The most recent research (2017) is being done out of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Here are links to the published papers from the Placenta versus Placebo double-blind controlled research study out of UNLV.
S.M. Young, et al., Effects of placentophagy on maternal salivary hormones: A pilot trial, part 1, Women Birth (2017), https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wombi.2017.09.023
S.M. Young, et al., Placentophagy’s effects on mood, bonding, and fatigue: A pilot trial, part 2, Women Birth (2017), https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wombi.2017.11.004
This was a three-month survey of 189 women who had consumed their placenta after birth. They asked the women why they had done it, how they consumed it (dehydrated, steamed or raw) and if they would try it again. The results, which were published in the journal Ecology of Food and Nutrition, showed that 95 percent of participants reported a positive or very positive experience.
"Things like improved lactation, postpartum bleeding was alleviated, and postpartum recovery was either sped up or improved in general," said Sharon Young, a researcher and a UNLV graduate student.
Here are other notable studies:
Gryder, L. K., Young, S. M., Zava, D., et al. (2017). Effects of human maternal placentophagy on maternal postpartum iron status: A randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled pilot study. Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health 62:68-79.
Hammett, F. S. (1918). The effect of the maternal ingestion of desiccated placenta upon the rate of growth of the breast-fed infant. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 36, 569–573.
Marraccini, M.E., Gorman, K. S. (2015). Exploring placentophagy in humans: Problems and recommendations. Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health 60(4): 371-9.
Young, S. M., Gryder, L. K., David, W. B., et al. (2016). Human placenta processed for encapsulation contains modest concentrations of 14 trace minerals and elements. Nutrition Research 36(8): 872-8.
Young, S. M., Gryder, L. K., Zava, D., et al. (2016). Presence and concentration of 17 hormones in human placenta processed for encapsulation and consumption. Placenta 43: 86-9.
-Corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH) and Cortisol
-Estrogens (estrone, estradiol and estriol)
-Thyroid-Releasing hormone (TRH), thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulines and ultimately -Thyroxine (T4)
-Prolactin and Human Placental Lactagon (hPL)
-Leuteinizing hormone (LH)
-Human Chorionic gonadotropin (hCG)
-Placental Opioid-Enhancing Factor (POEF)
Wanna know how processing the placental tissue alters hormonal/mineral levels?
* Many postpartum conditions, particularly depression, are thought to be caused by the precipitous drop in estrogens (estradiol and estriol) and progestogens (progesterone and its neuroactive metabolite, allopregnanolone) that occur at birth.* And your placenta contains these hormones!
MFIII Human Placenta Injection, 2009
*Mitogenic action of cytokines from placenta are shown to have physiological affects on the body including anti-inflammatory properties, regulation of the autonomous system, improvement of blood circulation, wound tissue healing, inhibition of protease, enhancement of nerve generation, balancing multiple hormone levels, immune boosting, analgesic effect and improvement of intestinal environment.
They are the same risks as consuming improperly stored/prepared/cooked food. Illness.
Your health and safety is our TOP PRIORITY. That is why only a Certified Placenta Specialist will come into contact with your placenta who is trained, experienced, holds a current Food Handler's Safety certification, and upholds OSHA's Bloodborne Pathogens Standard 29 CFR 1090.1030.
This includes precise disinfection protocols, keeping your placenta at the USDA food safe temperatures: until processing (under 40 degrees) and 160 degrees during the entire processing process.
Other unpleasant side-effects that a minority of mothers have reported include:
-Placenta Burps (This is why in the instructions you are given we recommend taking your pills with a full meal. Bananas are also a great option)
-Pills have an "Earthy" smell (This smells doesn't bother the majority, but for those who feel it might, or who are extra sensitive to odors we offer Grape & Strawberry flavored capsule options at no additional fee).
-Intense energy/Feeling "On" (This can be described as a hormone surge and is remedied by taking a smaller dose next time!)
-Engorgement/Too much milk (You are in control of your intake! If your milk supply increases too drastically, simply lower your dosage.)
-Mild headache (Can be linked symptoms similar to the hormonal surge-- increase water intake and lower dosage.)
-Loose stools/stomach cramps (Can be linked to too much Iron, it is recommended not to ingest placenta pills AND an Iron supplement together)
Your placenta will be transported in one of our designated coolers that are used only in the transportation of placentas from the place of birth to our designated processing facility. After each transportation, the cooler is cleaned and sanitized in accordance with OSHA Bloodborne Pathogen guidelines. We choose to transport in coolers to maintain a safe temperature for the placenta as it is transferred.
We are more than happy to encapsulate in your home with an added $75 fee.
We prefer to begin the encapsulation process within a few hours after birth with a cut off at 24 hours after delivery in order to prevent natural growing bacteria to corrupt the placenta and render encapsulation unsafe. If we can not begin the process of encapsulation within the first 24 hours after birth the placenta must be frozen to prevent the growth of bacteria until a time can be scheduled for encapsulation. Note: it takes 2 days for proper thawing of a placenta. Once a placenta has been frozen it must be processed using the Steam-Start method.
In most cases, next day. Our goal with a quick turnaround is to make all efforts to protect you from harmful bacteria that can grow on the placenta after it has been delivered. Just like food, the placenta must be kept at a safe temperature for a limited amount of time. We guarantee quality work, which to us means that you have your pills in your hand as soon as possible.
Short answer: We are not Doctors of Chinese Medicine.
Long answer: Why TCM? Tonification is the act of treating the body in a way that nourishes and replenishes the Qi, blood, Yin and Yang. During pregnancy the body produces more blood to nourish the fetus. This diversion in blood disrupts the balance of the body which leads to several symptoms. The Qi moves upwards. Emotions can cause the Qi to move too strongly and upset the fetus. The best advice for an expecting mother is for her to rest and keep her belly warm inside and out.When the mother is following Chinese philosophy she will want to bring her body back into balance after the birth. This can be achieved by using the Traditional Chinese Medicine method of heating the placenta both physically and internally with both steam and ginger. The ginger adds a warming aspect to the placenta and externally heating the placenta encourages the uterus to seal so that the blood can return to the areas of the body that it has neglected and thus Qi can be replenished. The mother can work with a doctor of Chinese Medicine for a personalized blend of herbs to address her specific needs and then her placenta specialist can steam the placenta with the prescribed herbs to infuse the placenta with warmth. When the mother ingests the placenta pills she will be bringing warmth and Qi back to her body.
Since, again, we are not Doctors of Chinese Medicine, we cannot offer the Traditional Chinese Method. We do offer a Steam-Start Method where the placenta is steamed without prescribed herbs before dehydrated and encapsulated.
Each birthing location has their own unique policies and guidelines, so be sure to educate yourself ahead of time.
For example, some locations will store your placenta in their refrigerator for you, some are fine with you keeping it on ice in your room, while others require that your placenta be removed from your labor room within an hour after birth.
Depending on your birthing locations policies and guidelines you may need to have a family member/friend take your placenta to your home to be put into your refrigerator and that person coordinate with our Placenta Specialist for pick up from your home.
You don’t have to, but it’s a good idea to make sure it’s noted in your chart that if your placenta requires a trip to pathology that only a portion is taken and to make sure it is stated in your birth plan. If you don’t have a birth plan be sure that you notify your nurse about your request.
Why would a placenta need to go to pathology?
Unfortunately, this answer varies widely depending on who is giving the answer. It’s important to be informed as both a consumer (your doctor and birthing location both work FOR you—you are paying them for a service) and the owner of a placenta. If Pathology is mentioned you have the right to be told what medical indications are present. If there are none, and it’s just “what they’ve always done” remember this is YOUR placenta that YOUR body grew and birthed! Own it. (Seriously, women have sued hospitals for the rights of their placenta Link: http://www.clarionledger.com/story/news/local/2016/05/30/rankin-woman-sues-for-rights-to-placenta/85046188/ )
There are no hard rules on this. ACOG hasn’t even mentioned it in over 14 years. What is published are guidelines.
Here are some links to have handy:
Four categories of placental pathology have clinical utility: (1) findings relevant to the immediate care of the mother or baby; (2) findings predictive of possible recurrence that could guide care in subsequent pregnancies; (3) diagnoses that help explain adverse pregnancy outcomes; and (4) findings that may be important in medicolegal investigation of perinatal mortality and long-term morbidity.
Maternal Indications Recommended
• Systemic disorders with clinical concerns for mother or infant (e.g., severe diabetes, impaired glucose metabolism, hypertensive disorders, col- lagen vascular disease, seizures, severe anemia [<9 g]) • Premature delivery <34 weeks’ gestation • Peripartum fever and/or infection • Unexplained third-trimester bleeding or excessive bleeding >500 cm
• Clinical concern for infection during this pregnancy (e.g., HIV, syphilis, CMV, primary herpes, toxoplasma, or rubella) • Severe oligohydramnios • Unexplained or recurrent pregnancy complica- tion (IUGR, stillbirth, spontaneous abortion, premature birth) 2007 MMIC • MINIMIZING OBSTETRICAL RISK (PAGE 28)
• Premature delivery from >34 weeks’ to <37 weeks’ gestation • Severe unexplained polyhydramnios • History of substance abuse • Gestational age ≥42 weeks • Severe maternal trauma • Prolonged (>24 hours) rupture of membranes
NOTE: Delivery by cesarean section is not an indication for submission of the placenta for pathologic examination. Fetal/Neonatal Indications
• Admission or transfer to other than Level I nursery • Stillbirth/perinatal death • Compromised clinical condition defined as any of the following: – Cord blood pH <7.0 – Apgar score <6 at 5 minutes – Ventilatory assistance >10 minutes – Severe anemia (Hct <35%) • Hydrops fetalis • Birth weight <10th percentile (IUGR) • Major congenital anomalies, dysmorphic phenotype, or abnormal karyotype • Discordant twin growth (>20% weight difference) • Multiple gestation with like-sex infants and fused placentas
• Birth weight >95th percentile • Asymmetric growth • Multiple gestation without other indication • Vanishing twin beyond the first trimester • Following therapeutic/diagnostic intervention in utero (not a CAP indication)
Placental Indications Recommended
• Any gross abnormality or unusual appearance of the placenta, membranes, or umbilical cord. This includes, but is not limited to: in- farct, mass, vascular thrombosis, retroplacen- tal hematoma, amnion nodosum, abnormal coloration or opacification, bad odor, umbili- cal-cord thrombosis, torsion, true knot, single artery, absence of Wharton’s jelly. • Small or large placental size or weight for gestational age (<350 g or >750 g at term) • Total umbilical-cord length <32 cm at term
• Abnormalities of placental shape • Long cord (>100 cm) • Marginal or velamentous cord insertion