Placenta Encapsulation. It's one of those oh-em-gee things that people can't believe that people actually do. In fact, had you told me ten years ago I'd be using placenta pills after having a fourth baby, I'd have told you no way. But I did!
What I was going to do with my placenta was something I had explored with each pregnancy. I wanted to bury my first child's placenta, but I figured the hospital wouldn't give to to me and never pursued the idea. By the time my fourth pregnancy rolled around, I had started researching placenta encapsulation. I thought to myself, "have I really reached THIS part of natural living?" I told my husband that I thought I wanted to do it, mainly because it could help with my energy levels and boost my moods after pregnancy. He told me, "go for it!" (At this point, none of my crazy ideas shock him anymore!)
In our bedroom after the baby was born, my midwife asked me what I was planning on doing with my placenta. I told her that I wanted it encapsulated. The funniest part of it was when my mom (who is an R.N.) asked Joe, "what is THAT for?" He told her something about naturally boosting iron levels, moods, and all that jazz.
My experience with placenta encapsulation has been wonderful. It's a service that my midwife's office offers. After I started taking it, my milk supply increased tenfold (and I did not have any supply issues in the first place!) I also was able to naturally regulate my hormones, feel more energetic after having baby, and so on. I can tell you that I was up and cleaning, shopping, and doing several things within the first six weeks of having baby.
My one disclaimer here is that when it came to some of what I was doing, I did push myself a little too far. I definitely should have rested a bit more. I would sleep half of the day the first few weeks, but when I was awake, I was cleaning or visiting with people. You'd think I'd know better, but a household of six is a busy one.
Even almost 11 months postpartum, I do have some placenta pills left. I take one or two from time to time if I'm feeling extra grouchy. I also take it to treat my chronic migraines.
If you're considering placenta encapsulation, I highly recommend reading this website's summary of research studies promoting placenta encapsulation. You can also research local placenta encapsulation services on Google.
Benefits of placenta encapsulation from PlacentaWise.com:
- Estrogen, Progesterone, Testosterone: Contributes to mammary gland development in preparation for lactation; stabilizes postpartum mood; regulates post-birth uterine cramping.
- Prolactin: Promotes lactation; increases milk supply; enhances the mothering instinct.
- Oxytocin: Decreases pain and increases bonding in mother and infant; counteracts the production of stress hormones such as Cortisol; greatly reduces postpartum bleeding; enhances the breastfeeding let-down reflex.
- Placental Opioid-Enhancing Factor (POEF): Stimulates the production of your body’s natural opioids, including endorphins; reduces pain; increases well-being.
- Thyroid Stimulating Hormone: Regulates the thyroid gland; boosts energy.
- Corticotropin Releasing Hormone (CRH): Regulation of CRH helps prevent depression.
- Cortisone: Reduces inflammation and swelling; promotes healing.
- Interferon: Triggers the protective defenses of the immune system to fight infection.
- Prostaglandins: Regulates contractions in the uterus after birth; helps uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size.
- Iron: Replenishes maternal iron stores to combat anemia. Increases energy; decreases fatigue and depression.
- Hemoglobin: Oxygen-carrying molecule which provides a boost in energy.
- Urokinase Inhibiting Factor and Factor XIII: stops bleeding and enhances wound healing.
- Immunoglobulin G (IgG): Antibody molecules which support the immune system.
- Human Placental Lactogen (hPL): This hormone has lactogenic and growth-promoting properties; promotes mammary gland growth in preparation for lactation in the mother. It also regulates maternal glucose, protein, and fat levels.