CBC has the story of a woman in Charlottetown who is prepared to dehydrate your placenta and give it back to you in pill form for the discount price of $200.
“There hasn’t been many studies done on placenta ingestion,” Morrissey told CBC News Monday.
From looking at it, we want to say hormones, is probably the number one. Number two would be amount of vitamins, specifically the B vitamins, and iron and minerals. So it’s an entire concoction of replenishing your system post partum.”
From her website, we learn the benefits of placenta pills.
- Stabilizing hormones, reducing your chances of postpartum depression and assisting in treating PPD (Post Partum Depression)
- Reduction in postpartum “Baby Blues” which is not classified as depression, although can be very alarming.
- Reduced feelings of anxiety
- Increased energy
- Increase in milk supply, and also to help bring in milk faster.
- Decrease postpartum bleeding
- Helps uterus return to pre-pregnancy state
- Replenish lost vitamins & minerals (specifically iron) due to pregnancy and birth (the freezing process will destroy vitamin B complex but all other vitamins remain intact)
- Can help with sleep problems
- There are many uses of the dried placenta in compress form, including diaper rash, nipple care etc.
Post partum depression (PPD), can be a debilitating illness that affects approximately 13% of all new mothers. In serious cases, mothers can be unable to care for themselves or their children. While it is impossible to predict whether or not you are at risk for PPD, there are a number of risk factors.
- A history of moderate to severe premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
- Depression or anxiety during pregnancy.
- A family history of depression, anxiety disorders, or alcohol abuse.
- A stressful event, such as the illness or death of a loved one, moving, or difficulties at work.
- Lack of emotional support, including lack of a supportive partner or conflict with your partner.
- Low self-esteem or trouble managing stress.
- Unrealistic ideas about motherhood.
- Lack of sleep.
- If the pregnancy was unwanted.
- A long, complicated pregnancy.
- Having a newborn with physical or behavioral problems.
The exact causes are unknown, but experts believe that hormonal changes following birth are the most likely culprits. The condition can be aggravated by exhaustion and stress. Like all forms of severe depression, the primary treatments are talk therapy and anti-depressants, although hormone therapy can also be used.
Morrissey readily admits that there is no evidence for dehydrated placenta in preventing or
treating PPD, and a search of PubMed reveals virtually no useful information one way or the other. It is certainly much more palatable than eating the placenta itself, although should you choose to go that route, there are no shortage of recipes.
Another potentially serious after-effect of birth is postpartum bleeding. This is very common, however is rare instances can require a hysterectomy as treatment. Most women chose to give birth in hospitals, so the risk of undetected uncontrollable bleeding is minimal. Again, there is no evidence to support the use of placenta in preventing postpartum bleeding.
There is nothing to suggest any direct harm from this, and certainly nothing to suggest anything useful either. Sounds to me like a way to lighten the wallets of new parents. This is a vulnerable group who will do almost anything to ensure a healthy mother and child.
The other uses she promotes as uses for the placenta pills are also unproven, but the reliance on them has much less serious ramifications. However, if your doctor recommends vitamin and/or mineral supplements, it is best to use a product from a reputable manufacturer where the ingredients are known. There is no information beyond unsubstantiated claims as to the content of dehydrated placenta.
Also, on her website, Morrissey is also a self claimed acupressure and reiki expert. These do nothing to improve her credibility as reiki is merely faith healing under another name. Acupressure is using pressure on the imaginary meridians that have been used by acupuncture, a topic that has been discussed many times at Science Based Medicine. Again, while there are no real benefits from these treatments, there no direct risks. since both are non-invasive, the risk is entirely from the potential of avoiding or delaying proper medical care.
All in all, as long as you are being cared for by a MD, and if necessary experts in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, people who can recognize if serious complications arise the treatments above should do you no harm. There may be reasons why you would want the extra attention that might be available at her clinic, but your health and the health of your baby aren’t part of the equation.