Preparing for the postpartum period right after the birth of your baby is one of the best gifts you can give yourself. The birth will be but a blip in time once your little one is here. Setting yourself up for a healthy, restorative, and supported transition into parenthood (or an expanded family if it’s not your first baby) will help lay a solid foundation for your recovery after pregnancy and birth, and a strong platform for your parenting.
In addition to securing family, a postpartum doula, or a baby nurse to help with home and baby care, one way mothers are supporting themselves postpartum is through encapsulating their placentas. The placenta is a beautiful life-sustaining organ that passes vital nutrients from mother to baby. It’s also an essential hormone producer during pregnancy.
Once baby and placenta are born the mother experiences a drop in hormones levels over the following days and weeks. The theory behind placenta encapsulation is that by ingesting small portions of the placenta, the mother is able to minimize the effects of the lowered hormone levels. She might experience such benefits as an increase in energy, stabilization of mood- especially if she is weepy or overwhelmed, and an increase in breast milk production.
My experience with placenta encapsulation began 5 years ago when I started offering this service and have since prepared over 500 placentas. Most recently I gave birth myself in December of 2014 to my first baby. My son is now 3.5 months old, and I can attest to how magical the pills really are. They helped me get through the long tough days of the first month in particular. My experience was that the capsules were quite effective, so much so that just one a day around noon would help me through the afternoon lull until bedtime. I still have some left that I utilize on particularly challenging or stressful days.
5 things you should know if you’re considering placenta
It’s easy and convenient– most placenta arts providers will pick up the placenta shortly after birth, prepare the capsules and return them to you within the first few days following birth, or make arrangements to come to your home within the first few days for preparation. Hospitals are typically cooperative about releasing placentas.
Extended use- dehydration preserves the placenta for use over a longer period of time. Rather than consuming the placenta raw right away, the mother can benefit from smaller doses over a period of time.
Benefits- many mothers report a variety of benefits from taking placenta capsules- some include an increase in energy, balancing hormones, increase milk supply, quicker recovery from pregnancy and birth, decrease in bleeding time and can even reduce pain.
Palatable– placenta capsules are easy to swallow and similar to a vitamin in appearance and size. Placenta stew might not be so appetizing, but a small pill can be much more manageable to consume.
Safe standards– organizations such as The Association of Placenta Preparation Arts (APPA) have created safe preparation and sanitation standards for the industry. Certified Placenta Arts Specialist follow strict preparation and sanitation protocols to protect the safety of their clients and themselves.
Jennifer Mayer owns Brooklyn Placenta Services and Baby Caravan offering placenta encapsulation and doula services to families in New York City. Her work has been featured on Anderson Cooper’s daytime program Anderson, New York Magazine and Flaunt magazine. She also serves as a board member for APPA, to promote safe placenta preparation techniques. Jennifer lives in Brooklyn with her husband and son. Connect with Jennifer on Facebook and Instagram.