Perspectives from Patients and Healthcare Providers on the Practice of Maternal Placentophagy

Stephanie A. Schuette*, Kara M. Brown, Danielle A. Cuthbert, Cynthia W. Coyle, Katherine L. Wisner, M. Camille Hoffman, Amy Yang, Jody D. Ciolino, Rebecca L. Newmark, Crystal T. Clark

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: Placentophagy (maternal consumption of the placenta) has become increasingly prevalent in the past decade among women seeking to promote health and healing during the postpartum period. The purpose of this study was to assess patient and provider familiarity with and attitudes toward placentophagy, as well as patients' willingness to try placentophagy. Methods: Two cross-sectional surveys with questions regarding placentophagy practice were distributed to healthcare providers and patients. The provider survey was distributed via email listservers to international perinatal professional organizations and to obstetrics and gynecology, nurse midwifery, family medicine, and psychiatry departments at three urban hospitals. Patient surveys were administered in person at an urban hospital in Chicago, Illinois. Results: Approximately two thirds (66%; n = 100) of patients and most (89%; n = 161) of providers were familiar with placentophagy. Patients with a history of a self-reported mental health disorder were more likely to be willing to consider placentophagy and to believe that healthcare providers should discuss it with their patients. Conclusions: Most providers and patients have heard of placentophagy but are unsure of its benefits and/or risks. Further research examining the potential therapeutic efficacy and/or risks of placentophagy is needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)60-67
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine
Volume23
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2017

Keywords

  • mental health
  • postpartum
  • supplements
  • women's health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine

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