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The CDC Wants You to Know Placenta Pills are Not Safe for Your Baby

posted: 07/17/17
by: Amanda Mushro
A happy new mother smiles as she craddles her sleeping baby in her arms. She has her eyes closed as she holds her close.
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If you are a mom-to-be, The CDC wants you to know that the new trend of ingesting placenta pills can actually harm your baby. In recent years, the growing phenomenon of new mothers eating their own placentas has gained popularity, due in part to some celebrities announcing this practice; however, a new mother taking placenta pills may have caused her baby to be infected with group B streptococcus.

According to a report from the CDC, when a baby gets a Group B Strep infection, it is passed by the mother during birth. Group B streptococcus is a bacterium found in and on our bodies, but when it comes to newborns, it is much more dangerous because it can cause severe infections and illnesses such as sepsis, pneumonia and meningitis.

According to Dr. Genevieve Buser, lead author of the report and one of the treating physicians, the baby tested posting for Group B strep after birth, was treated, and released from the hospital. Five days later, the baby was readmitted to another hospital and again tested positive for a group B strep infection. The CDC researchers believe the mother ingesting placenta pills is to blame for the reinfection. "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."

While some believe taking placenta pills placenta can help with everything from postpartum depression, to increased milk production, and higher energy levels, the CDC wants you to know there is no evidence to support these theories and you could endanger your child by taking these pills.

When CDC researchers examined the placenta pills discovered that they were full of the infection, they instructed the mother to stop taking the pills. Her baby was given another round of antibiotics and recovered.

When it comes to placenta pills, the CDC says "The placenta encapsulation process does not per se eradicate infectious pathogens; thus, placenta capsule ingestion should be avoided." Since the Food and Drug Administration does not regulate the making of placenta pills, there are no standards established for safety checks. However, there are numerous companies that offer to encapsulate placentas.

While some mothers will disagree and say that ingesting their placenta was safe and helpful after giving birth, the CDC is clear on their stance, "placenta capsule ingestion should be avoided."