Some 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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