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Placentaco Anyone? Did You Eat Your Placenta?

Last week I was directed to the Unassisted Birth Story of Estella Lenore. My children’s birth stories are a little bit different. They go like this.

Mommy checked into the hospital.  Mommy said “ouch” the really nice doctor gave mommy a shot in the back. Ninety minutes later you were born.

No, I’m not kidding. It’s pretty un-dramatic, and if I could’ve had them born without participating at all… well that would have been my dream come true.

Though my hat is off to the women who choose natural childbirth, I’m not envious, I don’t feel like I’ve missed anything and, frankly, I feel a little squeamish just hearing the stories.

Then comes the whole other issue of placenta eating. If you read Estella’s birth story, you’ll see that her mom capped off the day with a placenta smoothie.When Bosley over at Momversation asked me what I wanted to talk about this week, I said, “eating your placenta!”

My friends have eaten, planted and buried their placentas. It never even dawned on me to do anything with it. I’m pretty sure I never looked at it, or if I did I blocked it out.This week on Momversation Rebecca Woolf, Daphne Brogdon, Maggie Mason and I discuss Placenta Dining. Click through for a very fun and funny video.

21 thoughts on “Placentaco Anyone? Did You Eat Your Placenta?”

  1. I know animals eat their placentas, because they’re rich in vitamins and nutrients and whatnot, but I don’t see that it’s necessary for humans. Like eating your fingernail clippings, it’s bizarre and unneccessary, but not verboten. Just gross.

    I’m glad I skipped lunch.

  2. OMFG. that’s all i’ve got. i had a c-section because jackson was born weighing 9 lb 6 oz, so i never saw anything that was on the other side of the curtain. my husband made the mistake of looking back at me laying on the table in the OR when he went over to cut jackson’s cord and promises that i never want to know what he saw.

    i’m taking his word for it.

    ps- this was hysterical.
    pps- my son’s birth was also quite uneventful as a scheduled c-section. meh…

  3. Hi Jessica,

    First time commenter, but constant reader. I am not a placenta eater nor a burier of placentas. I was totally down with it going to the placenta heaven in the sky or wherever placentas go. Having said that, as my first daughter was resting on my chest, newly birthed, I saw my husband turn and snap a picture of something on the surgical table behind us. When the pics were developed, (she’s 19 now so it was before the age of digital), I realized it was my placenta. He loved sticking that in the middle of the pile of newborn baby pics, just to see people’s shock and horror when they got to the placenta. Somewhere along the line, my sister got a copy of my placenta and showed it around to all her buddies in law school. One crazy friend of hers, stole the picture. He now has a practice in Alaska and from what I understand, my placenta picture resides proudly on his fridge. I feel like a piece of my Southern girl soul is there in the frozen tundra.

    My sister and I constantly email each other, trying to outgross each other with the most vile images we can find that week on the Internet. A few months ago, I sent her a picture of a placenta pie. I’m winning.

  4. That was hilarious… although I just threw up in my mouth a little bit. My placenta was , according to my doctor, “extra large”… she said, “it just keeps coming and coming..look at this thing!”. I never looked at it. I closed my eyes and I’m not sure what happened to it. It’s in some biohazard disposal somewhere. I know, I know.. all those nutrients gone to waste. Animals eat theirs. They also eat their own poop sometimes.

  5. Placenta lasagna. I just hurled.

    In other news, I apparently had a ‘double’ placenta which was quite exciting for my OB and the subsequent barrage of his cohorts that piled into my room post-birth to examine, ooh and aah. Aside from the fact that it looks not unlike a big, vein-y, liver, they then took it away to I don’t know where. I do know that what you DON’T need post-birth are even MORE people milling about the room while your vagina is ‘out.’ Thanks doc.

  6. When my husband and I have children, there will be no placenta saving. There will be no placenta eating. There will be no placenta viewing. I regard placenta the same as a amputated limb. Medical waste. Gag.

    (Please note that my husband is an Army Medic and a Paramedic and his cynicism regarding medical procedures and bodily functions has rubbed off on me during the past 8 years. Still gagging.)

  7. All of my children were born by c-section. I did not request to keep my placentas but my husband did get to take a peek at them before they went to pathology. I wish he had taken pictures, but we were too focused on other things!

    My best friend, who had a homebirth last October donated her placenta to cadaver dog training. I thought this was really wonderful and was really glad she did it because cadaver dogs were used to search for my brother’s body 14 years ago.

  8. Well, I’ll just say this. I made the mistake of looking at the placenta after my daughter was born and had it not been for the quick thinking and retrieval of the puke pail, I would have vomited on my newborn daughter. And I don’t generally have that weak of a stomach.

  9. I had every intention of keeping my placenta and burying it under a tree (zero intention of eating it. Umm? Ew.), but my son was born in November during a snowstorm. So, I kept the placenta in a ziploc bag and stuck it in our freezer with the intention of burying it in the spring. Fast forward 2 years: Husband: Is this hamburger? Me: No it’s my placenta.

    So it went in the trash afterall.

  10. Ummmm, my birth stories don’t contain the word, “placenta.” I prefer to imagine that it doesn’t exist and would have given birth under general anesthesia if they would have allowed. I’m a “head in the sand” kind of gal.

  11. Being a science geek and having aced Human Anatomy & Physiology with cadaver dissection, I was curious and actually asked to see my placenta after the birth of my 2nd child. I even touched it. My doc thought it was neat that I was interested and even flipped it around in the big stainless steel bowl, showing me the textured side and smooth side. Lord knows how that thing fit inside my uterus along with my baby! Anyway, looking at it and touching it was enough for me. No taking it home, no planting it, no eating it. Hats off to those that do, just not my thing.

  12. Uh, gag. I had a water birth with my second kid and I’m as crunchy granola as the next hippie but I never thought to eat the damn thing. I thought the ‘lotus birth’ shenanigans was gag-worthy enough but the placenta smoothie pretty much did me in. For those not in the tree-hugger know, a lotus birth is when they keep the placenta attached to the baby after the birth. No cutting the cord. They wait ’til it falls off. Yeah, like weeks later. Imagine snuggling up to baby and placenta for weeks.

  13. I took a picture of the placenta. That was all.

    And I have your birth story beat. I checked in. I was induced. I felt one moment where I literally thought, “That kinda hurt.” Then I got a shot in the back. Then I spent the day texting and talking to your father while periodically watching my contractions on the fetal monitor (God knows I didn’t feel any of them), and that afternoon, I pushed a few times, and your father told me that you were a girl. The biggest surprise of childbirth for me was finding out the gender of my baby. I liked it that way. I didn’t even break a sweat.

  14. this topic was actually discussed at our birthing class… our friends, who were also taking the class, and my husband and i were surprised about the “earthy” feel of the teacher and her opinions about what you should do with your placenta… jokes insued in the parking lot, of course…
    i saw my placenta (after 23+ hours of labor)… i thought it was pretty amazing – when you think that it nourished and “held” your baby for 9+ months as it grew inside of you… wow…. yes, it wasn’t pretty…but it was something miraculous…
    i wouldn’t have done anything ceremonial with my placenta…i wasn’t going to keep it it or bury it or cook with it or make some placenta pills…
    if i was, i would have been sad… they sent my placenta off to be evaluated and studied… apparently, i had some rare placenta (1 in 5,000) that had looks that mimiced a broom (veins and stuff)… i can’t recall the medical name though…
    :) and yes, i soon forgot about that “sack of life” when i met my daughter… :)

  15. My placenta abrupted during my first pregnancy causing me to be on bedrest for 6 weeks so when I delivered my son I made the doctor show me the organ that caused me so much grief. Surprisingly, it wasn’t too bad. But I definitely didn’t have the urge to eat it. uck!

  16. I had a home birth with my second daughter. It was beautiful, peaceful, joyous..I’ll never forget it. Do I think I deserve a medal..nope! Just did what I thought was best for me :)
    Anyways on to the placenta consumption, after suffering through severe PPD with my first. I was told of eating placenta, I never did. I do however know many women who had theirs dried, kinda like jerky, then crushed into a powder, then put in clear capsules. They took theirs that way and it really helped with the after pains, bleeding, breast feeding, and PPD!
    I was never able to bring myself to actually eat mine lol. I would never call anyone gross or weird or anything like that.
    In other cultures the placenta is eaten or planted. So that’s my share on it. My placenta is still in my freezer, 14 months later! I have no idea what to do with it…

  17. @Ashley…

    Where exactly does one go to have their placenta dried and turned into pills? I’ve never even heard of such a thing. I’m not saying that I will do that with my next child, but I am very intrigued. Placenta-eating recently came to my attention, and while I admit that I find the whole thing a little gross, I am interested to know how many women are doing this and the ways in which they consume it.

  18. Apparently it’s one of those DIY things or you can pay someone to do it. You can dry it in your oven at a low temp for several hours or buy a meat dehydrator. I think some midwives or doulas will do it for a fee :) As far as I know, from some googling. All you do is cut it into strips, then grind, and then finally it’s put into capsules. It’s one thing I regret not doing my PPD was terrible.

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