Fancy a placenta smoothie? Or considering encapsulating your placenta so you can pop a placenta pill with your daily multi-vitamin?
You may want to reconsider.
Despite being told that eating the placenta can boost energy levels, improve milk supply and aid in combatting post-natal depression, new research reveals that there are no known health benefits to eating your placenta.
In fact, it could make you very sick.
No nutritional value
The research comes as a bit of a shock for expecting and new mums, especially ones who happen to be up to date on all the celebrity goss. Because consuming your placenta is the ‘in’ thing to do in La-La-Land. Just ask Hilary Duff, Katherine Heigl, Kim Kardashian, Chrissy Teigen and January Jones.
Or don’t ask them. Because they are not doctors. Instead, ask the doctors, such as the team of trained professionals at The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada. They recently studied the health effects of eating placenta raw, cooked or in the form of a pill. And here’s what they had to say on the subject:
“Despite the growing trend… there is no documented evidence of benefit for improved iron stores, mood, or lactation.”
That’s right. The placenta contains insufficient levels of nutrients, such as zinc, iron and selenium, to benefit women’s health.
Sorry celebs, but you’re eating this weird organ for nothing! I bet it really doesn’t taste that good either.
Placenta cross contamination
In addition to the lack of nutritional value, studies have also confirmed the dangers of eating your placenta.
The first issue – the placenta may accumulate heavy metals, which can have some serious health complications if ingested, including seizures.
Next, there is the potential for transmission of bacterial, viral or fungal pathogens to both mum and bub due to poor handling and sterilisation. After all, women need to get the placenta from the hospital into their homes somehow. And is a cold esky really a safe way to do so? Probably not!
The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada explains, “It is unclear whether potentially harmful substances or infectious organisms are sterilised and rendered non-infectious/non-harmful.
There is also the potential for cross-contamination and transfer of blood-borne pathogens without proper handling and sterilisation of equipment.”
This, in turn, could cause mum or bub tp become quite sick. In fact, it already has. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that a UK woman who encapsulated her placenta transferred group B streptococcus bacteria to the baby via her breast milk. The bacterial infection was found in the woman’s vagina and was not killed off during the heating and encapsulation process. Yikes!
Bottom line? It’s probably better to be safe than sorry. Perhaps it best to leave the placenta at the hospital and stick to a juicy steak instead.
If you really can’t get over the idea of eating your own placenta, then why not make a placenta cake as this clever mum did. No placenta needed. Just a lot of red food colouring. And a good sense of humour.