Should a mother eat her placenta? Overcoming the ‘yuck factor’ for health

Apparently most land mammals consume their afterbirth. However, the consumption of placenta is not a common practice among humans. Some advocates think this should change.

According to an article in the Daily Maverick, “a host of new mothers say they choose to eat their placenta for health reasons, claiming it speeds their recovery, increases milk production and prevents postnatal depression”.

Via Wikimedia Commons Public Domain  Uploaded by AlbertCahalan~commonswiki Uploaded: September 27, 2005
Via Wikimedia Commons
Public Domain
Uploaded by AlbertCahalan~commonswiki
Uploaded: September 27, 2005

For most people the yuck factor, also known as the wisdom of repugnance, provides sufficient reason to respond negatively to the question of whether or not a mother should eat her placenta. Yet, it appears for a number of women the “yuckiness” is overcome due to the higher goal of potential health benefits.

Life sciences have powerfully pushed against the yuck factor over the years. The imperative towards health, especially the health of a newborn and mother, seems to justify placenta consumption.

Although the article is largely click-bait, it is interesting to observe the purported evidence of the health benefits as a means to overcome objections based on aesthetics. If this practice becomes more widespread perhaps a taste for it will be cultivated. Once upon a time kale’s sole virtue was health, but now people say they actually enjoy it…you knows.

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One Comment

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  1. If this idea continues to take hold, we might soon see placenta tonic, powder or pills populating the shelves of health food stores; super-expensive of course – yuck factor under control, business guaranteed.

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