(Albuquerque, NM )
My midwife swears by ingesting your own placenta.
After birth, when we're ready to cut the umbilical cord, she will either prepare the placenta in our kitchen, using just a small piece (usually quarter size) blended up in a smoothie to drink. Or, she will take the placenta home and dry it out and encapsulate it for me to consume in the days following.
This is about the best thing since sliced bread to her, she swears that it eliminates postpartum depression, increases milk supply, that there is basically no recovery time from birthing, and that all her clients who have done it, usually say, it's like I never had a baby because they feel so great.
So, I'm just looking for a few other opinions, from people who've done it, or have seen the results in friends or family first hand. As there isn't much info online about it, at least not that I have found yet.
I haven't ever had any of my babies placentas (in fact, they're all still in my freezer waiting on us to move to somewhere where we can plant trees over them). However, I have heard about this a lot.
I wouldn't say it's common by any stretch of the imagination, but it was traditional in several cultures and there are a lot of midwives and families that do it.
I generally hear about it in the ways you described, and I've also heard that a mother will just swallow small chunks of placenta whole. This is most common when a mother is having a lot of bleeding because it's supposed to help with bleeding.
I've heard a lot of moms talk about encapsulating the placenta, and that these work well for helping the mom feel better postpartum physically and more frequently, emotionally. It's supposed to help prevent postpartum depression.
I don't really think anyone has studied the practice of ingesting placenta, so I can't give you any scientific backing for it.
Here's a long thread on the Mothering discussion board – it gives perspectives from many different moms.
I learn towards thinking that there are benefits, and if you're comfortable with it then go for it. If you're not comfortable with it, just tell your midwife you don't want to do that. It's really your call.
Since it's not something I've really felt compelled to do, I can't give a strong opinion on it one way or another. But I may be willing to try it if I was having a lot of bleeding post-birth, or if I was showing signs of PPD.
P.S. – as sort of an aside: I hardly felt like I'd given birth after my last birth, and I think the keys to that for me were eating very welling during pregnancy, having a water birth, and doing the Internal Work from the Pink Kit during late pregnancy.