Ever since January Jones has spoken up about her decision to ingest her placenta, it seems articles about placenta encapsulation have been surfacing everywhere. Everyone wants to know the answer to the same question, Why? People want to understand what would cause someone to do such a thing. Is it a craze or is there actual science behind it?
Humans are one of few mammals that do not instinctively eat their afterbirth. In fact, there are only three other mammalian species that do not; the camel, marsupials, and pinnipedia/cetacea. At the University of Buffalo and Buffalo State College, Mark Kristal, PhD, and his team of neuroscientists have suggested that new mothers may reap a benefit from ingesting their placenta. In other non-human mammals, consuming the placenta assists with mother-baby bonding, in addition to helping promote caretaking behaviors.
“Given the problems associated with human childbirth, including postpartum depression, hostility of mothers against their infants, and failure to bond, Kristal noted that ingesting the afterbirth may provide new mothers with components, such as hormones, that may relieve these problems.” (source)
University of Nevada, Las Vegas is also involved in a research project on placentophagia which includes PBi founder, Jodi Selander. They are looking into the possible risks and benefits of placentophagy on postpartum mothers.
Even though research on placentophagia is still in its infancy, for some mothers, the anecdotal evidence is sufficient reason to give placenta encapsulation a try. However, for those who need hard, scientific evidence, it’s promising to know the research is in the works.