Photo: Clover Care Doula
Consuming your placenta after giving birth can be a controversial topic. Add veganism into the mix, and it’s even more so. Because it is technically an animal product, some may argue that vegans shouldn’t eat it. Breast milk is an ‘animal’ product, but no one laments its use. But can vegans consume their own placenta?
Why would a mother eat her placenta? I’m here to shed some light on the topic.
While talking with a friend last year about breast milk and wondering if it was vegan. She said, “If milk is willingly given from an animal, then it’s vegan.” So with this train of thought, what does that mean for the mothers own placenta? Can vegans consume their own placenta?
I’m sure every individual has their own personal definition of what veganism is and it ultimately leads to the same place, but this really changed my perspective on why honey, eggs and even wool are not vegan-friendly. Bees, chickens and sheep to not offer up these products to us, we take them. At times we exploit and harm these animals, intentional or not. Applying this to the placenta, I did choose to have my placenta encapsulated after birth to take in pill form. Because I grew it from my body, gave it to myself willingly and heard from multiple women that it had helped with postpartum depression, recovery from childbirth, increased energy and milk production, I had nothing to lose.
It may seem gross or weird to some, but if you look in the animal kingdom, primates, herbivores and rodents eat their placenta right after birth. Although other animals eat it raw, some women cook, put it in smoothies, or have it encapsulated like I did, which definitely makes it more palatable! Others may consider eating a placenta cannibalism, but I beg to differ. I didn’t suffer or die just so I (or someone else) could consume my placenta. It was created in childbirth and released from my body. It’s not something I would consume if I didn’t just give birth. In my mind, it serves a purpose — to help me heal from birth and balance my hormones.
You might be wondering what the benefits of ingesting your placenta are. According to the American Pregnancy Association, positives include, “Increased release of the hormone oxytocin, which helps the uterus return to normal size and encourages bonding with the infant, [a] decrease in postpartum depression levels, restoration of iron levels in the blood and [an] increase in milk production.” Speaking from experience, I did feel that they helped my mood and emotions to stabilize in the first postpartum months.
Do you think mothers consuming their placenta is vegan or not? Are you a vegan mother that chose to partake in the practice? Did you feel it made a difference in your postpartum experience? I’m curious as to what other vegan mama’s think about eating placentas. All perspectives are welcome.
Comment below with your thoughts!