A Saskatoon doula business has temporarily stopped selling a post-birth service following a warning from Health Canada.

Vitae Doula ended its placenta encapsulation service after Health Canada announced the products are not federally approved and offer no proven benefits.

“We as a company choose to just wait,” said Chelsea Belt, a registered dietitian and birth doula with Vitae Doula.

The placenta is a temporary organ that provides oxygen and nutrients to a developing fetus inside the womb. Placenta encapsulation involves dehydrating a woman’s placenta and putting it into capsules.

Belt said she’s witnessed more women choosing to eat their placenta, with woman claiming to not feel the effects of post-partum depression after eating the organ.

"Anecdotally women say [eating their placenta] energizes them and some women have reported increased milk for breast feeding," said Belt.

A University of Saskatchewan professor questioned why people continue to eat human placenta.

“From a medical point of view, there’s no reason to do it. From a scientific perspective, there’s no benefit,” said Dr. Roger Pierson, a professor in the department of obstetrics and gynecology.

“I think eating one’s placenta falls under the category of dumb things people do.”

Study seeks to find out why women eat their own placenta

Researchers from the University of Toronto set out to study who ate their own placenta and why.

The study – published in the January issue of the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic & Neonatal Nursing – used social media to engage participants in Canada and the U.S. in a cross-sectional survey and online discussions in order to gauge their beliefs and motivations about placentophagy.

Of the 1,088 participants, the survey found that 271 (24 per cent of all respondents) said they had consumed their placenta following childbirth.

The study found that women who ate their own placenta were primarily motivated by “unproven benefits,” such as the prevention of postpartum depression and anemia.

Belt said if women feel better after eating their placenta, they should do it – even if it is a placebo effect.

"There's definitely a bit of an ‘ick factor’ from a lot of people, but if you're not a woman who just had a baby, there’s no concern. It's really the individual's choice.”

With files from CTVNews.ca