No stranger to sharing her life on social media, Zoe Marshall, wife of Kiwi rugby league star Benji Marshall, has posted an image of the placenta shake she consumed after giving birth to her first baby Fox, and it has garnered quite a bit of attention.
"This is me with my placenta in a shake...a small piece of fresh placenta blended with banana and berries and yes I drank it!" she wrote in a post to Instagram alongside a photo of her breastfeeding her son Fox.
She is also pictured with the woman who provided her with the shake, Georgie Jhet from the company Tree of Life.
Comments to the post were mixed, with some supporting the move and others baffled by the post, finding it "disgusting."
"Don't freak out everyone!" Jhet, the maker of the shake warned. "There is a small piece of Placenta in this large drink...the rest is organic banana, strawberries, raspberries and blueberries!"
Zoe has arranged for the rest of her placenta to be made into capsules.
The health benefits of consuming one's own placenta has been a hotly contested topic of debate. According to Jhet's website, drinking a placenta shake post birth can help a new mother's milk come in sooner, aid in healing of the body, provide a boost of hormones and stop the onset of the 'baby blues'.
The smoothie, at a cost of AUD $80, is made with a 3cm piece of fresh placenta and blended with berries, banana and water.
For an extra AUD $300, the rest of the placenta can be encapsulated and made into pills. It is steamed with chilli, ginger and lemon before dehydrating, following a traditional Chinese method.
The practice of consuming the placenta post-birth, although not new, has become more popular in the last few years, largely thanks to high-profile celebrities like Kim and Kourtney Kardashian raving about the benefits.
However there is little evidence to support the claims, and researchers have recently warned new mothers against it after an Oregon woman passed on a potentially deadly blood infection to her baby. She had been consuming placenta pills and the infection was passed via her breast milk.
One doctor has even likened it to cannibalism. Dr. Alex Farr of the Medical University of Vienna co-authored paper on the subject.
"Medically speaking, the placenta is a waste product," he said. As the placenta "is genetically part of the newborn, eating the placenta borders on cannibalism."
Zoe recently opened up about the pressures of being a new mother in a heartfelt Instagram post.
"Week 2 and 3 was so hard for me...I hadn't left the house in days. I couldn't catch up with life. Couldn't bare to see visitors. I wasn't myself and wasn't managing," she wrote. "Why didn't parents talk about this phase? I felt so alone. Isolated."
"There's going to be so many joyful times with baby Fox shared on social media," she continued. "I need to show you the realness too."
"It's a hard hard time. As glorious as having a little miracle is we need to acknowledge the transition into parenthood and how challenging that can be."
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