When I gave birth to my first child seven years ago, I had heard of the benefits of consuming the placenta. So my partner Pete, a chef, lovingly prepared little bite-sized pieces for me to take daily. However, I am a vegetarian and lasted one day before the “ick” factor made this just too unpleasant.
When we had our second child in 2012, we did more research, and this time prepared the placenta according to principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine by first steaming it, then dehydrating it and powdering it. Not only were the resulting capsules were much more palatable, but the difference in my recovery was remarkable!
I didn’t get the three day weepies when my milk came in, my energy levels were amazing, and my emotions were on an even keel.
I was completely convinced when I had a very emotional afternoon two weeks in; Pete asked me if I had taken my capsules that day, and I realised I had forgotten. This blew me away, and I knew how much difference this could make to people’s post-natal period if they were aware of it.
We spend so much time getting things ready for the baby – the clothes, the nursery – that the postnatal period isn’t given much thought so it can sometimes come as a shock when the hormones drop and the emotions hit us after the baby is here. The placenta is full of nutrients and hormones that support recovery in the post-natal period, including Prostaglandins which are anti-inflammatory, Prolactin to promote lactation, Thyroid Stimulating Hormone to boost energy, Interferon, which heightens the immune system, and Oxytocin, the feel-good bonding hormone.
So after my awesome experience and at the urging of my midwife, I started offering Placenta Encapsulation for others, and “Placenta Vitality” was born.
Now four years later I am doubly certified with both Placenta Benefits and the Association of Placenta Preparation Arts, I sit on the board for Placenta Services Australia and I am a proud advocate of encapsulation. When I tell people about it the reactions are mixed – and if you had told me a few years ago that I would be doing this, I wouldn’t have believed you, so I get.
Usually the first response is ‘Euw!!’, but upon hearing that we are one of the only mammals who don’t eat our placenta, and then all the benefits of doing so, people start to get a little curious. And when I explain that it’s taken in powered and capsule form, then that makes it much easier to stomach for most people.
I pick up the placenta within 24 hours of birth, and then return it 24 hours later in capsules in a pretty blue glass jar, It’s just like taking a supplement and it bears no relation to what it used to be. You can even choose between plain or berry flavoured capsules.
The popularity of this once hippie practice has boomed since celebrities such as January Jones and Kim Kardashian have been vocal about their positive experiences with placenta encapsulation.
Clients come from all walks of life, home births, hospital births, caesarian births, twins, medicated and unmedicated births, and the feedback has been amazing. Usually mums are surprised at their energy levels and also their emotions, especially second-time mums who didn’t encapsulate for their first birth. Many of my past clients are happily spreading the love after their experience with placenta encapsulation:
Cathryn, of Sunshine Beach says “A few years back there is no way I would have done this, it made me a little…okay a lot squeamish”. After hearing about the benefits and doing some of her own research and keen for any support to make the postnatal period easier with her second child she thought she would give it a go. She noticed a huge difference in how she felt postnatally compared to how she felt after her first birth. “I felt level and grounded, despite the sleep deprivation and demands of life that continue……And my tummy! I couldn’t believe how quickly my tummy went down”.
“With the first two I had a full six weeks of bleeding, and with this one, three weeks and it was done” says Carrie of Coolum, mum of three and encapsulating for the first time. Carrie also found the capsules increased her breastmilk supply. However she was most surprised by the energy she had, after taking her capsules she felt “supercharged and full of energy”, not something she thought she would feel with three children under 5.
Following the birth of her first baby Alex of Doonan suffered a postpartum haemorrhage. She took her placenta capsules and says “Given the situation I was in after a severe haemorrhage, I felt quite good and the doctors were very surprised that my iron levels were back to normal after 2 weeks rather than the expected 6 weeks.” Placenta is not only high in iron, but the iron is very bioavailable iron. I believe it is nature’s way of replacing the body’s own iron stores.
It is my dream is that more and more women hear about Placenta Encapsulation, and that it becomes a normalised option for women who are seeking to support themselves in the postnatal period. As I like to say “Don’t waste it ~ Encapsulate it!”