Placental encapsulation

Not too long ago I wrote a post about Anderson Cooper discussing placental encapsulation on his talk show and why I’ve decided to do it after this birth. One of my great friends from college, Sheena at Diapers Full of Blarney, wrote this guest post for me on the topic so please read on and show her some love!

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After the birth of my son I felt elated, energized and as if I were on cloud nine. I had an easy pregnancy, very quick labor, smooth delivery and healthy baby; life was perfect as I settled in at home with my new little boy…until the second day. I was feeling great and thought, “What’s the big deal people keep making about the baby blues and why do the doctor and nurses keep asking me about it?” Then all of a sudden, while I was rocking and breastfeeding Trayton, I started sobbing uncontrollably. Here was this tiny, helpless, beautiful baby completely depending on me for all of his needs in a world with millions of bad things that could happen to him. I don’t even know how my mind got on that track; usually I am a very logically, methodically and rationally thinking person according to the learning style surveys I had taken in different college classes. AND the wave of emotions didn’t stop there. The littlest things made me tear up and cry like watching the animated version of Tarzan which I had seen numerous times without sheading a single tear, or just the thought of going to the grocery store by myself for a few items.

I was drained of energy, sleep deprived and, in my eyes, a weepy mess. I thought it was mostly related to the fact that my husband was not able to take full time off of work for a little while (cattle farmers just don’t have that luxury) to help us get adjusted at home, but it went beyond that and he was around as much as he could be at that time considering he was in the middle of calving season. My understanding was that this too shall pass and I should just keep forging ahead with life. I finally started feeling more like myself about 2-3 weeks after having Trayton, and looking back, may have experienced postpartum depression.  I vowed that I would not feel that way with the next child we have, not to the extent and for the duration I felt with Trayton. I began researching the physiological causes of the baby blues and postpartum depression in an effort to better understand the mechanisms that cause them. I was also looking for measures of prevention when I came across placental encapsulation.

image from wovenandspundoula.blogspot.com

I was intrigued and skeptical of this practice when I first came across it at Placenta Benefits.info.  Cattle, dogs, cats and virtually all other mammals consume the placenta after birth of their young but humans? No way; it must be a form of protection against predators that we have evolved away from. This is not a sound conclusion, contrary to popular belief. Research has shown that predators with no rivals at the top of the food chain will also consume their placentae. Several other theories attempt to explain why mammals partake in this practice but no one theory holds all of the answers for the various contexts in which it occurs. I was convinced of the benefits placental encapsulation provides after reading several scientific research abstracts to studies performed by credible institutions and published in journals such as Neuroscience Behavior Review, and the Journal of Obstetric Gynecologic & Neonatal Nursing.

Placentophagia (the act of consuming the placenta) can be accomplished by preparing the placenta in different forms from raw to encapsulation. The process of encapsulation involves drying the placenta, grinding it down and storing it in consumable capsules. The benefits to this method over others are that it can be easier to consume from a psychological standpoint and it can be preserved for a longer period of time, while still retaining its valuable properties. In the capsule form the placenta can be consumed over weeks or, if frozen, over months and years.

There are so many wonderful benefits to consuming your encapsulated placenta. The placenta is specifically designed for your body containing vitamins, minerals and hormones to aid in recovery after delivery. The placenta secretes a large amount of corticotrophin-releasing hormone (a stress reducing hormone) in the third trimester, and may trigger the hypothalamus in the brain, which normally secretes the hormone, to stop producing it. Post-delivery, corticotrophin-releasing hormone drops below normal levels and causes symptoms correlated to the baby blues and postpartum depression.

The placenta contains iron to replenish depleted levels, helps lessen postnatal bleeding and return the uterus to its pre-pregnancy size. It also has been proven to increase milk supply, can provide you more energy and be helpful if taken during menopause due to its complex chemical make-up for your body. The PlacentaBenefits.info site is a great starting place for education and resources to expand your knowledge about a healthy, natural supplement with a wealth of benefits!

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Has anyone tried this or considered doing it? If you have any stories, resources or articles on placental encapsulation or consumption, please share here! I just hired a placenta encapsulation specialist for our birth–$275, which includes travel to our own home twice over 2 days to complete the process. To prevent depression? SO WORTH IT.

 

8 comments to Placental encapsulation

  • If you’d told me years ago that I would be eating my placenta, I’d have thought you were nuts. But living with ongoing postpartum depression left me wanting to try ANYTHING. I had my placenta encapsulated after the last baby, and you cannot believe what a difference it made. I had to go back to class SIX days postpartum and do all my school work practically minutes after giving birth. There is no way I would have had the energy or emotional strength to pull that off without the placenta pills. Unlike the first two times, I didn’t dissolve into an emotional weepy mess. I wasn’t tired. I healed so much faster. In fact, I was doing so well that I joked that I wished my husband could take them because HE was having such a hard time recovering from the birth (the baby had colic and it was a brutal few weeks.)

    Now I tell everyone I know that placenta encapsulation is worth it. It’s money well spent.

    [Reply]

    babydickey Reply:

    That’s sooooo great to hear! Never in a million years would I have thought I’d be doing this either… and now I’m SO looking forward to it! haha.

    [Reply]

  • I had awful depression after Owen’s birth. I was crying and/or angry all of the time. This time I am encapsulating because I will try just about anything if I can prevent those dark months again!

    [Reply]

    babydickey Reply:

    YES. exactly. Good luck, mama!!

    [Reply]

  • Alanna Peters

    I really wanted to do this with Sam, but sadly it wasn’t in our budget. (I think the lady here was charging $300.) I really hope to do this with the next baby though! I couldn’t imagine cooking and eating a placenta, but I can totally do the capsules! And the benefits seem SO worth it. I didn’t suffer from PPD at all, but just the health benefits alone are worth it, I think. And, just because I didn’t have any depression the first time around doesn’t mean I won’t with the second. I’m really interested in hearing how it works for you!

    [Reply]

    babydickey Reply:

    Yea I found this one for $275 and another one I emailed charged $325… there aren’t any in town here so everyone I emailed has to drive in from the Chicago area. It is a lot of money, but because I did have some form of PPD…. I really really really can’t imagine living through that again. There are DIY kits you can buy lol… I saw one on Etsy for like $60. I considered it, but thought I might just be a little too busy after the birth to do something like that, haha. But if you have a friend that wouldn’t mind doing it for you???? Can’t be THAT hard, right?

    [Reply]

    Alanna Peters Reply:

    Hmm…I’m not sure this is something I’d want to DIY! I’m a little squeamish…I wasn’t even sure I wanted to look at mine! LOL

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