What is placenta encapsulation?
Placental encapsulation is the practice of ingesting the placenta after it has been steamed, dehydrated, ground, and placed into pills. Traditionally, this is taken by the mother and is believed to impart numerous health benefits. It is frequently taken shortly after giving birth. Of the 4000 species of placental mammals on earth, 80-90% ingest the placenta after giving birth. Human ingestion of the placenta after childbirth has been a medical practice for thousands of years in ancient China, Egypt, Africa, & Native America.
What are the benefits?
- Increased production of the hormone Oxycontin, which helps the uterus return to normal size and encourages bonding with your baby
- Increased production of CRH, a stress reducing hormone
- A decrease in postpartum depression occurrence & symptoms
- Restoration of iron levels in the blood
- Increase in milk production
Is ingesting the placenta safe?
Placental encapsulation appears to carry no inherent risk if ingested solely by the mother. As with preparing any food or medication, universal precautions must be taken when preparing the placenta to be encapsulated in order to prevent cross contamination and bacteria. The placenta must be processed for encapsulation within 72 hours of delivery and refrigerated while waiting to be processed.
How is placenta encapsulation done?
The placenta is a part of your body and you legally have a right to obtain it. So no hospital can bar you from taking it to be encapsulated, all you have to do is ask your OB. Mine was very supportive. Placenta encapsulation specialists can be found across the country and have completed a variety of training courses, including universal precautions and doula services. On the recommendation of a friend I contracted Boston Birth Associates to encapsulate my placenta. They’re a group of midwives & doulas that are just amazing. After discussing the process with their specialist Kaylee, the contract was signed and I was to call her when I was going to the hospital to deliver. I received a package in the mail that contained a cooler and instructions for packaging & transport. Kaylee came to the hospital the day after I delivered to pick up the placenta. Anna Jaques Hospital has a separate bio fridge specifically for placentas in the birth center and mine was stored there. The encapsulation process is done in your home in order to keep risk of cross contamination minimal. Kaylee disinfected & sanitized a work area in my kitchen. The placenta is then steamed, sliced, and dehydrated overnight. Then it is ground into a powder and put into capsules. You can then start taking your placenta pills immediately!
Placenta Consumption Guidelines:
This is an average suggestion for most women. Consumption can be adjusted as needed based on personal preferences.
2 capsules 3x a day for the first 3 days
1 capsule 3x a day for the next 7-10 days
1-2 capsules once a day until gone
DO NOT TAKE if an infection such as mastitis, flu, or cold with fever develops. The effects of the capsules can counteract the body’s natural healing. After symptoms have dissipated for 24 hours, use may be resumed.
Keep capsules refrigerated. Avoid taking with milk. It is best to consume capsules with liquids containing Vitamin C to boost iron absorption.
So do they work?
In my opinion? Yes. I’m 2 months postpartum and have been taking them since delivery. I had a repeat csection and my surgery this time was a hell of a lot worse than with my son. However, my recovery the second time around was exponentially better. I only needed pain medication for about a week and my incision healed up amazingly. I also generally feel a lot better. I had PPD after having my son and have been on a low dose antidepressant since. Between that and the placenta pills I haven’t had any PPD symptoms. Overall I’m super glad I encapsulated my placenta because it was totally worth it.
Look below for a gallery on the encapsulation process.
WARNING: These are unedited photos of a human placenta and may be considered graphic to some.