Kim Kardashian West has done it. So has January Jones. Now the CDC is warning new moms not to eat their own placentas. The Washington Post reports the unusual advisory came after an investigation into a mysterious illness that struck an Oregon newborn. Three days after a healthy birth, the baby was in respiratory distress, and tests revealed a deadly bacterial infection known as GBS. After a course of antibiotics, the baby recovered but fell ill again with the same thing. Tests revealed the culprit was pills made from the mother's own placenta that she had been ingesting for weeks. Breast feeding transferred the infection to the baby. Once the mom stopped taking the pills, the infant recovered. While GBS isn't usually dangerous for adults, it is perilous to a newborn's immune system, reports ArtsTechnica.
Some new moms believe popping placenta pills eases postpartum blues, boosts energy levels, and stimulates breast milk production. Tens of thousands of new moms do it, per the AP. The CDC hasn't take a stand on placenta pills, but there is no evidence to show that "placentophagy" has any benefits. The report states the unidentified company that dehydrated the Oregon mom's placenta failed to heat the organ that attaches to the uterine wall sufficiently to kill germs. There are no standards for heating placentas, the CDC notes, adding that doctors should "educate mothers interested in placenta encapsulation about the potential risks." Forbes notes that placenta recipes are rampant on the internet, with suggestions to add them to lasagna, chili, tacos, and smoothies. (Aussie company turns placentas and embryos into jewelry.)