Why do people eat placenta? 8 mothers reveal the surprising health benefits

Why do people eat placenta? 8 mothers reveal the surprising health benefits

Eating your placenta is supposed to help during the postpartum recovery period.

However, there is limited research on the matter and most reported benefits are purely anecdotal. So why do people eat placenta? Lets' find out...

eat placenta Many new mums eat placenta after giving birth (Credit: Pexels)

What is placenta?

Placenta helps sustain life in the womb. Consequently, for years, it was considered to have fulfilled its purpose after leaving the mother following childbirth.

Read more: 8 things to do with placenta after birth – from making smoothies to body butter

Most choose to discard it, however, others swear by its alleged benefits.


Why do people eat their placenta?

Extremely nutrient-dense, consuming the organ is said to fend off post-partum depression, reduce pain and bleeding after birth and increase breast milk production.

According to the tales of various mothers, the benefits are potent. So could it really be true? Or is it all a placebo?

READ MORE: Are home births safe? The pros and cons explained by mums

No one can say for sure, but these eight mothers were willing to try it. They took to Reddit to describe how they prepared it, what it tasted like, and how they felt afterwards.

1. This mother's placenta met a sticky end

Many mothers chose to keep, but not ingest their placenta. For instance, the person in question here had the rather sentimental idea of planting a tree over her buried placenta.

"A couple of friends of mine kept the placenta after they had their first child. the plan was to dig a big hole, put the placenta in it, then plant a tree on top. the tree would be nourished by the placenta, and it would grow up as the kid grew up. quite a nice idea.

"Anyway, they took the placenta home (in an orange and red "Human Biowaste" container), but, what with having a new baby in the house and all, the tree planting plan kind of got put on the back burner for a time. then one day they came home to find the container upside down on the floor with the lid dented open and a large wet patch underneath it, but no sign of the placenta itself.

"Their dog was sitting in the corner, looking very pleased with itself, and very, very full. it had a beautifully glossy coat for the next few weeks too."

An image of a pregnant woman. Some women are convinced that eating placenta reduces pain and bleeding after birth (Credit: Getty)

2. This placenta didn't end up being used for its intended purpose

It's safe to say that placenta can apparently be confused with chicken livers...

"This was not me. A few years ago, a family friend died, and her brother told the story about how he accidentally ate a placenta.

So, the brother was baby sitting for his sister, and he opened the fridge to make some food. He saw what he thought was liver, so he decided to make liver and onions. Said it was the best liver and onions he'd ever eaten. Well, his sister got home, and he mentioned the liver and onions. She then asked "What liver?" He said "The one in your fridge." She then realized what had happened. She explained that he had eaten her placenta. He proceeded to vomit on the kitchen floor."

3. People who eat placenta can experience "placenta burps"

One of the unexpected side effects of consuming placenta is something known as "placenta burps".

"I had a homebirth, the placenta was sealed in a plastic container and put in the fridge. The next day we dropped it off at the house of someone who did 'placenta encapsulation'. I asked for her to save a portion of the placenta in small chunks for consumption, and to dry and grind the rest into pills. Got back lots of pills, and I think about 9 pieces. Everything went in the freezer. With the chunks I would add one to a fruit smoothie.

"I found on the days I had a placenta smoothie I had a lot more energy. I took the pills irregularly for a couple of months. Only nasty side effect of the smoothies/pills was what I called the placenta burps. Pretty yucky. The stated benefits of consuming your placenta are higher milk production and being less affected by postpartum depression - both things important to me so I figured it was worth a shot. TL;DR I consumed my placenta, would do again. Placenta burps."

4. As well as this, some claim it can increase fertility

Though this isn't verified, this individual thought it was worth a try...

"While I haven't eaten it my acupuncturist has dried human placenta at his office. You add it to hot water and make a tea out of it. It is suppose to increase fertility in women."

5. There appears to be a mix up here

Although this doesn't exactly sound appetising, many people consume their placenta by working it into a meal.

"My sister just gave birth in May and her boyfriend ate her placenta. I was there. They bagged up the placenta after she gave birth and made him sign a release to take it home from the hospital. At home, about two days later he took it out, defrosts it and fried it up in peppers and teriyaki sauce."

6. Taking it in pill form may be easier for some women

If you're squeamish, it may be best to have your placenta encapsulated.

"I'm currently eating mine. I had mine encapsulated as well. I'll be super honest, even the thought of ingesting a capsule full of my innards grossed me out to a certain degree. I could never toss it in a smoothie, make a peppered jerky or any other food related items. Pill form made the whole idea "easier to swallow" so to speak."

7. And if you were wondering, some canines appear to be partial to eating their placenta too

"When my dog gave birth to the puppies she ate the placentas. She didn't seem to mind it. Though she's also been known to eat her own vomit..."

8. People who eat placenta have to be very careful when it comes to storage

But make sure you don't mix up your placenta with pizza. I don't know about you, but I certainly would not want to be on the receiving end of placenta pizza...

"This was a book about midwifery I read had a story about how she delivered a placenta that was unusual in appearance at a home birth. She wanted to research it a bit, and took it home, flattened it out, wrapped it in plastic and stuck it in her freezer [sic]."

"And her teenaged son thought it was a frozen pizza, and she came home to the house smelling like a wild animal, because he was heating it in the oven.

"Nobody ate it. But, that has to be a funky aroma."