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February of 2010 I had several firsts. I had my first unassisted home birth. I also did something even more "taboo" than that. A few days after my 6th child was born, I ate my placenta.
Now, with that said, it is not exactly what it seems. I encapsulated it, meaning I sliced it thin and dried it (like jerky). I then ground it up with a few herbs, and then put it into capsules. I wold then take several capsules daily.
Disgusting? To many, yes.
I sure thought so the first time I heard about Placenta Encapsulation. It was a woman here on Cafemom that brought it to my attention. She is a friend of mine on CM and FB. She is a wealth of herbal and pregnancy knowledge that many go to for advice.
The first time I read about PE, I thought I would die! How could anyone even think about doing that! THEN, I began planning my UC. I was already planning everything I needed to do. Everything that I would need to be prepared for. I was doing a lot of study on pregnancy and birth. I had been for years already, but this was 100% real now. I was doing it all alone! My first UC! First time for another birth. I then decided if it was to be a first, I would go off the deep end. Time to study placenta encapsulation.
Why would I even consider it?
To read more, or see pictures, here is my blog post about it:
• Increase general energy
• Allow a quicker return to health after birth
• Increase production of breast milk
• Decrease likelihood of baby blues and post natal depression
• Decrease likelihood of iron deficiency
• Decrease likelihood of insomnia or sleep disorders
There are a variety of potential benefits to placentophagy. For one, the placenta contains vitamins and minerals that may help fight depression symptoms, such as vitamin B6. For another, the placenta is considered rich in iron and protein, which would be useful to women recovering from childbirth, and a particular benefit to vegetarian women.
Research on placentophagy is still in its infancy, although there is a large body of research beginning to develop on postpartum hormone fluctuations and health. Researchers from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) conducted a study that focused on CRH (Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone). CRH is a stress reducer, and is generally produced by the hypothalamus.
During the last trimester of pregnancy, the placenta secretes so much CRH that the levels in the bloodstream increase threefold. However, it was also discovered that postpartum women have lower than average levels of CRH, triggering depressive symptoms.(1) They concluded that the placenta secreted so much CRH that the hypothalamus stopped producing it. Once the placenta was born, it took some time for the hypothalamus to get the signal that the CRH levels were low, and to begin producing it again. This is just another sign that there is likely a biological cause for the baby blues, directly related to hormone levels.
Interestingly enough, in 1954, researchers conducted a study on 210 women who were expected to have insufficient milk supply. They gave dried placenta to the women, and discovered that 86% of them had a positive increase in their milk production within a matter of days.
Amazingly enough, I now offer placenta encapsulation and tincture services to other women as a part of one of my jobs.
What I say on my site...