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    Eating Placenta: Why People Practice Placentophagy

    Updated 24 April 2020 |
    Published 07 March 2019
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    The practice of ingesting placenta is called placentophagy. While most mammals eat their placentas, humans generally don’t.

    However, more women today are practicing placentophagy. This is because it is believed that eating placenta can help prevent postpartum depression. People also believe that it can increase milk production, support uterine recovery, reduce pain, and enhance maternal bonding. Placenta also contains numerous nutrients and hormones. Placentophagy enthusiasts believe that eating placenta is highly beneficial to your health.  

    But despite the numerous health claims associated with ingesting placenta, there is no scientific evidence to support any of them. 

    How do people eat placenta? 

    There are many ways to go about eating placenta. Those who practice placentophagy, or placenta eating, have a number of ways to consume it. Some prefer it raw or cooked as part of a meal or in a smoothie, while others grind it into powder and put in capsules for easier ingestion.

    Placenta smoothie

    To consume placenta by adding it to a smoothie, a small piece of placenta is blended together with fresh fruits, vegetables, and juice or water. It’s important to prepare it properly by removing any fetal membranes and rinsing it thoroughly beforehand. 

    Young female drinking placenta smoothie

    Dried placenta

    To dry placenta, cut it into small pieces and then steam it. The steamed placenta is then cut into strips and placed in a dehydrator or oven. Ginger, chili peppers, lemons, and other spices can be added for flavor. 

    Once the strips are completely dry and crispy, they can be eaten or grinded into powder for further consumption.

    This process is quite long and may take several hours.

    Placenta encapsulation 

    Placenta encapsulation is the process of dehydrating placenta, grinding it into powder and putting it in gel capsules.

    What does placenta taste like? 

    Taste is probably an important factor when deciding if you want to eat placenta. Some people who have eaten placenta say that it’s kind of chewy and tastes like liver or beef. Others say that it has an iron taste. 

    If that sounds unpleasant, and you want to try placenta, you might want to consider combining it with other foods or cooking it. Most people who have consumed their placenta in a smoothie say they could not detect the taste of the placenta. The same goes for people who have cooked their placenta.  

    Alleged benefits of eating placenta

    There are many claimed health benefits of placentophagy. Some of the alleged benefits include:

    • Prevention of postpartum depression
    • Pain reduction
    • Enhanced maternal bonding
    • Increased milk production

    There are also claims that eating placenta can help improve sleep and speed up postpartum recovery. Some people have reported feeling more energized and less moody after having eaten their placenta.

    While all these claims sound exciting, there is no scientific evidence to back them up. 

    Although many women have reported experiencing positive outcomes with placentophagy, researchers suggest that it may simply be a placebo effect.   

    Eating placenta: a doctor’s approach 

    Choosing whether to or not to eat your placenta is entirely up to you. Even though studies show that placenta has a lot of essential nutrients and hormones, no evidence exists to show that it offers health benefits when ingested. 

    The truth of the matter is there is no data that supports the claimed health benefits of placentophagy. 

    In fact, most doctors advise against eating placenta, citing that there is no available data to support that placenta offers any kind of health benefits. 

    So why are more people practicing placentophagy despite doctors recommending against it? 

    It is possible that some people believe that eating placenta has many health benefits given that it’s rich in nutrients and hormones . This belief is further supported by some celebrities who practice placentophagy. 

    The problem is, there is real evidence that shows eating placenta can be potentially harmful. A case report published by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention brought to light that consuming placenta pills can be harmful to both the baby and the mother, particularly if the placenta pills are not processed properly.

    Unfortunately, there are no clear guidelines on how placenta should be processed or prepared for consumption. This is one of the reasons doctors are not supporting or recommending placenta eating. 

    History of updates

    Current version (24 April 2020)

    Published (07 March 2019)

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