Celebrities are often known for trying out-there diets and strange beauty treatments. But perhaps the most noteworthy recent news is that January Jones, who plays Betty Draper on Mad Men, admitted that she's taking placenta pills to keep her energy levels up post-pregnancy during the filming of the show's new season.
"I have a great doula who makes sure I’m eating well, with vitamins and teas, and with placenta capsulation," she said during a Mad Men press junket. Of course, this begs the question – why on earth would any woman want to eat the placenta of her first child?
The benefits of eating a placenta (which is referred to as placentophagy), supposedly involve restoring hormone levels after a pregnancy and reducing one's risk of postpartum depression. Believers also point out that humans are the only mammals who don't engage in the practice (aside from those in the water). Having said that, the reasons why animals eat the placenta of their young may rest solely on the circumstances of their environment.
Usually, mammals eat the afterbirth in an effort to keep their nests clean, get rid of smells that might attract predators, replenish the nutrition lost during pregnancy, acquire the hormones in the placenta and because they're just really hungry after labor.
For those interested, it turns out that many doulas – professionals hired to give physical and emotional support to mothers during a pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period are becoming trained in dehydrating one's placenta and encapsulating it into pills for mothers to consume after birth. However, seeing as there's no scientific research about the benefits of placentophagy in humans, you might want to do a little more research before you sign up for this growing trend.
Of course, if you have a strong stomach and are willing to try it out, feel free to fire up the grill!