The title of this article might be confusing, if you’re not familiar with the term “placenta encapsulation.” So, let’s start from the beginning with a fun fact: with the exception of a few species, all mammals consume their placenta after giving birth. Why? Speculations say that this is because of the nutritional benefits that consuming placenta can offer to the mother after having a baby.
And, it makes sense! The placenta is a temporary organ created by the body during pregnancy, and it delivers nutrients and oxygen to a developing baby, especially vitamins and minerals such as B6, B12, and iron. The placenta is also rich with progesterone and estrogen, the two main hormones responsible for a women’s sexual and reproductive development.
Of course animalistic ways of placenta consumption won’t do for us humans. That’s why the procedure of placenta encapsulation was invented and has had a growing popularity since then. Placenta encapsulation is the practice of ingesting the placenta after it has been made into pills, typically initiated within 24 hours after birth.
The placenta is laid out on a pad or some other protected surface and a print is made of the placenta, if the client desires.
Next the umbilical cord is removed from the placenta along with the amniotic sac.
Then the placenta is run under water and is gently massaged.
The placenta is placed in a steamer over stovetop. The placenta is steamed for approximately 20 minutes.
When the placenta is finished steaming, it is removed from the steamer and cut into slices. The placenta slices are then placed in a food grade dehydrator. The umbilical cord can also be placed in the dehydrator in order to make an umbilical cord keepsake, if the recipient desires.
Once the placenta is finished dehydrating it is placed in a food processor and ground into a powder. The powder is then processed into capsules.
The capsules are stored in a glass bottle and are intended to be kept in the refrigerator until they are consumed.
Why should you do it as a new mom?
To understand the benefits of placenta encapsulation and consumption, let’s examine what this organ contains!
The placenta has extraordinary powers and potential to heal and re-energize your body following birth.
Hormones and nutrients found in the placenta include:
Cortisone: Combats stress and unlocks energy stores. Promotes healing and reduces inflammation and swelling.
Interferon: Stimulates the immune system to protect and fight against infections.
Corticotropin (CRH): Increasing your CRH will help prevent postnatal depression after birth.
Oxytocin: It helps with pain and bonding as it is produced during breastfeeding to facilitate the bonding of mother and infant.
Gamma globulin: It’s an immune booster that helps protect against postpartum infections.
Oestrogen, Progesterone and Testosterone: These hormones help with developing mammary glands in preparation for lactation and stabilization of post-birth uterine cramping.
Placental Opioid-Enhancing Factor (POEF): Stimulates the production of your body’s natural opioids, including endorphins, reduces pain, and increases well-being.
Hemoglobin: Replenishes iron deficiency and anemia, a common postpartum condition.
Prolactin: Promotes and increases lactation.
Human Placental Lactogen (HPL): Stimulates mammary gland function and milk production and regulates maternal glucose, protein, and fat levels.
Prostaglandins: Anti-inflammatory and helps uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size.
Immunoglobulin: It is an antibody that helps the immune system.
Thyroid Stimulating Hormone: Regulates the thyroid gland and increases energy. It also helps with recovery from stressful events.
14. Iron: It increases energy, and decreases fatigue and depression. Iron restocks maternal iron stores to combat anemia.
15. Urokinase Inhibiting Factor and Factor XIII: Stops bleeding and enhances wound healing.
16. Vitamin B6: It protects the immune system. It has positive effects on metabolism, hormone control, emotional disorders and skin conditions.
17. Vitamin E: It protects skin cells from damage, acting as a natural anti-aging nutrient within your body.
So, now that we know all the hormones, vitamins, and nutrients that the placenta contains, how can we translate them in 7 main reasons on why you should make the choice of consuming it?
One of the main reasons that we suggest encapsulation is to avoid the effects of baby blues and potentially ease other postnatal mood disorders, such as postnatal depression. Placenta pills are non-addictive and non-habit forming. Focusing on the fact that your capsules contain your own hormones, they are a much healthier choice than antidepressants and other potential avenues to go down after the birth of your baby when you are feeling low.
Another benefit of encapsulating your placenta is increased milk supply. What mother would not love the idea of having an abundance of milk after having their baby?! Many mothers worry about this, and struggle with breastfeeding or having enough milk to feed their baby. However, placenta encapsulation has been shown to help with the increase of milk.
3. Increased release of Oxytocin
This is another excellent benefit to encapsulating your placenta as it can encourage positive bonding and helps the uterus return to its normal size. The placenta is an endocrine organ, so it creates hormones. As your hormone levels drop after childbirth, the placenta pills may gently aid in this.
4. Less fatigue and more energy
Despite a lack of sleep and energy, that we all know comes with the birth of a newborn, research shows an increase in energy and less fatigue after placenta consumption. We think this is an outstanding benefit of encapsulating your placenta. Recovering from birth is difficult enough, and taking care of a newborn is exhausting! Placenta encapsulation can give you the extra energy needed to take care of yourself and your baby when you need the extra boost most. This boost in energy is derived from the richness in iron, and is a vital element to postpartum health.
5. You only get once chance (or 2, 3, 4 or 5)!
Time with your newborn is such a joyous, unique and special time in your life and having the opportunity to transition into motherhood as seamlessly as possible is such a gift. Enjoying the journey of encapsulating your placenta is such a wonderful gift to give both you and your newborn.
6. Helps resolve postpartum issues like high blood pressure, swelling and protein in the urine.
Women that have suffered from high blood pressure, swelling and protein in the urine find that consuming their placenta postpartum soothes her kidneys and helps to resolves these symptoms more quickly than if it was left untreated.
During and after a normal vaginal delivery (including post-natal bleeding) a new mother will lose 1/8 to 1/10 of her body’s blood supply. With cesarean section births blood loss can be significantly more. Losing a large amount of iron so quickly can cause anemia – leaving a new mum feeling tired, faint and exhausted. The blood needs high supplies of iron to carry oxygen to the cells. Low supplies of oxygen leave your cells starving and less able to heal after trauma. The placenta benefits the new mother by supplying incredibly rich meaty iron, amino acids and essential fats which we believe is the perfect replenishment following the ordeal of birth. Stem cells and growth factors in the placenta play a key role in healing the wound left inside the uterus after birth by the separation of the placenta from the uterine wall. A mother will typically bleed for 3-6 weeks after birth, blood loss stemmed from this wound. We have found however that mothers who consume their placenta after birth, particularly after consuming raw placenta in a smoothie or other bleed significantly less, usually much lighter bleeding for just 5-10 days after birth.
7. Offer natural pain relief from the labor and birth of the baby
Research has shown that ingesting placenta increases the effectiveness of opioids. The mother would need to take much less pain medication to reach the same desired pain management. The women would experience less pharm logical side effects and better maternal responsiveness.
What do people say?
Since there isn’t enough scientific research related to placenta encapsulation and consumption, anecdotal evidence should be taken into account. This is what a Mom of Two, Surray says:
“Making the decision to take placenta capsules was the best decision I made. After struggling with post-natal depression after my first birth, I looked into placenta encapsulation. They have been absolutely fantastic and I highly recommend them to any mother. I noticed that as soon as I started feeling weepy, I would take one of my placenta capsules and within 5 minutes, I was feeling happy again. They are incredible. I will definitely be using this service again!”
Placenta encapsulation has become a growing trend and for many it is for good reason. The benefits that new mothers report experiencing, have positively impacted their physical and emotional recovery and thus, easing their transition into motherhood. We hope that you have found the 7 reasons to encapsulate your placenta inspiring. We also hope you would trust us with this magical and beneficial process!