The practice of taking pills made from dehydrated placenta postpartum has been in the news lately, as reported by NPR.  This practice is called Placentophagy.  It is defined as the act of mammals eating the placenta of their young after childbirth.

 

We caught up with Dr. Anthony Shaya, of Partners In Women’s Health in Jupiter, Florida to get his thoughts on Placentophagy.

 

Do you have patients who have requested to save their placentas for consumption?
Yes, we definitely have patients that do keep the placenta after birth and then consume it.  Most of them will send the placenta to several firms that then encapsulate it and send it back to the patient to consume in the month or so immediately after giving birth.  And I do know of several firms that do that in the area.
Is there any benefit?
It is hard to say.  It is possible, and there are theoretical reasons as to why there are benefits, including the placenta being a source of hormones.  But right now there are no good studies to clearly say that there is a benefit.  The placenta is definitely rich with nutrients, and this could be the reason societies in the past consumed their placentas.
What about risks?
I don’t think there is any harm.  Obviously, women would want to make sure the business that is encapsulating the placenta is reputable and clean.