– Lauren Day has more. – Oh, do they tickle? I just love playing with babies all day and being able to call it my job. Being able to cuddle
and put babies to sleep and then photograph them. – [Lauren] Maree Reus
is a baby photographer and in just a few weeks she’ll have a new model to work with. – They’re very excited. Charlie, the older child
is really excited as well. He gives this one cuddle
every day and little kisses. So it’s very cute. – [Lauren] It’s her second pregancy and the second time she plans
to eat her own placenta. – So, this is the placenta
safety transport kit. We actually stock these up
at the hospital as well, but you’re welcome to take one with you. – If I was having a down day or feeling a little bit hormonal, I would take a couple of extra pills and it would be like a great pick-me-up and I did, I was calling
them my super pills and I tried to make my
husband have some (laughs). Yeah, it was just amazing. – [Lauren] There’s been a
boom in placenta encapsulation after a number of high
profile celebrity endorsements and DIY videos appearing online. It even inspired a
stomach turning reference on a popular parody cooking show. – [TV Host] Today, we’re
gonna cook up my placenta into a delicious FODMAP friendly lasagna. – Yeah, because who doesn’t love lasagna with its vegetable sauce and placenta. – Exactly! – [Lauren] Four weeks after
7.30 first meets with Maree, she goes into labor and heads to hospital. And about five hours after that, Cindy Hobbs gets the call
that she’s been waiting for. After picking up the placenta, Cindy quickly gets to work preparing to turn it into tablets. – It all looks pretty healthy. Not indication of infection. – [Lauren] The placenta is
then placed in a steamer with some Chinese herbs. And once steamed, it’s sliced up, placed on trays, and the
dehydration process begins. Cindy Hobbs first got into the industry about four years ago after having her own
placenta encapsulated. – The birth of my first daughter, I had a really hard time adjusting in the first couple of weeks. Hormonally I was just a mess. And I thought even if
placenta encapsulation turns out to be some
sort of placebo effect, if it makes me feel better, then it’s worth giving it a go. But it ended up being that it
was just much more than that. It exceeded all my expectations. – [Lauren] But the pills
also made her sick. – Although I got the
great benefits from it of high energy levels,
increased milk supply, and hormonal levels
balancing out and stuff, I did find after a day or two on the pills I was feeling quite nauseous. Quite possibly experience the side effects of food poisoning. – [Lauren] That inspired
Cindy to undergo training to be able to offer the
service safely herself. While she now has a range of food handling and safety qualifications, the same can’t be said for every operator. The industry is completely unregulated and there are fears it could be unsafe. – If it’s not prepared appropriately then there is the potential for some quite serious infections. And there’s also potential
for other toxic substances. So there’s been one research paper looking at heavy metals in the placenta capsules. – [Lauren] Last year the
Center for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States issued a warning to parents after a newborn baby contracted
a deadly blood infection linked to its mother
taking placenta capsules. And Bryony McNeill says
there’s very little research about either the potential dangers or benefits of the practice. – Most of the proposed benefits come from anecdotal reports from women who have consumed their placenta. And one of the problems with
these kinds of reports is that they’re not subject to the same kind of scientific rigor that we would expect. – The Placenta Encapsulation Association doesn’t keep statistics but believes thousands of Australian women consume their own placentas every year. It estimates there’s
been a four fold increase in the practice over the past five years. And that’s raised the question of whether authorities need
to step in to oversee it. – It is a biological
hazard, preparing placenta. You’ve got like HIV and Hepatitis B and things that you need to, you know, be aware of and have safety standards for and procedures to deal
with those sort of things. To make cookies in a kitchen
for somebody to sell at market you’re required by law to
have your kitchen registered but there’s nothing like that
for placenta encapsulation so, it’s crazy in my eyes. – [Lauren] Back at Cindy’s house, the dehydration process is complete and the dried placenta is pulverized and put into capsules ready to be delivered to new mom Maree. – [Cindy] Congratulations!
Thank you very much. – [Lauren] Maree Reus
will continue to consume the capsules over the next few months. – [Cindy] There ya go,
there’s your package. – [Lauren] During her first pregnancy she called them her magic pills. And despite the warning, she’s
confident they will be again. – I’m really excited to get started. I’m feeling good so far but I know it’ll give me
an extra bit of a kick now.