Placenta Eating Really Does Have Positive Effects, Study Reveals

happy pillsSome think women who eat their placenta are all hippie home birthers who smell like patchouli. Some most definitely (and beautifully) are. And then we have Holly Madison -- Playboy model and placenta eater, totally smashing the stereotype and perhaps even opening more women's eyes to the benefits of consuming your placenta. There are benefits. Not just the tales of euphoria and increased breast milk production you heard from your sister's friend's cousin who had her placenta made into pills.

The first ever official study on human placentophagia was conducted by two UNLV researchers, and the report shows the incredible results -- some of which may surprise you.

Why are women eating this stuff and what happens to them when they do is what UNLV anthropology professor Daniel Benyshek and graduate assistant Sharon Young wanted to know. They interviewed 189 women engaging in placentophagy and recorded the findings, which were published in the Ecology, Food, and Nutrition journal.

Most of the women were from the US with a few from Canada, Australia, Singapore, and the UK. They were also "mostly white, married, college-educated, and were solidly middle- to upper-middle class" women who had home births. Many of the first-time moms had their placenta made into pills, but as these women had more children, they experimented with other ways to prepare the placenta. In other words, repeaters knew and felt the benefits firsthand, so of course they would do it again perhaps in a more adventurous way such as eating it raw or cooking it into food. The report revealed that 96 percent of these women had a "positive" or "very positive" experience after eating their placenta -- it made them happier and improved lactation. Very good things.

About 57 percent of the women interviewed reported no negative effects from the practice. Those who had anything negative to say mostly complained about the way the pill tasted or the general "ick" factor, but the benefits outweighed that.

The authors of this study aren't stopping at just looking at these results -- they are conducting a definitive study with placebo versus placenta, and also analyzing the "nutrient and hormone content of the human placenta and testing the best ways to prepare it for human consumption." They hope to uncover specifically what it is that helps women so much and potentially learn even more. This is such fantastic news! Cheers!

Do you think these findings will make women want to consume their placenta?


Image via Son of Groucho/Flickr

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nonmember avatar Cass

So women who bought into the health benefits of placenta eating experienced health benefits of placenta eating. Measure incidence of PPD, blood pressure, vitamin levels, weight, time to return to pre-baby weight, etc. across your control and experimental group. People can administer whatever placebo they like, but lets not pretend its anything other than consuming your own waste without any proven scientific benefit.

nonmember avatar blh

Uhh they complained about the way a pill tastes but would eat the placenta RAW? That makes no sense. Idc what benefits there are I'd never consider eating it. I'm not a dog. Nor do I live in a place where getting proper nutrition is difficult.

Henley16 Henley16

This headline is totally false. A FUTURE study is planned to investigate this. 

mande... manderspanders

So the postive outcome of the study is that the women who ate their placenta felt better?

What wonderful reporting...  I think if you are going to gush over "incredible results" you'd actually tell us what they are!

amazz... amazzonia

This study makes no send, if a woman wants to eat the placenta, and she knows she is taking placenta pill, and if she believes has positive effects for sure the results are going to be positive. They have to try it on women who don't know they are taking placenta pills, they have to give placebo to women who want treat their placenta, and for sure they have todo it on more than 100 women to be credible 

monal... monalisasus

I hope they do study it. I would do it if it really helps with PPD and milk supply. Why not. I know women who take it in the pill form when they are feeling moody after birth (balancing hormones) and they feel great. If they take it too often their milk is in abundance and too hard to keep up with. I definatly believe there are benifits. So many people are quick to be negative about it but have no problem consuming toxins in thier food and medicines. It is not waste it is what gave life to yoru children. 

Christa Buening Westendorf

Yes monalisasus, you make a good point. Eating your own placenta is somehow weird but has anyone seriously looked at the amount of chemicals in the food you eat?!

I don't know whether it works or not, the women I know that have tried it swear by it but hey, if they think it does and it doesn't hurt anyone else, go for it!!! I would have done it myself but the closest person I could find was over an hour and a half away and I've never had problems with PPD, baby blues or supply problems. I just don't see what's so yuck about it, maybe you don't get it or do it, but who cares if someone else does it and thinks it's amazing?! To each their own.....end of story!

MamaH... MamaHasWings

It is sad that some women are so disconnected with their bodies that they would find this "disgusting" or barbaric. Consuming a piece of the placenta after birth can and will stop post-partum hemmorage and is far more effective at doing so than the routinely-given Pitocin or other hospital-led interventions. If a little piece of "human waste" can stop you from bleeding to death within moments... imagine the other amazing things it can do. Before yapping like little lap dogs about how disgusting something is, why don't you research the benefits of it before coming to conclusions? The health benefits of consuming placentas - whether in dehydrated form or whole - has long been proven... it's just now that the medical world is actually taking notice of something that they have, just like you, considered barbaric and disgusting... but might save lives and make them more money. I'm sure they are doing the study to somehow capitalize on it - offering placenta encapsulation at the hospitals, perhaps, for thousands of dollars to bill to your insurance company. They aren't doing this for nothing.

Waiti... WaitingforApril

I did it.. And yes I also had a home birth. Gasp! I am so disgusting.

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