The other day I was at a birth and the mother wanted to take her placenta with her to have it encapsulated. This is a pretty common thing nowadays, with about 80% of our clients encapsulating their placentas. Out of curiosity, my client’s husband asked the nurse if it was a popular request at this particular hospital. She told him that is certainly seemed to be the latest trend.
I admit I was not completely convinced of this “trend” of ingesting the placenta. I mean, I think the placenta is a fascinating organ as organs go but, c’mon! We are civilized people and honestly it grossed me out a little. But I was curious enough to want to know more since everyone seemed to either be doing it or asking me about it.
I started to look into the process. There a few different ways to encapsulate a placenta but the two most used are Raw method and Traditional Chinese Medicine method (TCM). Kansas City Doulas uses TCM since our encapsulation specialist has specific training in this method as part of her Masters of Science in Oriental Medicine degree from Southwest Acupuncture College in Boulder Colorado.
Once I talked with Alison about the extent of her training my ears perked up a bit. Ok, so this is a legit process and she has the proper training. I had heard some women were doing placenta encapsulation after watching a YouTube video and that kind of creeped me out.
I still wasn’t completely convinced. I needed to know what the benefits were and if it was worth adding placenta encapsulation (PE) to Kansas City Doulas’ services. Information is difficult to find since the FDA isn’t going to ever regulate placenta encapsulation, just like they don’t regulate vitamins or supplements of any kind and therefore there aren’t great studies with large control groups. So what’s a doula to do?
I started talking to other women that have used PE. There are a lot of anecdotal successes that I heard through the grapevine. Women that had experienced severe postpartum depression the first time around without PE, were willing to try anything to prevent it or even just minimize the symptoms, were having phenomenal recoveries from the birth.
They had more energy, they could sleep, they had less anxiety, they experienced little to no sadness-most didn’t’ even have “baby blues”, signs and symptoms of postpartum depression were greatly reduced or completely eliminated altogether, and they felt like themselves after having a baby! WOAH!
As a woman that personally experienced all of these things, I began wondering if it would have made a difference for me had I known about it. I also heard women say they weren’t sure if it was placebo or not, but my response is: WHO CARES if it is (which is exactly what they said too!) If taking a few placenta pills over several weeks time can trick your mind into letting you feel better then by all means –POP SOME PLACENTA PILLS! ! The risk if it’s a placebo effect would be that it may not work, it may do nothing. Can you handle that risk? How much risk is involved if you don’t do it?
Alright, alright I was convinced! But more than that, I felt like I couldn’t NOT provide this service to our clients. Here’s what we do to ensure that women will always have placenta encapsulation as an option to ease the transition from pregnancy to postpartum and to make the process as easy and seamless as possible to YOU, our clients:
- Researched and abide by the laws in both Kansas and Missouri in regards to transporting human organs
- Know local hospital’s and birth center’s protocols, procedures, and paperwork that may be necessary for you to be able to encapsulate your placenta
- Provide you with a food safe cooler to easily store your placenta until it is processed (it’s yours to keep and it’s reusable!)
- Use food preparation guidelines set forth by the FDA as our standard for encapsulating your placenta (you are ingesting it after all)
- Alert the encapsulation specialist when you have delivered
- Set up the visits for encapsulation to be done in your home, possibly before you are discharged from hospital (going by food prep guidelines for your safety)
- Leave your home as clean (or cleaner) than we found it.
- Use all our own supplies and equipment (we don’t even throw so much as a paper towel in your trashcan)
- 24-hour availability for questions and concerns while taking the placenta pills
I am so proud to be offering this service to women. I know it sounds weird, and a little gross, and maybe a little cave-woman-like but anyone that has experienced postpartum depression will tell you that if placenta encapsulation can prevent or even minimize postpartum depression it is worth taking the risk.