An increasing number of new mothers in Calgary are choosing to have their placentas converted to pills.

These moms believe ingesting the placenta helps fight post-partum depression, boost energy and help the flow of a mother's milk — but there is little scientific evidence to support its benefits.


For $200 Calgary mothers can have their placenta processed into pills. (CBC)

Susan Stewart, who operates Pure Birth, charges $200 to pick up the placenta after a mother gives birth.

She takes it to her home where she washes it and then steams it with cayenne, lemon and ginger.

After the placenta dries out, Stewart slices it and grinds it before putting it into capsules and returns the pills to the mother one day later. 

Stewart says she has hired two people to keep up with increasing demand.

"I've noticed a real change in the last three and a half years — doctors and nurses. The most surprising is the doctors. Some have even recommended it to clients of mine," said Stewart.

Debbie Duran-Snell, an assistant professor of midwifery at Mount Royal University, sees more women embracing the idea.

"Even amongst women you wouldn't expect, lawyers, professional women are using it and finding it beneficial."

Susan Stewart says she use to encapsulate about one placenta a month, but she is now doing one a day.