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Mississippi Mom Gets State To Change Placenta Policy

A plucky Mississippi mom who fought for the right to keep her placenta is now the mother of a baby boy — and a change in state policy.

The Mississippi Department of Health has decided it will no longer define the blood-rich organ that helps sustain a baby during pregnancy as “medical waste” or make women who want to keep their placentas get court orders.

Jordan Thiering, who had challenged the policy in court, learned of the change shortly after she gave birth on June 17 to an 8-pound, 7-ounce bundle of joy she named Roman.

Jordan Thiering and son Roman at two-and-a-half months. Courtesy of Jordan Thiering

“We got some change going on,” a cheerful Thiering told NBC News in a telephone interview Friday while Roman gurgled happily in the background. “It’s a very good feeling. A lot of women in Mississippi were having these issues the same time I was. So everybody is very excited now that the policy has been changed.”

Thiering, 25, battled to keep her placenta because she, like many other moms, believes the tissue contains nutrients that can ease postpartum depression and improve breast milk production, although there is scant scientific evidence to back that up.

“I’ve had no baby blues,” said Thiering, who had her placenta dried and processed into capsules that she swallows. “I think it definitely is working. I had all my cramping and bleeding stop after two weeks, something that usually lasts a lot longer. And my milk production has been fantastic.”

And when Mommy feels good, often the baby does, too, she said.

“He’s a very good baby,” Thiering said. “He is sleeping well and everything.”

Thiering, who lives in Rankin County, found herself at odds with the state when she learned from her doctor at the hospital in Flowood, Mississippi, where she had Roman that she would need a court order to keep her placenta.

At the time, Thiering said, it rankled her that she had to enlist a lawyer so she could keep “something I grew in my body.”

Mississippi health officials got involved when Thiering’s hospital asked them for guidance about how to handle her placenta request and they recommended she get a court order because the organ was considered medical waste.

Now “it is up to hospitals and physicians to develop their own internal policies for the release of the placenta so long as assurances are available that the placenta is not infected with blood borne agents,” health department spokeswoman Liz Sharlot wrote in an email.

“So, the Mississippi State Department of Health is no longer involved in the process. The decision is now left up to each individual hospital and how it desires to carry out the process.”

Thiering said she’s part of the mom network and they have not heard of any Mississippi hospital denying any new mother access to her placenta since the policy was changed.

“I find that very encouraging,” she said.

Mom, dad and two-month-old Roman Courtesy of Jordan Thiering

In the meantime, Thiering and her husband Doug, a U.S. Air Force mechanic with the 172nd Airlift Wing, are enjoying being new parents.

"He's very educated on everything about births and placenta," Thiering said of her hubby. "Things most men don't care about."