Eric April 10, 2009, 7:18 PM

Are these same women into scat and urine?
It’s just natural bodily by-products afterall.

This is just disturbing and disgusting on every level.

jen April 10, 2009, 8:31 PM

I sit here and think about how we have an appendix - a vestigal organ that scientists think used to serve a purpose and I can only wonder, hmmm maybe the placenta back in the caveman/woman days was actually for this purpose - a meal after giving birth. It was probably hard to come by food because they had to hunt, so maybe the placenta, back in those days was nature’s way to boost energy, stop depression, etc. I bet there’s some validity to that. But STILL, it’s 2009, not 1 B.C - go to the grocery store and buy a steak. I can’t look at that pasta, omg.

LP April 10, 2009, 9:48 PM

I don’t think the commenters have thought about why cannibalism is wrong — it’s because the person didn’t consent. It was murder. Murdering humans, who have free will, rational thought, and consciousness, for food is wrong when animals and plants can also fill this need.

Eating someone who is already dead is only problematic because, culturally, we enshrine and respect the body of the dead.

So, given the fact that no one was murdered or already dead here, what is the big deal? Eating a single organ that didn’t hurt anybody, that you own, that you don’t need, that you consented to have eaten.. what’s wrong with that?

To you people bringing up feces, you are right, there is no difference, but just because eating feces is gross and unhealthy does *not* mean it is morally wrong. In this case, placenta is not only not unhealthy, but beneficial when eaten.

So, go ahead and be grossed out. It’s your right! We all choose what is okay with us. But do not accuse these women of being the same as someone who KILLS someone to eat them, as someone who violates a dead body to eat it. That is an absurd equivalency.

To the sisters: remember that some people find homosexuality ‘gross’, too. People have their opinions, and sometimes you disagree, and you just go on with your life. I thought this was an interesting article. Thanks for sharing.

Annee April 10, 2009, 10:32 PM

The Third World societies that eat the placenta do so for two reasons. The biggest reason is that they have a primitive mindset that ascribes a spiritual meaning to this act.n The second reason is practical, food is food. I find the idea of women in our culture doing this to be at best- goofy, and at worst - goth.

Anonymous April 10, 2009, 11:38 PM

It’s true that it benefits the mother to eat the placenta…animals do it for the same reasons. BUT I am creeped out by the sister wanting to get in on that action. What…she can’t wait till she has her own placenta to cook up for OWN self? Sicko. I, personally, would never consider chowing down on mine, and I sure as hell wouldn’t touch my sister’s w/ a ten foot pole. Yeccccchhhhhh!

Jem April 11, 2009, 12:11 AM

I’m a vegetarian, and I’m pretty open minded, so I’ve read a bit about this before and it doesn’t completely gross me out (although it does mostly). But surely if the body got rid of it, that’s for a reason?

meme  April 11, 2009, 2:31 AM

Heck..I have 8 children..I could have frozen them all and had a heck of a family BBQ! YUCKKKKK
BUT ..To each his own..just spare us the pictures. EWWW!!

elisita April 11, 2009, 4:33 AM

ugh. that totally made me want to throw up. these women are insane imo.

SesshoumarusGirl April 11, 2009, 10:29 AM

Annee : “The biggest reason is that they have a primitive mindset that ascribes a spiritual meaning to this act.”

So now if someone sees anything spiritual in an act, they have a primitive “mindset” Oh no, that not judgmental at all “rolls eyes” I think sex is a spiritual act, so I guess that makes me primitive, eh?


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