Placenta Encapsulation: Crazy or Helpful?
At this point, everybody has heard of placenta encapsulation. If Kim Kardashian does it then the world knows about it, right?! Placenta encapsulation has even been called Mother Nature’s gift for postpartum.
I love how my friend Carmen Calvo a placenta encapsulator in Baltimore, Maryland, describes this process. “The placenta is responsible for nourishing the baby and sustaining the pregnancy. After birth it has a chance to come full circle and nourish the mom, giving her a variety of benefits. It’s been an honor watching so many women be proactive to give themselves the best postpartum experience possible.”
So, what is all the hype about?!
What is placenta encapsulation?
Placenta encapsulation involves the fairly simple act of turning the placenta, an organ created for and expelled after the birth of the baby, into capsules that are easily consumed postpartum.
Here is a video talking about just what exactly placenta encapsulation is.
How is the placenta encapsulated?
There are basically two ways to encapsulate the placenta.
The Chinese method involves steaming the placenta with herbs, then cutting it into strips, placing it in a dehydrator and dehydrating it. After 12- 24 hours the placenta is dehydrated, it is then turned into a powder using some kind of grinder, and then placed in capsules using an encapsulator.
The other way to encapsulate a placenta is the raw method. The raw method is basically the same, except the placenta is not steamed prior to dehydrating. This post shows pictures of the process of placenta encapsulation.
The placenta is well rinsed and the membranes are removed as well as the umbilical cord prior to the encapsulation process.
Opinions vary on which method is preferred, but you can contact your local placenta encapsulator to find out what she does and why she prefers it.
Why would you encapsulate your placenta?
While consuming the placenta is fairly common among mammals, it seems like a very new practice for the modern woman. Anything new and strange sounding begs the question, Why? Why would you encapsulate your placenta?
I know that I was motivated to consume my placenta by sheer physical exhaustion. When I found myself pregnant with my fourth child in approximately five years, I felt worn out. I felt that my body was depeated. Upon looking at high quality supplements to help restore me to my previous self, I realized that many of them were made of animal organs.
Why pay good money to eat an organ from a cow when I could consume my own and I knew exactly where it came from?
Other women have heard of many of the potential benefits of placenta encapsulation and seek out encapsulation for those benefits.
What are the possible benefits of placenta encapsulation?
Possible benefits of encapsulation include increased lactation, decreased postpartum bleeding, decreased postpartum depression and an increased feeling of postpartum wellness and energy.
While the benefits of placenta encapsulation have yet to be proven in large studies, many women do claim to notice these benefits. For some the difference is huge and that is why you will hear women so passionately endorsing this practice, despite the obvious ick factor.
I personally noticed a huge difference in my emotions postpartum the one time I tried this. No third day crash where I was an emotional wreck, no senseless tears, no hatred of in-laws. It was like a freaking miracle.
I love this video from Carmen Calvo, a placenta encapsulation specialist in the Baltimore, Maryland area on the benefits of placenta encapsulation.
Why does placenta consumption seem to have such a positive effect?
The placenta is an organ and so is full of nutrients. It is rich in iron, and it is likely that it is full of hormones produced during pregnancy. It is possible that women experience the above listed benefits because consuming the placenta helps replace nutrients lost during pregnancy and birth and the accompanying blood loss, and because it may help regulate hormone fluxuations.
Are there any down sides of placenta encapsulation?
Because placenta encapsulation largely unstudied, it is hard to say if it causes problems, just like it is hard to prove that there are benefits besides those noted by individual women and their experiences.
I have heard women report a few downsides, though positive endorsement seems to outweigh the negative in opinion. Some women simply can’t get over the ick factor where placenta consumption is concerned. I have also heard reports from women that women who consume their placenta have infants with higher rates of mastitis, meaning the baby developed mastitis in their breast tissue. This is anecdotal but it bears mentioning.
Placenta encapsulation is more than a modern trend or a moment of Kardashian influence. It is a practice normal among most mammals, but seemingly strange and disgusting to many of us. While the fact that animals do something certainly isn’t a good reason for humans to practice it, the benefits that many woman notice do make placenta encapsulation worthy of attention and consideration.
If there is anything women in this day and age need, it is more support and help during the postpartum recover period. If placenta consumption can give them that, then it will be considered by more and more women.