We're still trying to get our heads around this whole moms-eating-placentas-to-ward-off-postpartum depression trend. As Joel Stein horrifyingly put it, placentas are "what your liver would look like if it got into an accident on the autobahn with one of those aliens from Mars Attacks! and their bloody carcasses threw jellyfish at each other." It seems that many NYC-area hospitals are also having trouble getting their heads around placenta pickers, with many now having to review their placenta policies in the wake of increased demand.
New York state law allows hospitals to release healthy placentas, but the wording is vague to put it mildly: some hospitals require patients to sign waivers, while others have no protocols, which leads to decisions being made by whoever is on staff that day. Many hospitals have long treated them as medical waste, since many medical experts say there is no scientific evidence to prove eating placentas can help postpartum depression.
Emily Ziff told the Wall Street Journal she gave birth to her first child at NYU Langone Medical Center in January, but she wasn't allowed to take her placenta home with her—she was told the placenta would be sent to a morgue, where she would have to get a licensed funeral director to obtain it for her. "I think women should be able to keep their placentas if they want to, especially given that the Department of Health seems to have no issue with it," Ziff said.
To that end, Williamsburg-based doula Lisa Fortin has started a petition on Change.org urging NYU Langone Medical Center to release healthy placentas; it has over 350 signatures so far. "The wording from New York state definitely stops short from giving moms the right to take their placentas home, and frankly that's something I would like to see changed," she told WSJ.
Robert Press, chief medical officer and patient safety officer at NYU Langone, said in an email to them that the hospital was reviewing its policy: "Our policy was designed to balance a new mother's desire for her baby's placenta against the risk of transmitting a disease to the public, as a placenta has the same risks associated with medical waste," he said.
If you want to learn more about placenta encapsulation—the process by which a placenta turns into approximately 120 ready-to-eat pills—read more here. You can read all about professional placenta-preparer Jennifer Mayer and her company Brooklyn Placenta Services here. Or if you're already convinced, you can go straight for the Placenta Helper.