Placentas: Stem cell research, spaghetti or lasagna

The choice is yours

NY Chef Jennifer Mayer helps parents experiment with cooking mom's placenta. Photo via Bev Lloyd-Roberts,

In the medical world, the human placenta is the connection between a fetus and its mother, removing waste and delivering oxygen, nutrients and everything else a fetus needs to grow strong and prepare for its big entrance into the world.

Depending on beliefs and cultures, the human placenta can be utilized many different ways and according to Robin Elise Weiss, LCCE, Placentophagy is one method, by cooking the placenta in a recipe – for instance: spaghetti, lasagna, stew, or dried like a beef jerky – to aid with postpartum depression and other post delivery issues.  Weiss adds eating your own placenta won’t really cause any health risks, eating someone else’s could, if they were to have an illness.

And now a new parent can get all the benefits from eating their placenta with the help of a placenta chef out of New York.  Jennifer Mayer recently told New York magazine placentas are a “nutrient-laden meat that can alleviate postpartum depression and aid in breast milk production (among other so-far-unverified benefits).”

Mayer normally sets up in the home kitchen of the new parent(s) and cooks the placenta into a jerky or brisket type food.  A more popular method is for her to cook the placenta, grind it, blend it, and fill capsules to be taken once a day.

Some placentas are “really intense, with grief or sadness or uncertainty,” said Mayer. “Others might be “joyful,” “big and round.”

While the medical field also uses placentas in other respects, such as stem research; animal placentas can be found in cosmetics, anti-aging products, as well as being used to aid in the healing of some sports injuries.

There are some cultures that believe the placenta should be buried under a tree to celebrate being blessed with a new life.  Placentas can even be turned in to art pieces to be shared with the world or at least to be shared with anyone who comes to visit.

There may be more still that probably never have any thoughts about the placenta once their new bundle of joy is placed in their arms; according to Weiss, “No matter what you choose to do with your placenta, remember to value the life it has helped you nurture and bring forth. It is, after all, the Tree of Life.”