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article imageOne good reason why you shouldn't eat your placenta

By Karen Graham     Jul 1, 2017 in Health
Kim Kardashian West and January Jones have eaten their placentas after childbirth, and actually, most mammals do the same thing. However, an Oregon mother found out the hard way this practice can also harm a newborn child.
Just three days after an uneventful birth, an Oregon newborn came down with a mysterious illness that included difficulty breathing. Luckily, the child did recover, but the reason the baby became ill turned into a case study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The case history on the child was documented in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Researchers cautioned against the practice of consuming your placenta, noting that the commercial and at-home preparation methods could leave your DIY organ supplements harboring dangerous pathogens.
In September 2016, a mother gave birth to a healthy baby after an uneventful pregnancy and labor. Three days later, the newborn began experiencing symptoms of respiratory distress and was admitted to the hospital's neonatal intensive care unit. It was quickly determined that the child had a life-threatening blood infection - late-onset group B Streptococcus agalactiae (GBS) bacteremia.
Tatiana Vdb (CC BY 2.0)
After an 11-day course of antibiotics, the infant was well enough to go home. However, just five days later, the baby was back in the hospital with the very same infection. Doctors then thoroughly questioned the mother and found out she was taking placenta pills, She had started taking them three days after giving birth, eating two of the capsules twice a day.
The company she hired to turn her placenta into edible capsules was not named, other than to be given the designation, "Company A." But on their website, according to Ars Technica, the company notes that it cleans, slices, and dehydrates placentas at 115°F–160°F (46°C–71°C), then grinds and places them into about 115–200 gelatin capsules, stored at room temperature.
CDC researchers found the capsules were packed with placental powder and large amounts of GBS. Using whole genome sequencing, the CDC found the GBS in the capsules were a genetic match to the GBS isolated from the newborn. The CDC speculates that by ingesting the bacteria-crammed capsules, in turn, elevated the GBS levels in the mother’s intestines and/or on her skin. And those bolstered bacteria were then able to transfer to the baby.
A mother goat eats her placenta abter the birth of her baby.
A mother goat eats her placenta abter the birth of her baby.
Group B Streptococcus and placentas
First of all, GBS is a bacteria that is a normal inhabitant of our intestinal tracts. But the little buggers can also colonize in the birth canal and can be passed on to your baby during labor and birth. Actually, about 25 percent of pregnant women carry GBS in their vagina, rectums or the surrounding genital area.
This is why in the United States, women are usually tested for GBS when they become pregnant, and if they are at high risk for GBS infection. Before screening was initiated in the U.S., about 2 to 3 babies out of every 1,000 live births had GBS. Now, there are only about 0,27 babies born with GBS out of 1,000 live births.
Placentophagy, from the word placenta and the Greek word meaning "to eat," is the act of mammals eating the placenta of their young after childbirth. And while the placenta is revered in some cultures, it is not customarily eaten. However, it is used in traditional Chinese medicine.
And, one added note, there is no scientific evidence that eating our own placenta is in some way healthy. Yes, most all mammals do this, but it is only because they need the nutrition or they are removing evidence of a birth so that other animals won't come upon the newborn. But most humans are well nourished, so what's the point?
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