Placentophagy: Proposed Health Benefits of Consuming Placenta
Eugene Albert B. Castro
University of Alberta
NURS405 SEM: Heather Correale
October 4, 2015
INTRODUCTION Placentophagy is defined as consumption of the placenta and/or amniotic fluid postpartum. It is observed among most mammals as a means to replenish nutrients and hormones lost during childbirth (Marraccini, 2015). Despite its relative absence in history, the practice of placentophagy is growing among white, middle-class women in western societies (Marraccini, 2015) with documented accounts of its emergence in the United States and Mexico in the 1970s (Coyle, 2015). Popularization of its alleged health benefits by the media and its proponents has more women considering…show more content… Expulsion of blood-rich afterbirth structures and bleeding up to 500 and 1000mL during vaginal and cesarean delivery respectively results in significant iron losses during pregnancy. An explicit association was found between iron deficiency anemia in new moms and their cognitive behavioral performance, suggesting a correlation between iron status and depression postpartum (Schwartz, 2014). Not surprisingly, iron deficiency and fatigue are identified as risk factors for PPD (Beacock, 2012) and iron treatment has been shown to significantly improve depression scores (Marraccini, 2015). Ergo, a source of iron is needed to replace the iron lost during parturition. It is hypothesized that the natural iron stores of the placenta are more readily absorbed through placentophagy rather than supplementation with placental iron content reported to be 75.5mg/100g of wet weight compared to 4.8mg/100g of beef liver (Schwartz,…show more content… More research needs to be done to further substantiate claims of the benefits associated with the practice of placentophagy.
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