People think it's weird, and there's no research to prove it works, but new mothers who've suffered from postpartum depression swear by it. The placenta that nourished the baby is injested by the new mom—dried and put into gelatin capsules, or just plain cooked and eaten. The placenta is thought to contain nutrients that act as a natural preventative for postpartum depression.
The FDA is skeptical of what's called placentophagy's claim that chemicals in the placenta help regulate the volatile hormones following childbirth. But the practice is growing. Defenders say its been a traditional technique for centuries, and that many mammals engage in it. "I feel that it is what we as women are meant to do with," said one mother.