Valerie Gommon Midwife’s Blog

Archive for the ‘placentophagy’ Category

Another guest blog by Sarah Ward … thanks Sarah.

The placenta is the fetal life support system, but can also become more than this, and is a powerful symbol that many believe deserves some respect when it has fulfilled its main aim. 

A new TV programme on Channel 4 called ‘How to be a Good Mum’ made me decide to do a topic on placentas. I tend to hate programs like this because they always portray what can be reasonably sensible well thought out ideas, throw them all together and turn them into a program designed to shock and mock anything mildly different from the perceived ‘norm’.

The first episode showed a lady making a print from her placenta in quite gory horror style detail. Each to their own maybe, but here are some ideas I found on the internet!

1. Plant It! 

The most obvious and common thing to do with a placenta (after throwing it out that is) is to plant it in the garden or a pot.  Sometimes this is done as part of a ceremony, naming day, with friends, family or just a personal thing done without announcement, just to show respect to the thing that nourished and fed your unborn baby for all those months.  Maybe to throw it out seems in some way disrespectful after all its hard work?

2. Print From It!

This is easier than it sounds.  It can be frozen for some time, defrosted, washed, dried and the side closest to the baby including the cord can be inked and printed to look like a tree, with all the veins looking like branches.  They can be quite beautiful.  They can also be printed from soon after birth using the blood left within it to make the print.

3.  Encapsulate It!

There are many practitioners that will encapsulate your placenta for you.  This basically involves mulching it up, drying it out and turning it into a powder form that’s put into tablet capsules for you to take.  The benefits are said to be that it can balance your hormones in the weeks and months after birth, increase your milk supply and quality, and increase energy.  Its been reported to decrease the risks of developing post natal depression also. In fact it’s not a new idea, its been a traditional Chinese medicine practise for centuries.  This needs to be done within 48 hours after birth.

4.  Ingest It!

Ok, I mean Eat IT! The benefits are the same as above but you could do this yourself at home and not need anyone to help you. I think most people are generally aghast at this idea, but it’s not so uncommon in other parts of the world. In fact there are many rituals and ceremonies that involve this, and are a way of welcoming the new baby into the community and celebrating its safe arrival. If you google this subject you can find many recipes and ideas from simple smoothies to bolognaise!

In fact MOST mammals eat their own placenta and the benefits are said to be that it encourages milk production, and encourages the uterus to shrink down after birth. 

5.  Burn it!

Some cultures burn the placenta in a clay pot and then bury the ashes.

6. Make a Teddy!

Artist Alex Green set off a media storm after his Placenta Bear went on display at the ‘Doing it for the Kids’ exhibition.  He explained:

“The goal of the exhibition is to inspire designers, educators and parents to be more critical of the toys that shape a child’s values and the impact toy making has on the environment.”

7. Other Cultures Do This!

In Yemen the placenta is placed on the family’s roof for the birds to eat, in the hope that it will guarantee the love between the parents.

In Malaysia the placenta is seen as the child’s older sibling and thought that the two are reunited at death. The midwife carefully washes the placenta, cord and membranes and wraps them in a white cloth to be buried.

In Nepal, the placenta is given the name ‘bucha-co-satthi’ – meaning ‘baby’s friend’

The Tanala people of Madagascar observe strict silence throughout the labour and birth and as the placenta is being delivered. When the placenta comes, everyone present claps and shouts “Vita! Vita!” – meaning ‘finished’.

Philipino women often bury their placentas with books with the hope that this will ensure an intellectual child!

To Conclude:

Whether you choose to eat it, paint with it, throw it out or whatever, there’s no denying that the placenta is a beautiful thing. It is the connection between mother and child and can be a very spiritual symbol. Whatever we decide we should not judge other people’s choices even if they appear alien to us. Being different is what makes the world an interesting place.

The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is on fire!.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A helper monkey made this abstract painting, inspired by your stats.

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 3,900 times in 2010. That’s about 9 full 747s.


In 2010, there were 53 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 172 posts. There were 2 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 2mb.

The busiest day of the year was April 7th with 144 views. The most popular post that day was Birth before the arrival of a midwife.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,,,, and

Some visitors came searching, mostly for midwife blog, valerie gommon, skinny women and pregnancy, albany midwives suspended, and placentophagy research.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


Birth before the arrival of a midwife May 2009


“Super skinny pregnancies” March 2009


Independent Midwifery and snow Part II January 2010


Eating the placenta (placentophagy)? October 2009


Freebirthing / Unassisted birth May 2009

A client who has previously suffered with postnatal depression has asked me to research placenta eating (or placentophagy).  Apparently it is traditionally practiced in many cultures, including Mexico, China, and the Pacific Islands, however British consultant obstetrician Maggie Blott dismisses prospect that eating the placenta helps with post-natal depression however there remain a number of women who are convinced that eating their placenta was helpful, indeed it is rich in iron and this alone will be beneficial.  Some women chop it into tablet size pieces, freeze them then swallow them!

Read more:

These are from ‘Mothering Magazine‘ – September 1983:

Work on the basis that each placenta weighs approximately 1/6 of the baby’s weight. To prepare a placenta, cut the meat away from the membranes with a sharp knife. Discard the membranes.

Roast Placenta

1-3lb fresh placenta (must be no more than 3 days old)
1 onion
1 green or red pepper (green will add colour)
1 cup tomato sauce
1 sleeve saltine crackers
1 tspn bay leaves
1 tspn black pepper
1 tspn white pepper
1 clove garlic (roasted and minced)


(Preheat oven to 350 degrees)

1. Chop the onion and the pepper & crush the saltines into crumbs.
2. Combine the placenta, onion, pepper, saltines, bay leaves, white and black pepper, garlic and tomato sauce.
3. Place in a loaf pan, cover then bake for one and a half hours, occasionally pouring off excess liquid.
4. Serve and enjoy!

Placenta Cocktail


1/4 cup fresh, raw placenta
8oz V-8 juice
2 ice cubes
1/2 cup carrot

Method: blend at high speed for 10 seconds. Serve. A tasty thirst quencher!

Placenta Lasagne


1 fresh, ground, or minced placenta, prepared as above
2 tblspns olive oil
2 sliced cloves garlic
1/2 tspn oregano
1/2 diced onion
2 tblspns tomato paste, or 1 whole tomato

Method: use a recipe for lasagne and substitute this mixture for one layer of cheese. Quickly saut� all the ingredients in olive oil. Serve. Enjoy!

Placenta Spaghetti Bolognaise


1 fresh placenta, prepared as above
1 tblspn butter
1 large can tomato puree
2 cans crushed pear tomatoes
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 tblspn molasses
1 bay leaf
1 tblspn rosemary
1 tspn each of: salt, honey, oregano, basil, and fennel

Method: cut the placenta meat into bite-sized pieces, then brown quickly in the butter and olive oil. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 1-1.5 hours. Serve. Yummy!

Dehydrating your placenta

Instead of cooking your placenta whole, you can dehydrate it and then add it to meals! The following method is extracted from an article entitled “Thinking About Eating Your Placenta?” by Susan James, which appeared in the winter 1996 issue of “The Compleat Mother”. It was discovered posted on a newsgroup noticeboard, so we cannot absolutely guarantee its authenticity, or that it is an actual verbatim account of the magazine article.


Cut off the cord and membranes.

Steam the placenta, adding lemon grass, pepper and ginger to the steaming water. The placenta is “done” when no blood comes out when you pierce it with a fork.

Cut the placenta into thin slices (like making jerky) and bake in a low-heat oven (200-250 degrees F), until it is dry and crumbly (several hours).

Crush the placenta into a powder – using a food processor, blender, mortar and pestle, or by putting it in a bag and grinding it with rocks.

Put the powder into empty gel caps (available at drug and health food stores) or just add a spoonful to your cereal, blender drink, etc.

The recommended doses vary, some suggest up to 4 capsules a day, others just one. Perhaps the best advice is to take what makes you feel good.

It is also possible to have your placenta made into a homoepathic preparation contact