Lions do it. Bears do it. Even some Kardashians do it. Placenta encapsulation has generated much hype in recent years and celebrities, mommy bloggers, and maybe even some of your friends have touted the benefits of placental consumption left and right: energy producer! mood booster! milk supply enhancer! You might be thinking, “could there really be a magic pill to address all difficulties of new motherhood?” Or perhaps you’re caught up on the contents of the little brown pill, asking, “is it safe?” or, “can I really stomach it? It grew IN my body!” Fear not, every-woman. I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to be a wild animal, nor a millionairess to consume your placenta. I’m here to give you some tools to get past the ick factor.
If in the end you think it’s right for you, (this is YOUR choice, after all!), or if you find you have more questions, give me a call. We might all be mammals, but I want you to have the information you need before deciding to take this primal step.
Here are some tools to get you started:
1. Understand that placenta encapsulation is not regulated, but it CAN be safe! Ask your encapsulator (yes, metoo!) what their sanitation protocol involves. I make sure mine is public because I want to be transparent with my clients and I want them to have all the information they need. Without mandated regulations (and I would argue, even with!), you must take responsibility for your own peace of mind when consuming products – internally or otherwise. Feel free to view my sanitation protocol here.
If it’s important to you to feel safe with my services (beyond just reading about them), or to feel safe with my character (beyond what you can find in my bio), perhaps it’s best we meet inperson or talk on the phone about how, exactly, I will treat your placenta. I promise that it will always be safe and sanitary, but if you have concerns, let me meet you where you’re at.
Regardless of who you choose to encapsulate your placenta, make sure you ask questions and make sure your questions are answered! Some of my frequently asked questions include:
• When will you pick up my placenta?
• How do I need to store it before you arrive?
• What if there is meconium staining on the placenta?
• What if I test positive for Group B Strep?
• How do I talk to the hospital about having you take my placenta?
• Where do you encapsulate my placenta?
• How long will it take?
• What is the recommended dosage?
• How should I store my capsules?
Feel free to visit my FAQ page for answers to these questions and more, or email, text, or call me for more information.
2. Take heart: you can outsource the “gross” part. Look, I’m a self-described placenta nerd. I’d love to show you all the parts of the magnificent, you-grown organ that sustained your child’s life inside the womb. I understand that isn’t for everyone. It kind of looks like blood-soaked beef covered in membranes. No part of that sounds beautiful or appetizing. The great part is, you don’t have to deal with the raw materials because I will do it for you!
By the time your placenta gets back to you, it’ll be in the form of 80-300 brown little pills that look like multivitamins, stored in an amber glass bottle. Your capsules may smell a little earthy and they may taste slightly of blood-rich meat, but if you take and swallow the capsules quickly without letting them sit in your mouth, you probably won’t be bothered by the taste. Take them with juice or flavored water to mask the metallic taste even more. It goes without saying that sometimes what’s good for us isn’t entirely appetizing. Think fish oil, or green vegetables for kids.
If you absolutely cannot get over the thought of consuming your own body’s material, let’s talk. Maybe a healing salve infused with placenta is right for you, maybe you can have the capsules prepared and decide later if you want to take them, or maybe you could just bury your placenta and plant a tree with it. There are several ways you can give yourself this gift and I’m here to help you find which way is best for you.
3. Do your research and do so creatively. I’ll be frank: you won’t find much in the way of academic research on the benefits/hazards of placenta encapsulation. And if it’s important to you to have the AMA’s stamp of approval on placental consumption, maybe my services aren’t right for you. Though mammals and humans have been consuming their placentas for millennia, and though more modern women are choosing to consume these precious organs, the medical and academic communities haven’t quite been able to get past the ick either and they don’t want to spend much money on the research, and thus we lack studies that show hard evidence of the benefits of placental consumption.
This doesn’t mean you can’t make an informed decision. Become the investigator. Uncover the answer yourself. To date, most of what you will find regarding the benefits of placental consumption is anecdotal — so use it! Ask your friends or friends of friends what their experience was like. Ask them how taking placenta capsules made them feel, if they experienced negative side-effects, if it tasted super gross, if their encapsulator seemed informed, if they experienced some or all of the touted benefits, and if they would do it again! If you’re nervous, start by reading my testimonials. And if you’re struggling to find someone in your own circle who has consumed their placenta, let me know. I might be able to put you in contact with a few women who have.
Following are some commonly held beliefs about the benefits of placental consumption. Feel free to test these against the anecdotes you gather:
• Balances hormones
• Increases energy
• Increases and enriches milk supply
• Decreases postpartum bleeding
• Helps increase iron levels
• Helps with sleeping problems
• Helps tone your uterus back to normal size
The placenta is rich in nutrients and filled with natural hormones you quickly lose after childbirth. Ingesting the placenta helps balance that immediate loss and allows your body to slowly adapt to such a change. Read more about the “ingredients” that give the placenta its healing properties here.
4. Prepare to tell your family. Or not. If you have a partner on your parenting journey, you’ll probably discuss your placenta encapsulation decision with them. And if you’re super close with some relatives, it may seem natural to tell them too. Be prepared for backlash. Our parents grew up and grew us in a time of hyper-sterilization, and the decision to consume your placenta may seem ridiculously new-age to your loved ones. Remember, this is your decision to make and if negativity from others will do nothing but put stress on you as a new mom, you don’t have to tell!
The benefits may be so great for you that you want to shout it to the world! If you’re anything like me, you’ll even bring it up at the dinner table (warning: not for the faint of heart). If that’s the case, and I hope it is, be sure to go prepared. Bring with you the anecdotes you’ve gathered and the research you’ve done. Let them know you were once wary, too, and show them why you changed your mind.
5. Remember that placenta pills are not a cure-all. Many of my clients endearingly refer to their placenta capsules as “mama’s happy pills.” I love hearing this! I believe in the benefits of placenta capsules because I’ve seen them work. But a note of caution: though the nutrients and hormones in your placenta may help stave off the baby blues and though the pills may help establish and enrich your milk supply, your pills are not a cure-all!
Before you have your baby, make a postpartum plan. That you’re reading this blog is an indication you already are! But beyond answering the questions, “what will I do with my placenta,” and “can I really consume that?” be sure to set up your support network. Think about who will help you initiate breastfeeding. Arrange for childcare if you have younger children. Fill your freezer with ready-to-go meals. When allowing visitors over (everyone loves a new baby!) kindly ask if they can complete a chore for you or throw a meal in the oven. Your job is to love and feed and nurture yourself and the new life you’ve birthed. Don’t play host. Let others care for you in the way you want to be cared for. Make specific asks. What do YOU need to mother the way that you envision? I’d be so happy if placenta encapsulation is part of that vision for you, but remember that other acts of self-care are just as important.
Placenta encapsulation is for the every-woman because every woman is a mammal. But we have the unique ability as humans to choose which primal behaviors to allow and which seem icky and animalistic. If you think you can move past the ick factor, or if you need further information to be convinced, call me, read through my website, email me or text. Allow me to meet you where you are.
By: Rebecca Burkett, Originally posted on Gold Coast Doula‘s Blog