Placentophagia (consuming the placenta) has historically not been a common practice among humans. Over the past few decades the practice has gained attention as more women, particularly educated, middle-class, White American women, choose to partake in this practice. Purported benefits of placentophagia include pain relief, increased breast milk production, and decreased risk of postpartum depression; however, there is a lack of evidence to support these claims. The placenta can be consumed raw, cooked, or encapsulated; it can be used for keepsakes; or it can be used to make topical applications such as dermatologic creams and hair-growth products. Placentophagia has typically been viewed as a personal choice, resulting in little rigorous scientific research on the topic. More research is necessary to determine if the purported health benefits of placentophagia are proven.
Keywords: eating the placenta; literature review; placenta; placenta encapsulation; placentophagia.
© 2016 AWHONN, the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses.