Eating the placenta is not a good idea. According to a new study published in the Archives of Women’s Mental Health, a research team at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois discovered that the practice of eating the placenta after childbirth has no real health benefits. Indeed, it might even have risks.
For those not up on their biology, the placenta is a temporary organ that separates an unborn baby’s blood supply separate
The placenta is an organ that keeps the unborn baby’s blood supply separate from the mother’s. The umbilical cord connects it to the baby. The mother’s blood supply passes nutrients and oxygen to the unborn child. The baby’s waste travels through the placenta into the bloodstream of the mother.
Some women believe that eating the placenta—be it encapsulated, cooked or even raw— adds to maternal bonding, boosts energy levels, helps with lactation, promotes skin elasticity, provides protection against postpartum depression, reduces post-delivery pain and restores iron in the body.
The investigative team analyzed 10 current, published research studies on placentophagy. They found no scientific evidence to support any of the above claims.
They report that how the placenta is stored and prepared are not currently regulated. Additionally, the dosage is not consistent either. The research group also noted that the potential risks of consuming the placenta are presently unknown.
Lead study author Cynthia Coyle, a Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine faculty member and a psychologist, said in a press release: “Our sense is that women choosing placentophagy, who may otherwise be very careful about what they are putting into their bodies during pregnancy and nursing, are willing to ingest something without evidence of its benefits and, more importantly, of its potential risks to themselves and their nursing infants.”
Corresponding study author Dr. Crystal Clark, an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern, concluded: “Our sense is that people aren’t making this decision based on science or talking with physicians. Some women are making this based on media reports, blogs and websites.”
Eating Placenta Offers No Real Benefits