Many studies have been completed to see if there is a way to predict postpartum depression. These studies have determined that iron deficiency and postpartum fatigue are linked to postpartum depression. Furthermore, the studies surrounding iron deficiency have linked iron deficiency to fatigue. These studies make it clear that increasing iron levels will reduce fatigue and reduced fatigue will significantly impact risk of postpartum depression. The question that seems to remain is what type of iron supplementation is best.
Mother Nature in all her wisdom seems to have already provided the answer for postpartum iron deficiency in the form of the placenta. According to a study found in the September/October 1961 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, we’ve known the benefits of the placenta in relation to replacing maternal iron stores naturally for a number of decades. While the purpose of this study was to determine how much prenatal iron was “lost” to the placenta during pregnancy, it does conclude that the placenta, even after dehydration, was rather high in iron. It states in the summary, “Iron content was determined in fifty intact placentas plus cords, but one value, 6 standard deviations from the mean total iron content was omitted from subsequent calculations. Total iron content ranged from 34.5 to 170 mg and averaged 75.5 mg, while the mean concentration of the mineral was 13.6 mg and the range 7.1 to 34.8 mg per 100 gm of the wet weight of the samples. This loss of iron represented an average of 8.4 per cent, from a 3.5 to 18 percentage range, of a 900 mg total dietary increment suggested for pregnant women.”
So, because the placenta already contains high iron content, AND iron deficiency has been linked to fatigue AND both iron deficiency and fatigue have been linked to postpartum depression then it makes since that the placenta would be the best option for replacing iron in the postpartum woman.
Placenta has been used for thousands of years in Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat fatigue yet many seem to think this option is “weird” or even “just not natural” when the fact is that using placenta to replace iron lost during pregnancy and the birth process is the perfect and completely natural choice.