Keeping up the Kardashians may soon mean eating planceta pills. New mom Kim – who welcomed son Saint this month – admitted on her blog this week that she tried the post-natal holistic method just like her sister Kourtney did.
And Kim was certainly sold: “I had great results and felt so energized and didn’t have any signs of depression,” she said on her site. “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.”
We asked experts to weigh in on whether or not placenta pills actually work. (Editor’s note: we asked the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada for advice, but they referred us to the Canadian Association of Midwives.)
Kelly Maslen, expert birth doula and placenta encapsulating specialist: “I have seen first-hand the benefits of mothers eating their placenta after birth and their postpartum recovery. The placenta has built and nourished their baby, the enormous amount of nutrients, vitamins, minerals and hormones give mothers the head start to a quick recovery… In my practice I have witnessed mothers feeling more energetic, increase in iron levels diminishing anemia, balanced hormones preventing baby blues, experience less anxiety, and I have witnessed hundreds of mothers NOT experiencing postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety, which happens in one in six postpartum mothers. Ingesting placenta helps to increase lactation, decrease postpartum bleeding and gives mothers an overall feeling of balance and tranquility. That positive energy in turn will reflect on your baby and will promote a wonderful bonding experience for mothers and their newborns.”
Abby Langer, registered dietitian: “Eating placenta, or placentophagy, isn’t a new idea, but it’s been popularized (sort of) recently by celebrities who are doing it. Usually dried and consumed in caplets, the placenta is a rich source of iron, vitamins B6, and B12, and many women who consume it claim that it helps prevent post-partum depression. There aren’t any legitimate studies that prove this, though. So SHOULD you eat your placenta? There are ‘professional placenta preparers’ who will dry and grind your placenta to prepare it for consumption. I can’t see why you shouldn’t eat your placenta if you choose to, but never ever eat another woman’s placenta due to infection control risks. As with any supplements, monitor yourself while consuming your placenta and stop if you feel sick.”
Health Canada: “Health Canada has not received an application for any such products, and has therefore not reviewed them for evidence of safety and efficacy. The practice of encapsulating dehydrated human placenta intended for consumption can present a risk of bacterial and viral contamination, in particular due to the potential for cross contamination between batches of placenta if the equipment used to process them is not properly cleaned, and sterilized. For instance, it may be possible to contaminate equipment used to process placentas if one of the placentas being processed is infected with a transmissible disease.”