An Oregon baby became sick with group B strep after the mother consumed infected placenta pills
Placenta pills are not regulated by the FDA, though many companies offer the service
The growing phenomenon of mothers eating their own placentas seems to have caused a baby to be infected with group B streptococcus, according to a new report detailing the case that was published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Shortly after the baby was born last fall, he was found to have a group B streptococcus infection. Group B streptococcus is a bacterium normally found in and on our bodies, but can cause severe infections and illnesses in newborns, including sepsis, pneumonia and meningitis. Usually, when a baby gets a group B strep infection, it was passed by the mother during birth.
After being fully treated for the group B strep infection, the baby in the case study was released from the hospital, but readmitted to another hospital five days later. The baby again tested positive for a group B strep infection, though recurring infections are unusual, said, Dr. Genevieve Buser, lead author of the report and one of the treating physicians.
Buser, who is an infectious disease and pediatrics specialist in Portland, Oregon, realized along with her colleagues, that placenta pills may have played a role in the group B strep infection.
“We were concerned because the mother’s breast milk had been tested, and it was negative for group B strep. So we were just trying to understand why this child would have two infections in a row,” said Buser. “And when we discovered that the placenta had been encapsulated, we asked to test the dried placenta inside the capsules and that came back positive for group B strep.”
In fact, when the placenta capsules, along with blood samples from the baby’s two group B strep infections, were sent to the CDC for testing, it was found that all three samples were almost identical. This led the doctors to believe that the placenta pills were likely responsible for the infection – though they could not definitively rule out that the infection could have come from another of the baby’s family members.
The purported benefits of eating placentas
The practice of placenta consumption, or placentophagy, has been promoted in recent years by many celebrity moms, including Kim Kardashian, January Jones and Alicia Silverstone.