It’s been one of the biggest birth trends of the past couple of years, but doctors are warning that mums who chose to eat their placentas could be putting their baby’s health at risk.
Rochelle Hulmes, Coleen Rooney and Kim Kardashian are all rumoured to have had their baby’s placenta turned into capsules.
Mothers who’ve had their placentas encapsulated believe that the pills could help them recover from giving birth, boost their strength while breastfeeding. While others are convinced that placenta pills can help prevent post-natal depression, encourage breast milk production and provide a much-needed energy boost for new mums.
But medical views have been mixed, with many doctors claiming there is no evidence to suggest consuming the placenta is beneficial for mothers.
And now, a new report from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that not only does eating the placenta not have any proven positive effects, it may also be dangerous for the baby.
The report states that a group of doctors and health officials believe that placenta capsules may have caused a baby’s illness in Portland, Oregon.
Concern was raised when a baby fell ill with an infection twice. The first time the baby developed a strep infection, doctors believed it was passed from the mother to the child during birth.
Shortly after the baby’s birth, the mother began taking capsules of her own placenta. She’d sent her placenta to a company that offers to clean, slice, and dehydrate it, then grind it and put it into gelatin capsules, according to the report. But when the child fell ill again, doctors were concerned it was as a result of the placenta pills.
They tested the capsules and found infectious bacteria within the placenta. Officials now believe there’s a chance the company who provided the pills may not have sufficiently heated the placenta to kill off any germs.
Thankfully, after being treated with antibiotics, the baby was cured of the infection. But doctors now believe the incident should serve as a warning to mums-to-be thinking of taking placenta pills after birth.
The report authors note that at the moment, the making of placenta pills is unregulated, which means that there’s no guarantee that the capsules a mother is given are free of harmful germs or bacteria.
“Placenta ingestion has recently been promoted to postpartum women for its physical and psychological benefits, although scientific evidence to support this is lacking,” the report says.
“No standards exist for processing placenta for consumption. Heating at 130°F (54°C) for 121 minutes is required to reduce Salmonella bacterial counts,” the report continues.
“In this case, heating for sufficient time at a temperature adequate to decrease GBS bacterial counts might not have been reached. Consumption of contaminated placenta capsules might have elevated maternal GBS intestinal and skin colonisation, facilitating transfer to the infant.”
But while the warning issued by doctors shouldn’t send you into a panic if you have already been taking placenta pills, it could be worth researching the risks and talking to a medical professional about the benefits if you are considering the practice.
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