Originally published in The Sun, March 7, 2013
January Jones reckons a healthy daily dose of placenta saved her from falling victim to post-natal depression.
The Mad Men actress, 35, dried out the organ and had it turned into pills after she gave birth to son Xander 17 months ago. Speaking out about the oddball move for the first time, January insisted:
It’s not gross or witchcrafty. It’s a very civilised thing that can help women with depression or fatigue. I was never depressed or sad or down after the baby was born, so I’d strongly suggest it to any pregnant woman.
The placenta, which is attached to the lining of the womb during pregnancy, contains high levels of vitamins. It is especially rich in vitamin B6, which is known to help battle depression. The question is, would you eat yours?
Here, we speak to four women who did.Lynnea Shrief uses her placenta to beat post-natal depression
Lynnea, from Berkhamsted, Herts, had the baby blues when her first child was born. Now she runs an organisation helping women to use their placenta as a way of treating post-natal depression. She says:
‘Meaty taste’ … but vegetarian Laura Frankland wasn’t put off
I had my second child, Roman, a baby boy weighing 7lbs 12oz, in March 2009. When my placenta came out I ripped off a piece the size of a £1 coin and put it in my cheek so it was against my gums to ensure the nutrients and hormone went back into my blood stream. It sounds disgusting, but research had convinced me the hormones in it would help beat postnatal depression. An hour later I swallowed the small piece that had been in my mouth and my husband presented me with a placenta smoothie. I drank most of it and allowed my daughter Sianna, now seven, to have some as well. The effects were amazing. I felt I was on a post-birth high. I had huge amounts of energy. I wasn’t tired, weepy or feeling insecure as I had been after Sianna was born. I cut up the remaining placenta into small one centimetre blocks and placed them on a baking tray to freeze. Many people will think this is shocking but lots of mammals eat their placenta after birth. If you have your placenta dried and made into capsules it takes away the yuk factor. It’s just like taking a vitamin pill. Since I had Roman I have helped 170 women to encapsulate their placenta and take the pills to help them after birth. I know it prevents post-natal depression and I am still using my son’s placenta on myself and my daughter almost four years on. I am not a hippy or a freak. I’ve researched the subject and I honestly believe it can help beat the baby blues. All over the western world more and more women are breaking the social taboo and having their placenta turned into capsules, shakes and tinctures. The procedure is safe and natural and you’re just putting back into your body something that was already in there and helped create your beautiful baby.
Like January, Laura had her placenta made into capsules after giving birth to son Jowan seven months ago. The vegetarian, married to theatre producer Tom, 33, even had some of the capsules frozen in the hope they will ease future menopause symptoms.
Laura, from Wimbledon, south west London, says:
Krishna Bakrani suffered no depression after her second baby
It was my midwife who first told me about the health benefits of placenta. I was horrified at first and couldn’t imagine anything worse. But, contrary to what I thought, you didn’t have to pop your placenta in the oven and serve it up for lunch. My midwife explained that I could have capsules made of my placenta, which would contain all the same nutrients. The idea really appealed to me. So, with the backing of Tom, I found a lady who specialised in making the pills. One day after I gave birth she steamed the placenta with a mixture of ginger, chilli and lemon before drying it overnight. She then ground it up and made it into capsules. A day later she returned with a jar containing 134 brown capsules, and told me to take three a day for five weeks. The pills did taste a bit meaty but that didn’t bother me. It was great to think I was helping to protect myself against depression. My placenta was what had kept Jowan alive and now I was swallowing it to boost my own health.
Office manager Krishna, from Guildford, Surrey, suffered severe post-natal depression when her first baby was born.
But taking a placenta smoothie and capsules after giving birth to her second helped beat the baby blues. She says:
Ezda Beevers and her husband both drank placenta smoothie
My first, a little girl called Sitara, was born in March 2007. I suffered terrible depression. It wasn’t the wonderful experience I’d hoped for. I found bonding with my newborn difficult. I cried a lot. When I discovered I was pregnant again in 2008 with my son Nihall I was naturally pleased but terrified as well. I spent hours online and came across articles about placenta encapsulation. I admit at first I was disgusted but the more I read, the more I knew I had to give it a go. I had Nihall at home. When the placenta was birthed I popped it into a casserole container and put it in the fridge. Lynnea, who I’d met at a mothers’ group, arrived the next day. She immediately blended me a smoothie using three pieces of placenta and fruit. I expected it to stink but it was just like a fruit shake. I felt its effects almost immediately. I call it a placenta high – a sudden burst of energy. The rest of it was made into capsules, and I suffered no depression. I noticed that if I forgot to take my capsule I would feel tearful and down but after 30 minutes of taking the capsule my mood was elevated. I’d definitely do it again.
Shop worker Ezda, from Brighton, East Sussex, drank placenta smoothie after the birth of her second child, Suki, five weeks ago. She says:
A friend told me about the health benefits of eating the placenta when I was pregnant with my second baby. After having my eldest child, Ernie, who’s three, I was left shattered every day so I needed all the help I could get. I was also worried about developing depression with a newborn and an active little one to look after, so I thought it was worth a try. I was a bit anxious about the placenta’s taste and texture – as I avoid red meat. The day Suki was born, the placenta encapsulation specialist came to see me and made the smoothie. She added some berries and I took a big gulp and it tasted great. Chris, my husband, had a sip too. She took the rest of the placenta away and made tablets out of it. Two days later she came back with a jar of 150 pills. I was told to take between one and three a day, depending on how much energy I needed. At the moment, I’m taking three a day because I’m up every couple of hours in the night feeding Suki. But I feel great. I had a boost of energy from the day I drank the smoothie – pretty impressive for a mum of a newborn. I have more energy than I did when Ernie was the same age and I’m sure it’s down to the placenta. If we have another baby, I’ll definitely do it again.