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The Placentophagia Fad
For a growing number of new mothers, there’s no better nutritional snack after childbirth than the fruit of their own labor
Jennifer Hughes’s placenta was delivered ten minutes after her first child, just before midnight on March 31. It was on the large side, with a liverish texture and a bluish tinge; it measured nine inches in diameter and weighed a pound and a half. Placentas are considered biohazardous waste by the medical Establishment and are usually disposed of accordingly. Some hospitals send the afterbirth in formaldehyde to a pathology lab for analysis before it is carted off by a tissue-disposal service; others toss it out with bloody miscellany in special containers.
But in the birth plan that Hughes brought with her to Beth Israel Medical Center, she specified that she wanted to keep her placenta, for cultural reasons. Complying with New York State health regulations, which says that hospitals “may, at the request of a patient or patient’s representative, return a healthy placenta for disposition by the patient,” the hospital allowed her to take it home, and even packed it up for her.
In some cultures, it is customary to bury the placenta and plant a tree over it.
Hughes had other plans. She was going to eat it.
According to Kristal, the first recorded placentophagia movement in America began in the seventies, when people residing in communes would cook up a placenta stew and share it among themselves. “It’s a New Age phenomenon,” he explains. “Every ten or twenty years people say, ‘We should do this because it’s natural and animals do it.’ But it’s not based on science. It’s a fad.”
I Regret Eating My Placenta
But in my case, it was a terrible idea...
Shortly after my first dose of two pills, I felt jittery and weird. By the next day, after just eight placenta pills, I was in tabloid-worthy meltdown mode, a frightening phase filled with tears and rage.
This lasted another couple of awful days before my husband suggested that it wasn’t postpartum mommy madness finally making its appearance, but the hormone-and-goodness-knows-what-else-filled placenta pills.
There's something seriously wrong with people who eat their own body parts. I consider this a mental illness.
I kept my second son's placenta in an ice cream bucket in the fridge freezer for many years just to gross people out. It worked!