Feb. 28, 2013 at 4:03 PM ET
Former Girls Next Door star Holly Madison isn't exactly the crunchy-hippie type—but that's not going to stop her from eating her placenta. The mom-to-be, who's due any day now, announced on her blog that she'll be having her placenta—a.k.a. the organ that nourishes the baby in the womb, or the "afterbirth"—turned into pills after her daughter is born. "I heard it helps women recover faster and I want to recover as quickly as I can!" she explained.
A few years ago, Holly's fans might have been horrified by her plan. But lately, placenta-eating has gone from a fringe earth-mama trend to a mainstream practice—as evidenced by the many celeb moms who are jumping aboard.
January Jones, for example: In a newly published interview for British Glamour, the Mad Men star (and mother of 17-month-old Xander) preaches the benefits of placenta-eating.
"It’s not gross or witchcrafty," says Jones. "It’s a very civilized thing that can help women with depression or fatigue. I was never depressed or sad or down after the baby was born, so I’d highly suggest it to any pregnant woman."
The supposed benefits of eating your own placenta include fewer hormone swings, better breast milk production, more energy and a decreased risk of postpartum depression. The actual scientific evidence is minimal, but a lot of alternative-medicine advocates swear by it.
Also, in this age of competitive mothering, it's just one more way for women to go above-and-beyond for their babies. With the whole world watching, what celebrity mom wouldn't want to do everything possible to ensure a smooth transition into parenthood?
Of course, the actual prospect of eating this thing is still hard to swallow. That's why there's now an entire industry built around turning the fresh organ into pills by dehydrating it, grinding it up, and putting it into capsules. It's a commitment, though: a bottle costs somewhere in the range of $200-$300, and taking your placenta home involves special arrangements with the hospital. Still, we're thinking women like Holly and January wouldn't be gushing about their placentas if they had to eat them with a knife and fork! The encapsulation process probably has a lot to do with making placenta-eating trendy.
Of course, it's still not something that most mothers do. (And until there's actual proof that it works, doctors probably won't be recommending it.) But if Kate Middleton or Kim Kardashian signs on for placenta pills this summer, they may become the trendiest superfood since goji berries!
A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.