She Ate Her Placenta To Prevent PPD And This Is What Happened
Post-partum depression (PPD) is a very real and very intimidating reality staring expectant mothers in the face during what should be an extremely joyful period. The birth of a child, whether the first or the fifth, is an amazing experience, but for many mothers, this means a long road through anything from baby blues to full blown PPD. For many, the thought of dealing with crippling depression while adjusting to a new baby is off-putting, as it should be. That’s why more and more new mothers are looking to what is touted as a miracle cure by midwives, doulas, and other mothers: eating one’s placenta. But is it all it’s cracked up to be?
Placentophagy, or the act of eating the placenta, isn’t a new phenomenon: indeed, ingestion of the placenta has been a cornerstone of traditional Chinese medicine as far back as the sixteenth century, though it’s unclear if it was the mother who received the treatment. It’s easy to see why people believe the practice is safe, even healthy; after all, most mammals eat the afterbirth from their young. Studies have shown that rats who consume their placenta have a higher pain tolerance during the birthing process. Unfortunately, this is one of the few studies conducted on the topic, and it doesn’t really address the issue at hand: most expectant mothers aren’t planning to eat their placenta during birth, even if circumstances make that possible.
Regarding human placentophagy, research is limited. One survey administered by medical anthropologists at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and the University of South Florida found that about 75 percent of respondents reported benefits including improved lactation, increased energy, and improved mood, but it is unclear if this was a placebo effect or a true outcome of eating the placenta.
Mothers who have been through the process report mixed results.
RELATED ARTICLE: What Happens To A Woman’s Body During Childbirth