After you deliver the baby, your birth is not yet over. You have to wait for the placenta to come out of your body (in my case, we waited for an hour and it didn’t eject by itself, so I had to be induced again). Without any instruction in your birth plan, the hospital procedure would be to dispose of the placenta and treat it with formaldehyde.
Some women (like me) chose to have it encapsulated for personal consumption.
Well, the placenta is the organ that develops in your uterus when you’re pregnant. It is what provides oxygen and nutrients to your baby while s/he’s in utero. After birth, many women swear by its positive effects: they feel more energetic, less grumpy, they sleep better, produce more milk, and generally feel happier.
Maybe this is the same reason why dogs and other animals eat their placentas after birth. I’ve seen my dog do this a couple of times before, and maybe that’s why I’m very open to the idea of “eating” my placenta. I mean, animals always work with nature. There must be a reason why they do what they do.
The custom of consuming a woman’s placenta is centuries old, traced most often to traditional Chinese medicine. The preparation involves cleaning the placenta, heating it with fresh herbs such as ginger and lemongrass, dehydrating it before it’s powderized and put into capsules. Using this preparation is thought to bring out the placenta’s healing and tonifying properties as well as warming and healing the uterus.
Doing this and consuming it shortly after birth can lead to the following benefits:
- increased release of the hormone oxytocin, which helps the uterus return to the normal size (which you need to get back to your pre-pregnancy body). increased oxytocin also promotes bonding with your infant.
- increase in CRH, a stress-reducing hormone
- decrease in post-partum depression (many women say post-partum depression is so real! and now that I am at the post-partum stage, I can totally see why women feel depressed. this is one way to prevent it!)
- restoration of iron levels in the blood (which you really need after all that blood loss)
- increase in milk production
- reduction of post-partum bleeding
- energy boost
The placenta is composed of beneficial hormones, chemicals, irons, and protein. That’s why it has a lot of healing properties. You can find a thorough list from THIS PAGE.
The decision of whether or not you’ll consume your placenta is up to you. The purpose of this blog is just to let you know it exists and that it’s an option!
My doula was the one who encapsulated my placenta. You can check her out HERE.
If you’d like to get her services (we got her doula + placenta encapsulation package), you may contact her here:
NOTE: The photo above is Irina’s post-partum kit: artwork of my placenta + artwork of a part of our umbilical cord (beautiful heart indeed!) + tea for my post-partum needs + perineum balm + my placenta pills! I was able to make 124 pills in total!