I try not to weigh in on other people’s birth stories because it’s such an incredibly personal experience. That doesn’t mean I don’t have opinions about them. I don’t know enough about placentas to have an opinion. I’ve always been partial to burying it, but I love the symbolism of burying things in general. I know consuming the placenta in some form is popular these days. Two years ago, when Hilary Duff had her daughter Banks, Hilary’s midwives encouraged her to drink her placenta in a smoothie because of supposed healing qualities. Looking back on it during Whitney Cumming’s podcast, Good For You, Hilary was both amazed and repulsed by her whole placenta experience. If you don’t want to watch the clip, I transcribed part of it below:
Today the great @HilaryDuff is on the podcast and I may have ruined her career pic.twitter.com/hZmHgF0OYk
— Whitney Cummings (@WhitneyCummings) September 23, 2020
Whitney Cummings: Back up, did you eat it, in pill form?
Hilary Duff: Not quite in pill form… So I had a home birth and my midwives, I call them The Witches, they’re like, hippy dippy like, different thinking, right?
WC: But animals do eat their placenta in the wild
HD: They do. But do they do that because they don’t want predators to know…
WC: Yeah, to remove the smell of blood
HD: They say it gives you all kinds of energy and nutrients and helps balance your hormones and stuff like that, and I am still completely, like, repulsed by it. But, they were like. ‘we – usually the moms will put a little tiny piece of it in a smoothie.’
WC: Do you think it worked?
HD: I didn’t eat, like, the whole thing.
WC: You microdosed
HD: With like strawberries and berries and bananas and I literally did not taste it
WC: Or maybe your placenta just tastes like strawberries and bananas
HD: I don’t think so, girl. I saw that thing, it looked gnar.
WC: Aren’t they like purple? Like big, orby…
HD: I know it sounds gross, but it’s so bad@ss that a woman can grow a temporary organ. And the you can eat it!
[From Twitter via Buzzfeed]
This is going to sound weird, but putting it the way Hilary did actually sways me in the “eat the placenta” camp, from purely an efficiency perspective. It really is badass and a womanly thing to do. Fetus needs nutrition? I grew a fetus so why not just grow its own pantry from which it can eat? How do I get rid of this new organ? I made it, I’ll eat it – no hassle, no mess! Although, I admit, I agree with Hilary’s image of a placenta. After I miscarried, mine “fell out.” Nobody warned me it was still in there. I was folding laundry and, well, let’s just say – it arrived. I can’t for the life of me remember what I did with it after I called my doctor to find out what the hell had just happened. Lord, I think I flushed it; that’s hardly spiritual closure to the ordeal, is it? But I have to agree with Hilary, placentas are, in fact, “gnar.”
Banks wasn’t just the inspiration for an organ smoothie, she was also Hilary’s inspiration for her first children’s book, My Brave Little Girl. Hilary said she looked at Banks one day right before she was about to stop breastfeeding and she imagined, “the many ways I was going to watch her grow into a little brave girl.” The story itself is about “bravery and love” and “encourages girls to dream big and live life with an open heart.” Sounds like a lovely premise. The book will be released in March 2021. Maybe Hilary will create another smoothie in the book’s honor? Hopefully this one will just have a little protein powder in it.
Photo credit: Twitter and Instagram
There is no need to eat the placenta. Animals eat theirs to keep it from attracting predators. You do you, but the science doesn’t back it up.
Yup, that’s a big no for me. Take it with everything else, I am not eating or drinking that. But the burying, I understand that ritual.
Ahh, there you are, Voice of Reason. I thought we’d never find you.
Yeah, it’s sort of funny that so many ppl will talk about “detoxing” and juice cleanses and then talk about eating your placenta when that pouch is actually where you could find build ups of nasty components… The placenta doesn’t have any more special power than your uterine linings and no one would ever (I hope) consummate whatever comes out during their periods
I’m so sorry about your miscarriage, Hecate x
@ Hecate, my condolences in regards to your miscarriage. Many women suffer from miscarriages and it’s extremely painful emotionally. My sympathies.
No fkn way I let even a tiny bit of a placenta near my mouth, I don’t care I grew it, this is just gross. And useless anyway, I’m sure.
There’s no scientific evidence that it benefits the mother’s (or baby’s) health.
In my culture, we believe the placenta is your first home. It is where you will return to when you pass and to be reborn again. We bury them so that your spirit has a home to go back to. When our people immigrated to the US in the 70’s and requested to take our baby’s placenta home, we were denied because Western doctors think we were primitive and that we would eat them. It’s odd now to hear Western women promote eating them.
Isn’t it funny ? I find it ironic how the so called “developed nations” are coming back to “natural way of living”, meaning just doing what other cultures (not as “developed” as they would like to) have been doing for centuries.
I also had a home birth and my
Midwives froze it and I put an ice cube sized chunk in a smoothie per day. I thought I finished it but a few weeks later I found the other half in the freezer (my god placenta is huge) and just buried the rest. I do think it helps with healing and you can’t taste it. Make sure to use berries too to cover up the look of it.
I had mine turned into tablet form and took it.
It’s not for everyone and I’m a BIG believer in science so I get there’s no science backing it up but even as a placebo, I feel like it helped. I felt amazing after birth and I didn’t get the post baby blues. If nothing else, it’s natural and can’t hurt so it’s up to the individual.
I’m horrified by your miscarriage story, I can’t imagine what one would think birthing a placenta unexpectedly. Apparently we need to keep talking about the birth process until everyone knows that it is nothing like the movies. Mine took 48 and 36 hours and after the second I could only walk backwards as my hips were so far out of alignment. I went natural because I was told it was safer but in hindsight I would have taken the drugs and ditched the placenta pills.
A story that I can’t share with others of which I’m very proud but don’t want to be perceived as bragging:
I had a scheduled c-section and the process was harder than my first delivery. I felt like I was suffocating, could smell the cauterizing that was going on (thinking, that’s ME that’s burning!) and I kind of started to have a panic attack. My husband brings my beautiful daughter to me and I feel so nauseous that I tell him he has to take her away so I don’t puke on her. But then, my amazing doctor is still working on me and says to his team “Ladies and gentleman, it’s a 20 pound placenta!! Wow, you take that to the fair and you’ll win the blue ribbon!”. I never got to see it, but this comment made me laugh and made me feel proud of my body for taking good care of my girl and getting her safely into the world. It pulled me out of my panic.
I’m very sorry about your miscarriage.
The placenta is a just no for me
My dog makes poop and then eats it. Hilary should do that, too.