Over the past few days I’ve read the word placenta probably as many times as I have over the course of my life up to this point.
It started with a story about an Ontario woman who ditched her innards in a Mississauga park on Tuesday. She later claimed responsibility for it after police put a corpse-sniffing dog on the case, citing a “holistic” ritual for its use and subsequent disposal. What’s holistic about a human baby peel, you ask?
Some corners of the Internet associate placentas with a myriad of benefits. Indeed, hip moms are popping placenta pills. Just part of a healthy postpartum routine, like yoga and marital stress. But that ignores one of the fundamental rules of living a good life: don’t do anything you might find on Goop.
Weary of the tendency for anything absurd to fester into a trend in today’s online climate, Health Canada felt obliged to chime in on the matter. Yesterday, the federal agency responsible for our well-being issued a warning that consuming one’s afterbirth “may pose serious health risks.”
“While consuming placenta is a personal choice, we are advising mothers, and others who may be consuming placenta preparations that they should be aware of the potential risks associated with the practice for themselves and their babies,” reads the statement. “There is currently no scientific evidence that supports claims of health benefits associated with consuming human placenta.”
Health Canada warns of the transmission of bacterial or viral infections, and dismisses claims that human placenta for consumption will help prevent postpartum depression, increase energy levels, or increase breast milk production.
So there you have it: do what you want, but probably don’t eat natal remains.