Now hear me out before you think I am totally crazy! And believe me…I have seen enough of the face you are making right now in person that I know you think I am nuts! Let me get something out of the way up front to help calm you…when I say I ate my placenta I mean I took pills that look like regular ol’ vitamins. And they were some good vitamins!
After I had my daughter Molly, now 4.5 years old, I went through a few struggles. I had a really hard time with breastfeeding that ended in me having to move to formula. That battle coupled with new first time Mom stuff sent me into a pretty good bout with postpartum depression. It was a really really tough time, one I did not want to repeat if I could avoid it. So when I found out I was pregnant with my second I wanted to be very proactive. When doing my research on how to better my body for round two I came across information on ingesting your placenta. I was almost immediately hooked!
Placenta ingestion (through various forms) has been common in other cultures for centuries and more recently the US and UK are seeing a revival of placenta ingestion through encapsulation. And when you look at the benefits its easy to see why. In fact, the placenta is well documented in medical science to be extremely beneficial for treatment of blood cancers, blood disorders, stem cell research and many more. So why did I do it?
Benefits of Postpartum Placenta Ingestion
Because of the many vitamins and hormones contained in your placenta, ingesting the placenta in many cases has been reported to:
- Lessen postpartum bleeding
- Provide energy
- Reduce baby blues and postpartum depression
- Encourages and speeds up wound healing (think down there)
- Increased milk production
- Restoration of Iron deficiency which peaks after having a baby
For me the benefits were exactly what I was looking for. And the risks are extremely low so why not at least give it a try. It wouldn’t hurt anything and hopefully it would give me a much better postpartum experience.
How it Works
First I had to find a placenta encapsulation specialist. Fortunately my midwife had someone they highly recommend so I gave her a call, discussed what I was wanting to do and set up a plan to have my placenta encapsulated.
I had my second baby at home so I let my midwives know I would be keeping my placenta for encapsulation so they could store it appropriately (in my freezer!). If you are having your baby in a hospital, don’t worry – you can take your placenta. In January a new law went into effect that allows every woman the right to choose to keep her placenta (for whatever reason she wants). The local hospitals have become very helpful when it comes to proper storage and taking it home.
After I had Ellie I called my placenta specialist and let her know. She came to my house two days later and started the process. Some specialists will take the placenta and do it at another location. In this case it was done in my own kitchen, which was very interesting to watch!
The next day the pills were ready! I received 175 pills with detailed instructions on how many to take and for how long (varied amounts over a period of time until the pills are gone). I also received a keepsake cord and opted to get Tincture made as well should I need it in the future. Tincture contains your placenta and high quality vodka and preserves the placenta almost indefinitely. Many women use during later times of hormonal imbalance like menopause.
Do I Think It Worked?
In short, Yes! By the second day of taking my pills I felt a difference in my mood and energy. I didn’t feel anxious or overwhelmed and just off like I had before. I also never experienced any baby blues or the depression I had with my first. When it came to milk supply, which I really struggled with before, my milk came in faster and my supply was very good! I ended up having other issues unrelated to supply but I was happy with what I was able to produce this time around. I really believe the placenta pills helped restore my body to more normal hormone levels which in turn made me feel better all around. And enjoy my newborn baby! I was even sad (and a little worried) when my pills ran out!
If you are interested in placenta encapsulation for yourself I highly recommend. If you are using a doula or midwife they often can get you in contact with a placenta specialist they refer to. The placenta specialists should be trained in the discipline of placenta encapsulation as well as other certifications and training such as Bloodborne Pathogen & Infection Control and have valid Food Handlers’ Cards for the State of Texas.
Don’t let the idea of eating your placenta gross you out if you are interested…the benefits can be absolutely amazing!