Many women wouldn’t think twice about taking fish oil to stave off postpartum depression, but would you eat your afterbirth? Based on a recent post in New York Magazine, a growing variety of new mothers are pegging their placenta as a new postpartum superfood, touting its power to boost energy, prevent sleep difficulties, as well as facilitate breastfeeding and reduce the possibility of developing postpartum depression.
A round, flat organ that forms during pregnancy to filter toxins and supply nutrition to the developing fetus, the placenta has long been recognized because of its spiritual and treating significance in various cultures. In traditional Chinese medicine, for instance, dried person placenta is blended with herbs and ingested to deal with breastfeeding difficulties, impotence, and infertility. New moms in Indonesia, Morocco, as well as the Czech Republic are said to believe that placenta- future fertility is guaranteed by eating.
According to Mark B. Kristal, PhD, director of the Behavioral Neuroscience Graduate Program at the University of Buffalo, who has been researching placentophagia (the practice of placenta eating) for 40 years, the occurrence took off in the United States in the 1970s among individuals living in communes, where they cooked and shared placenta stews.
Now, you can find recipes for everything from placenta stew. There are still instructional cooking lessons on YouTube, and Time Magazine has a video of an expert placenta chef preparing the organ for writer Joel Stein and his wife.
Preparing your personal placenta to eat isn’t for the faint of heart. In his article, “Afterbirth: It’s What’s For Dinner,” Stein described uncooked placenta as “what your liver would appear to be if it got into an accident on the autobahn with one of those aliens from Mars Attacks and their bloody carcasses threw jellyfish at each other.”
This “ick” factor has established a whole new occupation category: “placenta preparers,” who take your placenta, dry it, ground it, and package it in clear, vitamin-sized pills. “They are happy pills,” 28-year old mother and professional placenta-preparer Jennifer Mayers told New York Magazine. “They’re made by the human body, to your body. Why wouldn’t you want to attempt?”
Placenta-Eating and Postpartum Depression: What’s the Link?
Proponents think that by consuming the placenta, hormone levels, which may account for its possible link to reducing postpartum depression can be rebalanced. Another argument: that since it’s a common practice among mammals (including cows and deer), it is safe for women — who are mammals after all.
Could these happy pills really function as the answer for the 15 percent of new mothers who struggle with postpartum depression? There’s simply not enough scientific evidence to learn. “There isn’t a good-controlled study in which human mothers are given placenta and examined for postpartum depression,” Kristal clarifies. “Even if there are medical benefits, nobody yet understands just how much afterbirth makes up an effective dose, when it must be given. Does freezing, drying, cooking, microencapsulating, sterilizing, radiating, or pickling destroy the beneficial elements?”
While the verdict is still out on whether placenta consumption helps PPD, alternative medicine is taken by eating your afterbirth certainly to a whole new level. Ask your doctor about your state’s policies if you’re considering trying it. You along with your health care provider may have to complete a “placenta release form.”
Understandably squeamish? Contemplate these more conventional strategies to avoid postpartum depression:
Know your risk. More than half of women with postpartum depression have a history of mental health issues, including earlier depression, according to research from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. Talk to your physician if not your infant’s pediatrician if you are experiencing any signs, including feelings of hopelessness, helpless, trouble eating, sleeping, or concentrating.
Stay joined. The first weeks and months residence having a newborn can be pretty alone, but isolation can lead to feelings of depression. Be sure to book “playdates” with family and friends often and stay in contact with phone chats and via electronic mail. By empathizing with all the huge life shift you’re going through, other new mothers, particularly, may help.
Ask for help. Declare you can not do it all! When your friends and family are visiting, don’t feel like you have to amuse them; instead, ask for help with your new-mom workload — they can pitch in with laundry, prepare and freeze meals, or even babysit for an hour or two so you can snag some much-needed alone time.
Nap when the baby rests. It Is cliche for a reason, but getting proper rest can go a long way toward preventing PPD. While this may be easier said than done using a baby who’s not full round the clock, ask your partner for help and if possible take turns during those middle-of-the-night feedings.
Do not skip meals. Make certain to eat often, since dips in blood sugar may lead to mood swings. Walnuts really are a good snack to keep on hand. They’re among the richest plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been demonstrated to be especially successful against depression.
Utilize that stroller. According to studies, engaging in moderate exercise at least three times weekly might be equally as effective as experiencing treatment with antidepressants. Take your baby for a walk as often as possible — it is additionally a fantastic method to begin working off the infant weight.
Get your D. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to depression. Soaking up sunlight (which helps the body produce the vitamin) during walks can help. Request your physician about taking nutritional supplement
Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Both of these substances can interrupt sleep, which can worsen depression symptoms. It is also clever to limit your consumption if you’re breastfeeding.
Join a support group. No one can better understand the challenges of caring for a brand new baby than other postpartum women. Get support and join with others in the Postpartum Depression group of Everyday Health on our sister site, What Things To Expect.