“Don’t Eat Your Placenta,” Says Science

posted: 06/17/15
by: Mara Betsch

As gross as it may seem, eating your placenta has become trendy with both Hollywood moms and health-conscious mothers around the country. "Mad Men" actress January Jones tried it and told Glamour in 2013, "I was never depressed or sad or down after the baby was born, so I'd highly suggest it to any pregnant woman."

Even though this practice is making headlines, it's not a new concept -- plenty of cultures have done it throughout history and animal mothers have been know to do it as well. Why, you may be asking? Its supposed benefits include: pain reduction, immune system strengthening, better maternal bonding, faster recovery, an increase in breast milk, and the prevention of postpartum depression.

Though anecdotal evidence of its advantages abounds, a research team recently analyzed 10 studies -- and found no evidence of any of the purported benefits. Many studies didn't use randomized or placebo-controlled studies that are usually required for health claims. "This is an unregulated practice with no evidence-based research about its risks and benefits," the lead author, Dr. Crystal T. Clark, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Northwestern, was quoted in The New York Times. And because placenta isn't sterile, eating it could also expose you to infection-spreading bacteria.

So until we get some concrete evidence of its benefits, we'll pass on the placenta.