Placentophagy’s effects on mood, bonding, and fatigue: A pilot trial, part 2

  • Sharon M. Young
    Correspondence
    Corresponding author at: UNLV Office of Undergraduate Research, 4505 S. Maryland Parkway, Box 455016, Las Vegas, NV 89154-5016, United States.
    Affiliations
    Department of Anthropology, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, 4505 S. Maryland Pkwy, Las Vegas, NV 89154, United States
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  • Laura K. Gryder
    Affiliations
    Department of Anthropology, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, 4505 S. Maryland Pkwy, Las Vegas, NV 89154, United States

    Department of Surgery, University of Nevada, Las Vegas School of Medicine, 4505 S. Maryland Pkwy, Las Vegas, NV 89154, United States

    Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, School of Community Health Sciences, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, 4505 S. Maryland Pkwy, Las Vegas, NV 89154, United States
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  • Chad Cross
    Affiliations
    Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, School of Community Health Sciences, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, 4505 S. Maryland Pkwy, Las Vegas, NV 89154, United States

    Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Nevada, Las Vegas School of Medicine, 4505 S. Maryland Pkwy, Las Vegas, NV 89154, United States
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  • David Zava
    Affiliations
    ZRT Laboratory, 8605 SW Creekside Pl, Beaverton, OR 97008, United States
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  • David W. Kimball
    Affiliations
    ZRT Laboratory, 8605 SW Creekside Pl, Beaverton, OR 97008, United States
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  • Daniel C. Benyshek
    Affiliations
    Metabolism, Anthropometry, and Nutrition Laboratory, Department of Anthropology, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, 4505 S. Maryland Pkwy, Las Vegas, NV 98154, United States

    University of Nevada, Las Vegas, School of Medicine, 4505 S. Maryland Pkwy, Las Vegas, NV, United States
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Published:November 23, 2017DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wombi.2017.11.004

      Abstract

      Background

      Human maternal placentophagy is gaining popularity among a growing number of women who believe it provides maternal benefits, including prevention of postpartum blues/depression, improved maternal bonding, and reduced fatigue.

      Methods

      We conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study (N = 27) in which participants consumed either their processed, encapsulated placenta (n = 12), or similarly prepared placebo (n = 15). Maternal mood, bonding, and fatigue were assessed via validated scales across four time points during late pregnancy and early postpartum. Psychometric data were analyzed for changes between and within both groups over time.

      Results

      No significant main effects related to maternal mood, bonding, or fatigue were evident between placenta and placebo group participants. However, examination of individual time points suggested that some measures had specific time-related differences between placenta and placebo groups that may warrant future exploration. Though statistical significance should not be interpreted in these cases, we did find some evidence of a decrease in depressive symptoms within the placenta group but not the placebo group, and reduced fatigue in placenta group participants at the end of the study compared to the placebo group.

      Conclusions

      No robust differences in postpartum maternal mood, bonding, or fatigue were detected between the placenta and placebo groups. This finding may be especially important for women considering maternal placentophagy as a ‘natural’ (i.e., non-pharmacological) means of preventing or treating blues/depression. Given the study limitations, these findings should be interpreted as preliminary. Small, time-related improvements in maternal mood and lower fatigue post-supplementation among placenta group participants may warrant further research.

      Keywords

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