The Las Vegas Sun has published a series of articles highlighting our newest placentophagy research out of UNLV. In this first article, my client Lisa Stark describes her recent experience using placenta capsules for her postpartum recovery.
Lisa gave birth to her second baby in January. She wanted to try placenta capsules to help her recover more quickly from the birth. But she met with some skeptics: “Everyone’s initial reaction was ‘yuck,'” Stark, 34, said. “My mom was pretty grossed out by it. People are now more supportive, but plenty of my friends and family think it’s still crazy.”
The article then goes on to describe our recently published study in The Journal of Ecology, Food and Nutrition; Human Maternal Placentophagy: A Survey of Self-Reported Motivations and Experiences Associated with Placenta Consumption.
UNLV’s survey of nearly 200 women around the world found that most respondents who consumed placenta did it to improve their mood and energy.
The women in the study were overwhelmingly American, white, married, college-educated and solidly middle- to upper-middle class. Most of the women had home births.
An overwhelming majority found it to be a positive experience. Nearly everyone said they would try it again.
The article then goes on to describe Lisa’s thoughts on the placenta capsules, as well as her husband’s reaction.
Stark didn’t need the UNLV study to tell her what she already knew.
Before she started taking her placenta pills, Stark said she was short-tempered and anxious. Small disturbances or tasks, such as trying to find a missing object, had a tendency to set her off.
“I lost it,” Stark said. “Emotionally, I couldn’t deal with what was happening. I was mad at my toddler and husband, and I felt completely overwhelmed.”
Postpartum depression is often underdiagnosed in new mothers, and it could take weeks for a woman’s body to readjust to her pre-pregnancy hormone levels, Selander said. That gap leaves many new mothers in the lurch.
The placenta pills — while unfounded scientifically — are fast becoming the natural alternative to chemical antidepressants. In fact, many husbands are some of the strongest proponents of maternal placentophagy, Selander said.
The Starks first heard about the placenta pills two years ago at a birthing class. Stark’s husband, Brent, quickly latched on to the idea. The commercial airline pilot wasn’t certain of the science behind it, but saw firsthand the difference it made.
“I felt blissed out,” Lisa Stark said. “I felt calm and happy, and all of that anxiety was gone.”
But what about the taste?
“It’s not like you’re chewing it,” Stark said, smiling. “It’s more like you’re swallowing it. You don’t taste much of anything.”
Photos courtesy of The Las Vegas Sun, and photographer Sam Morris.