Eating your placenta after giving birth "borders on cannibalism" gynaecologist warns

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A doctor has said eating placenta after birth borders on cannibalism [Photo: Pixabay via Pexels]
A doctor has said eating placenta after birth borders on cannibalism [Photo: Pixabay via Pexels]

As birth trends go, eating your placenta is up there as one of the most controversial (along with vaginal-seeding, of course).

Rochelle Humes, Coleen Rooney and Kim Kardashian are all rumoured to have had their baby’s placenta turned into capsules via a process of steaming, dehydrating and grounding.

Kim even wrote about her placenta-eating experience in late 2015, commenting: “I had great results and felt so energised and didn’t have any signs of depression! I definitely had to do it again. Every time I take a pill, I feel a surge of energy and feel really healthy and good. I totally recommend it for anyone considering it!”

Mums who have eaten their placenta believe it could help them recover from giving birth and 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 hit for new mums.

But now a doctor is warning that as well as providing no obvious health boost, eating your placenta is actually bordering on cannibalism.

“Medically speaking, the placenta is a waste product,” gynaecologist Alex Farr, from the Medical University of Vienne explained.

“Most mammals eat the placenta after birth, but we can only guess why they do so.”

“As the placenta is genetically part of the newborn, eating the placenta borders on cannibalism.”

Dr Farr added that “presumed nutrients” like iron, selenium and zinc are not present in particularly high concentrations.

Worryingly, concentrations of heavy metals have been found to accumulate in the placenta during pregnancy.

What’s more the trend for consuming the placenta also carries a risk of viral and bacterial infection, Dr Farr added.

Dr Farr’s comments were made as part of a study into the rise of placenta consumption, known as placentophagy, which was published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

Placenta encapsulation is a growing trend [Photo: Pixabay via Pexels]
Placenta encapsulation is a growing trend [Photo: Pixabay via Pexels]

This is the second time this year that a warning about the dangers of consuming your placenta has been issued by experts.

Earlier this year, new research revealed that mums who chose to eat their placentas could be putting their baby’s health at risk.

The 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.

And apparently, people aren’t just consuming their placenta to boost their recovery after birth. Earlier this year we revealed that some women are ingesting a compound found in the placenta and urine of pregnant women as an extreme form of weightloss. *gags*

Unsurprisingly experts are warning that these so-called weight loss plans could actually be unsafe and may not even work in the first place.

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