When super fit former World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) superstar, actress, model and former Baltimore Ravens cheerleader Stacy Keibler announces that she is going to eat her placenta as a cure for postpartum depression most new mothers probably want to know if she is for real or if it is just a trend. Keibler, who met husband Jared Pobre after splitting with A-list actor George Clooney, recently graced the cover of Fit Pregnancy magazine and follows in the footsteps of actress January Jones who admitted to having her placenta dried and encapsulated. She then ingested the capsules as a cure for postpartum depression.
Postpartum depression can be a very real phenomenon for about 15 percent of new mothers and as for eating one’s placenta as a cure, the jury is still out. While the placenta has long been recognized in other countries, including China, Morocco, and Indonesia as a treatment for infertility and impotence, the FDA has not approved the consumption of afterbirth as a cure for postpartum depression. According to Certified Nutritionist, Mira Calton, the placenta’s function is to deliver nutrients to the baby and toxins from the baby while in the womb. She does not see the benefit of the mother possibly ingesting those same toxins. Internal medicine physician, Pamela Brar cautions that postpartum depression is a serious illness that requires medical attention and adds that placenta capsules may also contain fillers and additives that may be harmful to the mother.
The practice of consuming the placenta as a cure for postpartum depression actually started about 40 years ago in the U.S. and has recently been brought to the attention of the American public via celebrities like Jones, Keibler, and the Mowry twins, Tia and Tamara whose video of one twin eating the other twin’s placenta garnered a lot of national attention. While some might consider consuming their placenta as a cure for postpartum depression just a trend, there are numerous recipes and even some YouTube videos available on the internet explaining how to prepare the delicacy. While some women tout the benefits of placenta consumption, healthcare professionals advise that women do their research.
Many new mothers experience what is sometimes called the “baby blues.” New mothers can often be overwhelmed by the many changes that take place after the birth of a child. Instead of feeling joy, a lot of new mothers are overwhelmed. They have to cope with physical changes as hormone levels begin to stabilize. Emotionally, they may struggle with doubt or even fear about their ability to care for the baby. They may feel insecure about their physical appearance and worry about regaining their pre-pregnancy physique. In addition to these changes, the new mother often does not get much rest.
The baby blues are not uncommon and can last anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks. Once the hormones level out and the new mother adjusts to a new routine, preferably with some rest and some support from the family, the symptoms level out and no treatment is necessary.
Postpartum depression, while similar to the baby blues, is more severe and requires medical attention. New mothers might experience some of the same symptoms including crying, mood swings and anxiety but postpartum depression might also include thoughts of suicide and/or of harming the baby. An even more severe form of postpartum depression is referred to as postpartum psychosis. This type of postpartum depression should be treated as a medical emergency. In extreme cases, the mother will experience hallucinations and exhibit bizarre behavior. It is important in these cases that the mother be hospitalized to prevent self-harm or harm to the baby.
A couple of non-placenta-eating tips for dealing with postpartum depression include getting rest and leaning on family and friends for support. The new mother should also take time for herself, a visit to the spa, the nail salon or just a hot bath and an hour with a good book can do wonders. Additionally, new mothers are encouraged to give themselves a break, forgive themselves for being overwhelmed and celebrate even small accomplishments.
New moms who are struggling with severe postpartum depression are encouraged to seek professional help. Hormone therapy, medication in the form of antidepressants, and counseling, individual or marital can often be effective treatment for postpartum depression. It is important for the new mother to understand that being a little depressed after the birth of a baby can be perfectly normal. New mothers who find themselves severely depressed and have thoughts of harming themselves or the baby should seek professional help. Whether consumption of the placenta as a cure for postpartum depression is just a trend or not, new mothers seeking a cure for the condition should first seek the advice of a healthcare professional.
By Constance Spruill