Warning about placenta pills

Advocates of placenta pills say they have numerous health benefits for new mothers. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), though, says don't believe the hype - the pills can be dangerous.

Simply put, these pills contain the dehydrated, powdered remains of a new mother's own placenta. The placenta is the organ that sustains babies in the womb.

“The placenta is amazing because it's everything that keeps that baby alive,” explained Dr. Christine Greves, MD, OBGYN.

There are websites and groups that advocate mothers take these pills to boost their health after birth. Dr. Greves has had patients who've used them before.

“To help them prevent postpartum depression, to help with their iron level, things like that,” Greves said, “I thought - if there's no risk associated with it, then okay, but you need to inform me and your pediatrician of that.”

But now the CDC says hold on - not only are the pills unnecessary, they can also transmit harmful bacteria to your baby.

“The placenta with the bacteria and other thing was encapsulated, the mom consumed it, and that could've been transmitted to the baby,” Dr. Greves said.

Ellen Dostie runs the Placenta Hacienda in Kissimmee. She makes placenta pills here, for her clients.
“I slice it real thin, put it on the dehydrator trays, and go ahead and start dehydrating it,” Dostie explained.

She disputed the CDC findings, saying it was based on a single instance of infection. “It bothers me that the CDC would actually release this one case,” she said, “it's not like we're getting strings of babies getting GBS from infected placenta capsules. It was one time.”

The CDC points out that the US has no regulations or standards for placenta pill businesses.