In search of human placentophagy: a cross-cultural survey of human placenta consumption, disposal practices, and cultural beliefs.
ABSTRACT Maternal placentophagy, the consumption of the placenta or "afterbirth" by the mother following parturition, is an ubiquitous behavior among eutherian mammals, including non-human primates. Here we report on a cross-cultural survey of 179 human societies regarding the consumption, treatment, and disposal of human placenta, in addition to accompanying cultural beliefs and perceptions about the organ. The conspicuous absence of cultural traditions associated with maternal placentophagy in the cross-cultural ethnographic record raises interesting questions relative to its ubiquitous presence among nearly all other mammals, and the reasons for its absence (or extreme rarity) among prehistoric/historic and contemporary human cultures.
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ABSTRACT: Parturient females ingest placenta in most mammalian species, whereas fathers may do so in species in which both parents provide care for their offspring. To determine if the propensity to eat placenta varies with reproductive status in the biparental California mouse, we presented placenta to virgin (housed with a same-sex pairmate), expectant (pregnant with their first litter), and multiparous adult males and females. Liver was presented identically, 3-7 days later, as a control. Multiparous females were more likely to eat placenta than expectant and virgin females (p-values <0.016), whereas both multiparous and expectant males had higher incidences of placentophagia than virgins (p-values <0.016). Liver consumption did not differ among groups within either sex. These results suggest that propensity to eat placenta increases with maternal/birthing experience in females, and with paternal experience and/or cohabitation with a pregnant female in males. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Dev Psychobiol 9999: 1-9, 2013.Developmental Psychobiology 05/2014; 56(4). DOI:10.1002/dev.21154 · 3.16 Impact Factor
Conference Paper: Placentophagy, another option? [Spanish][Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Placentophagy is common practice in most mammals. Ancestral human being could have practiced it in the past, but they could stop doing it in some time in our evolutive history. In last few years, placentophagy is a trend, standing up for its potential benefits. This review aim is to clarify the current evidence state about human placentophagy. Methods: Evidence review was conducted in Spanish Cochrane Library, PubMed, Cuiden and SCielo databases. Results: Placenta is responsible for hormonal production and fetal nourishment during pregnancy, so it’s plenty of these substances. Its intake could have nutritional, hormonal, homeostatic and psicoemocional benefits: nutrient replacement, prevention of anemia and coagulation diseases, lower postpartum bleeding, better physical recovery, analgesia, lower postpartum depression and breastfeeding improving. Conclusions: placentophagy behavior could have benefits and risks that must be widely researched. It is a new field for multidisciplinary study.I Congreso de ANAMA y XII Congreso de la FAME., Pamplona; 10/2013
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ABSTRACT: Placentophagy is the consumption of the placenta after birth. For the present study, an online survey explored knowledge and attitudes toward the practice. Participants (N = 216, 78.7% female, 19.9% male) completed Internet-based surveys on placentophagy. A majority (66%) had heard about placentophagy, and of these, 23.1% had learned about the practice through the media. A small number of participants (3.3%) had eaten human placental tissue. Male and female respondents did not differ in willingness to eat placenta (χ (2)(2) = 1.60, p = .45). Contrary to popular belief, placentophagy appears to be rare in human history and across cultures. Future research should explore changing attitudes toward placentophagy across cultures.Health Care For Women International 05/2013; 35(2). DOI:10.1080/07399332.2013.798325 · 0.63 Impact Factor