Placentas. To some of us, they are simply what passes nutrients to our babies while they’re still in the womb, via the umbilical cord.
To a few of us, they’re delicious-looking, vitamin-infused treats worth eating post-baby, either in tablet form, smoothie style or (in one bloke’s case) cooked like a steak.
All to benefit from supposed nutrients like iron and zinc, as well as to boost your mood post-baby and aid in recovery after labour.
(OK, so nobody thinks they look delicious.)
But now, Dr Alex Farr, a gynaecologist from the Medical University of Vienna in Austria, is seriously questioning why some of us choose to do that.
As he explained, and didn’t put lightly:
“Medically speaking, the placenta is a waste product. Most mammals eat the placenta after birth, but we can only guess why they do so.
“After the placenta is genetically part of the newborn, eating the placenta borders on cannibalism.”
His comments come as part of a study on the rise of placenta consumption, which was recently published by the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
(No doubt, celebs like Coleen Rooney, Kim K and Kourtney Kardashian have helped make the practice trendy.)
In a nutshell: the study noted that the purported health benefits of eating the placenta haven’t been proven. Also that – quite alarmingly – a ‘concentration of heavy metals’ could accumulate in the placenta during pregnancy.
But above all else, Dr Alex was especially concerned about the risk of bacterial infection from the caspules, following a June 2017 case where a young mum suffered life-threatening blood posioning after taking them.