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A Matched Cohort Study of Postpartum Placentophagy in Women With a History of Mood Disorders: No Evidence for Impact on Mood, Energy, Vitamin B12 Levels, or Lactation

      Abstract

      Objective

      Although empirical studies investigating its effects are scarce, postpartum placentophagy is increasing in popularity because of purported benefits on mood, energy, lactation, and overall nutrition. Therefore, this study sought to test the hypotheses that women who consumed their placenta (placentophagy exposed [PE]) would have (1) fewer depressive symptoms, (2) more energy, (3) higher vitamin B12 levels, and (4) less pharmaceutical lactation support during the postpartum than women who did not consume their placenta (non–placentophagy exposed [NE]).

      Methods

      Using data from a large, longitudinal study of gene × environment effects involving perinatal women with a history of mood disorders, the study investigators identified a PE cohort and matched them 4:1 (by psychiatric diagnosis, psychotropic medication use, supplementation, income, and age) with an NE cohort from the same dataset. The study investigated differences between the PE and NE cohorts with respect to scores on the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale and Sleep-Wake Activity Inventory, vitamin B12 levels, and the use of pharmaceutical lactation support (Canadian Taskforce Classification II-2).

      Results

      The sample of 138 women (28 in the PE cohort, matched to 110 in the NE cohort) provided 80% power at α = 0.0125 to detect an effect of moderate magnitude (which can be used to approximate an effect of clinically significant magnitude).There were no differences in Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scaleor Sleep-Wake Activity Inventory scales (P = 0.28 and P = 0.39, respectively), vitamin B12 levels (P = 0.68), or domperidone use (P = 1) between the PE and NE cohorts.

      Conclusion

      These data provide no support for the idea that postpartum placentophagy improves mood, energy, lactation, or plasma vitamin B12 levels in women with a history of mood disorders.

      Résumé

      Objectif

      Bien que les études empiriques sur le sujet soient rares, la placentophagie post-partum gagne en popularité en raison de ses prétendus effets bénéfiques sur l'humeur, l'énergie, la lactation et la nutrition en général. Cette étude visait donc à vérifier l'hypothèse selon laquelle les femmes qui consomment leur placenta (exposées à la placentophagie [EP]) présenteraient 1) moins de symptômes dépressifs; 2) plus d'énergie; 3) des taux plus élevés de vitamine B12 et 4) une utilisation moindre de médicaments stimulant la lactation pendant le post-partum comparativement aux femmes qui ne consomment pas leur placenta (non exposées à la placentophagie [NE]).

      Méthodologie

      À l'aide des données d'une importante étude longitudinale portant sur les impacts des interactions gènes-environnement chez les femmes périparturientes ayant des antécédents de troubles de l'humeur, les chercheurs ont créé une cohorte EP et ont associé à chaque femme EP quatre femmes NE (appariées selon le diagnostic psychiatrique, l'usage de psychotropes, la prise de suppléments, le revenu et l'âge) faisant partie du même ensemble de données. L'étude s'est intéressée aux différences entre les cohortes EP et NE en ce qui concerne les résultats à l'Échelle de dépression post-partum d'Édimbourg et au Sleep-Wake Activity Inventory, les taux de vitamine B12 et l'utilisation de médicaments stimulant la lactation (Classification II-2 du Groupe d'étude canadien).

      Résultats

      L'échantillon de 138 femmes (28 dans la cohorte EP et 110 dans la cohorte NE) offrait une puissance de 80 % pour α = 0,0125 dans la détection d'un effet modéré (pouvant être utilisé pour estimer un effet cliniquement significatif). Il n'y avait pas de différence entre la cohorte EP et la cohorte NE dans les résultats à l'Échelle de dépression post-partum d'Édimbourg ou aux échelles du Sleep-Wake Activity Inventory (P = 0,28 et P = 0,39, respectivement), les taux de vitamine B12 (P = 0,68), ou l'usage de dompéridone (P = 1).

      Conclusion

      Ces données n'appuient pas l'idée selon laquelle la placentophagie post-partum améliorerait l'humeur, l'énergie, la lactation ou le taux plasmatique de vitamine B12 chez les femmes présentant des antécédents de troubles de l'humeur.

      Key Words

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