Whether you do or do not want to eat your placenta, it's hardly a new concept. By now, most moms know at least one other mom who saved and ingested their placenta after birth, and in some states this has become a legally recognized right. Beginning in 2016, Texas will join Oregon and Hawaii as the third state to pass a law that allows a woman to take home her placenta from the hospital. As long as the mom tests negative for infectious diseases and signs a waiver, she's now welcome (in Texas, at least) to put her placenta in a cooler and take it home to do with as she wishes.
Currently, many hospitals classify the placenta as medical waste and deem it hazardous to release to a patient to take home, partly for liability reasons. However, the growing trend of consuming one's placenta is having them take a second look. Many women believe that eating placenta post-birth can prevent postpartum depression and lead to a faster recovery, among a host of other benefits.
One mom in particular, Melissa Mathis, was integral to the new law in Texas. As Mathis tells NPR, she technically had to steal her placenta from the hospital in Dallas where she gave birth. "We were able to grab [the placenta], and we got it and put it in a cooler and threw it in a backpack, and my husband handed it off to the placenta handler in the lobby of the hospital, and that's not ideal. And, in my opinion, that's not acceptable."
And she has no regrets about her rogue actions. According to Mathis, "As far as I was concerned, it was part of my body that was in my body. So it didn't really feel that strange to me." Mathis then had her placenta encapsulated (crushed into pills) and took them postpartum for six weeks. After that harrowing experience, Mathis contacted her state representative, Kenneth Sheets, who agreed that this was an issue of "freedom and liberty" and wrote a new law to protect the rights of women like Mathis, and succeeded. Starting in 2016, women who give birth in Texas hospitals won't have to scurry their placentas out under cloak and dagger.