The History of Placenta Encapsulation
Women in cultures all over the world have been honoring the placenta in different ways for thousands of years. In many cultures, the placenta is believed to hold special healing properties for women during the postpartum period because of its incredible hormone producing power during pregnancy.
Somewhere around 8 weeks into a pregnancy the placenta takes over the responsibility of managing a woman’s hormones. Once the baby is born, the placenta is no longer needed and the body expels it. A woman’s body, no longer pregnant, takes approximately 6 weeks to begin managing the hormones again on it’s own.
That six week transitional time can often be a roller coaster of emotions and physical symptoms while the body is relearning the right combination of hormones needed to function most efficiently.
According to Chinese Medicine, the placenta is the “life force” and is considered sacred and powerful medicine.
This type of Qi (or chi, meaning energy) is only attainable at birth and ingesting the placenta is similar to “drinking from the fountain of youth”.
Documents date the process back as far as the late 16th century, the 1700s in Europe. It was in the 1980s, at a MANA (Midwives Alliance of North America) conference that the benefits were first mentioned by an American midwife who also studied Chinese medicine.
Kansas City Doulas postpartum placenta encapsulation specialists, Brook Town and Samantha Moore, use the traditional method to process and preserve those hormones to help ease you through the immediate postpartum period.
The specialist will come to your home once you and your new family have settled. She will bring all of her own equipment and will spend about 4 hours over 2 back-to-back visits preparing and processing your placenta.
The preparation- How to encapsulate the placenta
Preparation consists of cleaning, steaming (ginger and lemon are added), slicing the placenta and then placing it in a dehydrator to be left overnight. Brook or Sam will return the next day to complete the process, which involves grinding and encapsulating (putting the ground placenta into 100% vegetable capsules). The pills are given to you with complete dosage instructions.
The Benefits of Placenta Encapsulation
While the exact number of placenta pills varies by the size of the placenta, you can expect between 80-150. Ingestion of the placenta has not been FDA approved and results cannot be guaranteed but women that have taken their placenta pills do report the following benefits:
- Reduction in postpartum bleeding
- Increased milk supply
- Replenishment of hormones such as oxytocin and CRH (stress reducer)
- Replenishment of essential nutrients such as vitamin B6 and iron
- Overall feeling of calm
- Decreased risk of postpartum depression
- Sustained energy levels
- Reduction in stress
When you should not ingest your placenta
There are some reasons that you may not want to ingest your placenta.
- If you have a fever
- The placenta has been exposed to any kind of chemicals
- Please ask Brook or Sam about whether or not you should ingest your placenta pills.
Kansas City Doulas knows first-hand the ups and downs that the early postpartum period exposes new mothers to. This service is offered by KCD in hopes of ensuring all women a peaceful and easy transition into their new role as a mother.