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New Trend: Placenta Capsules?

Okay, have you heard of placental encapsulation?  I recently had a new mother tell me about dissecting her placenta and putting it in capsules - which she swallows. I must...

Okay, have you heard of placental encapsulation?  I recently had a new mother tell me about dissecting her placenta and putting it in capsules - which she swallows. I must say, I was gagging a bit while she explained this to me.  So like everyone else I went on line and looked up any data on this “new” trend. 

There is not much science on this subject, but plenty of sites that advertise people who are “placental encapsulators”. The practice of consuming the placenta is actually called placentaphagy - still sounds gross to me.  I know other species consume their placentas - but rarely is it done by humans.  

According to my patient’s mother (who also happened to be a patient of mine when she was a child), the placenta is supposed to help mother’s breast milk and provide hormonal “balance” post partum and thereby also reduce the incidence of post partum blues and depression.  (As a side note - I saw this young mother on day #4 post partum and she was teary and tired - just like most new mothers, despite the placenta pills).

The father of the new baby explained that he was given the placenta, in a “bio hazard” container after his wife’s delivery. He took it home and kept it in the refrigerator until the local placenta encapsulator person arrived at his house to begin the process. 

She “dried” the placenta in an apparatus (kind of like making your own beef jerky in a dissicator) and then 24 hours later crushed the dried placenta in her “Cuisinart” after which the mixture was placed in capsules.  My patient’s mother is now taking 2 tablets 4x/day and will do this until the capsules are gone. The number of days that you take the placenta depends on how much “dried placenta” is obtained - not a very precise science.

So.....I continue to learn new trends everyday.  This one is a bit tough for me to “swallow”.  I am awaiting science to have data that this is safe and worthwhile.  In the meantime, I have my study of one to gather data from.

 

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About Sue Hubbard, M.D.

Dr. Sue Hubbard is an award winning pediatrician and medical editor for www.kidsdr.com.  She is a native of Washington, D.C. who travelled south to attend the University of Texas at Austin and never left.Read More