Our amazing placenta...
The placenta is definitely a spectacular organ.
It receives oxygen and nutrients through the umbilical cord and then removes waste products via the same process for their disposal. It produces hormones to support your little one to grow and develop and provides some protection against infection and bacteria whilst baby is in the womb. Towards the end of your pregnancy your antibodies are passed to your baby providing immunity for the first three months.
You may of heard the shocking rule recently, about placing the centuries old tradition of placenta encapsulation under threat due to the European Food Safety Authority stating that this should now be classified as a “novel” food. But, lawyers have said that this move undermines women's rights to decide what to do with their bodies.
“Novel food is defined as a type of food that does not have a significant history of consumption or is produced by a method that has not previously been used for food.”
It is believed that consuming the placenta can have the following benefits:
Help to balance your hormones
Replenish depleted iron levels
Assist the uterus to return to its pre-pregnancy state
Reduce post-natal bleeding
Increase milk production – this has been proven in a study
Make for a happier, more enjoyable post-natal period
Increase your energy levels
All of these benefits are true blessings for any new mummy, but, please don't forget that all of the above can also be achieved naturally, by eating an *iron rich diet and stimulating the "love & anti-stress" hormone, oxytocin.
I will be honest, I have three little ones and not once did I ever consider the idea of digesting my own placenta, but, the more I hear about the benefits the more fascinating it becomes. Of course there is the argument that I often consider in that “why would you want to eat an organ that your body expels” and therefore does not need... all food for thought so to speak!
But, I also believe that ALL women have the right to have the CHOICE if this is truly something that they feel very strongly about and of course not forgetting that there could also be a placebo effect from consuming the placenta - we all know how powerful the mind is, “if you expect something to work, it most often will”.
Whatever the truth behind eating the placenta, if it truly provides new mummies with the numerous benefits (and there are no dangers to consuming it), why should anyone have the right to stand in their way.
(The UK Food Standards Agency has granted a one-month window, until 11 July 2014, for anyone unhappy with the ruling to prove that human placenta is not a so-called novel food).
* Please Note: This is not an alternative to medical advice and should you have any concerns at any point during your post pregnancy health, please contact your midwife, health visitor or midical professional.