Should you eat your placenta: Yes or no?

Norton Healthcare expert weighs in on the recent trend of consuming placenta following a baby's birth.

Perhaps you heard that Hollywood celebrity Kim Kardashian ate her placenta after the birth of her second child. You can get the horror movie-style images out of your head. The placenta was freeze-dried and put into pill form to be consumed over several months.

There are claims that if you ingest your placenta, it can increase breast milk supply and decrease the risk of postpartum depression.

“There is absolutely no data to back up these claims,” said C. Reed Nett, M.D., obstetrician/gynecologist with Advocates for Women’s Health, a Part of Norton Women’s Care. “The process also is not regulated.”

The placenta develops in a mother’s uterus during pregnancy, providing oxygen and nutrients to the growing baby. It also filters out waste.

Placentas have been found to contain lead, mercury and cadmium, which are all things that should be avoided by nursing mothers.

“As an organ, it is similar to any piece of meat and can spoil,” Dr. Nett said. “It needs to be properly refrigerated after birth and prior to processing. It also contains bacteria.” Advice to moms who are adamant about trying it?

“If you are going to have your placenta processed, know that it can carry communicable diseases,” Dr. Nett said. “You need to make sure that it is prepared on properly sterilized equipment.”


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