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News Link • Healthcare Industry

Oregon allows mothers to take placentas home from hospital

•, By Maria L. La Ganga
 New mothers will now be able to leave Oregon hospitals with two bundles of joy — one in a car seat, the other in a cooler.

The first, of course, is the baby. The second, thanks to one of the more curious laws that went into effect with the new year, is the placenta.

Many cultures have long revered the meaty organ, whose chief duty is to provide nourishment and oxygen to the fetus. Traditional Cambodian healers call the placenta "the globe of the origin of the soul" and believe it must be buried properly to protect the newborn.

Today, an increasing number of women across the country call the placenta lunch, or at least an important nutritional supplement. These new mothers, including "Mad Men" actress January Jones, believe that eating the tissue in pill form, raw or perhaps in a smoothie can help ease postpartum depression.

The problem with what is officially known as "human maternal placentophagy" — beyond the fact that there are no studies proving its medical value — is that guidelines for dealing with the placenta differ from state to state and even from hospital to hospital.

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