What is placenta encapsulation?
It might sound strange, but placenta encapsulation is seeing a revival. Maria Pokluda & Maryn Taylor of Dallas-Ft. Worth Placenta explain the age-old practice.
During pregnancy, women often focus on the one thing they are most excited about: the new baby. They also think about things such as where to give birth, a baby shower, choosing a doula, and decorating a nursery. In all the excitement, less thought is often given to the woman’s postpartum health and healing.
Throughout history, women in other cultures have consumed placenta products as a healing practice. This practice, called placentophagia, is becoming increasingly popular in the US as women seek out a smoother transition into motherhood.
The placenta is nutrient-dense organ. It is full of vitamins, minerals and hormonal nutrients that can help in the weeks immediately following your baby’s birth. The most common reasons why women say they are interested in consuming their placenta are to help with postpartum mood changes and to boost their milk supply. Since research shows that 1 in 7 women will experience a postpartum mood disorder, most new moms know someone who has struggled with postpartum depression or anxiety. There is a lot of anecdotal evidence that human placentophagia can help balance a woman’s hormones and help lessen the severity of her symptoms. Women also frequently report an increase in their milk supply while taking their placenta capsules.
For many women, the thought of ingesting placenta is not exactly their idea of a delicious meal. Thankfully, modern methods make ingesting it as easy as popping a pill or squeezing a few drops of liquid under your tongue. Professional placenta specialists, who are trained and certified in safe processing, will turn the raw placenta into pills. The preparation process includes cleaning and dehydrating the placenta, then grinding it into a fine powder that is put into capsules. These pills do not look any different than other supplements from your local grocer and the capsules may even come in different colors or flavours if requested.
Another way that the placenta can be consumed is via a tincture. The tincture made from a piece of the placenta that’s preserved in a high quality alcohol which draws out the hormones and minerals. This preserves the benefits of the placenta almost indefinitely, and can be used in times of hormonal imbalance such as menstruation or menopause.
While placentophagia is an ancient practice, its popularity is seeing a revival. As a result, many states have addressed this growing demand by creating laws that protect a woman’s rights to her placenta. Many hospitals have created formal policies to make the process simple and safe.
If your interest is piqued, your local placenta specialist will be able to guide you through the process and let you know what to expect at your chosen birthing venue. Remember, you will need to discuss the options with your care provider so they are informed of your wishes to encapsulate your placenta.