Yes, taking a pill after giving birth made up of your dehydrated placenta sounds gross, because it kind of is. There is little known research about consuming your placenta.
Placenta, placenta…what is a placenta? The placenta is the organ your baby gets all its nutrition from during pregnancy. It attaches to your uterine wall and fuels your baby with nutrients.
I was interested in encapsulating my placenta for a couple of reasons. My main reason was I wanted help in balancing my hormones postpartum. I had post partum anxiety with my first child, and I wanted to do everything I could the second time around in order to balance my body. Other things I had heard (again, no research) is that it would provide me with more milk while breastfeeding along with a slew of other random positive effects. I thought, “Why not?”. I used my doula as a guide to help my find the right person to encapsulate. I wanted someone who had experience as well as a sanitary process.
How did this all work?
Well, around 34 weeks the placenta lady, we will call her, sent me some paperwork. It was a questionnaire for my husband and I to fill out and for the doctor to fill out. Basically the placenta lady wanted to cover her butt and make sure 1.I didn’t have any diseases and 2. That I wouldn’t sue her if something were to happen. She also sent my doctor a release of the placenta after birth. When I took this to my doctor she thought it was for blood cord storage(another topic for another day). I told her no, I was going to consume my placenta. She looked at me like I was crazy. Shocker, I know. Now, living in Humboldt, people are usually pretty crunchy around here, so I didn’t expect that reaction. She signed it anyway.
After labor, well during labor, you give birth to the placenta. I always (well, twice now) ask to see my placenta. If I made it, and I am delivering it, I want to see it. No, really the reason I wanted to see it was because I had a Marginal Insertion; AKA my umbilical cord attached on the edge of the placenta instead of in the middle. I wanted to make sure it looked normal. It did, thank god. The doctor held it up and showed me the Marginal Insertion. Now, thankfully, it caused no concern during pregnancy and delivery, but sometimes it can. I took a good look at it and then told them, “Keep the placenta!”. The hospital will throw it away if your don’t remind them. Also, it’s up to you to store it. It went in a small cooler until the placenta lady came to get it. You want to get a big cooler. A lunch size cooler will not do the trick. Here is a cooler that will work Placenta Cooler
This one will ensure that it stays cool during transport. Ice packs
Placenta encapsulation is not for the faint of heart! If you are squeamish, or have never seen a deer gutted, then you might skip this step (don’t look).
About a week later my doula (see Hiring a Doula) brought me a jar of my encapsulated placenta and some instructions. I was to take them a couple of times a day for two weeks. I was a little weirded out initially, but I decided it’s just like taking my prenatal.
Here’s what it looked like…
They are gel capsules filled with dehydrated placenta. I stored them in the fridge. Make sure to warn your husband that they are not some exotic spice!
Now, would I take them again? Absolutely! I did not have them postpartum anxiety that I had with my first child. Now who is to say that I am more balanced this time because it is my second time being a mom and everything doesn’t freak me out. No matter, if it costs $250 for placenta pills to make me a happy lady-bring it on. There were no negative side effects and I was happy and more myself sooner this time around. Also on a personal note I think the placenta is pretty cool(not cool looking). It does an amazing job! I think I am going to use the rest as plant fertilizer! Here is the website for the placenta lady I used. She has some information you may find helpful about placenta encapsulation and other hippie stuff. Placenta Lady If you are a local to Humboldt, I highly recommend her. Also, she was my stand-in doula during labor! See Hiring a Doula…