Some women are keeping their placenta after giving birth, to have it made into pills.
Those who believe in the pills say the benefits are undeniable, but some doctors aren't convinced.
Fresno wife and mother of three, Candice Martirosian wants to share a secret with other women -- that she hopes they'll soon feel more comfortable, talking about in the open. She's a certified placenta encapsulation specialist and says she felt compelled to help other women. "I felt really a passion and I actually got really emotional the first time I decided this is what I'm going to do."
Within hours after a birth, Candice prepares the placenta and puts it in pill form.
The placenta is the organ that attaches to the lining of the womb during pregnancy to nourish the fetus.
The process has gained renewed attention after celebrities like actress, January Jones revealed, she took placenta pills, which she says, boosted her energy and enabled her to recover from childbirth in just a few weeks.
Jones' story generated dozens of posts on our ABC30 Facebook page... ranging from comments like, "that's gross" to "it's totally natural".
Candice said, "You might think it's gross at first but if you stop and think about it really, it's been done for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine."
The leading resource on encapsulation, placentabenefits.info says, placenta pills... boost energy, relieve mild post-partum depression or the "baby blues" and increase milk production because they contain nutrients and a woman's own hormones.
Fresno mom, Shauna Fleuridor, is one of Candice's clients. She says her placenta pills made her a healthier and happier mom for her baby, Remy. "I felt good about taking them because I felt like I was taking care of myself. And the clincher was that it gives you energy."
Candice simulated the process of placenta encapsulation for Action News... by using strips of steak.
All the materials and surfaces used, are disinfected before contact with the placenta. The placenta would be dehydrated, and then ground into a powder.
Candice uses coffee grounds in our demonstration. The powered placenta would then be put into dissolvable, gelatin capsules.
Women are advised to take several pills, several times a day. The average number of pills produced from a placenta is about 100.
The cost to encapsulate placenta is about $300. But women who believe in its benefits, say that's a small price to pay for a natural remedy that doesn't include any synthetic drugs or chemicals.
Some women even store their placenta pills for years, taking them during menopause because they believe it keeps their hormones in balance.
Doctors ABC30 spoke with, were resistant to talking on camera about consuming placenta pills. But nationally recognized OB/GYN Dr. Lauren Streicher, who's been outspoken on the issue, said in a statement to ACTION NEWS: "There is likely no harm from ingesting encapsulated placenta, but there is also no evidence that there is any benefit. Certainly there are no scientific studies which prove that placenta has an impact on "baby blues" or energy."
Placenta processors do warn women not to take their pills while they're fighting off an infection, like a cold.
Since the pills are supposed to work deep into the body, taking the pills could push an infection even deeper into the body, making it worse.
But women who believe in the power of the placenta, say there are hundreds of stories from moms who say it's natural and healthy.
Candice says she hopes more women will see it as essential to their well-being. "I feel such a respect and an honored feeling toward the birthing process because we're so perfectly created."