Placenta. Encapsulation. Just let that soak in.
I first heard of placenta encapsulation 4 years ago when I was pregnant with my daughter. My birth teacher told us about the potential benefits- everything from boosting milk supply to lessened postpartum bleeding to helping to ease or avoid the baby blues and postpartum mood disorders. It was….interesting. She gave us the information, and I nodded politely. When my husband and I got in the car, I looked at him and said, “heck to the no”.
You see, I have a weak stomach. I cook daily dinners with gloves and tongs to avoid touching raw meat, and as a bonus: swallowing pills makes me gag. I say this all to say that, yes, I initially thought placenta encapsulation was beyond icky. And along with that, I didn’t believe I would need any of the potential benefits we had learned about. I was blissfully ignorant about what the postpartum period is actually like for many moms. I anticipated a wonderful time of joyfully snuggling with my newborn as we began our beautiful breastfeeding relationship and transitioned into motherhood.
The reality was, after my daughter was born, I struggled. I struggled with breastfeeding. I was crying with every feeding. The baby blues hit hard for the first few weeks of motherhood, but the worst part was my lingering postpartum anxiety. I couldn’t leave my daughters side- even for a minute- without worrying that she would go hungry or be inconsolable in someone else’s arms. I would avoid walking on concrete while holding her for fear of dropping her. I would stare at her as she slept to be sure she was breathing. I struggled with anxiety for months.
Fast forward 3 years later, we found out we were pregnant with our second baby. This time around, I had no doubt I would be encapsulating my placenta. Many things brought me to this point. I had become much more educated about the benefits of encapsulation due to teaching childbirth classes myself for the past 3 years. Secondly, almost all of my students who had utilized placenta encapsulation were thrilled with their experiences. However, the biggest reason was because I knew how my body had reacted to the hormonal changes that come with giving birth, and I wanted to give my family our best chance at a smooth transition.
I can’t say enough good things about my experience with encapsulation. After 5 weeks, I have almost completely weaned off of my pills. I absolutely feel there were measurable benefits (and am happy to report there is NO smell or aftertaste- whew!). My milk production has been great, and the baby blues were much more manageable. In fact, every time I would forget to take a dose, my husband would know based on my behavior. (Thankfully, he was smart about pointing it out gently!) My anxiety has been much less, and though I know I’m not completely out of the woods for a postpartum mood disorder, I am feeling much more confident in regulating my emotions. I’m not claiming it’s a cure-all, but it did help me. This is something I never would have considered 4 years ago, but I am so thankful now that I was able to see past the “ick factor” to reap the many benefits of encapsulation.
So there it is. I have admitted to the world on the internet that I am, in fact, a placentavore. I ate my own placenta- and I would do it again- Every. Single. Time.
Would you consider placenta encapsulation?
**This post is a reflection of my own experience- I am by no means an expert. Our OKC community is blessed to have MANY women who are well qualified and trained in placenta preparation. Please reach out to them if you are interested in having your placenta encapsulated or if you have any questions.**