During my time researching about birth plans and deciding on what I really want I came across the idea of placenta encapsulation. Now, this idea was mentioned to me months ago by my (Chinese-Thai) husband who loved the idea of me eating my own afterbirth as many people do China due to the health benefits. When he first mentioned it to me I was completely adamant that this was NEVER going to happen! as I had visions of me trying to eat it like some kind of raw steak LOL.

However, after doing a bit of research on the subject this was not the case. The placenta is dried and ground into a powder and put in capsules to swallow like herbal or vitamin pills….and I thought “OK I could do that!!”.

Actually, the question of whether I could swallow it or not was not the most important factor in my decision. The most important thing was all of the benefits that the placenta can give a new mother. The placenta is full of vitamins and hormones that help stop post-natal depression, they give a mother much needed energy and help the body restore and repair itself (especially blood count and iron levels) as well as increase breast milk supply. If I can do anything to help me recover more quickly and avoid the drop in hormone levels (usually 4 or 5 days after birth) which cause many women to feel sad or depressed, then I think taking these placenta capsules are worth it. I want to be happy and healthy and although I know I am going to need lots of rest- I want to enjoy those first few weeks as much as I can!!

There are 2 ways to encapsulate the placenta- the Traditional Chinese Method (TCM) or the Raw Method. Both are dried and ground into capsules, with the raw method doing this raw (and therefore many think more vitamins are retained) or steamed first- the TCM method. The TCM method steams the placenta with lemon and chilli and this is a way to bring a warm element to the mother after birth as the body has lots of cold ‘yin’ elements in it after giving birth. Traditionally, in China and even in Europe, using the placenta as medicine after birth was a common practice. It has only been in the last century that modern medicines have replaced more natural methods and many now find the idea of using afterbirth as a medicine as weird.

I have chosen to go with my local IPEN specialist, Purely Placenta at Simply Birth. She gives a list of the nutrients in the placenta that give all of the benefits:

*Gonadotrophin - the precursor to estrogen, progesterone and testosterone
*Prolactin - promotes lactation
*Oxytocin - for pain and bonding; produced during breastfeeding to facilitate bonding of mother and infant.
In  pharmaceutical form this is a very addictive drug because it promotes a feeling of connectedness with
others and is often referred to as the "love" hormone
*Interferon - stimulates the immune system to protect against infection
*Thyroid Stimulating Hormone -  boosts energy and helps recover from stressful events
*Cortisone - combats stress and unlocks stores of energy
*Prostaglandins - anti-inflammatory
*Hemoglobin - replenishes iron deficiency and anemia
*Gammaglobulin -  immune booster that helps protect against postpartum infections
*Urokinase Inhibiting Factor & Factor XIII - stops bleeding and enhances wound healing

I have also read that eating a piece of placenta in a fruit smoothy as soon as possible after birth is the most beneficial way of getting all of the health benefits from your placenta….but….I’m still deciding over that one!!

Has anyone out there ever tried placenta encapsulation?

Would you recommend it?

Which method is best the TCM or Raw method?

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