It seems Kim Kardashian has more in common with Ancient Egyptians that we thought. Apart from sharing their love of power brows they also share their reverence for placentas. Kim ate her placenta after giving birth to her daughter North by having it freeze dried and made into pill form. Her experience of taking her placenta in pill form was very positive prompting her to tweet “I had great results and felt so energised and didn’t have any signs of depression.” So impressed was Kim with her placenta pills that she made sure that she also took them after her second pregnancy which resulted in her son Saint West.
Kim did her homework first by consulting other mothers who had a dual experience. On their first pregnancy they didn’t consume their placenta and suffered the baby blues. After their second pregnancy they took their own placenta pills and avoided any dip in their mood. Other women report that the pills gave them more energy, increased their milk production, reduced their stress levels, raised their iron levels and helped them to recover quicker from the birth of their child. Kim Kardashian decided she couldn’t go wrong with taking a pill made with her own hormones- made by her, for her.
Kim was ecstatic about her experience stating that “Every time I take a pill, I feel a surge of energy and feel really good and healthy.” Her sister Kourtney followed her example and also experienced the benefits of Placentophagy (act of consuming one’s placenta) saying on Instagram “Yummy Placenta Pills. No Joke. I will be sad when they run out. They are life changing.”
The placenta is the first organ that forms, even before the baby’s organs. The baby is fed via the placenta and via the mother’s blood supply. During pregnancy the placenta produces and stores many nutrients and hormones to help nourish the growing baby. After birth, with the loss of the placenta there is a delay before the body resumes its own production of hormones and nutrients. The consumption of one’s own placenta helps to bridge that gap. As the placenta is an endocrine organ it triggers the body’s own production of hormones such as oxytocin (the love hormone that helps women bond with their babies and gives them a sense of wellbeing) and prolactin, that helps with lactation.
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The placenta can be eaten raw in a fruit smoothie. It can be cooked and eaten (tastes like beef seemingly) or it can be encapsulated into pills that are freeze dried. There are companies that do this for you. The placenta needs to be kept chilled after 30 minutes and the temperature kept constant until the next stage when the placenta is washed, chopped, dehydrated and eventually ground into a powder before being encapsulated.
Despite the lack of scientific studies, the rise in Placentophagy is due in part to other celebrities adopting its practice and women talking about their experience and sharing best practice with one other. Coleen Rooney extolled its virtues after the birth of her third son, saying that the placenta pills gave her energy, helped her sleep better and enabled her to stabilise her weight. Footballer Jamie Vardy’s wife Rebekah, claimed that her placenta pills helped her recover from the birth of her second baby. Studies have shown that 75% of women interviewed have a very positive experience from eating their placenta.
Women who have a history of postpartum depression tend to have unusually high levels of copper in their blood according to Dr Bill Walsh author of Nutrient Power. Although many women go through a period of baby blues, about 15% go on to develop postpartum depression. During pregnancy copper levels rise, more than doubling for the development of the baby’s blood vessels. After birth copper levels are supposed to normalise but in 15% of women they don’t. The rise in copper interferes with the balance between brain chemicals dopamine and norepinephrine, two mood regulating chemicals. In Bill Walsh’s experience women with postpartum depression respond to treatment that lowers copper levels.
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