Some new mothers are consuming their own placenta after birth to help beat postpartum depression and the more common baby blues
Believers say the placenta is a natural form of medicine.
"This is perfectly made for you, by you, with your own hormones," said Tamara Guida, mother of three.
Guida believes that women who eat their placenta -- raw, cooked or in pill form -- following birth can avoid a hormonal crash.
"In Eastern cultures it's very common. In Western culture, it's still considered alternative medicine," Guida said.
Guida researched the idea after her midwife suggested she try it.
"I tried it with my second (child) and really just had a great recovery, better than my first, and I really started believing in the practice," she said.
Guida's own positive experience motivated her to start a business, helping other women turn their placentas into pills. Her company, Fruit of the Womb, serves new moms across the metro area.
"I figured it couldn't hurt, so I might as well give it a go," said Shannon Ambrose. "After my second daughter Blake was born, Tamara got the pills back to me within 24 hours. I started taking them immediately and I had no baby blues at all."
Ambrose is a labor and delivery nurse. She acknowledges there's no science to prove it works. There's little research and no FDA approval.
"A lot of the home remedies that people use have just come from their moms or grandmas, and this is just another one of those," said Ambrose.
Guida argues the proof is in women's testimony.
"I'm healing faster, I'm bleeding less, I'm feeling good, I'm not feeling as sad" is some of the feedback Guida said she's received from women who've come to her for help.
7NEWS asked Dr. Diana Baca, an ob-gyn with Chatfield Women's Care, if there are any risks.
"The small amount of research out there says if things are healthy at the time of delivery and this is the route you take, there are probably no side effects to it," she said.
And Baca agreed there could be potential benefits.
"Physiologically the placenta is full of a lot of hormones, and it does have a lot of nutrients in it," she said. "The main factor most physicians are going to be concerned about is how you handle the placenta afterward to make sure you decrease the risk of infection."
"We steam it, we dry it and we put it in the pill form for you," said Guida. "I have a degree in nursing, psychology, and human development and I'm really big on safety and doing things the right way."
Fruit of the Womb charges $225. Guida estimates she's served about 100 women in the last two years.
"It's not a ton of women. It's more of a passion. It's strictly just for the love of doing it," she said.
For Ambrose, it was worth the investment.
She said, "It made my time with my newborn those first few weeks a lot more enjoyable."
7NEWS checked and found most hospitals are on board. They'll let you take your placenta. Just make sure you tell them what you plan to do in advance, so they can help preserve it properly.
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