Ok, ok, I get it -- you've read the title of this post and either cringed or were intrigued. Whatever you're thinking thus far, know that I understand that what I am about to discuss may not be for you, it may not even be something you believe in at all, (or support - I see you medical field personnel - well some of you) and well, that's ok. Just know that I didn't think it was for me either until I heard how much it helped other moms who encapsulated their placentas and truthfully I probably would have never considered it IF I hadn't gone through hell and back with my first born.
What Is It:
In short, placenta encapsulation is where you take your placenta after delivering your baby, give it to someone (like a doula) who drys and encapsulates it for you to take home, ingest and normalize your hormones among other benefits (see below).
Why I Did It:
With my first born I had quite the difficult time. I mean, try being a new mom with a colicky baby for the first 3 - 4 months, who would scream/cry as if her body was slowly being wrung out like a dish towel between the hours of 9pm and 4am and then add severe postpartum depression (PPD), (which I wouldn't dare admit I was experiencing in the moment but looking back should have definitely got some help) on top of my exhaustion and frustration and tell me you wouldn't try something that many people raved about that helped them (again, check out thee benefits below).
Alas, baby number two and placenta encapsulation it was!
Benefits of Placenta Encapsulation:
Can speed up mother's postpartum recovery
May aid breastfeeding by enhancing breastmilk supply
Helps uterus return to original shape and size
Regulates postpartum hormones
Helps prevent baby blues and postpartum depression
Minimizes postpartum bleeding
Increases iron levels/decrease anemia risk
How I did It:
We had heard about this trend from one of my fiancé's friends at work who raved about how much it helped his wife with their second born. We started doing some research ourselves to see if it would be something worth trying based on my history and it totally seemed like it was - so we went ahead with it. Full disclosure: it sounded too good to be true , like a miracle pill to be honest; however, I was desperate to NOT feel how I did with my first born so whether what I experienced was a placebo effect, the real deal or nothing at all, I was going to give it a go.
We actually ended up using the same services as the said friend, Graceful Birth Doula's Placenta Services. Our Doula Grace, hence the name Graceful Birth Doula Services, is an APPA Certified Placenta Specialist (APPAC) in the Traditional (TM), Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), and Raw Dehydrated methods of placenta encapsulation and Tincture. She is fully trained in Food Safety (A certification approved by the Ontario Ministry of Health) and has extensive knowledge and experience having helped hundreds of families through pregnancy, postpartum and breastfeeding so I felt confident going along with encapsulating my placenta with her.
Essentially what happens is this, (more in depth instructions are included when you choose to encapsulate but bare with me here):
You collect your placenta and hold-on to it until the Doula arrives to pick-up
The Doula picks it up, drys it and encapsulates it
When it's ready (about two days-ish), she drops it off at your home with instructions on dosage, storage, coupons, samples and a small pack of newborn pampers diapers!
.. and then friends, you begin to take the pills. 1 - 2 of them, 3 times a day with food.
On day one, I started with one pill at lunch to see how I felt and another at dinner. I felt ok, nothing drastic but relatively good. The next morning I started with two pills after breakfast and then two after lunch and noticed I was in great spirits and had an impressive amount of energy, (even with the less sleep I had been getting) to do things like clean and do laundry all with a smile on my face - I was genuinely happy and felt normal. That may seem like a silly thing to say, I FELT HAPPY and NORMAL, when investing in encapsulation but for me, someone who had a history of baby blues and PPD, feeling happy and normal after having a baby was my ultimate goal out of trying this so I consider it a big WIN.
Would I Do It Again:
You guessed it, yes, yes I would. I will say a few things though... of all the benefits that placenta encapsulation claims, here is what I personally experienced:
My milk came in FASTER than it did with my first and I had plenty more after I started taking the pills
I noticed that my uterus returned to its original shape and size much quicker than it did with my first born
I definitely had more energy after taking the pills and noticed a decrease in my energy if I accidentally skipped my pills
Overall I had a great mood - no PPD mood swings or snappiness.
Now if you've gotten this far in the post, thank you and congratulations - I am almost done BUT, before I let you go I want to know is if you would ever or have ever encapsulated or perhaps ingested your placenta raw, like in a smoothie (yes, that is also a thing), why YOU did it, and if you would ever do it again.
There haven’t been any scientific studies that prove that humans who eat their placenta (in any form) is helpful. In anecdotal research most (around 75%) people have eaten it claim to have: