There is so much I am yet to share about my birth experience and the main reason I haven’t yet is probably because of judgement. I think women can feel judged as mothers or perhaps we are just more sensitive in this postpartum period and feel we are being judged even if we are not. The amount of times people joked after finding out we had a home birth and said “what, are you eating your placenta too?” my response “actually I am.” I guess here in Australia home birth is very out of the ordinary and seems some what woowoo to most people, but to me and Mac home birth (which is something I will go into another day) and placenta encapsulation made total sense.
So why did I chose to eat my placenta… well lets first look at some of the researched benefits:
For the Mumma:
Milk production in 86.2% of women was increased due to the hormones found in the placenta.
Improved postnatal mood
An increase in overall energy
Reduced bleeding and faster recovery
Significant hormonal changes can occur because placental tissue contains various hormones, including oxytocin, estrogens, progesterone, human placental lactogen, ACTH and CRH.
The placenta contains Iron and B Vitamins.
For the Bubba:
After digestion of the placenta during the first 11 days the protein and lactose contained in breast milk increases.
Exclusive breast fed babies who’s mother ingest their placenta have an increase in weight gain than those babies who’s mothers don’t consume the placenta.
It is important for me to note here that there are some possible risks with placenta encapsulation including increased risk for thromboembolic events, exposure to environ- mental toxins that may accumulate in placental tissue, and exposure to infectious agents. Because of these risks it is very important to talk to your health care provider.
Firstly it is important to seek a professional to prepare your placenta for you. There are numerous ways to consume the placenta however 80-85% of women will have the raw or cooked placenta encapsulated. To encapsulate placental tissue, the placenta is dehydrated in a food dehydrator or oven, then ground into a powder and placed into capsules either by itself or with various warming herbs such as cinnamon and ginger.
Consuming the placenta raw is another option however in most studies less than 15% of women choose this method. I personally had my placenta encapsulated with additional herbs to assist the healing process.
The placenta is full of nutrients. It contains your beautiful hormones and vitamins so rather than taking a synthetic multivitamin it made sense to me to replenish my body with my own nutrients that I had lost.
Given this is my first baby it’s hard to know if I have seen any benefits because I don’t know any different. What I can say is my milk supply has been endless, my energy has been fantastic for the most part (of course we have our days), and I have happily continued on with living my best life. So all in all I am so happy with my decision.
By sharing my story I hope it opens up the possibilities of what is available for you as a women. The pregnancy, birthing and mothering experience is very personal and sacred one and the decisions we make need to feel right for you and your baby.
If you have any questions, drop Melbourne a line.
LaGanga, M. L. (2013, December 31). Oregon allows mothers to take placentas home from hospital. LA Times.
Lauer, N. C. (2006, July 28). Hawaiian law now permits parents to keep placentas. WeNews.
Placenta – Worth Trying? Human Maternal Placentophagy: Possible Benefit and Potential Risks. Sophia K. Johnson, Jana Pastuschek, Jürgen Rödel et al.
Young, S. M., & Benyshek, D. C. (2010). In search of human pla- centophagy: A cross-cultural survey of human placenta con- sumption, disposal practices, and cultural beliefs. Ecology of Food and Nutrition, 49(6), 467–484.