There's a rather strange fad amongst celebrities to eat your own placenta after you give birth. Kim and Kourtney Kardashian did it. X-Men: First Class actress January Jones did it.
Despite the fact that there is no evidence that eating your placenta has any health benefits, the idea has gone bizarrely mainstream, with plenty of people on YouTube posting videos of how to prepare placenta, cook placenta, or even turn it into a milkshake.
There are even men out there who've made placenta tacos, and a recipe book titled 25 Placenta Recipes - Easy and Delicious Recipes for Cooking with Placenta! that has fairly good reviews available on Amazon.
For those people who would like to consume their placenta, without having to follow any recipes, there are also companies out there that will turn human placenta into capsules. You can then take it (again, for no apparent medical benefit) in a convenient pill form.
However, a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has now suggested that not only is eating your placenta pointless, it may also be dangerous for your child.
In the report, the CDC says that health officials believe placenta capsules may have caused an infection in a baby in Portland, Oregon.
The mother had her placenta turned into pills by a firm she believed to be safe. To do this they take placenta, clean and dehydrate it, and then grind it down before putting it into capsules. However, after she had been taking the capsules, her child fell ill. Doctors couldn't work out what was wrong with the child until they were informed the mother had requested her placenta at birth.
The capsules were tested, and were found to contain infectious bacteria within the placenta itself. The CDC believes that the company may not have heated the placenta enough to kill off the germs, before they shipped them back to the mother.
Thankfully, the child survived after receiving antibiotics, but the CDC has gone as far as warning that there are no health benefits to eating your own placenta. In fact, they suggest you should avoid placenta capsules altogether.
"Placenta ingestion has recently been promoted to postpartum women for its physical and psychological benefits, although scientific evidence to support this is lacking," the center warns in its report. They point out, “No standards exist for processing placenta for consumption," meaning there are no regulations to ensure saftey.
"The placenta encapsulation process does not per se eradicate infectious pathogens; thus, placenta capsule ingestion should be avoided.”