Consuming the placenta following childbirth has become increasingly popular in industrial countries. Proponents of the practice say that because maternal Placentophagia (placentophagy) is common in mammals throughout nature, it most likely offers benefits to human mothers as well.
Taking placenta capsules has little or no effect on postpartum mood, maternal bonding, or fatigue, according to the latest research on the issue.
It has been suggested that benefits of the practice could include prevention of postpartum depression and fatigue, and improved maternal bonding.
The current study, published in the journal Women and Birth , included 12 women who took placenta capsules and 15 who took placebo pills, in the weeks after giving birth. The research did not find evidence of reduced postpartum depression or fatigue, or improved maternal bonding among women in the intervention group. There were, however, small but detectable changes in hormone concentrations in the women who ingested placenta capsules.<p “=””>”While the study doesn’t provide firm support for or against the claims about the benefits of placentophagy, it does shed light on this much debated topic by providing the first results from a clinical trial specifically testing the impact of placenta supplements on postpartum hormones, mood, and energy,” said Dr Sharon Young, lead author.
Of note, some women are requesting their placentas for consumption postpartum (placentophagia). Various commercial enterprises are available to desiccate and encapsulate placental tissue, or it has been consumed raw or cooked. There is a lack of scientific-evidence of health benefits in humans, but potential harms have been documented.
A Literature Review on the Practice of Placentophagia.AUJoseph R, Giovinazzo M, Brown M SONurs Womens Health. 2016;20(5):476.
Placentophagia (consuming the placenta) has historically not been a common practice among humans. Over the past few decades the practice has gained attention as more women, particularly educated, middle-class, White American women, choose to partake in this practice. Purported benefits of placentophagia include pain relief, increased breast milk production, and decreased risk of postpartum depression; however, there is a lack of evidence to support these claims. The placenta can be consumed raw, cooked, or encapsulated; it can be used for keepsakes; or it can be used to make topical applications such as dermatologic creams and hair-growth products. Placentophagia has typically been viewed as a personal choice, resulting in little rigorous scientific research on the topic. More research is necessary to determine if the purported health benefits of placentophagia are proven.