You probably fall into three categories of people when you hear the term placenta encapsulation.
- That is the most disgusting thing I’ve ever heard of.
- I saw something on E! about Kourtney Kardashian doing that (and they do anything for attention).
- I’ve tried it and I loved it.
I’m in the third category, and I wanted to share my experience in case you’re considering it, too. It’s a little weird, but I hope you find it interesting, or at least entertaining.
If you have met me, I err on the slightly “natural” parenting side. But I also let my kids eat sugar, proudly used formula for supplementation, and sometimes they watch more TV than I’d like. But when I was researching my VBAC options and birthing centers in Tampa, I came across information about placenta encapsulation and started reading more.
I was surprised to find lots of information about the benefits of taking pills made out of your placenta. And because I wouldn’t want to talk about a topic like this without providing you some legit places to do more research, here’s the American Pregnancy Association’s information about placenta encapsulation. You can read here about how it’s actually a centuries-old practice, and is supported by mostly anecdotal evidence (only) of its effectiveness.
If you’ve gone through childbirth recovery (no matter what kind of childbirth experience you had), it is exhausting and hard. There are tears, blood, sweat and moments of panic that you are doing it all wrong. It’s like a marathon after your body has already gone through a grueling race and you’re sleep deprived.
I remember around week three with Shep, I had the dreaded hormone crash. I’d call it the baby blues. I was weepy, exhausted, moody and my hormones were completely out of whack. After about a week, it stabilized but I remember that week being one of the hardest. After going through that experience, I was definitely up for trying something that would help me through that period. When I read that placenta encapsulation could help stabilize hormones, give you energy, boost your mood and increase milk supply, it all sounded amazing to me. I researched several providers in the Tampa area and ultimately chose Barefoot Birth.
Here were the steps to coordinating receiving my very own placenta pills:
- I called Barefoot Birth and told them which package I wanted (I chose the most popular method of the pills made from your dried placenta, around $200, delivered to your home about one week after your birth). For the record, you could get a smoothie, lotions, and other items made from your placenta for various specific needs.
- We purchased a styrofoam cooler that Clint brought with us to the hospital.
- We informed my OB practice and the hospital that we would be saving our placenta after childbirth as soon as we arrived when I was in labor (they actually didn’t seem too surprised by this and said they were doing this more and more). Don’t think for a minute that Clint wasn’t slightly terrified about the thought about transporting my placenta. That’s real love, right folks?
- Clint took my placenta (in a the cooler) to our contact from Barefoot Birth at the hospital while I was recovering with Beau.
- My pills and the instructions to take them were delivered to my home about one week after he was born. The woman who delivered them was so kind, and also a licensed lactation consultant. She not only provided me the pills, but provided very helpful nursing advice.
What did I notice after taking the pills?
- My mood NEVER crashed. I was almost always happy – giddy – after the birth. Despite having a failed VBAC and recovering from a C-section, I really felt stable and happy during the recovery period.
- My energy levels were through the roof. I mean – I never felt like I had to nap, despite being up multiple times during the day. I took 3 pills 3 times a day at first, and about 30 minutes after I took each dose I felt super energetic.
- My milk production was SO much better than it was after Shep was born. When Shep was born I pumped 20 ounces per day. When Beau was born and after I stopped exclusively nursing (week 2), I was pumping 40-50 ounces per day. (I was exclusively pumping for both).
I know that placenta encapsulation may be a very new idea for many of you, but if you are considering it, I’d highly recommend researching it further and talking to your doctor about whether or not it’s right for you. If we have a third (big IF) I will do this again in a heart beat. It made my recovery experience so much better and I actually got to enjoy the newborn stage without the very normal, but difficult parts of those early days.
Have questions about my experience? Feel free to leave in the comments or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org