I got an email last week from a reader named Hannah. She asked:
I was just wondering if you wouldn’t mind sharing your experience with placenta encapsulation this second time around. I know your births with both Henry and Claire were very different, but do you think there have been any noticeable differences in your postpartum self (mind & body) that you would attribute to the pills? Any similarities after both Henry and Claire’s births that you think are a direct effect of the pills?
Short Answer: HECK YES!
So, I ate my placenta after both births. I didnâ€™t eat it-eat it (no gnawing on raw placenta for me, thank you very much). I paid a specialist to come to my house after birth. She dehydrated, pulverized, and encapsulated my placenta into little pills (as shown above). Local readers â€“ I used this company both times, and they are awesome.
Perhaps you are thinking, â€œWhat the heck are you talking about? Why in the world would you eat your placenta?!â€ I wrote this explanation out last time:
Placentophagy (the act of eating your placenta) is a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practice that has been done in China for thousands of years.
Those who support the practice claim there are many, many benefits â€“ ingesting your placenta is supposed to help stop bleeding; increase breast milk supply; boost iron, Vitamin B, and other vitamin stores in the momma; reduce the risk of post-partum depression; and stabilize mood. Iâ€™ve personally spoken to many women and midwives who were thrilled with the impact that placentophagy had on their health. One midwife even told me of a women who was hemorrhaging after birth â€“ she asked for her placenta, took a huge raw bite out of it, and the bleeding stopped!
Another argument that Iâ€™ve heard for placentophagy is the fact that most mammals eat their placentas. However, this argument has never really rang true to me â€“ Iâ€™ve always thought that animals probably eat their placenta to help ward off potential predators. Or they really need a snack and donâ€™t have access to a refrigerator. Also, dogs eat their own poop.
So. I ate my placenta after giving birth to Henry and didnâ€™t think it made a huge difference. But I had nothing to compare it to, right? I took my pills as instructed. I got a touch of the post-baby blues and anxiety, but nothing severe like PPD. But I did see a lot of â€˜positivesâ€™ in my post-partum period. My body bounced back pretty quickly, and my milk supply was always abundant. My take-away after Henry was that I wasnâ€™t sure if the pills helped, but they definitely didnâ€™t hurt, so I would do it again.
Claire was born and I had my placenta encapsulated again. And that is when I really felt the benefits.
I had an easier birth with Claire than I did with Henry, and I went home from the hospital feeling great. I started taking my pills and continued to feel good. When you take placenta pills, you take a certain number for a week or so and then you drop down to fewer pills per day. My husband always hands me my vitamins in the morning, so I had no idea when the â€œstep downâ€ occurred.
But about 10 days after birth, I suddenly found myself feeling so sad and hopeless. I remember sitting at the dining room table and just staring into space. My mood was really, really low. I felt terrible! After two days of this, I mentioned something to Kristien. He told me that my placenta dosage had dropped three days before â€“ about 24 hours before my symptoms kicked in! Coincidence? Maaaaybe. But I bumped back up my dosage andâ€¦ wouldnâ€™t you know itâ€¦ I felt better within a few days! My mood never crashed again, even after I dropped my dosage and eventually ran out of pills. And my milk supply stayed strong, just like last time.
So I believe in placenta pills. I would definitely do it again (but I donâ€™t think there wonâ€™t be an again â€“ hah!). Itâ€™s sort of kooky and off-the-wall for Americans, but I think it really helped!
Related Post: How Long Did It Take You To Get Over Childbirth?
Did you eat your placenta?