Yeah – the entire organ doesn’t just chill in there. Don’t worry.
I’m talkin’ CAPSULES.
Before my first daughter was born, in the midst of my constant googling of all things birth, I came across placenta encapsulation. People raved about it helping with the hormone imbalance and postpartum depression that came along in the first few days, weeks, or months after birth. Uh, yes, interested!
The body is so freaking amazing. Let’s break this down.
A woman’s body literally grows a new organ to give a baby exactly what he/she needs every day until birth.
The placenta is even examined post-birth because it can tell the story of your pregnancy.
And then? It’s thrown in the trash! Gasp! The horror.
I held on to that sucker - TWICE - even though everyone I told thought I was crazy. Here’s why:
It contains small amounts of oxytocin (AKA the “love” or “bonding” or “cuddle” hormone) that helps you bond with your baby and eases the stress of birth.
That oxytocin also stimulates the ejection of milk into the breast for nursing.
The placenta can also help replenish depleted iron levels…
…help the uterus return to pre-pregnancy state and …
…overall balance post-pregnancy hormones!
Eating your placenta doesn’t have to be as gross as it sounds. PROMISE.
I had heard of people eating their placenta before but I assumed they dried and froze pieces of the organ and were adding it to their smoothies in the morning. Which some people do. But that totally grossed me out. Encapsulation was amazing because I wouldn’t have to taste it or even look at it.
Here are the steps I went through
1. I found someone certified in placenta encapsulation, read about her experience and method, and made arrangements and payment. She sends me a cooler and instructions each time so I know exactly what to do. (which reminds me, I need to bring this to the hospital!) If you are local to Philly - I use Heather at Placenta Encapsulation Services - twice so far, and one more on the way. In fact, I COMPLETELY forgot about this until a few days before my due date with this one and she is such a doll and getting me what I need ASAP.
2. She has picked up the placenta from the hospital each day I birthed. I just had to make sure that my midwife and staff knew that I wanted it saved. I brought the provided cooler with me to the hospital and the nurses helped me package it up with some ice (from the hospital). Would I be lying if I said I remembered to tell her I was in labor? Yes. I forget EVERY TIME. lol. But she is amazing and is still somehow able to make arrangements to meet me even if I accidentally tell her after the baby is born. My husband will get a call from the specialist and he (or my doula) will take the cooler downstairs to her car waiting outside.
3. The placenta is always cleaned, steamed, dehydrated, ground and then stuffed into capsules. You will see that there are many, many methods for this process. Ultimately, you have to check out the pros and cons for both and figure out which one speaks to you most - some will do a ‘raw’ method, some ‘steamed’ and some will offer you the choice. (I do ‘steamed’ because it kills the most bacteria and I am always Group B Strep positive...so, just extra precaution)
4. My capsules arrive in the mail in 3 days. Fortunately, the day I get home from the hospital is usually when they arrive - and I choose the option to have a signature on delivery to make sure I get them (my packages are ALWAYS stolen)! I’m sure some specialists will deliver them to you, but I am fine with this option.
Other things worth knowing
This jar of pills lasts freaking forever. I took 1-3 pills a day in the first week after delivery, and then tapered to 1 a day, and then only if I felt weepy or emotional.
After this initial set - I bring them back out again whenever I feel I need a boost in milk supply.
Oh, a question I always get is - what do they taste like? I’m not going to lie - not amazing. To me - they taste metallic. But I just try to suck it down as quickly as possible with a smoothie to try to mask some of that metal taste.
And why do I keep them in the freezer? To preserve them and keep them fresh.