A group of Canadian gynecologists is urging people not to eat the human placenta.

A recommendation from the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada, recently published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada, indicates there is no evidence of a health benefit from the practice known as placentophagy and there a potential for serious harm.

The placenta is a temporary organ that provides oxygen and nutrients to a fetus. The organ is typically incinerated after childbirth, but is sometimes eaten.

Placentophagy is said to help with postpartum depression, breast milk production and iron levels, but does not have the backing of scientific research.

“Currently, there is no strong evidence to suggest that placental consumption is beneficial for human health,” says Dr. Jocelynn Cook, chief scientific officer of the SOGC, said in a news release.   

The organization also suggests the ways of preparing the placenta, including eating it raw, cooked or in a pill form, are not regulated and raise the risk of potential contamination.

In November, Health Canada advised against consuming any placenta-based products on the market and warned about the potential of contracting an infection from the products. The agency added the risk of harm increases when consuming the placenta of another person.

In 2017, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that a baby had been sent to hospital with Group B streptococcus, which was later found in the placenta pills the mother had been consuming.