Why Kim Kardashian Probably Won’t (& Shouldn’t) Eat Her Surrogate’s Placenta

Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images.
Now that Kim Kardashian West's pregnancy with a surrogate is officially confirmed, there are more exciting details that we can look forward to, like what she plans to do with her placenta. You might remember that in 2015, after giving birth to Saint West, Kim ate her placenta in encapsulated-pill form. Today, the doula who made those pills, Joni Lucarelli, told Page Six that this time around, Kim should absolutely not eat her surrogate's placenta. "There's no data to back that up of being a benefit or being safe," Lucarelli told Page Six.
That's actually true: It's not advised to eat placenta from someone else's body or your own, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Many people believe that eating your placenta after giving birth can help ward off postpartum depression and increase breastmilk production, but there's no scientific evidence that ingesting placenta provides either of these benefits.
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This time around, Kim isn't going to be physically carrying her baby, so she won't be growing a placenta, and there's truly no need for her to eat another person's, even if she thinks she'd get a health boost from it. Kim's surrogate should also think twice before eating her own placenta, because there's a huge risk for contamination if you come in contact with the organ while you're preparing it. After all, it's technically considered medical waste.
Even if you aren't actually handling the placenta, but are consuming dried placenta pills that someone else made, there are too many health risks that outweigh the supposed benefits, according to the CDC. "No standards exist for processing placenta for consumption," the CDC said in a statement this July. "The placenta encapsulation process does not per se eradicate infectious pathogens; thus, placenta capsule ingestion should be avoided." So, pills might seem safer, but that doesn't mean they are.
The CDC based this stance on a 2016 case, in which a baby was taken to the hospital because he was having trouble breathing. A few days later, the baby tested positive for a bacteria called group B Streptococcus agalactiae (GBS), which was perplexing, because the doctors didn't detect the bacteria in the mother's breast milk, so they didn't know how the baby would have contracted it. Turns out, the baby's mother had been eating dried placenta capsules every day, and those pills contained GBS, which she had transferred to her baby through skin-to-skin contact.
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While it's a parent's prerogative to decide whether or not to eat their placenta, there are significant health risks that the CDC and other medical professionals want you to seriously consider. The Kardashians are known for being on the forefront of wellness trends, but this is one trend Kim should probably sit out. Let's just hope that Kourtney doesn't try to prank her into eating placenta when she's not expecting it.
Welcome to Mothership: Parenting stories you actually want to read, whether you're thinking about kids right now or not, from egg-freezing to taking home baby and beyond. Because motherhood is a big if — not when — and it's time we talked about it that way.
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