If people already didn’t think I was weird enough because I’m giving birth in my home, they’re really going to think I’m weird when I tell them I’m going to encapsulate my placenta and then proceed to eat it.
I can’t blame them though. Five years ago if you would have told me about women eating their afterbirth (aka placenta) I would have probably vomited in my mouth a little bit. I also can’t blame them for their reaction because without knowing the benefits of consuming your placenta after childbirth, the idea of eating something like that is a little raunchy.
One of the biggest reasons why I am encapsulating my placenta this time around is because of the postpartum depression (PPD) I experienced with Andrew. Now looking back, a lot of my PPD was because of all the life changes I went through in such a short time — pregnant, married, and quit “dream” job in 9 months to stay home. I was literally not mentally prepared for what life would be like as a new mother and new wife with a brand new baby. I was also still figuring myself out and, I was still young (20 years old).
I remember sitting in my living room with the blinds closed, watching more TV than I had the previous nine months and contemplating all kinds of weird things. It took me a while to get out of my “funk” but I knew I never wanted to get to that point again. Since then, I have grown in exponential ways — mentally and emotionally — as a person and mother but since I have chronic depression in my family, I wanted to make sure I didn’t experience PPD again.
Enter: placenta eating.
Placentas are the life giving sources for babies in the womb; they are full of vital hormones, growth factors, and minerals. Once you give birth, your placenta detaches from your uterus and all those nutrients and hormones go with it. It’s probably why so many women feel “bleh” afterwards because all the extra good stuff their body was producing is no longer happening.
Because of the oxytocin and cortisone found in placentas, this helps the body balance the hormones out, reduce stress, and helps in the bonding of mom and baby — all of which helps keep the baby blues at bay.
Other benefits of consuming your placenta are:
- Improved mood and less baby blues
- Increased milk supply
- Increased effectiveness of mother-baby bonding (due to the oxytocin found in a placenta)
- Faster healing from birth; reduced mother’s pain after childbirth
- Increased energy
- Reduction in postpartum hemorrhage (placenta is rich in iron)
Placenta eating is not a new fad either. In fact, it’s been reported in the Chinese culture that women have been consuming their placentas for thousands of years! The Vietnamese, Hungarians, and Italians have also been known to consume placenta because they believe the placenta to be rich in nutrients and aid the mother in healing postpartum. (source)
That being said, I have read that there have been some reports of women feeling negative effects so it’s important to listen to your body and seek medical help if you’re feeling bad. For the most part, I’ve heard more positive than negative so I’m excited to give it a try and see how it helps me in my postpartum recovery.
Did you encapsulate your placenta? If so, did you feel a difference?
photo credit: Buddha Belly Birth Services