Ever heard of those people who ingest their placenta? Well, I've officially joined that band wagon and I'm pretty darn happy I did.
Some people think its appalling, some people think its absolutely disgusting, some people think its a weird hippy thing, and then theres this group of people who love placentas and all their glory and choose to ingest them, plant them, save them, encapsulate them, etc. I've definitely joined that group of people. Even celebrities like Jillian Harris encapsulated her placenta!
But WHY would anyone desire to do that, you might wonder. Well there's some benefits to encapsulating/ingesting your placenta. Here's a list of them from the American Pregnancy Association
- Increased release of the hormone oxytocin, which helps the uterus return to normal size and encourages bonding with the infant
- Increase in CRH, a stress-reducing hormone
- Decrease in post-partum depression levels
- Restoration of iron levels in the blood
- Increase in milk production
If you had asked me 3 years ago if I would encapsulate my placenta, I probably would have thought you were insane and I would have been thoroughly disgusted. Now that I'm in the birth community, I've learned so much and continue to learn so much, I've learned to appreciate a woman's body, birth and it encompasses and I've got a special place in my heart for placentas. They truly are amazing... I mean, our bodies grow an entire organ out of essentially nothing, it feeds and nourishes our baby the entire time that little baby lives inside of us and when the placenta is born it literally is built like a tree of life. BEAUTIFUL.
So here's why I decided to encapsulate my placenta and why I will do it again.
When I was pregnant with Jackson, I looked into having someone encapsulate my placenta for me. Looking into it further I found out that there were claimed benefits like increased milk supply, decreased post-natal depression, increased iron, assisting with uterine contraction, etc. Although I didn't get my placenta encapsulated with Jackson, I wish I had. So when we found out we were pregnant with our second, I immediately signed up for having it done. Then we decided to move 6 months into my pregnancy so I had to find another person to do it for me in Powell River. I met Jenny from Nu-Mama and arranged to have her encapsulate my placenta. She was so awesome and efficient!! And she brought an umbilical keepsake of Jaana's cord shaped into a heart.
After dealing with some postpartum depression for a few months with Jackson, I was determined to do whatever I could to take more time to focus on my mental health after Jaana arrived, this was probably the number one reason I wanted to encapsulate my placenta. I can definitely say that my mood has been so much better right off the bat with Jaana, whether that is all due to my consuming my placenta, or just more awareness of the signs and symptoms or a combination of both, I don't really know. All I know is that I feel good. I definitely say that I feel more energized, I have tons of milk and my uterus shrivelled up like a raisin within 2 days!
Interestingly enough I thought Jake would 100% tease me for doing it, but he was actually totally on board with me doing it because he saw how bad I struggled with the PPD. I'm all about holistic medicine and healing, and I wanted to do something more natural, so whats the harm in taking my placenta in pill form? Nothing. Watching the reactions of my parents, in-laws and siblings though was hilarious when I told them I was encapsulating my placenta.
At the end of the day, placentophagy (the act of consuming your placenta) is not for everyone and that's ok! There really aren't many studies on the benefits/risks, but it has been practiced for centuries. Humans are actually the only mammal that doesn't regularly consume their placentas after their babies are born. But Jaana is almost a month old and I only have a few more pills left to take and I wish I had more!
I'll definitely be encapsulating my placenta again when we decide to have baby #3.