I have a confession, which only three people know, aside from my hubby and doula…
I consumed my placenta.
Trust me, when I first encountered the idea, officially known as placentophagia, I had what I would consider to be a common visceral reaction: nausea. Why and how could someone even consider doing such a disgusting thing? It’s cannibalism!
However, upon further research, Mr. T and I began to wonder, “How could you not consider doing it?”
You see, like many women in the western world, I’ve struggled through bouts of mostly undiagnosed depression and anxiety throughout my adolescence and young adulthood. My relationship with Mr. T has definitely aided with these issues (in a positive way), but occasionally, during a particularly stressful patch at work, or a financial struggle, I find myself slipping back into myself or feel my anxiety escalating. Because of this history, I was a little worried about my postpartum emotional state, which I was more cognizant of, thanks to all of the newish attention on postpartum disorders. Once we learned that Tiny T was breech, and that our plans for a natural, unmedicated birth were not going to be possible, I decided there was no way I could not proceed with placenta encapsulation.
What are the benefits? Think for a moment- the placenta is what supports the baby’s life in utero. It therefore contains vitamins and minerals and nutrients that can assist with many postpartum issues. As this article from the Washington Post highlights, placenta consumption is said to help prevent baby blues, aid moms in recovery, and help increase milk production. Given that my body would not only be going through the process of giving birth, but also major abdominal surgery, and that none of it was part of “the plan”, these benefits sounded pretty good to me.
It is true, some women may cook and eat their placenta. For me, personally, I just couldn’t do it. But, I can swallow pills. So, before going into the OR, we told the charge nurse we wanted to take the placenta. She assumed we were going to plant a tree, which we just went along with. After the c section, we received a styrofoam, takeout container containing the placenta. Our doula took the placenta, dried it, ground it, and encapsulated it. She returned the next day with a container of capsules, and I began taking them. Totally not gross at all- it was literally just like taking any other pill.
Aside from two breastfeeding-related struggles while still at the hospital, I did not experience any “baby blues” or anxiety. AND, my milk came in less than two days after delivery. Could it be that all of this would have happened had I not taken my “placenta pills”? Possibly- there’s no way of knowing. But, considering how good I felt and how quickly I recovered from the c section, I firmly believe that the pills played a part.
So, call me crazy and think what you will. I would, and plan to, do it again.
For more info, or to find a placenta encapsulation specialist, visit: PlacentaBenefits.info