Hilary Duff, Kim Kardashian, Katie Holmes… many celebrities have confessed to having eaten their placenta after the birth of their child. A real health benefit or a celebrity fad? Opinions differ. In the meantime, if this phenomenon called placentophagy is appealing across the Atlantic, it is still not authorized here. In theory, it is indeed forbidden to keep your placenta in France and it is cremated after childbirth, as “biological waste”.
Eating your placenta: what are the benefits?
As a reminder, the placenta is an ephemeral organ that is only found in a pregnant woman. Its main role is to ensure exchanges between the future mother and the fetus, thanks to the umbilical cord. It allows the good development of the baby throughout the pregnancy. The placenta is also a protective barrier: it protects your future child from all attacks that it could undergo by the mother’s defense cells.
You should know that the placenta is expelled after childbirth. It happens through contractions. If the placenta does not fully expel, healthcare professionals will need to perform uterine revision. Note that the placenta can be examined to know certain pathologies and to explain the complications that you may have had during pregnancy and / or childbirth.
If in France, it is forbidden to recover the placenta after childbirth, this practice is often done in other countries. In particular to consume the placenta afterwards. Placentophagy even seems to have become a trend. In addition to the symbolic side, eating your placenta would have postpartum benefits. Indeed, it would be very rich in minerals and iron and would thus make it possible to recover more quickly from childbirth (less fatigue and pain) and to promote the flow of milk. In addition, it would facilitate the secretion of oxytocin (hormone of love, happiness) and help strengthen the bond between mother and child. However, no scientific study has proven the benefits of placentophagy so far. Some experts even warn about the risk of infection.
Placentophagia: how to consume your placenta?
Rest assured, new mothers do not directly ingest the placenta after childbirth and expulsion are complete. There are several techniques for consuming it. The best known remains encapsulation. That is, mothers ingest the placenta through homeopathic granules or capsules. Either, the placenta is diluted several times before impregnating granules with the liquid. Or, it is dried and then crushed before being put into capsules. These are laboratories that take care of making the granules and / or capsules, before sending them to the mother.
Some women, like Hilary Duff, also consume it as a smoothie. However, this must be done within 24 hours after childbirth, for health reasons. Or, freeze it as soon as it is expelled. Of course, the placenta must be mixed with other ingredients such as bananas and blackberries for example.
Others don’t go that far, but still have fun making art with their placenta, or bury it in their garden. Once again, this is not possible in France.