Placenta Teddy Bears, Meals Stir Debate, Revulsion

"Even just the last six months or so it's increased," said Maggie Pollak, a nurse at the University of California San Francisco Birthing Center. "There's now something new where they freeze dry it and put it into pills -- it's something that's supposed to help them with post partum depression."

One of those placentas easily could have been delivered to Laura Perez, a bay-area woman who processes placentas for mothers who want to ingest them over time as homeopathic medicine.

Placenta Cut, Dried and Swallowed

"I was really surprised, I thought there would be more home birth folks into it but it actually turns out half and half: half have been hospital birth moms, half have not," Perez said of her 2-year-old side business, in which she processes two to seven placentas a month.

For $250 Perez with perform the laborious process of "encapsulating" a placenta. First Perez will wash it, then steam it, then cut it into smaller pieces and dehydrate it enough until it can be pulverized and put into capsules. Perez, who is studying to be a midwife, offers payment plans or trade deals for women who can't pay.

Why Eat the Placenta?

Perez said the reasons why a woman would want to eat a placenta vary from wanting to "restore hormone balance" after pregnancy [which is not scientifically proven to work], to gaining strength to restoring a woman's qi that is lost during childbirth, according to Chinese medicine.

However, Perez hasn't helped someone who wanted to turn the placenta into a keepsake.

As for Green, he has no big plans to make a placenta teddy bear business. However, he said he's noticed the criticism of his bears.

"They're quite soft, you can give them a hug," said Green. "Maybe I should make it cuter."

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