On today's blog I’m going to take a minute to switch gears from fashion to talk about something that is a little taboo but, I've found over the past couple of weeks has become quite the conversation starter. I'm talking about consuming or encapsulating your placenta post baby and the added benefits it brings to your postpartum recovery.
It all started two weeks ago when one of my good blogger friends Samantha (@samantha_show) started a discussion on her insta-story about encapsulated or consuming your placenta and what did it all entail? She asked her followers if they had any experience with this holistic remedy and I had to share because I made the decision to encapsulate my placenta to help with my postpartum recovery. Fast forward to the weekend at a blogger brunch and I found the topic came up again out of the blue and there I was sharing my story over mimosas and quiche. Since there has been so much discussion on this topic I thought I'd take a postpartum break on my blog and share my experience just in case there is more soon to be moms out there interested in this not so ordinary remedy.
When I became pregnant I was met with many emotions. I feared post baby I would encounter even more and I may not be able to handle navigating the emotional overload. I am one who typically buries the emotions I don't feel like dealing with at the moment. Then when forced to deal with them they all come crashing down on me at once. It happened when I got married, I focused all my energy on the planning of my wedding and I didn't take the time to think about the change in my life like most people do before they get married aka “cold feet" and when my wedding was all said and done and I had nothing to occupy my mind all the emotions flooded in. I was very anxious and panicky for awhile until I finally sat down to talk to someone. I did not want this to happen after birth. I wanted to enjoy the time with my little guy and not be sad all the time.
This is where my sister, a current yoga instructor and lover of anything natural and holistic, stepped into the picture and told me about placenta encapsulation. When she was studying to become a yoga instructor one of her fellow classmates had talked about this topic because it was something she decided to do and wanted to talk about the benefits. At first I will admit it sounds a little out of the ordinary and even I got that grossed out face everyone gives me when I tell them my story. Although, if you really think about it when you encapsulate your placenta it's essentially in pill form and just like the prenatals you take post baby it’s just another supplement to help you with your postpartum recovery.
With the idea planted in my head by my sister I decided to do some research. This is probably the most important step if you decide to encapsulate. You really want a professional who knows what they are doing because if this process is done improperly it can lead to bacterial infections for both you and baby. I was lucky because the same yoga friend that told my sister about encapsulation actually had a local company she trusted and used that she referred me to. The Womb Wellness Center in Solon,Oh was so helpful. They took the time to talk to me about the risks and the precautions they take to ensure a quality product and they walked me through the steps I needed to take if I decided to encapsulate and they even emailed me more information just in case I had any other concerns or questions about the process.
Sourcing the Womb Wellness website here is some of the FAQ’s about placenta encapsulation:
When is a Placenta encapsulated?
“What is Placenta Encapsulation?
Placenta Encapsulation is the process of preparing a women's placenta into pills for her to consume during the weeks and months following her birth. The ingestion of the placenta is known as “placentophagy.” Many people believe that the purpose of placentophagy by the mother is to reintroduce the beneficial vitamins, minerals, hormones, proteins, and other nutrients to her body following labor and birth to help restore balance, hasten recovery, and boost her sense of well being.
How are Placenta Pills Prepared?
Placenta pills are prepared by first separating the membranes and umbilical cord from the placenta. Then the placenta is rinsed and drained of maternal and fetal blood. Next the placenta is dehydrated, ground into fine pieces, and placed into capsules for the mother to ingest as she sees fit.
When is a Placenta encapsulated?
Ideally within 24-72 hours following birth.
How many placenta pills does a placenta produce?
Depending on the size of the placenta, it may produce anywhere from 90-175 pills.
When is placenta encapsulation contraindicated?
-If a women developed a uterine infection or fever during her birth
-If the placenta has been taken to pathology
-When the placenta is improperly stored after birth
-If you have the following diseases: HIV, Gonorrhea, Syphilis, Chlamydia, Hep B or C.
Placenta Encapsulation Services Include:
-Pick-up of placenta to be encapsulated
-Placenta preparation and encapsulation
-Proper storage container for placenta pills
-Written instructions for storage and handling of placenta pills
-Delivery of finished placenta pills to your home
What do I have to do with my Placenta after it is delivered?
Once the placenta is inspected and released, the placenta should be placed in an enclosed container (ziplock bag or plastic container). It must be refrigerated or placed on ice until we can arrange a time for pick up. The placenta can only be store in the refrigerator for 48 hours, any longer the placenta must be frozen.”
In my experience I made sure to let my doctor know I wanted to encapsulate and it was written into my birth plan. We did hear that some hospitals will put the placenta on ice for you but to bring a cooler to the hospital just incase. My husband and I purchased one of those styrofoam mini coolers you can get at Walmart for about $5. We also bought a two gallon ziploc bag to put the placenta in just incase as well.
On the day of my birth my delivery nurse was very helpful prepping the placenta because she actually had a daughter that had her placenta encapsulated for two of her children. She helped us bag it up and put it on ice. The only issue we had was the placenta was not allowed into our recovery room it had to stay in the birthing suite or we would have had to put it in the car until the Womb Wellness specialist came to pick it up.
Some benefits of encapsulating your placenta:
-Restoration of iron levels in the blood
-Increase in milk production
-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 postpartum depression levels
In my experience I did not notice an increase in energy or milk production when taking the pill. But I did notice that my stress level and my anxiety were minimal. In my husbands words, “I'm not saying it works but the last time you cried for no reason was the day you got the pills.” I also noticed when I went back to work I was definitely sad but I was not anxious leaving my baby behind. As far as postpartum depression or those baby blues I would say it really helped and that's the main reason I wanted to encapsulate in the first place. Also an interesting note, my delivery nurses daughter had three kids, she did not encapsulate with the first and did suffer from the baby blues so she decided to encapsulate for her second and she noticed a big difference which led her to continue encapsulating for her third.
I hope this helps if anyone is considering placenta encapsulation. Also its important to note I'm no expert but encapsulating was right for me and my birth plan and postpartum recovery. Everyone is different and there is no right or wrong way to take on your postpartum recovery it's whatever you feel comfortable with and whatever will make you happy and healthy to enjoy your time with your new addition. If you have any more questions please feel free to drop me a comment and I will be happy to answer!
Photos by: Ashley Shaw
Photos by: Ashley Shaw
(#momlife tee from Old Navy)