In latest health news, Dr. Akinsola Akinde, a gynecologist and obstetrician has warned women against consuming their placentas after giving out. He pointed out that there is no medical evidence to support its health benefits to new mothers.
According to Punch, the former Chairman, Society of Gynaecology and Obstetrics of Nigeria (SOGON), Akinde made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
The placenta is an organ that delivers oxygen and nutrients from the mother’s blood to the fetus. It also removes waste products from the baby’s blood. The practice of consuming the placenta after birth is known as placentophagy and is gaining popularity among more women, according to NAN. The practice is also gaining wide acceptance and popularity as more celebrities, social media influencers and proponents of the practice post their experiences online.
Some women may choose to drink the placenta in a fruit smoothie within hours of giving birth, while some eat it raw, cooked, dehydrated, and encapsulated into pills for use over time. Human placentophagy is acclaimed by some as a treatment for postpartum depression, reducing fatigue, boosting milk supply, and replenishing vital nutrients.
Akinde, however, said that the proposed health benefits were not scientifically proven and that the benefits were made up to justify the act.
“Medically, the placenta is a waste product because they are often colonized with bacteria. Many are infected. So, it is not advisable to eat something that is potentially teeming with bacteria, which may even be pathogenic.” he stated.
“Some women may want to jump on the placenta-eating bandwagon because someone they know or respect claims it’s “the best thing ever”.
“I will advise them to exercise caution till scientific evidence proves that placentophagy is beneficial to human health,” he added.
He also explained that protein and fats can be found in a healthy diet and not inside a placenta because a placenta doesn’t contain those nutrients.
Akinde also stated that placentophagy could be harmful to the mother and baby, noting that healthcare providers should be consulted about proven alternatives for postpartum depression and other concerns.
Also, a general physician, Dr. Tunji Akintade, explained that placentophagy was strange to the African culture whose normal practice was to bury the placenta after childbirth. He also added that government policies dictate that the placenta should be bagged and disposed of as medical waste, adding that keeping it for hours breeds infection.
Akintade further warned that not all trends seen online or in western society should be imitated; stressing that some could pose great danger to health.
Also, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that the intake of placenta capsules should be avoided owing to inadequate eradication of infectious pathogens during the encapsulation process.