What is Placenta Encapsulation and why is that the new thing in Natural Birthing?
It has become very common nowadays for women to consume their placenta after delivery. Even some celebrities have joined the trend. Recently, Holly Madison has been quoted by E! website saying that she would have her placenta made into pills.
Placenta eating is not uncommon, at least not in nature. Many mammals do it immediately after birth. It gives them the much needed nutrition after such a laborious process. When I was a child, I witnessed my cat eat hers after giving birth to her kittens in our garage. But here is how eating your placenta can help you:
- Fight baby blues and postpartum depression
- Increase milk supply
- Feel more energetic after birth
- Lessen postpartum bleeding
- Increase your iron supplies
- Sleep better
- Decrease postpartum “night sweats”
The reasons for these benefits are plentiful, since your placenta is rich in the most amazing hormones catered to each woman personally and with no side effects:
• Gonadotropin: the precursor to estrogen, progesterone and testosterone.
•Prolactin: promotes lactation.
•Oxytocin: The Love hormone. Promotes feelings of love and connectedness/bonding; produced during breastfeeding to facilitate bonding of mother and infant.
•Thyroid stimulating hormone: boosts energy and helps recovery from stressful events.
•Cortisone: combats stress and unlocks energy stores.
•Interferon: stimulates the immune system to protect against infections.
•Hemoglobin: replenishes iron deficiency and anemia, a common postpartum condition.
•Urokinase: inhibiting factor and factor XIII: stops bleeding and enhances wound healing.
•Gammaglobulin: immune booster that helps protect against postpartum infections.
When is eating your placenta possible? It’s a matter of simply asking your midwife to keep it, when you deliver at home or a birthing center. When delivering in a hospital, if the hospital’s policy allows it, special arrangements have to be made prior to birth. In many hospitals, it is considered medical waste and you are not allowed to keep it. If hiring a professional, you need to notify them as soon as you give birth, so that he or she can come and pick up your placenta promptly. Very often, placenta encapsulation specialists will know the procedures of dealing with hospitals regarding this matter.
There are a few ways to consume your placenta. You can actually eat it raw by making a placenta smoothie. It is believed to have most nutrients that way, since they are not destroyed by using heat. Also, you can cook it like liver and eat it.
Another way, on which we will focus in this article, is making placenta pills and taking them every day following your birth. Now, you can have your placenta encapsulated by someone locally or even from Etsy.com. It will typically cost you from fifty to a couple of hundred dollars. The alternative is doing it yourself. Below, are the directions on how to do it.
You should encapsulate your placenta within 3 days if it is stored in the fridge or if it is frozen (double-bagged to prevent freezer burn), 6 months.
To encapsulate your placenta you will need:
3. Cutting board
4. Steamer cooking pot
5. Ginger and lemon
6. Food dehydrator
6. Wax paper for dehydrator
6. Food processor or coffee grinder
7. Gelatin capsules, up to 200, size “00” or smaller (you can purchase them inexpensively online)
8. Encapsulation machine (optional)
9. Storage jar
Placenta Encapsulation Instructions
1. Wash the placenta under cold water. Remove all the blood clots. Warning: don’t use soap!
2. Place the placenta on the cutting board, remove the cord at base. From here you can go in two different directions. You can cut up the placenta thinly and cook it in the dehydrator raw. Follow the dehydrator instructions for making meat jerky. If you do not want to use the raw method, steam it first. The cooked method is also known as the traditional Chinese method.
3. To steam the placenta, wrap the placenta membrane fetal side around the placenta into a ball. Add lemon and ginger into the water. Steam on medium heat for about 15 minutes on each side. Poke holes with a knife or fork to bleed the placenta. It will shrink considerably. Once it is done, slice it as thinly as possible, about 1″ thick. Make sure all the slices are uniform.
4. Put wax paper sheets on the dehydrator trays. Cook the placenta strips on the “meat” setting according to instructions (usually for 6 to 8 hours).
5. Grind placenta strips in a strong grinder. It might help to break the pieces up before grinding to avoid breaking the grinder.
6. Fill the capsules with placenta powder. You can use a machine (it is possible to buy it together with your capsules) or by hand. Pour the capsules into a storage jar.
7. Refrigerate your capsules. They keep in the fridge indefinitely. Take 3 capsules a day or more during the first two weeks. After that, you can reduce the amount. If you need an energy boost, or to increase your milk supply, take more. Some suggest that capsules can even be frozen and taken during menopause as natural hormones.
Author: Larisa M. Cox, Birth Doula who specializes in Placenta Encapsulation. Larisa can be contacted at [email protected]