While placenta encapsulation is a more human-friendly way of going about it, placentophagy – the act of mammals eating the placenta of their young after childbirth – isn’t a new phenomenon.
With the exception of sea lions, whales, and camels, all mammals consume their afterbirth. There are several theories as to why, but according to one study done with rats, placenta consumption helped to reduce postpartum pain in the mothers.
There are even cosmetic companies that use human placenta in their preparations. Placenta facial serums fetch as much as $175. The placentas used in these preparations are derived from foreign countries such as China and Russia. Often without the mothers consent or knowledge. Placentas contain stem cells, amino acids, proteins, minerals and more. All of which are believed to nourish the skin. It’s a little known secret that placenta preparations are a huge hit within celebrity circles.
There is the traditional method of placenta encapsulation which involves steaming, dehydrating, grinding up and placing the placenta into capsules. Another option is the raw method which involves dehydrating without steaming.
What are the benefits of consuming your placenta?
There are virtually no studies that examine the effects of placentophagy in humans. It would be challenging to conduct a scientific study like this. That being said, because I like numbers, I decided to embark upon a placentophagy research in an attempt to understand it better. The research has shown that placenta encapsulation and consuming your own placenta has the following benefits:
- Faster milk production due to the high levels of hormones including prolactin
- Helps prevent postpartum depression thanks to hormones like the corticotropin-releasing hormone which drops significantly after the birth of the placenta
- Balances hormones and energy levels
- Increases iron levels
- Shorter postpartum bleeding time due to oxytocin and urokinase inhibiting factor and factor XIII
- Reduction of pain due to oxytocin which has an opioid like effect
- Promotes a sense of wellbeing from the natural progesterone and cortisone content
My personal placentophagy experience
While we are waiting for numbers, studies and statistics, I will share my personal experience. I have birthed 9 children. With my most recent, I decided to try placenta consumption based on personal research. I have a history of the all too common, baby blues as well as clinically diagnosed postpartum depression. I also tend to bleed more than I would like postpartum.
I swallowed pea sized chunks with water three times a day for a week. Thankfully, they had no taste and went down smoothly. After the first week, I took 2 placenta capsules three times a day for about 2 weeks.
- My milk came on day 3 which is typical for me.
- My lochia was lighter than with my previous children.
- I experienced the baby blues, however it was not as intense as I remembered it to be.
- When I missed a dose, I could tell because I began to feel like a yo-yo.
- I did not suffer from postpartum depression this time.
Overall, I feel as though I had an easier time adjusting to my newly non-pregnant state than with previous births. I wish that I could prove or disprove that consuming my placenta had something to do with that. For now, I will continue to gather data and experiences from other moms in an attempt to try to put solve this puzzle.
To find a placenta encapsulation specialist in your area, you can use the directory at Placenta Benefits.
Article by Claire Rembis