As a certified Placenta Specialist, I see first-hand how beneficial consuming the placenta is for new mothers.
The placenta is the organ that grows in a pregnant mother's womb along with her baby. It attaches to her uterus and allows for the exchange of nutrients, blood, and waste between mother and baby. It is expelled from the uterus after the birth of the baby.
For centuries, many cultures around the world have consumed the placenta after birth. Most often, we've seen this practice in traditional Chinese medicine. The United States has seen the controversial tradition of placenta encapsulation gaining momentum over the last few decades.
WHAT IS PLACENTA ENCAPSULATION?
Placenta encapsulation is the practice of steaming, dehydrating, then grinding the placenta, and placing it into pills to later be ingested by the mother. Traditionally, it is believed to have numerous health benefits.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF PLACENTA ENCAPSULATION?
Few scientific studies have been conducted on placenta encapsulation, and there is little conclusive evidence of the effects of this practice. However, those studies have also not been able to disprove the possibility of these benefits. Most of the information we have regarding the benefits of encapsulation comes almost entirely from anecdotes of women who have tried it.
Possible benefits are:
Decreased postpartum bleeding
Increased release of oxytocin, which helps with bonding, and also helps the uterus return to pre-pregnancy size.
Decrease in "baby blues" and postpartum depression
Increased milk production
Increase in stress-reducing hormones
Restoration of iron in the mother's blood
Easing nervous and anxious feelings
Revitalizes skin and hair
WHAT ARE MY OPTIONS FOR ENCAPSULATION?
The Raw Method:
With the raw method of encapsulation, the placenta is thoroughly cleaned, sliced into pieces, dehydrated at low temperatures over a couple of days, ground into a powder, and placed into capsules.
Some say that this method is more potent than the Traditional Chinese Method, and it tends to produce more capsules.
The Traditional Chinese Method (TCM):
With this method of encapsulation, the placenta is thoroughly cleaned, steamed, sliced into pieces, dehydrated at low temperatures over a day or two, ground into a powder, and placed into capsules.
Herbs can be used during the steaming process. Also, the water used during steaming can be consumed and is referred to as "Mother's Broth".
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, raw placenta can have a cooling effect on the postpartum mother, which can cause the recovery period to last longer.
I HAD MY PLACENTA ENCAPSULATED...NOW WHAT??
The average placenta makes between 100-200 capsules, depending on size and encapsulation method. The Raw Method tends to yield a bit more than the TCM method because the placenta shrinks a little during the steaming process.
Dosage can vary based on the size and amount of capsules. Generally, you would take 2-3 capsules up to 3 times a day for the first 2 weeks. Decrease to 1-2 capsules up to 2 times a day for 3-4 weeks, and then as needed. Leftover pills can also be frozen for later use during physically or emotionally stressful times.