Determining How to Regulate Encapsulated Placenta

What do Katherine Heigl, Kourtney Kardashian, and January Jones have in common? They are part of a growing list of celebrities who have reportedly eaten their placentas after giving birth. Celebrity proponents and other advocates have shared stories of hiring manufacturers to make their placentas—the organ that develops during pregnancy to remove waste—into encapsulated pills to eat in the months after giving birth. Although proponents of eating encapsulated placenta pills claim they deliver supposed health benefits, opponents warn of safety concerns. In a recent article, legal scholar Greer Donley argues that encapsulated placenta pills should remain available to those women who choose to eat them, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) needs to begin regulating them. Donley, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, favors keeping encapsulated placenta available because women seeking to avoid medications while breastfeeding claim the…

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