I probably had similar responses as you did as you first read the title of this post. No, I am not joking, this is FOR REAL!
OPTION I: Eat your own placenta
It is an increasing trend to encapsulate your placenta post birth and to take them daily over the course of weeks or months postpartum with claimed benefits of helping with moms speedy recovery and energy boost.
While this may come to you as a shock, it is in fact true that in East Asia people practice eating placenta as a way to improve skin, stay youthful and radiant. Many celebrities were rumored to have bought illegal placenta pills to keep themselves from ageing.
Now, I did not realize that this is increasingly being accepted in the west to consume your own placenta. Many doulas and natural birth centers offer service to encapsulate your placenta into pills — this involve cleaning, steaming, drying under low temperature to reduce nutrition loss, and then grinding into powder before filling them into capsules. Given that the encapsulation process is rather straight forward, some mommies even do it themselves in their home kitchen!
The three common known benefits of taking your own placenta:
- High in iron and cortisone giving you energy
- Contains prolactin that stimulates milk production
- Provides necessary hormones that prevents infections and helps with speedy recovery
Do note, this might sound gross, I suppose it is ok for moms to consume their own placenta given it is their own body part, but if someone else were to eat it, it can be considered a form on cannibalism….
OPTION II: Store your placenta
Some cord banks offer storage of placenta. Placenta tissue is rich in mesenchymal stem cells that can be converted into different organs and tissue should moms need transplant in the future. While FDA approval is still pending, there are already multiple clinical trials in the works with the hope to find cure for diseases like diabetes, Alzheimer’s, spinal cord injury using mesenchymal stem cells.
The only downside is that this comes at a high cost ~$3-6K and there isn’t even guarantee that you will be using it during its shelf-life period.