I think humans are the only mammals that don't regularly eat the placenta after birth. Why is this? Well it's actually as unappealing as liver and really quit daunting to think you can eat a part of your body! To go back to basics, the placenta is a whole new organ that is grown during pregnancy, filters everything that gets to the baby through the umbilical cord and is also birthed. Many cultures, especially asian ones do consume this amazing piece of meat however it's far less common in the West. Filled with iron and hormones it is said to keep postnatal depression at bay and aid in the recovery after birth.
And thus I decided to eat mine! Even if none of those things were going to happen I thought that if my body didn't want it, I would pass it and in the end it would go back to where it came from- the wonderful cycle of life! The thought of a placenta stir fry was too much to consider so i dried and capsualized it. I'm really not quite sure what prompted me to do it. Since being pregnant I have been very instinctual about my decision making. The overall effect I believe has been wonderful! An incredibly healthy chubby baby, a very easy transition into motherhood and a great recovery from the birth.
The preparation was such a lovely part of our whole birthing experience and facilitated more bonding between Steve and I. It also started me on my first 'cry day' only because I was so grateful and happy! Due to the fact that there is little information out there about placenta preparation and I had tried to research it as much as possible, I thought I'd share this recipe I found on the internet with you:
How we prepared our placenta:
1. Keep refrigerated from birth (take a tupperware container to the birthing centre). I think you can freeze and defrost before hand too. Please note I don't think you can do this process if you have used strong pain relief in labour.
2. On day 5 we prepared ours. It might be better to do it sooner than that though.
3. Remove the umbilical cord and membrane. We planted this under a tree.
4. Cut the placenta into smaller pieces. I had to get Steve to do this because despite being very attached to my placenta I couldn't look at it let alone cut it. It was great that Steve could be so actively involved though. Think good positive thoughts through the whole process!
5. Steam over ginger water until no more blood comes out of it. I'm unsure why the recipe states ginger and lemongrass but I like to think of it as a cleansing agent.
6. Once complete cut into very fine pieces and place on grease proof paper and dehydrate in the oven on low (about 60C) for a few hours. The finer the pieces the faster it will dehydrate. You can also use a food dehydrator. Ours took about 3hrs and did give off a bit of a light smell!
7. Crush in a mortar and pestle until fine. This takes a while- think positive thoughts!
8. Capsulize in gel capsules. I got a pot of 100 for about $12 from the health food store. It's simply a matter of scooping it into the capsule and putting the lid on it.
9. Ours made 96 capsules and I'm currently taking one a day. I think you can take quite a few day and it's only for the mother to take. Attached is a photo of the end product.
I would never have thought that I might eat my placenta! However I just couldn't bear to throw it away because it was such a part of myself and Odessa. I suffered everyday to grow it and then after 16wks when it took over Steve and I enjoyed a wonderful morning-sickness-free honeymoon! Since the birth I have had one pill a day and at about 10wks cut down to just when I felt like it. I was making soo much milk and when I toned down the regularity the milk production calmed down. I also did find however I had a few more cry days. Unsure if this was directly due to the pills I'll definitely be doing it again for the next pregnancy and see!