I didn’t give my placenta another thought until it splashed loudly in my toilet.
Would you pop a pill post-baby, which promises to increase your energy and breast-milk production and decrease your likelihood of developing baby blues and postnatal depression? But what about if that pill was actually your placenta, which had been lightly steamed with herbs, sliced wafer thin, dried and prepared for encapsulation? If you still answered yes, you’re not alone – a new Queensland business was set up in 2013 to cater to the increasing numbers of women who want to consume their placentas in pill form after they’ve had a baby.
Mt Coolum couple Natalie Stokell, 37, a massage therapist, and Pete Ansell, 40, a chef, cooked up the idea for the business thanks to a placenta smoothie he made following the birth of their first daughter Skyla, 5. A vegetarian, Ms Stokell found it hard to digest. Placenta Vitality was then born after the healthy delivery of the couple’s second daughter Star, 20 months, when Mr Ansell perfected drying and encapsulating Ms Stokell’s placenta in pill form. She then reaped the rewards, she says.
“The tablets really totally help women post-partum, but people can also take them as a treatment for menopause,” Ms Stokell says. “My hormones were on a very even keel after taking the tablets and it helped my energy levels and breast-milk production. A couple of weeks in, post-birth, I was very emotional. Pete said: ‘Have you had your tablets today?’ and I hadn’t. I thought ‘Wow, this really works!’”
Cost is $250, with Placenta Vitality picking up placentas 24-48 hours post-birth and dropping off 120-150 capsules (depending on the size) shortly thereafter, following the steaming and drying process. New mums then pop six pills a day for up to two weeks post-partum. And business is booming. “We’re getting a lot of word-of-mouth – friends referring friends,” Ms Stokell says. “We know a few midwives too.
“It feels like such a wonderful thing to be doing. Placentas are an amazing organ and it’s so lovely to be helping new mothers. It’s a privilege – that which nourishes the baby can then nourish the mother. A lot more people would pop a placenta pill if they knew about it.”
However, the science on the practice is sketchy at best. Leading obstetricians have disputed the baby blues and postnatal depression theory, stating there is no medical benefit to eating your placenta. Yet human placenta has also been used as an ingredient in some traditional Chinese medicines to treat infertility, impotence and more.
As always, we women will make up our own minds, thank you very much.
- Placentophagy is the act of mammals eating the placenta of their young after childbirth.
- Most placental mammals participate in placentophagy, including herbivores.
- When you have a baby, your midwife will ask you if you want to keep your placenta. Hospital placenta storage procedures vary.
Would you eat your own placenta in a pill?
For more information, visit www.placentavitality.com
Image via Placenta Vitality
By Nicole Carrington-Sima