It is the process of taking the organ that supported your baby’s life, and using it to create easy-to-swallow capsules to help smooth your transition from birth to baby.
Why in the World Would I Want to Eat My Placenta?
Repeatedly, women who have consumed their placenta have reported a boost in energy, a balancing of the natural fluctuations after birth, and a boost in milk production. Our clients have overwhelmingly stated that they experienced faster healing time both emotionally and physically after consuming their placenta, as when compared to a previous birth when they had not.
We know that the thought of ingesting your placenta may still be a little… icky. But through experience and tradition we have learned the placenta is a tool that can be used to help balance the body’s systems. Having it made into easy-to-take capsules makes the idea of ingesting your placenta “easier to swallow”.
Why the Placenta?
During pregnancy, the placenta takes over the body’s production of certain hormones. When we give birth, we have a dramatic hormone shift and the body loses it’s ability to create some of those hormones, until your brain catches up and decides it is time to make them again. Ingesting the placenta has been said to help the body regulate itself more quickly, making the typical “baby blues” period a little less intense.
Where’s the Evidence for Placenta Encapsulation?
There are hefty studies underway that show promising results, but they haven’t been released or peer-reviewed just yet, because frankly, who funds a study like that? There isn’t much money in women eating their own placentas. Until it is released, we have anecdotal evidence, which *is* actually evidence, from women who have done it, the benefits they report, and how it made them feel. Our Postpartum Placenta Specialists are happy to share with you info we have gathered.
Does Placenta Encapsulation Cure Postpartum Depression/Anxiety?
Let me be unequivocal about this: NO. Postpartum Mood Disorders are serious medical conditions that can require quick and intense psychological and pharmaceutical therapies. Ingesting your placenta is not a guarantee that you won’t get PPD or that you’ll be able to fix it if you do, and if you think you need (or might need) medical attention or talk therapy, we always want you to seek that immediately.
Will Eating My Placenta Help Manage the “Baby Blues”?
We’ve heard yes. Women report feeling more balanced moods, better sleep (which leads to better mental health), and helping hold off the deepest of the anxieties or depressions until treatment can be sought if needed.
Can I still Encapsulate My Placenta If Something Unexpected Happens?
With a few exceptions that your Postpartum Placenta Specialist can share with you, you can safely encapsulate and receive benefits from your placenta if you have a cesarean section, if your birth includes antibiotics or an epidural, if you have gestational diabetes, or even if you simply delay clamping your baby’s cord.
Who Should Encapsulate My Placenta?
At a minimum, Your Postpartum Placenta Specialist should have had a hands-on training, Blood Borne Pathogen Training, and Food Safety Handler’s certification. (We are talking about a human organ, after all.) You should expect them to be professional, and respectful of your placenta, your space and your health, and provide you with all of the informational and physical support you need to have your placenta encapsulated safely and in a timely manner.
I also happen to think your encapsulator should be a doula, who can help assist you in those first days after birth, to be available not only to prepare your placenta, but to provide hands on assistance to your family as well. Capsules are a tool to help smooth your transition through birth, but having a trained doula on hand to provide a bit of extra support in those first tender days at home with a newborn, that’s magical.
This post was contributed by Victoria McCollum, Co-Owner of Doulas of Fredericksburg. For more information on doula support or placenta encapsulation, or schedule an interview with a Doula of Fredericksburg, call 540-300-1102 or visit their website (http://www.doulasoffredericksburg.com)