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Share Placentofagia: it does not have any benefit to eat or drink the placenta after delivery (and doing so could be dangerous)

Lola Rovati @Lolarovati

Placentofagia, or eating the placenta after childbirth, is a practice that has become fashionable in recent years, promoted in part by some famous women after giving birth to their babies. Celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, Alicia Silverstone, Jennifer Lopez and recently the Spanish model Sheila Marquez confessed to having ingested a piece of her placenta after delivery and talk about the benefits of this practice to increase energy, promote milk production and avoid depression postpartum, among others.

Due to the rise of this practice, science has wanted to investigate a little more about the placentofagia and after a review of studies has shown that there is no scientific evidence to support that eating or drinking the placenta after delivery is beneficial to the mother or the baby ... And add more, it could be dangerous .

Eat the placenta, where does it come from?

The placenta is a very important organ during pregnancy. It is a temporary organ that is created specifically to fulfill a certain and vital function for pregnancy: to deliver nutrients and oxygen to the baby.

Once the baby leaves the maternal uterus, birth also happens, which is the exit of the placenta. Having fulfilled its function, it is usually discarded most of the time, except in the lotus birth (in which the placenta is attached to the baby until it naturally comes off), when the parents decide to keep it and then bury it or perform some ritual with she, or the most usual, to eat it cooked or raw, encapsulate it or drink it in a shake.

One of the most common arguments among the defenders of placentofagia is that mammals eat the placenta of their offspring after birth. But the reason they do it is a survival behavior. They do it mainly to leave no traces to the predators that there is a new defenseless offspring, a function that does not make sense among humans today.

The supposed benefits of eating the placenta

It is attributed benefits due to its high content of iron and vitamins, especially K, which is involved in the contraction of the uterine muscle and is a powerful anti-hemorrhagic. It is also considered hormone regulator and because of this, as a protector against postpartum depression. For these supposed virtues arose the tendency to cook human placenta to ingest it, drink it or encapsulate it after childbirth, and thus benefit from its properties.

What does science say about plague pharyngia?

However, there are no studies or scientific articles that show that eating the placenta has positive effects on the human organism . All these supposed benefits have been taken by land by the Northwestern Medicine Center of Chicago, which conducted a review of ten recent studies (six in animals and four in humans) on placentofagia.

The results did not yield any data to support common claims that eating placenta, whether raw, cooked or encapsulated, offers protection against postpartum depression, reduces postpartum pain, increases energy, helps with breastfeeding, promotes elasticity of the skin, improve the maternal union or replenish iron in the body.

According to Dr. Crystal Clark, one of the authors of the study published in Archives of Women's Mental Health :

"There are a lot of subjective reports from women who have seen benefits, but there is no systematic research on the benefits or risks of ingesting the placenta."

"There is no data to support claims that plague pharyngia helps improve lactation, facilitate uterine contraction or modulate hormone levels (ie, prolactin, estrogen, progesterone, oxytocin) in humans."

A review of studies found no data to show that there are benefits to eating the placenta.

Eating the placenta could be dangerous

Even more worrisome is the possibility that there are risks associated with placentofagia . "The most worrying is that there are no studies to examine the potential risks of ingestion of placenta, " say the experts, who also warn that the placenta is not sterile and may contain viruses and bacteria .

Precisely, last year the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned about the risks of this practice to publish a report on a baby who became ill because his mother had taken pills containing their own dehydrated placenta.

After birth, the baby developed respiratory problems, and when he was tested, he was found to have a blood infection caused by group B streptococcus, a bacterium that can be deadly for a newborn. The child was treated with antibiotics and discharged. Days later he was admitted again because he did not improve and it was there when they discovered that the mother had consumed pills with her placenta (two capsules, three times a day).

When analyzed, they found in them the same bacteria that had infected the baby transmitted through breast milk.

Therefore, the CDC recommends not taking the placenta after delivery, since there are no standards to process the placenta for consumption and the process of dehydrating and converting it into pills does not eliminate infectious pathogens.

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