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(en) US, Phoenix, Upheaval* #2 - My Placenta and Me by frog

Date Mon, 16 Jan 2006 16:48:45 +0200


When my partner and I asked our
doctor if we could take the placen-
ta home after I gave birth, she was
curious. "Why?" she asked.
"Because I am going to eat it," I
told her. She thought we were both
completely nuts.
Taking my placenta home from
the hospital along with my baby
was not a difficult choice. By eating
it I was hoping to avoid postpartum
depression. I was determined to be
a healthy first-time mom,
and nourishing myself
with my own placenta was
a decent option for a quick
postpartum recovery.
The placenta is an
organ that, in pregnant
mammals, grows inside
the uterus and amniotic
sac along with the fetus.
Its purpose is to pass
nutrients from the moth-
er's blood through the
umbilical cord to the
baby, as well as pass the
baby's waste to the moth-
er. It is expelled after the
baby at birth, and is commonly
known as the "afterbirth."
The placenta is constructed out
of the same tissue as the baby, and
is very nutritious. It is full of nour-
ishing vitamins and minerals, which
are retained after it is expelled.
Most importantly, the placenta
also contains hormones that, when
reingested by the mother, can aid
in the mother's post-birth healing
process. It's full of oxytocin, the
hormone responsible for uterine
contractions and minimizing post-
partum bleeding, as well as other
hormones that help to relieve post-
partum depression.
Having a baby causes extreme
physical and mental stress. The
woman's body is basically a hor-
monal rollercoaster at conception,
as her body starts secreting a lot of
hormones to support the pregnan-
cy. Sometimes she feels great, and
sometimes she feels terrible. When
the baby is finally born the moth-
er's body is thrown into further
chaos, as her hormone levels drop
drastically. Most women experi-
ence a minor depression called the
"baby blues." However, one in five
women experience a more serious
form of depression called postpar-
tum depression, a condition that
can last as long as five years after
childbirth. Everyone needs post-
partum healing, even men.
Unlike many women who prefer
giving birth naturally at home, I
gave birth in a hospital. I could not
find a midwife. My partner and his
mother thought it was best I give
birth in a hospital, so I found a
female OB-GYN and scrapped the
natural home birth idea. I would
have had to give birth at a hospital
anyway.
My labor was induced. This
means that I was given an artificial
hormone to start labor. I was
hooked up to an IV, a fetal heart
monitor, a thing that measured my
contractions, a machine that meas-
ured my blood pressure, and a heart
monitor on my finger. Since my
"bag of waters" had been leaking
for five days, it wasn't sure how
much fluid the baby was surround-
ed by. The artificial hormone was
having little to no effect on me.
The nurse hooked me up to an
oxygen mask and called the doctor.
When the doctor came she
inserted a catheter and
broke my water. That was
the point of my epiphany.
My legs started to shake
uncontrollably. I finally
understood the horren-
dous pain of childbirth.
The doctor then put in a
tube into the bag of
waters to replenish the
water supply. I let both
the nurse and doctor
know that I was no doubt
going to need an epidural.
My whole body shook in
pain. I desperately tried to
control my breathing the way I
learned in Lamaze class. The con-
tractions were so strong that my
face was twitching. When the anes-
thesiologist came in, he put a
catheter into my back. I felt numb,
warm, and happy. My labor was
short -- if you can call five short
hours short.
Placenta is not a popular dish in
the United States. Eating it is more
common in other cultures and
among other species. Cats, dogs,
cows, hamsters, and other animals
eat their placentas. Older genera-
tions of Laotians love cow placenta,
and preparing and eating human
placenta is a sacred Chinese ritual.
But I was only able to find placenta
recipes on British web sites.
Preparing the placenta is just like
preparing any other meat. It needs
to be used immediately. I decided
to start preparing mine three and a
half days after I gave birth, keep-
ing it on ice until I was ready to eat
it. Most recipes call for a fresher
placenta. Since mine wasn't fresh
enough, I could only use the recipe
for dehydration. I decided to make
the placenta into pills.
My partner did most of the work
for me, as I was overwhelmed with
other things. He bought the pill
press, handled the placenta, rinsed
it, photographed it, soaked it, cut
off the cord and membranes,
smooshed the purple blood clots
out, and I stood near, gagging. By
chance, he had been cooking a
squid the week prior, and this
helped him mentally prepare for
the cooking of the placenta.
Now I eat my placenta every day,
one pill with every meal. I feel
good, but sometimes I do go crazy.
I get really mad and say things that
don't make sense. I cry on occasion
even though nothing sad hap-
pened. No one can say whether or
not ingesting the placenta helps
reduce postpartum depression
indefinitely. I don't know what it's
like not taking the placenta pills.
But I personally don't doubt that
placental supplements have kept
my mood swings to a minimum. If
anyone wishes to eat her placenta, I
encourage you and recommend
finding a recipe that you like.
Buon Appetito!
------------------------------
Placenta Recipes
Dehydrating your placenta:
1. Clean the placenta as if it were any
other meat. Cutting off the cord and
membranes is up to you. I have read
recipes that instruct you to cut them off,
and others that say not to.
2. Steam the placenta, adding what-
ever spices you desire to the steaming
water. When no blood comes out when
pierced with a fork, the placenta is done
steaming.
3. Cut placenta into thin slices and
bake in oven on low temperature (200-
250°F) until dry and crumbly. This can
take up to ten hours, depending on the
oven.
4. Crush the placenta into powder using
a food processor, blender, mortar & pes-
tle, putting it in a bag and grinding it
with rocks, or by stepping on it with your
dirty sneaker. This placenta powder can
be put on food, into drinks, or into gel-
caps. I used a pill press I got from the
local co-op and made pills.
Different people recommend differ-
ent doses. Some suggest two capsules
with every meal, some suggest one per
day, some suggest for capsules a day. I
eat as many pills as I feel like.
Placenta Spaghetti:
l 3/4 cup placenta meat, cut into bite-
size pieces
l 1 tbl butter
l 1 tbl oil
l 1 large can tomato purée
l 2 cans crushed pear tomatoes
l 1 onion, chopped
l 2 cloves of garlic, minced
l 1 tbl molasses
l 1 bay leaf
l 1 tbl rosemary
l 1 tsp each of salt, honey, oregano,
basil, and fennel.
Brown placenta quickly in butter and
oil. Then add remaining ingredients
and simmer 1 1/2 hours.
Placenta Pizza:
l placenta, ground
l 2 tbl olive oil
l 4 garlic cloves, minced
l 1/2 tsp oregano
l 1/4 tsp each fennel, pepper, salt,
thyme
l 1/4 cup red wine
Sauté placenta in oil with garlic cloves,
then add herbs, spices & wine. Allow to
stand for 30 minutes, then use with
your favorite homemade pizza recipe.
It's a fine placenta sausage topping.
(found at: <rainforest.parentsplace.
com/dialog/get/newf4homebirth1/
49/3.html>)
Placenta Roast:
l 1 to 3 lb. placenta no more than 3
days old
l 1 large onion
l 1 large green or red pepper
l 1 cup tomato sauce
l 1 sleeve of saltine crackers
l 1 tsp crab or shrimp seasoning
l 1 tsp black pepper
l 1 tsp white pepper
l 1 clove garlic, roasted and minced
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Chop onion and pepper into small
cubes. Place in large bowl. Crush
saltines into crumbs and add to onion
and pepper cubes. Add placenta,
seafood seasoning, pepper, garlic, and
tomato sauce, mix well. Place into alu-
minum loaf pan, cover and bake for 1
1/2 hours, occasionally pouring
off excess liquid. Retain liquid for gravy
base, if desired.
Placenta Cocktail:
l 1/4 cup raw placenta
l 8oz V-8 juice
l 2 ice cubes
l 1/2 cup carrot
Blend at high speed for 10 seconds.
====================================
* Journal of the Phoenix Anarchist Coalition

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