“You’re encapsulating and eating your what?!” For those of you who chose to encapsulate your placenta, you may have heard this question from curious or confused friends and family. Today we will totally dispel the mystery of placentophagy (eating your placenta)!
Let’s start with the basics. What is a placenta? The placenta is an organ that develops in your uterus during pregnancy. It provides oxygen and nutrients to your baby and removes waste products. The placenta also produces hormones that support your pregnancy, labor, and birth.
So, you may be wondering how consuming this organ will benefit you after having your baby. Throughout history women have told stories of their experiences including improved mood, increased energy, improved lactation, a reduction in postpartum bleeding, a faster recovery, a boost in energy and relief in postpartum blues to name a few. There have been several studies done to help us understand some of these possible benefits. Here are our top 5 favorite reasons for choosing placenta encapsulation to jump start your postpartum season!
1. According to a study done by the National Institutes of Health, postpartum women have lower than average levels of a hormone CRH, triggering depressive symptoms. They concluded that eating the placenta will raise a mother’s CRH levels therefore, reducing Postpartum Depression.
2. Many mothers have reported an increase in energy after consuming the iron rich placenta through encapsulation. A 1961 study on the Iron Content of Placentas and Cords by Bonnie McCoy, M.S., stated: “Data obtained on the fifty placentas and cords… The total iron content of the samples averaged 75.5mg and ranged from 34.5 to 170mg…” To compare: a 3 ounce cut of steak contains about 2.75mg of iron.
3. If you have heard about after birth pains or a difficult recovery after birth, placenta encapsulation has a possible solution for that too. It has been reported that the “Placenta Opiod-Enhancing Factor” may possibly reduce pain in the birthing mother after delivery. Read more here.
4. Many mothers have suggested an increase in milk supply through anecdotal evidence on consuming placenta capsules. Placentas contain hormones and Lactogens that possibly enhance mammary gland growth and milk production. Read more about it here.
5. Some key hormones contained in the placenta may play a role in these reported benefits. Prolactin promotes lactation. Cortisone combats stress and increases energy. Prostaglandins have anti-inflammatory properties. Hemoglobin helps to replenish iron. Urokinase inhibiting factor and factor XIII stops bleeding and enhances wound healing. Gammaglobulin is an immune booster that helps protect against postpartum infections.
Some mothers wonder, “Does the encapsulation process cook out the hormones and nutrients?” We say- No! The placenta is carefully steamed and dehydrated to ensure these important hormones and nutrients are not lost. This process is referred to as the Traditional Method. Your placenta is encapsulated either in your home or in the encapsulation specialist’s work space. After completing the two-day process, your placenta capsules are hand delivered to you.
If you have tried placenta encapsulation after any of your pregnancies, let us know your experience in the comments below. If you are in the Nashville area and interested in having your placenta encapsulated for your upcoming birth, contact us here and check out more info on this service here.