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Originally published April 21 2009

Placentophagy Provides Natural Protection against Postpartum Depression

by Sheryl Walters

(NaturalNews) Hormones change to sustain a pregnancy, to trigger labor, start lactation, and help a new mom to bond with her new baby. For about 10% of women these hormonal changes, specifically a sharp drop in progesterone and estrogen after birth, can also trigger postpartum depression (PPD). PPD is a more severe form of the "baby blues" that many women experience after having a baby. Anxiety, sadness, mood swings, irritability, and troubles concentrating and sleeping are symptoms of PPD. Because PPD can so greatly influence a woman and her family many high-risk women (those with personal and/or family history of depression, a weak support system, and/or high stress levels) look for ways to help prevent PPD. Typically this involves getting involved in counseling and taking an anti-depressant before symptoms even start. Because many women are reluctant to be on medication during pregnancy and while breastfeeding they turn to a more natural option - eating their placenta.

Technically referred to as placentophagy, ingestion of the placenta has been used in many cultures for generations to help a woman recover from childbirth. The temporary organ (which passes nutrients from the mother to the baby during pregnancy) is rich in iron and hormones and helps the uterus shrink back to its normal size, helps to increase milk production, and helps prevent postpartum depression. Proponents of placentophagy believe that the mix of hormones in the placenta help to offset the sharp decrease in hormones after birth.

Women who choose to eat their placenta after birth have the option of preparing it and ingesting it as food or having it dried and prepared as gelatin capsules to take during the months following birth.

Placentophagy is not very common and has many critics in the allopathic medical community. Hospitals treat the placenta as human waste and consider it a biohazard because it is full of blood. Because of this, women who birth at the hospital often have to fight to have their placenta returned to them. In 2007 a Las Vegas court sided with a mother who sued her hospital for the right to have her placenta after an emergency Caesarean section.

While many women claim to have benefited from eating their placenta, the FDA is concerned that placenta capsule suppliers are making medical claims that have not been scientifically proven. In an article from the USA Today in 2007, FDA spokeswoman Kris Mejia stated "Human placental capsules that make treatment claims....must be accompanied by well-designed and controlled clinical studies to support approval/licensure".

Despite criticisms from medical doctors, hospitals, and the FDA many women are finding benefits from placentophagy. These women who have previously suffered from PPD or are at high-risk for it find that a natural option appeals to them more than anti-depressant medication.


Ingesting the Placenta: Is It Healthy For New Moms? (

Placentophagia: Benefits of Eating the Placenta (

Would You Eat Your Placenta to Avoid Postpartum Depression? (

About the author

Sheryl is a kinesiologist, nutritionist and holistic practitioner.
Her website provides the latest research on preventing disease, looking naturally gorgeous, and feeling emotionally and physically fabulous. You can also find some of the most powerful super foods on the planet including raw chocolate, purple corn, and many others.

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