Empowering Disgust: Redefining Alternative Postpartum Placenta Practices

Elizabeth Dickenson, Karen A. Foss, Charlotte Kroløkke

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This article examines communication practices surrounding the unconventional yet emerging trend of postpartum placenta use: eating, encapsulating, or burying the human placenta. Through interviews with both supporters and nonsupporters of postpartum placenta practices, we explore conceptualizations of placenta consumption and burial within larger mothering, childbirth, and postpartum rhetorics. We argue that placenta practices function rhetorically within a core frame of disgust, which both supporters and nonsupporters initially use to respond to placenta use. Yet supporters rearticulate the literal meaning of disgust to create an empowering rhetorical frame from which to view placenta practices and motherhood. In effect, supporters reframe the meaning of disgust toward the mainstream Western medicalization of birth in order to position placenta practices, natural childbirth, and mothering as empowering.
Original languageEnglish
JournalWomen's Studies in Communication
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)111-128
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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