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I Suggest It to All Moms': Mad Men Star Touts Health Benefits of...Placenta Eating

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"It's not witch-crafy or anything!"

January Jones, who plays Betty Francis (formerly Betty Draper) on AMC's "Mad Men," was back to work a quick six to seven weeks after giving birth to her son Xavier in Sept. 2011. What's her secret?

At a press junket last week, Jones revealed to People magazine that it, in part, could be "placenta capsulation," which is a fancy way of saying that she eats her own placenta in pill form. People has more:

 “I have a great doula who makes sure I’m eating well, with vitamins and teas, and with placenta capsulation.”

You read right: Jones is eating her own placenta. “Your placenta gets dehydrated and made into vitamins,” she explains. “It’s something I was very hesitant about, but we’re the only mammals who don’t ingest our own placentas.”

Jones has taken the capsules every day since right after she had her son, and also anytime she feels tired or down. Jones insists, “It’s not witch-crafty or anything! I suggest it to all moms!”

There is little research on taking placenta pills but they have been said to help relieve post-pardum depression. Watch this ABC News report from last year about the trend:

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Around the same time, the Huffington Post reported about the "growing" profession as a placenta cook. It featured one such woman, Lisa Fortin of Brooklyn, who said the pills she helps make also provide an energy boost and enhanced milk production for new mothers. Here's more about how Fortin makes the pills:

"It's definitely a different scent," said Fortin about the aroma given off by a steaming pot filled with a placenta, frankincense, myrrh, ginger and lemon. "It's not something you smelled before. It's not something you think smells bad, but it's a little bit foreign."

After about 25 minutes on medium heat, she takes out the afterbirth, slices it with a big blade and arranges the pieces on her jerky maker, where they'll dry for 10 hours at 105 degrees.

Then, Fortin pulverizes the chunks in a coffee grinder. The powder fills about 100 capsules that the new mother takes over several weeks.

The Huffington Post reports Fortin saying the practice of eating placenta draws from Chinese medicine and much of the animal kingdom where most mammals eat their placenta.

ABC News reports that placental pills are not FDA approved and has some doctors weigh in on the topic:

“There is certainly a potential medicinal use,” Dr. David Katz, founder of the Yale Prevention Center, said of placentas last year. “This is a time-honored cultural practice of eating the placenta. It is nutrient-rich and a source of hormones.”

[...]

In either case,  Dr. Lauren F. Streicher, clinical instructor in obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern Medical School, said women don’t need to consume their afterbirth to get through the sadness [of post-partum depression]. Streicher said it’s simply irresponsible and dangerous to tout the pills as a cure for post-partum depression Women should seek medical help if they experience post-pardum depression.

As for the milder baby blues, “[They] don’t need this stuff,’” she said last year. “It’s going to go away on its own.”

What are your thoughts on the practice?

[H/T Yahoo! News]

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