When people hear about placenta encapsulation, they tend to wonder what would make someone want to do something like that. From celebrities to average people like you and me, people all over the world are utilizing their placenta during their postpartum recovery, and it has many people wondering: “Is this for me?”
Let’s start with what it is. Placenta encapsulation is the process by which the placenta is examined, cleaned, dehydrated and then placed into capsules for the mother to take, as little or as often as she desires. Some people think this new and a “fad” because of its current popularity, but this practice has been around for centuries as a way to replenish much-needed nutrients, mainly iron and protein. After the birth of baby, humans, at least in the western world, are one of the few land mammals that do not consume their placentas.
There are two main methods of preparing a placenta, each with its own benefits. To decide which method would benefit you the most, talk to your specialist, or try them both! This can easily be done if you specify beforehand that you would prefer to have this option.
The first method, the “Raw Method”, involves cleaning the placenta, removing the membranes and cord and then draining the excess blood. After draining blood, the placenta is cut into thin strips and dehydrated. Because this method leaves a little more blood behind, more than the TCM inspired method, the dehydration process takes a bit longer to complete. However, using the Raw Method creates a very nutrient and hormone dense capsule and a high yield. This method is generally not recommended for women with a history of anxiety, jitters, insomnia, or bipolar tendencies because it can result in an overwhelming feeling.
Next we have the Traditional Chinese Medicine Inspired Method (TCM). This process is exactly the same as the Raw Method except for one added step, gently steaming the placenta before processing. This preparation is thought to bring out the placenta’s healing and tonifying properties to the uterus. TCM Inspired capsules offer a more balanced, mellow flow of hormones back to the mother. This is a better option for those who already suffer from anxiety since the RAW method may contain concentrated hormones from the body and cause more emotional upset. Generally, this method yields a smaller amount of capsules, but not by much. Why “inspired” and not simply TCM? The true TCM process involves adding herbs like lemon, ginger and hot pepper to the steaming process. It is thought to bring more warmth to the placenta and provide additional benefits. However, I am not a trained herbalist and I do not know which particular herbs the mother’s body will require, or possibly have an adverse reaction to, so I choose to skip this step. I would hate for a new mom to have a negative reaction due to an herb, and then her capsules be rendered useless. However, I do offer the option for you to seek the opinion of a trained herbalist to advise you on the right herbs if you truly want it.
For those who don’t want to decide between the two methods I offer, you can choose the 50/50 route and have half your placenta prepared with the Raw Method, and the other half with the TCM inspired method. This gives you the option to experience both options and truly customize your dosage, maximizing all the benefits that both methods offer.
Now that we have talked about what it is, and the methods used, let’s talk about why, because the potential benefits are really where it’s at. So what would convince anyone want to do this? The amazing possible benefits. The placenta contains a large amount of crucial hormones and iron that normally leave our body with its delivery, and by encapsulating the placenta, you return these back into the body and help stabilize your system. Although results vary from woman to woman, some of the reported benefits are:
Although the vast majority of moms have nothing but positive things to say about their experience with placenta capsules, there are the rare negative side effects that some moms experience, such as:
The best part about all this? You can get all these benefits without having to ever touch or look at your own placenta! I am a trained specialist that can prepare your “happy” pills for you without inconveniencing you one bit. It can be done in your home, or in my designated prep area at my home, whichever you desire. The whole process takes about 2-3 days and will cost you around $150 in our local area of Anchorage, Alaska. I also serve Wasilla Eagle River, and Palmer for a small travel fee. Or, if you want to save some money and bring it to me and pick up the capsules once it is prepared, I offer a $20 discount for those who are willing. In another blog, I will be discussing hiring a placenta specialist vs. doing it yourself and trying to save some money.
Generally speaking, it is very safe to have your placenta encapsulated, but there are some small risks that need to be mentioned. They are similar to the risks involving food-borne illnesses, like:
So is placenta encapsulation for you? If the proper protocols are followed and there are no contraindications, then you are a perfect candidate for placenta encapsulation! Placenta encapsulation is an investment that could potentially be the difference between looking back on the postpartum months with fond memories, or remembering an overwhelming anxiety and unstable emotions. Very few women reported feeling no effect from their placenta pills, the vast majority of women report that placenta pills helped them in their postpartum recovery. So it’s worth a shot! What do you think?
Sarah is a work at home mom with three beautiful boys, two dogs, and a loving husband. She is a certified childbirth educator, placenta specialist, and creates custom, high quality keepsakes made from breastmilk, placenta powder, cremation ashes, and so much more.