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Eating your placenta (placentophagy) cures postpartum depression??!?

Posted Oct 21 2008 12:11am
Okay, I'm trying to type this post with a straight face. I know this topic has been out there for a long while ... I think I first heard about it a few years ago and repressed the memory of it. It's come back above ground recently through the media and still totally freaks me out. I find it amazing that a woman sued a hospital to get her placenta so she could eat it. And I just visited a discussion thread on mothering.com to see what other moms are saying about the suggestion that eating your placenta cures you of PPD. I'm still freaked out....

So there are women who actually roast their placentas in the oven shortly after they've given birth. They wait till it's dried out, carefully strip away the membranes (are you feeling sick yet?), chop it up into bite-size pieces, pound them into powder and pour the powder into empty capsules to "swallow without being able to taste it." There are other placenta recipes, such as dropping it into a blender with your favorite smoothie mix (don't forget to add extra strawberries to disguise the red color of the blood), or even mixing it with vegetable juice till it tastes like a bloody mary (no pun intended!).

I even came across a site that shows a woman holding her placenta and describing it as looking like a "boneless beef round steak." She does offer other options in lieu of the Silence of the Lambs routine, such as making a "placenta print as a keepsake," or to "use it to fertilize your garden."

I don't know, this is all just a bit too crunchy for me. I can't imagine a "cure" for PPD looking like this. The assertion is that the placenta is filled with hormones that helped sustain the pregnancy, and if the mother ingests it, she will replace the hormones she has lost and avoid suffering from PPD. One question I haven't yet seen addressed is: once a placenta is dried out, would the hormones even still be chemically active/viable?

But nevermind that -- is this the kind of PPD "cure" that women have hoped for? Are we really so desperate to accept something so unbelievably icky??
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