Shock: Researchers suggest mothers should eat afterbirth

No joke — “It provokes an increase in mother-infant interaction,” say University of Buffalo researchers.

From the media release:

A paper by neuroscientists at the University at Buffalo and Buffalo State College suggests that ingestion of components of afterbirth or placenta — placentophagia — may offer benefits to human mothers and perhaps to non-mothers and males.

They say this possibility does not warrant the wholesale ingestion of afterbirth, for some very good reasons, but that it deserves further study…

They point out that the benefits of placenta ingestion (as well as the ingestion of amniotic fluid) by non-human mammalian mothers are significant. It provokes an increase in mother-infant interaction, for instance, and increases the effects of pregnancy-mediated analgesia in the delivering mother. It also potentiates opioid circuits in the maternal brain that facilitate the onset of caretaking behavior, and suppresses postpartum pseudopregnancy, thereby increasing the possibilities for fertilization.

“Human childbirth is fraught with additional problems for which there are no practical nonhuman animal models,” says Kristal, citing postpartum depression, failure to bond and maternal hostility toward the infant.

He says ingested afterbirth may contain components that ameliorate these problems, but although there have been many anecdotal claims made for human placentophagia, the issue has not been tested empirically.

“If such studies are undertaken,” he says, “the results, if positive, will be medically relevant. If the results are negative, speculations and recommendations will persist, as it is not possible to prove the negative”…

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20 responses to “Shock: Researchers suggest mothers should eat afterbirth

  1. Hog pucky! Mammals eat the placenta to avoid attracting predators. No other reason. Mothering instincts vary among the livestock I have raised. I flat refuse to believe that eating the placenta has any emotional effect on the animal.

  2. “Human childbirth is fraught with additional problems for which there are no practical nonhuman animal models,” says Kristal, citing postpartum depression, failure to bond and maternal hostility toward the infant. Err actually this happens in animals.in both the wild and captivity. In captivity you may be able to hand raise the animal, in the wild the baby gets eaten by something, sometimes by a parent.

    Animals eat the afterbirth to 1) hide the birth, 2) recover the nutrients 3) clean the infant 4) scent bond. If there is something else to be gained it would come a distant fifth. I think any human bonding would be impaired by the mother vomiting at the thought of any of the suggestions above.

    Ain’t scientists weird?

  3. Let the researchers eat it.

  4. Silberstein, Jek

    Are we SURPRISED they (scientists) LIED about Global warming? WHY should we go from the BOTTOM of the evolutionary rungs to the TOP (–us, humanity)? It is true that post-partum depression COULD figure into potential damage to some infants from over-stressed Mothers, but we shouldn’t generalize from the “part to the Whole”, plus, teach all Mothers to request “care-vacations” like they have in the Scandinavian countries (–but have them be PRIVATE, not governmental). Let’s have the scientists that are “concerned” about this quantify how many angels can dance on the head of pin, or are they already over-self-medicating with canniboid-like substances?

  5. Paging Andrew Zimmern…

  6. Yeah, I know a lot of mothers who’ll tell these “researchers” what they can do with their “research” too. Is this really the level to which science has settled? With all the real problems we’re trying to come to terms with in todays world, is this BS really necessary? Wh pays for this inanity anyway?

  7. The early Roman Caesars would cut open their wives/concubines who were impregnated so as to defeat the succession threats to his throne. Are we now barbaric as the immoral Caesars? This is “nuts”…..Shame on the so called learned researchers! UGH!
    Pray for our society and for America!
    lja/JMJ

    • Silberstein, Jek

      I just, did, Lou. Thanks for reminding us of our Duty, –to PRAY for this Nation,–that it may be spared Satan’s assaults, in Jesus Holy Name, Amen.

  8. I’m sure this “research” is paid for by the taxpayers. Of course, a lot of mammals clean themselves by licking themselves all over. So it stands to reason that humans should do that to. Imagine the trees that could be saved by not having to use toilet paper.

  9. Let the morons from Buffalo State College eat it themselves. They ca even film it for an up coming episode of “Worlds Dumbest” on the tru channel.

  10. Mr Gleik…Buffalo is calling

  11. Sounds like ‘researchers’ fishing for grant money.

  12. This one almost put me over the edge……… no doubt, we taxpayers contributed to this gem. So, what’s next…..??.. I can’t even come up with something. Anyone care to take a crack at it ??

  13. Incredible but with a purpose and it is not scientific, it is economical.
    There are so many people and institutions living out of grants and gifts that their justification drives them to the most irrational conclusions and this is nothing but one more of… them.
    Of course this is my own personal conclusion but it is the only thought that can come to mind before so much stupidity. As the world was not old enough as to have created many cultures and most of them, because I am not going to get into the argument that perhaps, out there, somewhere in the few unexplored areas of the planet, someone actually does this and… well, they are not really at the top of the prosperity chain.
    Of course they are full of contradictions and to study is what they claim to be doing because they are the perpetual studious that are supposed to be producing something and if what they show is as irrational as it becomes ‘credible’ by some political gurus, then their survival is assured.

  14. For the money the taxpayers payed for the grants, at least the scientists should comment on whether the afterbirth should be eaten raw, boiled or fried. But those questions are probably saved for a later study. Maybe the afterbirth will be canned, the eating of which will be used to solve existing mother/daughter or mother/son problematic relations. If you have a fight with your mom, suggest to her she eat a can of afterbirth.

  15. Hey, it became a staple in the diet of Chinese during Chairman Mao’s Great Leap Forward in the fifties. Together with grass, afterbirths sustained starving peasants across the broad sweep of that desolated land. Socialist solutions to sleek capitalist babyfood-mongering!!

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