Dear Blac Chyna, Maybe Think Twice Before You Eat Your Placenta

Photo: Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images.
If all goes according to her plans, Blac Chyna's second pregnancy will be very different from her first in at least one major way. Earlier this week, while chatting with Amber Rose and Chris Donaghue, PhD, on the network's Loveline With Amber Rose, the model and reality star opened up about wanting to eat her placenta after giving birth to her daughter. (Yes, she's really turning into a true Kardashian.) "I just recently I found out some new, cool stuff about not cutting the cord and sending your placenta. You can get these pills to take them after to make you and the baby healthy," Chyna said, referring to the process of placenta encapsulation, by which the placenta is steamed, dehydrated, and ground into pills for the mother to take after she gives birth. "If you notice dogs and cats — when they have their babies, they eat the placenta. You’re like, ‘No, don’t do that!’ But they do! It’s a healthy thing," she added. But not so fast, Chyna. We're sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but: While ingesting your placenta probably won't hurt you, according to the American Pregnancy Association, there is little to no research supporting the benefits of this practice. We reported on a meta-analysis published in the Archives of Women's Mental Health that found there's no real data to support placenta consumption. As far as we know, it won't enhance lactation, encourage uterine contractions, ease pain, have any positive (or negative) effect on mood-influencing hormones, or treat postpartum depression.
The one thing that Chyna got right is the fact that most non-human mammals do eat their own placenta. But here's the thing about that: The review clarified that we can't just assume that humans can reap whatever benefits animals get from this practice. If anything, Chyna might feel some changes in her health due to the placebo effect, but that's about it. So, as much as this is completely Chyna's own decision, the literature recommends treading lightly. As the review's author Crystal Tennille Clark, MD/MSc, told us last year, "I would tell any parent or woman it is definitely her right [to choose] what to put in her body, but as her doctor, my concern is that we don’t know much about what is in a placenta capsule that women are ingesting postpartum. We just don’t know the risks and benefits at this time, and we have to have caution about promoting it as a treatment over something that is tried-and-true."

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