Whether it’s popping pills like Kim and Kourtney or devouring it raw in a smoothie like performer Gaby Hoffman, eating placenta has been the latest alternative maternity tendency to hit the mainstream. But in case you were wondering whether or not it’s a good suggestion to follow suit, the latest research indicates it’s best to sit this one out.
Not simply does it put your child at risk( the CDC issued a health advising the summer months ), it appears the health benefits have been over-exaggerated. According to a study recently published in Women and Birth, new mothers who take placenta capsules indicate no significant improvement in maternal mood, mother-infant bonding, or fatigue.
The placenta develops during pregnancy to render the fetus with nutrition and discard its trash. The theory runs that post-labor, the nutrients that have been passed from mother to fetus during pregnancy persist in the placenta and eating it raw helps the mother removed from childbirth. The practice has been gaining growing popularity in recent years with proponents claiming that placenta capsules can ease tirednes, prevent post-natal depression, and improve milk production.
Advocates also point out that humans are one of the relatively limited species of mammal that don’t partake in placentophagy( the scientific epithet for feeing the placenta ). While this might be true, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we should do the same. As Rebecca Baergen, a prof and Chief of Perinatal and Obstetric Pathology at Weill Cornell Medicine, point out here that in an interview with Scientific American, “there are a lot of other things that animals do that we don’t do.”
Still, until now, there has been relatively little science that has looked into the effects- beneficial or not- of eating your placenta.
Researchers from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, monitored maternal mood, mother-infant bonding, and tirednes levels in 27 new moms. Twelve volunteers were given placenta pills to take. The remaining 15 “ve been given” placebo pills.
Ultimately, there was no significant improvement in any of the categories measured, though health researchers did note very slight decreases in depressive symptoms in the placenta pill group, which could be investigated further. There were also small but noticeable a difference in hormone concentrations.
“What we have uncovered are interesting areas for future exploration, such as small impacts on hormone degrees for women taking placenta capsules, and small-scale improvements in mood and fatigue in the placenta group, ” Sharon Young, lead writer of the study, explained in a statement.
It was a small study so it would be interesting to see whether these findings can be replicated on a larger scale, but while experts advise against the practice, and with pills costing upwards of $200, for now, it might be a trend to skip.
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