Kim Kardashian is planning to ingest her placenta, she tells those at her baby shower recently, but is this practice healthy? Is this just crazy talk or are there real health benefits to performing such a foreign sounding ritual?
The procedure is called placentophagy, though practiced by most mammals, humans in our culture have been out of the loop on this practice until fairly recently. Chinese medicine has included placenta in many of its formulas for centuries. Due to it’s high quantity of progesterone and a bit of oxytocin, the placenta can be ingested by new mothers to help combat postpartum depression, which plagues over 50% of new mothers. The placenta, when re-ingested, can help trigger the uterus to clean itself out properly as well as boost iron levels, preventing postpartum anemia. It is also said to be full of the nutrients and natural hormones needed by new mothers to recover from child bearing and the birthing process. Women who have eaten their placenta have reported more energy, greater milk flow and quicker recovery times.
Now that you are more familiar with the health benefits of the placenta, how do you feel about Kim Kardashian deciding to ingest hers? Is she a role model for new mothers taking a positive approach to childbirth? Or is it still a little weird?
How exactly do you eat the placenta?
According to professionals, if the placenta is to be ingested, it ought to be treated like any other meat and stored properly immediately following delivery. It can be packaged up in a food-grade container and stored in the refrigerator, to be used within 24 hours. Or, to extend the life of the placenta and its benefits, the organ can be dehydrated – to be eaten like jerky – or dried, powdered and encapsulated to be used over time.
Choosing option one, storing it in the refrigerator for imminent consumption, the placenta can be cooked up and eaten like liver or beef, or added to a favorite dish or casserole. Placenta lasagna anyone? Many cultures even recommend the whole family partakes in order to become more intimately attuned to the mother and baby. Some medical professionals say that only the mother should ingest her own placenta, to prevent the passing of any blood-related disorders. In either case, it is up to the family to make wise, intuitive decisions as to what is most appropriate for them based on beliefs and personal feelings as well as past health records.
If you choose to encapsulate the placenta, the capsules can be frozen and used throughout the woman’s life any time she is feeling stress or needing increased milk production. Placenta can be kept in capsule form even until menopausal years and can assist the woman in keeping hormones balanced for a smooth transition into later life. Sounds pretty great, ey? Those who prepare the capsules usually add other herbs such as ginger, cinnamon and cardamom to aid in digestion and help preserve the formula.
Can anyone do this?
The only mothers that are not recommended to ingest their placenta are those who have been diagnosed with communicable diseases, such as hepatitis and HIV/AIDS. Anyone else is a candidate for receiving the health benefits of their post-birth placenta. Mothers or family members can prepare the placenta themselves or contact someone who works in this field professionally such as LYNNEA, from Berkhamsted, England, who – after using her placenta with such great success – now runs an organization to support women in using theirs.
If you don’t want to ingest your placenta, like Kim Kardashian and many others for the supposed healthy benefits, but want to treat this vital organ with respect and love, you can follow the advise of other ancient traditions and bury it. Some cultures place the placenta in a newly dug whole in the ground and plant a new tree over it. They say that if the tree ever gets sick, it is an indication of possible health issues with the child. In this way also, the family can watch the new tree grow and blossom as they do their own child, even as the child eventually departs from home to start their own life.
Placenta eating has been around for centuries, and though fairly foreign to this culture, it can be recognized as a possible benefit to new mothers by understanding why this practice has been implemented over time. We have stars such as Kim Kardashian to thank for bringing this ancient practice into the limelight and allowing the American people to, yet again, become educated in an area where many were previously ignorant.
Written by: Stasia Bliss
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