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. doi: 10.1016/j.jpag.2018.09.005. Epub 2018 Sep 20.


Background: Placentophagy, or the practice of placental consumption, has grown in popularity over the past decade. Although advocates endorse prevention of postpartum depression, increased breast milk production, reduction in postpartum bleeding, and provision of nutrients postpartum, scientific studies have failed to show benefit. No studies have explored the effect of placental hormone consumption on the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis of the offspring.

Case: We present a case of vaginal bleeding and breast budding in a 3-month-old infant whose mother was exclusively breastfeeding. Maternal history was notable for placentophagy. Upon discontinuation of consuming encapsulated placenta, the infant's vaginal bleeding resolved.

Summary and conclusion: Our case raises concerns regarding placentophagy and infant endocrine function. More research is needed to assess maternal and infant exogenous estrogen exposure with maternal placental consumption.

Keywords: Placentophagy; Pre-pubertal breast budding; Pre-pubertal vaginal bleeding.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Breast
  • Breast Diseases / etiology*
  • Breast Feeding / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Mothers
  • Placenta
  • Placental Extracts / administration & dosage
  • Placental Extracts / adverse effects*
  • Postpartum Period
  • Pregnancy
  • Uterine Hemorrhage / etiology*


  • Placental Extracts