Negative trends: eating your own placenta puts the baby at risk

Eating mother cake: Eating placenta pills endangers the baby
Some women consume the placenta after the birth of their child and promise health benefits from it. Celebrities like Kim Kardashian have also helped making the mother cake a trend. However, experts warn that this could endanger the baby.

Consumption of the mother cake
Hollywood greats like Kim Kardashian have let the public know that they have eaten portions of the mother's cake after the birth of their offspring. Many non-celebrities are also enthusiastic about the new trend. Finally, the consumption of the placenta should go hand in hand with a multitude of positive effects. However, experts point out that there is no evidence of the alleged advantages. On the contrary: eating the placenta can endanger the health of the baby.

Health benefits
Many mammals eat their placenta after the young are born. So why should this be bad for mothers?

Followers of "placentophagy" assume that eating the mother cake has a number of positive effects.

The placenta is usually ground to powder, boiled or freeze-dried and taken in the form of capsules, pills or globules.

The hormones and nutrients it contains are said to boost milk production, ensure a strong immune system and a beautiful complexion, have a preventive effect against puerperal depression, relieve pain after pregnancy and compensate for an existing iron deficiency

In addition, such capsules are used for the treatment of sleep problems, inflammation and scars as well as against skin aging and for controlling the hormonal balance in menstrual disorders and menopausal symptoms.

Detected pollutants such as lead and mercury
However, a team of scientists from Northwestern University in Chicago (USA), in an evaluation of ten studies on the subject of placentophagy, found years ago that there are no benefits from eating the placenta.

As the researchers reported in the journal “Archives often Women's Mental Health” and in a communication at the time, eating the mother's cake poses a possible health risk, since it is in no way sterile.

After all, the placenta also has the function of protecting the fetus from harmful substances. These would be filtered out of the blood and stored in the placenta.

Increased concentrations of pollutants such as cadmium, selenium, lead and mercury have already been detected.

Viruses and bacteria are still found in the placenta after birth, the effects of which remain unclear when consumed.

The germs could be passed on to the infant through breast milk.

B streptococcal infection
A case from the United States also shows how dangerous the consumption of the placenta can become. There, a woman had given birth to a healthy baby last September who had severe breathing problems just a few days after birth and had to go to the intensive care unit.

The infant had blood poisoning, according to a message from the United States health agency, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The child was infected with B streptococci.

The doctors found that the infection came from the mother's placenta pills. The pathogen had been found in it.

Effects from psychological effects
Also according to the spokesman for the British Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Roger Marwood, there are no proven physical benefits for eating the placenta - regardless of whether it is consumed raw, in a smoothie or in capsule form.

"Yes, it can be full of protein, but there is no evidence that it has any nutritional benefits, so it is unlikely to ward off postnatal depression, help with sleep, increase breast milk production, or provide more energy," he said the expert told the Daily Mail newspaper.

However, the "psychological effects" could possibly make a difference. (ad)

Author and source information

Video: Vlogtober Day 4: Eating My Placenta. The Romulus Pack (January 2022).