A new study is debunking common health recommendations for mothers to eat their placenta after birth. (Pxhere photo)

HEALTH AND SCIENCE

Eating your placenta can do more harm than good: B.C. study

Celebrities like Mayim Bialik, Blac Chyna, and Hilary Duff have all spoken highly of placentophagy

Mothers eating their placenta post-birth has become a growing fad, raved about by celebrities like Kim Kardashian. But a new B.C. study suggests there is next to no mental or physical health benefits.

Researchers with BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services and the University of British Columbia conducted the largest study to date looking at the effects of eating one’s placenta, which is also known as placentophagy. The placenta is a blood-rich organ that develops in the uterus during pregnancy, and is how a fetus receives nutrition and oxygen to grow.

“When you ask women why they’re consuming their placenta, many will say that they think it will help improve their mood in the postpartum period,” said Jehannine Austin, executive director of the health agency’s research institute, in a news release Thursday.

“But there has been no research evidence showing that it really works, and our new study adds weight to this idea.”

The placenta can be consumed raw or dried and is most commonly made into capsules.

The practice has existed in Chinese medicine for centuries and is promoted in parts of India and elsewhere. Apes, monkeys, rodents and bunnies are some of the many animals who eat the placenta post-birth.

Over recent years, many celebrities from the Kardashian clan to actress Alicia Silverstone have claimed the practice boosted their physical and mental health, but studies suggest it actually poses risks for mothers and babies, such as viral and bacterial infections.

ALSO READ: Drugs containing placenta seized from Richmond beauty shop

ALSO READ: B.C. pharmacist suspended for giving drugs with human placenta

The B.C.-based study used data from a 10-year genetic survey involving 138 women who had a history of mood disorders. Researchers compared the outcomes between those who had eaten their placenta and those who had not.

In addition to the lack of health improvement, women who ate the placenta also didn’t have more energy or higher vitamin B12 levels. Some also still struggled with lactation.

Austin recommended that women who are concerned about postpartum depression speak with their doctor, midwife or public health nurse.

Womencan also access services through the Pacific Post Partum Support Society and the Reproductive Mental Health program at BC Children’s Hospital.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Man launches West Kootenay shuttle service for those in need

Business owner Mike Sherwood said he’s been getting ten call requests a day from people

Kootenay gas prices among the highest in B.C

Gas prices are up to 10 cents higher than other neighbouring B.C. regions

Kootenay program encourages gardeners to share what they grow during pandemic

The West Kootenay Permaculture Co-op is sending out free seeds, but with a catch

West Kootenay residents stranded in Peru seek a way home

Three West Kootenay residents are in remote places, unable to get to Lima’s international airport

West Kootenay couple escapes Spain – safe, sound, and in self-isolation

BC couple Garrett Kucher and Tory Apostoliuk make it home after almost a week of lockdown in Spain

B.C. records first at-home death from COVID-19, but 70+ hospital patients have recovered

Total of 970 novel coronavirus cases in B.C., with the majority in the Lower Mainland area

District reports case of COVID-19 in Elkford

Owner Ahmed El-Maddah requests any customer who visited pharmacy on March 17 self-isolate

BC Ferries able to restrict travel for sick passengers

Ferries working on schedule shifts to keep workers safe

Canada expands 75% wage subsidy to COVID-19 affected businesses of all sizes: Trudeau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

Pay parking suspended at B.C. hospitals due to COVID-19

Temporary free parking reduces need for keypads, contact

Helping those at risk, one piece of paper at a time through ‘isolation communication’

Simple paper tool during pandemic making its way across Canada thanks to social media.

‘Back to school, in a virtual way’ for B.C. students in COVID-19 pandemic

Province adds online resources to help parents at home

Canadian COVID-19 round-up: Air Canada cuts 15,000 jobs, 90% of flights

Comprehensive Canadian news update as of 2:30 p.m., Monday, March 30.

Most Read