Holly Madison doesn't have much reason to be in the news lately. Perhaps you have already forgotten her stint as Hugh Hefner's chief bunny. In case you have retained your dignity and lost touch with her, she is awaiting the very iminent arrival of her first baby.
I know this because she announced that she plans to eat the placenta after her little bundle of joy arrives. This statement has propelled her back into our unsuspecting lives. (She may already be chowing down, as she checked into the hospital on Monday morning.)
Proponents of doing it say that consuming your placenta -- raw, cooked or in pill form -- will ward off post-partum depression, revitalize your tired body and pump you full of iron. Many mammals consume their placenta following birth, though researchers don't know why, and so proponents say that it is a natural part of the birthing process.
The rest of us just think it is a little gross.
Though, a writer at science-based medicine did some homework and decided it was not cannibalism. The placenta is not technically part of the mother's body, it is instead part of the fetus' genetic code -- kind of like the white part of a whole egg.
Mark Kristal, behaviour neuroscientist and expert in placentophagia (it even has a name!) says that the trend stems from New Age thinking and comes up every decade or so.
We seem to be in that trend right now. January Jones became the poster girl for placenta-eaters everywhere. There is lots of information on the web about the benefits of eating placenta. But if you love the stuff so much, you can even take a course so you can become an expert on placenta encapsulation. For about three hundred dollars you can become a "placenta encapsulation specialist", certified by the most famous placenta seller of all-time.
There have been some anecdotal reports that eating placenta can limit post-partum depression but lactation consultants say that it may also lower milk supply.
It will be a while until any real scientific reports come out about the benefits of eating placenta. In the meantime we have this New York Magazine article to point out the different ways of preparing placenta with pictures. And of course, Holly Madison and celebrities like her.
What do yout think? Eating placenta, gross or good?