The placenta is an organ, just like the heart, or liver. It starts to develop when the fertilized ovum travels down the fallopian tube into the uterus. The placenta performs many vital functions as the baby grows: it brings nutrients to the developing child, removes harmful waste, prevents the mother’s immune system from rejecting the baby, and manages hormones vital for fetal health. The placenta is an extremely important organ and is the only organ that can be grown and completely removed as many times as necessary.
All mammals, including humans, birth their placenta but unlike humans, other mammals typically consume their placenta after birth. One theory maintains that animals eat the placenta to restore nutrients to the body after giving birth. Though not a mainstream practice, ancient cultures including the Chinese, the Argentinean Native Americans, and the Chaga people of Tanzani have been eating the placenta for hundreds of years. With the modern birth world making a return to its ancient roots the practice has been revitalized.