In February 2019 researchers from the USA published a report of vaginal bleeding and breast budding in a 3-month-old infant who was exclusively breastfed. It was noted that the mother was an advocate of placentophagy, the practice of consuming the placenta, which many believe prevents postpartum depression, increases breast milk production, reduces postpartum bleeding, and provides nutrients despite scientific studies failing to show any benefit. Upon discontinuation of the mother consuming encapsulated placenta, the infant’s vaginal bleeding stopped. This report raises concerns regarding placentophagy and its effect on the infant’s endocrine function. More research is therefore required to evaluate the effect of oestrogen exposure on both the mother and child from maternal placental consumption.
Stambough K et al. Maternal Placentophagy as a Possible Cause of Breast Budding and Vaginal Bleeding in a Breast-Fed 3-Month-Old Infant. J Pediatr Adolesc Gynecol. 2019 Feb;32(1):78-79