Postpartum Placenta Encapsulation
“You want to do WHAT with your WHAT?!”. “Ew! That sounds disgusting!”. “Wow! That sounds intriguing!”. “OMG! That sounds amazing!” You may have heard many opinions from those around you about the decision to encapsulate and ingest the “Tree of Life” organ. Placenta encapsulation isn’t new, has many benefits, and is a process in which you can interact with your encapsulator.
What is Placenta Encapsulation?
Placenta encapsulation is the art in which the placenta (the organ that aids in the growth and development of the fetus in utero) is processed for ingestion. Dating back to the sixteenth century and earlier, mainly found in the Chinese culture in the traditional method. More recently in the US, placenta encapsulation become popular in the 1970s. There are many forms in which a placenta can be ingested: encapsulated into pill form, liquified in a smoothie, in a salve, in a tincture, and eaten raw or cooked.
What is the Process of Encapsulating My Placenta?
There are many different ways in which the processing of a placenta can be done. At Vegas Family Doulas, our postpartum placenta specialists follow the Traditional Chinese Medicine method as closely as possible. Our two-day processing is only done in the home of our clients. Once your encapsulator has arrived at the home, sanitizing of the kitchen work area begins. The placenta is drained of any blood in the placenta. The placenta is then steamed and sliced into strips. The strips are dehydrated overnight to remove any excess moisture. Upon day two, the kitchen is again sanitized in preparation for the continuation of the encapsulation. The dried placenta is then ground into a powder and filled into capsules.
What are the Benefits of Placenta Encapsulation?
Placentas are generated uniquely for each pregnancy. Because of this, it’s difficult to generate a control group to form a formal study on the benefits of placenta encapsulation. However, with this said, in 2007 a study was done at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. Anecdotally there is a myriad of benefits that have been known to aid in postpartum recovery:
- A decrease in the onset of postpartum mood disorders, (ie. depression, anxiety, rage, etc)
- Increased production of oxytocin (the “love” and milk-releasing hormone)
- A decrease in stress hormones (ie. cortisol, adrenaline)
- Increase in iron levels following birth, and postpartum bleeding
- Increased breast milk production
In some instances, the side effects of individuals ingesting their placenta effects may include headaches, nausea, dizziness, jitteriness, and stomach distress. If this should occur, cease taking the pills for a period of time to see a change, or discontinue taking them altogether.
Whether the idea of placenta encapsulation intrigues you or makes you scratch your head, the concept is quite remarkable. What one does to contribute to their postpartum recovery journey can be a defining moment in navigating the emotions, the ups and downs, and the overwhelm. Placenta encapsulation is one tool in the birthing toolbox that may help one achieve the postpartum peace that they are seeking. So don’t forget this tool!