Why You Might Want to Eat Your Placenta

An expert gives us the When, How and Why for ingesting your placenta postpartum.

Why You Might Want to Eat Your Placenta

I am due at any moment with my first child. Part of my birth plan is to keep my placenta so that I can have it encapsulated to consume as part of my postpartum recovery regimen.

As a practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and a women’s health and fertility expert, I have been recommending postpartum placenta consumption for over a decade. Most women in my practice look at me like I’m crazy when I encourage them to keep and encapsulate their placentas, but there are many reasons to do so.

How to Do

First, let’s quickly get past the ‘do I have to handle my own placenta’ worry since the encapsulation part is quite easy. There are services out there, usually run by postpartum doulas. For about $300, they will come to the hospital, pick up your placenta (that has been placed in a cooler that you provide), take it away, dehydrate it, encapsulate it and return it to you the next day. So all you have to do is birth your placenta (which you will do anyway) and bring a cooler to the hospital with you. Easy peasy.

Why to Do It:

As I said, I am practitioner of TCM and in the realm of the medicine I practice, ingesting one’s placenta post-birth has been recommended for the last several thousand years. In the TCM philosophy, the placenta is not only what has nourished your baby in utero—it is a major source of nutrients, namely blood, Qi (pronounced chee—which is the basic substance of life and where our energy comes from as seen in TCM) and essence (which, in TCM, is the equivalent of our genetic foundation; essence is seen to decline as we age and or with major health events such as pregnancy and giving birth).

So, as I was taught: the placenta is the best source of postpartum nourishment for a woman as she can literally take back in her own blood, qi and essence to speed her recovery from the taxing process of pregnancy and birth. Additionally, having this extra blood, Qi and essence from the placenta helps generate healthy, nutrient dense breast milk for the mother to share with her child. And, this extra source of blood, Qi and essence is thought to help ward off any postpartum health issues such as depression, fatigue and hormonal imbalances.

The Evidence:

Interestingly, the benefits of placenta ingesting that TCM has touted for thousands of years have made their way to the mainstream and now many people are following suit. To date, the evidence that speaks to the upsides of supplementing with your placenta post-partumly is mostly anecdotal. However, there are a handful of studies that have found that placenta ingestion helps with breast milk production, enhancing the nutrition of breast milk, mediating postpartum pain relief, restoring the original size of the uterus and balancing hormones. As well, upon nutritional breakdown the placenta has shown to be rich in amino acids, minerals, vitamins, protective antibodies, growth factors—all of which can help restore and regenerate health.

The Questions:

This may still sound a bit hokey to you, but if we look historically at other mammalian species, the placenta is most always ingested right after the animal gives birth to their young. Some believe these mammals do so for nutrition or because food is scarce and that well nourished humans don’t need to eat their placentas. But, who knows. The true benefits are definitely up for debate as there isn’t a ton of research out there. However, my 10 years of clinical experience--and gut instincts--tell me it definitely can’t hurt. The key is to pay attention to your body and how you are feeling. If you feel benefits from ingesting your placenta, then do it. If you are taking it post-partumly and not feeling the reported potential benefits then stop. It’s as simple as that.

Plan of Action:

If you do decide to eat your placenta, my recommended plan of action for post-partum placenta ingestion is:

  • Take about 1.5-4 grams per day of your placenta as soon as possible post birth. The key is to start on a low dose and slowly build up until you see desired results.
  • Take your placenta pills for only the first 14 days post birth, unless you are severely anemic, experiencing postpartum depression or lactation issues. Then continue to take them for another 7-14 days. Again, pay attention to how you are feeling and let your body be your guide.
  • Begin taking your placenta pills again when your period returns IF you are experiencing any menstrual irregularities such as erratic periods, pre menstrual syndrome or heavy bleeding. As well, if you are planning to conceive again, taking your placenta pills from the last day of your period until one to two days post ovulation can help improve your fertility.
  • Lastly, save some of your pills for when you enter into menopause as they are thought to help ease that hormonal transition.

One last thing to mention, in TCM, we don’t usually recommend placenta pills be taken on their own but in conjunction with an individualized Chinese herbal prescription. To further enhance the positive effects of taking your placenta and to aid in postpartum recovery, seek out the advice of an NCCAOM certified Chinese Herbalist

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A curated box of the pregnancy products you'll want.

We're extending the sale, but just a few days and supplies are limited! Preorder now.

The Becoming Mama Pregnancy Box

pregnancy box

The Becoming Mama Pregnancy Box is available for ordering—but supplies are limited and the preorder window is almost over. Order now so you don't miss out. Boxes will ship in just a few weeks. We will send you updates as the ship date gets closer.


We know just how profound the journey to becoming a mother is, and we want to celebrate and honor you through every step of the way. That's why we created the Becoming Mama Pregnancy Box—and we are thrilled to share it with you first!

Curated by the founders of Motherly, our resident midwife and our fabulous team of motherhood gurus, it's a swoon-worthy box full of items you will adore.

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Motherly's Becoming Mama Pregnancy Box FAQs

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The Becoming Mama Pregnancy Box is an exclusive set of products designed to help you on your journey to becoming a mama. We handpicked pieces to help you prepare, stay well and celebrate your anticipation. What's in the box is a surprise, and we know you are going to love it!

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12 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

Without camps and back-to-school plans still TBD, the cries of "I'm bored!" seem to be ringing louder than ever this summer. And if you're anything like me, by August, I'm fresh out of boxes to check on my "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys.

With that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite wooden toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.


Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!


Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.


Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.


Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.


Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.


Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.


Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.


Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.


Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


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