Taking placenta capsules has little or no effect on postpartum mood, maternal bonding, or fatigue, according to the latest research on the issue.
Consuming the placenta following childbirth has become increasingly popular in industrial countries. Proponents of the practice say that because maternal placentophagy is common in mammals throughout nature, it most likely offers benefits to human mothers as well. It has been suggested that benefits of the practice could include prevention of postpartum depression and fatigue, and improved maternal bonding.
The current study, published in the journal Women and Birth, included 12 women who took placenta capsules and 15 who took placebo pills, in the weeks after giving birth. The research did not find evidence of reduced postpartum depression or fatigue, or improved maternal bonding among women in the intervention group. There were, however, small but detectable changes in hormone concentrations in the women who ingested placenta capsules.
"While the study doesn't provide firm support for or against the claims about the benefits of placentophagy, it does shed light on this much debated topic by providing the first results from a clinical trial specifically testing the impact of placenta supplements on postpartum hormones, mood, and energy," said Dr Sharon Young, lead author.