Consumption of placenta, known as placentophagy, in the form of capsules has been found to have no effect on postpartum mood, maternal bonding and fatigue, while compared to placebo, claimed a research by the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV).
Though consuming the placenta after childbirth has been popularly practised in most countries, such as the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Australia and the United States, scientists were not able to come to a conclusion regarding the positive effects of the practice.
Maternal placentophagy is common in mammals; however, this practice could also bring benefits to a human mother as well, said the research. Interestingly, maternal placentophagy seems to be more common in a home birth setting.
To have a clear idea about the benefits, researchers studied two groups of new mothers after giving birth: one, including 12 women who took placenta and other, with 15 women with mere placebo in the weeks after giving birth. This study was led by researchers from UNLV's Department of Anthropology and School of Medicine.
Researchers tested the potency of placenta capsules in contributing to health benefits and iron requirements in new mothers. It has been observed that placenta capsules produced relatively small but noticeable changes in hormone concentrations in new mothers. The previous study revealed that consuming encapsulated placentas wasn't much effective as a source of iron.
"Placantophagy supporters may point to the fact that we did see evidence that many of the hormone detected in the placenta capsules were modestly elevated in the placenta group moms," said lead author Daniel Benyshek.
"Similarly for sceptics, our results might be seen as proof that placentophagy doesn't really work because we did not find the type of clear, robust differences in maternal hormone levels or postpartum mood between the placenta group and placebo group that these types of studies are designed to detect," said Benyshek.
"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 Sharon Young, program manager for UNLV's Office of Undergraduate Research.