Earlier this week, placenta encapsulation was discussed in the Yahoo article, Are Placenta Pills a Miracle Cure or Just a Scam? The article discussed one mother’s amazing testimony that placenta capsules helped her postpartum recovery significantly. In the article, the mom states that she recovered from birth more quickly, had energy, and an overall feeling of wellness. She was even able to go off of her blood pressure medication and attributed it all to her placenta capsules.
The mom in the Yahoo article is not alone. There are multitudes of women around the globe who make the same claims regarding placentophagy, the act of consuming placenta. Since the research on placentophagy is still in its infancy, some skeptics claim it is possibly only a placebo affect. Harvey Kilman, MD, PhD., a Yale researcher, is one of the skeptics claiming placenta capsules are a “homeopathic, neutral nothing.” However, no one can deny or ignore all the women who are experiencing a glorious, energy-filled, happy babymoon. After all, in the most recent study on placenta encapsulation provided by UNLV, 96% of moms had a positive experience after ingesting placenta and 98% said they would do it again for subsequent children.
Biologically, placentophagy just makes sense. A mother’s hormone levels are triple the normal levels in her 3rd trimester. The rise in hormones is thought to get mom through the stress of labor and delivery. Around 3 or 4 days postpartum mom’s hormones can drop back to baseline, and by day-10 can actually be below baseline levels. That’s right, mom’s hormones go from triple the normal level to baseline in just 3-days. That is a huge hormonal crash that would leave any new mom feeling weepy, anxious, and overwhelmed. The body will regulate itself, but it typically takes about 3-4 weeks, every woman varies. Placenta encapsulation is a way of reintroducing mom’s own hormones so that she can bridge the gap between birth and when her body regulates itself. By doing so, she is able to stabilize her hormone levels and, as a result, reduces some of the risk factors for the baby blues and postpartum depression. You have to admit, if almost all mammals on the planet engage in this behavior (with the exception of camels and sea mammals), they must be onto something.
To read the most recent research from UNLV regarding placenta encapsulation, you can visit Ecology of Food and Nutrition.
To read more about why placenta encapsulation works for postpartum recovery and a summary of the UNLV research, click here.