Medical experts say there is no scientific basis for the collection of placenta, revealing that many doctors have been harassed by family members of women who delivered in their hospitals for not being able to account for the placenta.
According to them, the collection of placenta by family members of a woman who gives birth is just a cultural thing and has nothing to do with medicine.
Speaking in an interview with PUNCH HealthWise, one of the experts, a Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Dr. Joseph Akinde, says some family members are so crazy about the placenta to the point that they can sue the doctor if he fails to provide it after delivery.
Akinde, who is chairman, Society of Gynaecology and Obstetrics of Nigeria, Lagos State chapter, said placenta, in some cultures in Nigeria, especially in the eastern part, is highly valued.
He explained, “We have people that are superstitious. If a doctor cannot account for the placenta, he can be fought to any length, especially in the eastern part of the country.
“Some people bury the placenta in designated places. Their belief is that no matter where the child grows, he will always trace his path to where the placenta is buried.
“Some people believe that the placenta could be used for ritual purposes, hence their insistence on taking possession of it.
“So, that is why some families are so crazy about it that if a doctor cannot account for it, they might even want to take him to court.”
Akinde pointed out that some people believe that the destiny of the child is linked to whatever is done with the placenta. “But there is no medical basis for all these and there is no scientific basis for such belief,” he warned.
“So, many doctors have been harassed because they could not account for the placenta. I remember some time ago, a family that made a hell of noise because a doctor in one of the government hospitals where the woman delivered could not account for the placenta.
“They went to the press and they were making noise that the doctor had sold the placenta of their baby, accusing the doctor of selling the destiny of the baby.”
The gynaecologist urged doctors to always make sure that they account for the placenta in order to save themselves from accusations.
He suggested that doctors should always ask from family members of the woman if they want to collect the placenta or not before discarding it.
Chairman, Nigerian Medical Association, Cross River State chapter, Dr. Innocent Abang, also corroborated Akande’s statement, saying many people are steeped in traditional belief and practices about the placenta, though such practice has no scientific basis.