'Mad Men' star eats her baby's placenta--Would you?

After the Placenta Cookbook story was published last year, I wondered how many people are actually conducting this seemingly bizzare practice at home. I'm not currently pregnant but I wondered: could I do it and actually eat my own placenta? Is it safe? And what's all the fuss about this new postpartum trend?

It turns out that now even celebrities are signing up to eat their own placentas after giving birth. Mad Men star January Jones recently told People magazine that she's been eating pills made out of her placenta and they are the main reason why she's been able to maintain energy on set despite getting back to work only 7 weeks after giving birth. That might be good for her, but could you ever eat placenta? And is it safe to do so?


Advocates and people that support placenta eating say that we are the only mammals that don't engage in the practice, that it's a natural way of curing postpartum depression and that it can give you energy, improve breast milk and even prevent aging. This is all because placenta is known to contain high levels of iron, vitamin B-12 and certain hormones.

One woman describes throwing a chunk of placenta into a Vitamix (a high-powered blender) with coconut water and a banana, something which gave her "the wildest rush" and she equates it to drinking green juice on an empty stomach "but much more intense."

Yet Nancy Redd, a New York Times bestselling author, says that she regrets eating her placenta because it may have caused her "mama drama" and there are not enough studies on human placentophagia (the official term for eating your own placenta) to know the true pros and cons of the practice.

In the end, that's what it comes down to for me: it's not so much the gross-out factor (though, I must admit, I'm kinda eeked out by the thought of eating placenta, although I've seen my cat do it when she had kittens) but much more that we don't actually know if it's safe or not. It may have a lot of vitamins, but the body expells it for a reason. Those vitamins were there to help your baby grow and then, by nature's will, you got rid of them during childbirth. So is it safe to eat? I don't know, but I'm not planning to find out for myself until there's some real evidence that it's a good idea to eat your own placenta.

Could you ever eat your own placenta? Do you know anyone who has and what they thought?

Image via Pitslamp photography/flickr