Human placentophagy, or consumption of the placenta, is defined as, “The ingestion of a human placenta postpartum, at any time, by any person, either in raw or altered (e.g., cooked, dried, steeped in liquid) form.”
Just a Fad or For Real?
You’ve seen the comments about this practice all over social media:
“Girl…you know Kim Kardashian did it, you totally should too….”
“Oh, so you’re one of THOSE crunchy hippie-like mamas…”
This is not a new thing, friends! Mammals have eaten their placentas for hundreds and thousands of years.
Personally, I don’t care about celebrities. What I know from my personal experience and witnessing multiple friends become new mamas is that any new mama deserves the absolute best advantage for postpartum recovery possible.
I struggled after baby #1 arrived. And I’ve witnessed far too many mama friends struggle with a whole variety of issues post birth so I’m all for doing anything possible to give a new mama and her sweet babe a boost.
There are many benefits of Placenta Encapsulation, such as alleviating postpartum depression, regulating hormones, helping postpartum healing, increasing milk supply, and more.
The placenta contains a myriad of nutrients and hormones that assist with recovery and help to nourish baby after birth.
The list is impressive, shares Amy Brooks Murphy, local mama of four and childbirth educator with Before and After the Birth:
- gonadotrohpin – the precursor to estrogen, progesterone and testosterone
- prolactin – promotes lactation
- oxytocin – produced during breastfeeding and promotes bonding of mother and infant
- thyroid stimulating hormone – boosts energy and helps recover from stress
- cortisone – combats stress and unlocks stores of energy
- hemoglobin – replenishes iron deficiency and anemia
- gammaglobulin – immune booster that helps protect against postpartum infections
- urokinase inhibiting factor and factor XII – stops bleeding and enhances wound healing
Many of these hormones are linked to Postpartum Depression and other health issues for new mamas. So call me crazy if you’d like, but I’m willing to try to avoid anything to make life easier post-birth.
My experience with placenta encapsulation was extremely positive.
My first baby was born 6 years ago. I didn’t advocate for myself strongly enough in the hospital and therefore my placenta went straight into the trash. Subsequently, the postpartum period looked a lot like this:
Crazy hormones. All over the board. To the extreme.
Sadness. Feelings of despair and isolation.
Tears. Free-flowing. Sobbing over every.single.thing. Crying over something as insignificant as someone asking me if I had a chance to shower yet.
Post-partum Anxiety. (For too many new mamas, Post Partum Depression is very real. For me, it was evidenced in generalized anxiety.).
Night sweats. (Waking up soaked every day wasn’t as big of an issue as the anxiety the laundry provoked. Which thanks to the anxiety led me to question my ability to care for my newborn. Not truth. But it was my reality back then.)
Hair loss. Clumps in the sink, shower and everywhere in between. Another small thing but it felt BIG to me at the time.
All that and then some made for some really long days. Tough times in our marriage. And a really “foggy” first few years of my sweet babe’s life.
I did not want to go through that again.
My 2nd babe was born last June and my postpartum experience was ENTIRELY different after having my placenta encapsulated.
I felt amazing after giving birth and the only tears I cried this time were tears of joy! My hormones were more regulated and I felt stronger and more energized after the birth. I was happy, even-keeled, and didn’t experience any of the mental or physical things that I did with my first. Of course, being a seasoned mama could have made this experience easier, but I think the placenta definitely had something to do with it.
The Million Dollar Questions
When people hear that about it, they are either totally grossed out and don’t continue the conversation, or they are super intrigued and want to learn more.
Here are the top 5 questions asked:
“You really ATE your placenta?
Yes. I did! And I would do it again in a heartbeat.
There are several methods of preparation. We chose placenta encapsulation which is the most palatable and noninvasive way to consume the placenta since it provides pure placenta in an easy to take capsule. You simply take the capsules like your daily vitamins.
Was it gross?
Absolutely not. It didn’t bother me a bit. Unless I didn’t remember to take them and I could tell I was ‘off’ that day. (My six-year old once called them ‘mommy’s happy pills’.) I’m sure there are people who may notice a faint smell in the capsules but I personally didn’t think twice about it.
What made you DO something like that?”
I first learned about this practice in our Bradley Childbirth Class. Taking a Bradley Class opened my eyes to a new world of researching and studying everything I could about pregnancy, birth, labor, interventions and post-partum recovery.
Call it placebo effect or not, I’m so grateful that my experience was remarkedly better this time around. For our entire family’s sake.
Would you recommend it to your friends that are expecting?
Absolutely. But we all do what’s best for us and our family. We all make the right choice for our family based upon our beliefs so do your own research and know your options. As my wise friend Amy says, “If you don’t know your options, you don’t have any.”
This post was not sponsored by Before and After the Birth. All opinions expressed were my own and written voluntarily without compensation.