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We KNOW you want to know more! To some, this sounds like the craziest thing in the world- and dare we say, “GROSS??!” For others, they have heard of the benefits and they are interested in how to get it for themselves. And still, a smaller percentage of people, understand all the details and enthusiastically bring it up at dinner parties for unique conversation starters. (<– That might be us, don’t judge.)

We’ll give it to you straight:

Placentophagy- “The ingestion of a human placenta postpartum, at any time, by any person, either in raw or altered (e.g., cooked, dried, steeped in liquid) form.”

Why do we do this? The Chinese, Vietnamese, Hungarians and Italians have all been known to prepare part or all of the new mother’s placenta for her own consumption. These cultures believe that the placenta is rich in nutrients that will help the mother to recover from childbirth, including slowing and stopping hemorrhaging during birth and helping with milk supply. It is also believed that consuming the placenta can:

  • Help to balance hormones
  • Replenish depleted iron levels
  • Assist the uterus to return to its pre-pregnancy size
  • Reduce bleeding after birth
  • Increase milk production
  • Help the mother get more restful sleep
  • Increase the mother’s energy levels

What Research or Evidence Exists on Placentophagy?

Unfortunately there has been very little human research done for placentophagy. You can find some related research information on The Placenta Benefits website, but no major studies have been done. But it does make sense to many mothers to take back in the hormones and iron that are lost during birth; a time of major blood loss and hormonal upheaval. (Feelings of depression and low mood can be symptoms of iron deficiency.) Despite the lack of major human studies, mothers who have had their placenta prepared for them swear by it and quickly recommend it to others. Many mothers struggle with feeling the “baby blues” during the postpartum period with their first babies and decide on placenta services for their second, with remarkably positive results to report.

Here’s a great study that was just released in Feb 2013: EFN Placentophagy Survey

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