No One Eats My Placenta But Me

placenta eating
It's What's for Dinner
The placenta may be a magical organ that nourishes your baby, but in some cultures (especially those in the exotic locations of "Berkeley" and "Brooklyn"), moms get in on that action too. It's not uncommon that after delivering the placenta, a mom will take home the organ and consume it whether by frying it up or having it processed into capsules. Some people say it helps with postpartum depression, and the boost of iron can help with milk production.

Then some other people decide to turn the placenta into an "adventure food" and serve it up at parties. That's where I'm going to draw the line. And maybe you should too.


A food adventure club in San Francisco decided that placenta should be on the menu at their next meeting (although some members sat this one out) and procured a fresh placenta from a new mom. The group leader then prepped it like a kabob and wrapped it in bacon alongside water chestnuts for the group to try. Some said it tasted like bacon (well, duh) and was chewy.

I really want to say to each his own, and I will, but I'm gagging as I'm acting like I'm totally open-minded about this business. Listen, whatever you want to do with your own placenta is your business. The ladies at Kveller (where I found this crazy story) talk about the tradition of burying the placenta in the backyard and planting a tree. That's cool. But handing it over to "adventure" eaters crosses a line. Maybe even a line into cannibalism.

According to John Gosling, anatomy professor at Stanford University School of Medicine, placenta "is part of the infant, no question. Yes, it's discarded after birth," he says, "but it's still human."

Not everyone agrees, but I kind of do. It is an organ, after all. One of those organs that you expel from your body after birth, but an organ nonetheless. Just like I wouldn't eat ice cream made from another woman's breast milk, I'm not touching anyone else's placenta with a 10-foot pole. My placenta (and my breast milk) are for my baby. If someone was in need -- talking breast milk here, now, not placenta -- I would share. But I'm not giving out my bodily fluids and/or organs for a group of curious adults. Let them make their own placenta, if they want one so bad. GAH.

Would you let someone else eat your placenta?


Image via jonny.hunter/Flickr

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