For doctors

Yet another reason not to eat your placenta

The practice of consuming one’s placenta is curious to me. It has no medical benefit and yet seems to be gaining traction in some places. Women send newly delivered placenta to be dried, ground up, and encapsulated and then consume that material orally. The “benefits” have not been borne out by any data and the financial cost is fairly significant.

To be clear, none of the major medical organizations support this practice. At best, this is a costly undertaking without any proven benefit. At worst, it may just cost you your child’s life.

In a recent case study published out of Oregon, an infant was diagnosed with invasive Group B Streptococcus, requiring hospitalization and intravenous antibiotics for over a week. His well-meaning mother was consuming her placenta, encapsulated, which caused her to become colonized with the bacteria. Both mother and placenta capsules tested positive for this bacteria. Fortunately, both the mother and child survived.

At present, there are no safety standards to ensure that these pills are without bacterial contamination. For now, until this practice can be studied further, I recommend avoiding consuming one’s placenta in any form.


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