Placentophagy is a long word that simply means ingesting the placenta. It can be done in a variety of ways, from cooking or steaming the placenta and adding it to recipes to blending it into a smoothie. The most common form of placentophagy in American culture (and the one that is most palatable) is encapsulation. While placenta encapsulation is only now emerging in American birth culture, some anthropological evidence suggests that placentophagy existed in ancient Egypt, China and Germany. According to Lindenbaum, the placenta “is said to be the meat of life” (Lindenbaum, 2004, p. 479). Cremers and Low agree: “Certainly, the potential nutritional value of placentophagy for those with a limited food supply seems undisputed” (Cremers & Low, 2014, p. 114). Beyond supplementing a poor diet, the authors note that the medicinal use of animal and human placenta has been used to facilitate lactation, assist in difficult labor, nourish the blood, alleviate postpartum pain and facilitate recovery from parturition. Furthermore, “women who had previously suffered from postpartum depression reported that placentophagy improved mood and facilitated lactation” (Cremers & Low, 2014, p. 115).

The reason for these results lies in the ingredients of a healthy placenta. These include elements and minerals, hormones and prostaglandins that help the uterus to contract, and oxytocin, which reduces stress and triggers milk ejection.


However, very few established, current, and controlled studies exist to confirm the benefits of human consumption of the placenta. An article in Investors Business Daily points to a study by the University of Illinois that states, “there is no proof that it [placentophagy] prevents postpartum depression, helps with lactation, replenishes the body’s nutrients or has any other benefits” (Investors Business Daily, 2015). While the research to prove the benefits of placentophagy is difficult to find, testimonials of mothers who have ingested the placenta and experienced positive results are in abundance. Rebekah Sanderlin is one of many women with such an experience:
“Amazingly, my milk came in by the second day. With my other kids, it had taken four or five days. Even better, two months after giving birth to Lucy, I still didn’t have any signs of postpartum depression and didn’t feel lethargic. In fact…[I had] an energy level I would have found unfathomable in the days after Bo and Rudy were born (Sanderlin, 2012, p. 42).”
Testimonials like this far exceed medical proof, which may lead some to be wary of the practice. However, as Michelle Beacock writes, “When measuring placentophagys’ health outcomes, it may be that the woman’s perception of how it makes them feel becomes more important than the medical models understanding of the evidence”  (Beacock, 2012, p. 468)

As a trained placenta encapsulator, I enjoy offering this service to new mothers for the wide range of health benefits they may experience. I prepare the placenta in the client’s home with all my own tools. First, the placenta is prepared with spices and dehydrated overnight. Then I return to grind the placenta into a powder and place into vegan capsules which can be taken orally to increase positive moods, energy, healthy blood flow and milk supply, and to avoid difficult post-partum symptoms. Contact me for more information! Discounts exist for current doula clients. ​

Beacock, M. (2012). Does Eating Placenta Offer Postpartum Health Benefits? . British Journal of Midwifery, 444-469.
Cremers, G. E., & Low, K. G. (2014). Attitudes Toward Placentophagy: A Brief Report. Health Care for Women International, 113-119.
Investors Business Daily. (2015). Eating the Placenta. Investors Business Daily, 1.
Lindenbaum, S. (2004). Thinking About Cannibalism. Annual Review of Anthropologies, 475-498.
Sanderlin, R. (2012). Super Supplement. KIWI, 42.

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