A resource to inspire, inform and empower parents.

I Am Going to Eat My Placenta

But seriously folks, I’m not saying that with complete enthusiasm at this point. I still cringe at the idea even though I have already made arrangements with my doula to have it encapsulated after my birth. We were recently speaking about other options besides encapsulation such as eating it raw in smoothies. She advised me that it won’t completely pulverize in the blender and there would still be small chunks to swallow. I was just about yacking on her shoes although there are plenty of people that do this every day. There is the side of me that is intrigued by the overwhelming anecdotal evidence that it can help in postpartum recovery and then the other side of me that is intensely grossed out by it. I just haven’t been exposed to this type of thing for very long. I can easily become hung up on the oddity of it like the time I ate alligator. Couldn’t do it, had to spit it out, I totally freaked myself out.

placenta encapsulation

Placenta encapsulation was not invented by freaky weirdoes. In fact, its practice has been traced back in Asia at least 2,000 years. It is also being practiced here in the modern western world far more than most people know. There is not a large body of scientific research to draw upon which seems to bother people. That doesn’t bother me and I doubt it would change my mind either way. The placenta itself is known scientifically, historically and in the natural world to have amazing and broad health benefits. After all, most mammals eat their placentas after birth. So for me the question is only: will I be able to swallow it and not gag? I believe I can, I am going to try very hard!

placenta encapsulation

The anecdotal evidence of the benefits of placenta encapsulation range from “I don’t think it did much for me” to “it saved my life.” I figure it’s really a no-lose situation. Either I don’t feel it does much or it really does make the postpartum phase easier. The benefits include: balanced hormones, increased milk supply, replenished iron, lessened postpartum bleeding, lowered risk of postpartum depression, assist the uterus in returning to prenatal state and increased energy.

My doula has the training herself to be able to encapsulate it. So basically, she will be present during my birth doing her doula thing and then when the cord is cut she will take the placenta home in a container or a couple of plastic bags where she will dehydrate it, grind it up and pack it into gelatin capsules. And my plan is to suck it up and swallow the pills. I will report back to let you know what my personal experience is with it. I’m so excited!! (not really)

placenta encapsulation

The above pills were prepared by my doula, Lauren Franzen at Sunny Side Up Doula Services

What about you? Have you heard of placenta encapsulation? What do you think of it? Would you try it? Do you have experience with it? What was your experience? 

Abby Theuring, MSW

 

Resources for you:

http://www.laurenfranzen.com/

http://www.midwiferytoday.com/articles/bridgeoflife.asp

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0149763480900123

http://placentabenefits.info/articles.asp

http://www.placentachicago.com/

http://encapsulatesandiego.com/?page_id=13

Comments

  1. Stephanie says

    I did it and I recommend it! If we have another baby I would do it again. I noticed a difference with my milk supply and my overall initial weepiness.

  2. I did it and loved it. I will say that the pills smell. Like meat. And you will burp up the same gross smell so take them in the middle of your meal and it will reduce the likelihood of tasting it. Good luck!

  3. I did this!! Much like you I thought beforehand it was kinda strange and a little gross. The Mr. Made my smoothie for me and ti be honest he did an amazing job!! Was actually one of the best smoothis I ever had. You can’t taste the placenta at all. The benefits were incredible and I actually turned out to not be able to take the capsules as the would increase hormone levels and put them out of whack. The smoothies would wonderfully for me and I highly recommend it!! Good luck and best wishes for a very happy healthy birth and future!

  4. Heather Miller says

    Hi Abby,
    I also was grossed out and thought it was a totally crazy thing to do when I first heard about it! But, after doing some research I’m planning on having it done as well when our baby arrives in July. Like you said, the only downside is that I may have wasted some money having it done, but it may help a lot.

    I can’t wait to hear how things go for you!

  5. I did it, and honestly never gave it a second thought! I just took them with the rest of my supplements, and it was no big deal. There’s no taste or smell, so there’s not a lot to deter you. I had no PPD, have a great supply, and definitely noticed a hormonal change (as in a broke down crying for no reason) when I stopped taking them because I got mastitis. Things were going well, so I only took one a day after the first few weeks, and they lasted over 3 months! Good luck!

  6. Dominique says

    I always hear people say that “animals eat their own placenta, therefore so can we”. Animals don’t eat their placentas for health benefits, they eat it to prevent predators from finding their young. We, as humans, don’t have that problem. I personally wouldn’t eat it, but hey, to each his own.

    • That doesn’t mean that there aren’t built in health benefits of it too.

    • Not all animals are wild. My Yorkie has given birth 4 times and she’s ate her placenta. It gives them strength and nutrients to provide for the puppies. Her last birth, she did not eat the placenta and she almost died of calcium deficiency. We did nothing different. She was fed cottage cheese and extra calcium tablets. So I’m thinking the placenta thing works.

      • I agree with what Ashley said, we adopted a pregnant cat and she birthed 5 kittens and ate everything, she was a great mama. As an aside, we let her wean her kittens herself and the last two we had she weaned when they were eight months old.

  7. I’m now picturing placentas laid out on the kitchen counter to dry out, or in a dehydrator…
    Looking forward to hearing your experience!

  8. I love it! I am a birth doula and placenta encapsulation specialist in Los Angeles, CA, and most of my clients want to consume their placenta! Thank you for another fun and informative piece that I can show clients! We must normalize this practice so more and more women can benefit from the incredible healing powers of their placenta. 🙂

  9. I’m going to do a mix of raw in a smoothie and encapsulated. With my first I just did the smoothies. If you make them with things you love like maybe coconut milk, cherries, black berries or pineapple you won’t notice the placenta or at least I didn’t. I’m doing the encapsulation this time because it will last longer. I was very concerned about the baby blues and can tell you I didn’t experience that at all with my first so i’m doing it again with my second.

  10. I had mine encapsulated and it’s still mostly sitting in my freezer. Every time I started taking them my milk supply would drop within 24 hours. I tried it 3 separate times and each time the same result. I seem to be in the small minority who has issues with supply when most find the opposite, that their supply is perfect or enhanced. The midwife assistant theorized that I may be super sensitive to progesterone and since I have PCOS, it’s certainly possible.

    • Sorry to hear that, Vicki. MamaNatural (blogger/vlogger) had a similar issue. She encapsulated with her second and when she took them she felt sad and “off”. Doesn’t work for everyone but good for you for giving yourself the option! 🙂

  11. I had my two (twins) placentas encapsulated. Every time I try to wean off the pills, I get so sad, so I go back on them. I still have a good amount left, but it is going to be rough when it’s gone for good.

  12. Patricia Paquin says

    I plan in doing this in June or July! Let us know how it works. I am excited!

  13. Bez Sossz says

    Whoa. The thought of a placenta smoothy seriously has me nauseous. I can. not. even. imagine. The pills are bad enough, but the thought of catching a random chunk of placenta in a smoothy is seriously one of the most disgusting things I’ve ever heard.

  14. I used to work with rhesus monkeys, who occasionally had babies, and they never, ever ate their placentas. Even though they could have. I didn’t eat my placenta with my first child, and had no PPD, a great milk supply, and no bleeding post-partum (literally), or any other postpartum problems. I didn’t do anything special, and considering there is no scientific evidence for eating the placenta, I suspect most of the effects mothers report from eating the placenta would have happened anyway. Sounds like a placebo.

    • Your experience is the exception, NOT the rule, and since there is OVERWHELMING historical anecdotal evidence to suggest a multitude of physiological and psychological benefits to consuming one’s placenta, I hardly think women should be listening to you.

      • How would one know if this woman’s experience was the exception and not the rule? Do we know What percentage of women have problems with low milk supply and/or PPD? Have there been studies where women were given placebo placenta capsules and compared their results with women who had real placenta capsules? Or versus another therapy? Just questions that come to mind after reading your post.

  15. Not only did I have mine encapsulated, I had a placenta smoothie immediately after birth, at the request of my midwives. I had fainted when I stood up to leave the birthing pool, so they wanted me to get some nutrients and the placenta to help slow my bleeding. I didnt notice any chunks, thank goodness, but it just tasted like a normal, everyday smoothie.

    I think encapsulating saved my nursing relationship. My daughter had a pretty severe tongue tie, so she wasnt moving milk effectively, and I think if I hadnt had that boost from my placenta I might have lost my milk all together. I will definitely be encapsulating after the next baby is born.

  16. Placebo or not, I’m encapsulating mine as well, the same way I did with my first. The “placebo effect” is a real thing, after all 😉

    I also second the comment that they smell (and make burps taste like meat. Be forewarned. Eat with food.

  17. I recently encapsulated after a home birth with my first child. I had heard of all of the great benefits that come with doing it and I did notice a difference. I barely bled postpartum and my recovery was quick.

  18. I encapsulated my own (it’s ridiculously easy). For the first two/three weeks I would notice that I’d have really rough and weepy days and inevitably I’d realize that I’d forgotten to take them.

    Then after a certain point I missed taking them for a few days. When I resumed I noticed they made me hyper emotional, hot and jittery. I skipped them and tried again to the same result. So I stopped taking them anymore. Can’t tell you exact days, it’s all a blur.

    Can’t speak to supply, I actually had something of an oversupply. I was pumping almost exclusively for a week or so due to horrendous latch issues.

    So I would just say keep an eye on your reactions and know that they are hormones and you might not need them, or they might be just what you need.

    Good luck!

  19. I had PPD first time around so I encapsulated mine. 12 weeks pp now and still doing good. I took a bunch the first 6 weeks now whenever my supply feels low or I feel overly emotional or overwhelmed I take some for a few days. So glad I did it myself. Now I can do it for any of my friends who are willing.

  20. I ate my encapsulated placenta after having my son. I really did not realize what it did until after I ran out. Mood swings, dip in milk supply. It was worth every penny I spent on it. Good luck, it might have a meaty smell but really, it ain’t bad!

  21. charlotte says

    I think its a great idea!
    Placenta smoothie though?? Is it red from
    Blood?

  22. Sagan Hawkins says

    Hi i have never herd of this. i would be able to take the capsuls possibly but i know the only thing that would stop me is my husband cause it would completly freek him out it would be hard if i sike my self out cause you are eating a part of your body but benifits are pretty amazing from what i read from the artical!
    Learn something new every day!!!

  23. Did it because after my first daughter was born my anxiety was through the roof, I thought “hey, it couldn’t hurt.” If you are even considering it- DO IT!! I got over the weirdness. My husband said “I have never seen anything closer to a chill pill in my life.” um, yeah, if we have more kids we will be doing this again!

  24. If I was able to have another baby I would force myself to swallow a capsule….I could take it especially If i tricked myself and put it in like a vitamin bottle…Just another vitamin… I wish I had heard about it when I had my daughter. I would have done it then too.

  25. I ate mine raw!!!! In smoothie form immediately afterwards. It was amazing, totally perked me up after a very long 18 hours 🙂

  26. The hubs calls them my “crazy pills”…and yes, they taste & smell like bacon. Worth.every.cent.

  27. I’m planning to encapsulate when we have our first baby in July. The way I see it, you can’t go back in time and have the pills made if you want them but you don’t _have_ to take them, once you do have them, if you don’t want to. No way to be sure how you feel about it after the birth (even though it is your second little bundle!). 🙂 I heard of the smoothie thing too. It didn’t sound too exciting to me either, but you never know!
    Two other thoughts:
    You could borrow a Blendtec (our favorite!) or even a Vitamix from someone to blend the smoothie really, really smooth. Those two blender brands are superb at blending and I seriously doubt there would be any bits to deal with swallowing. If the blood contamination was an issue, you could purchase your own blender jar online and no smoothie material would ever come in contact with the base. (I am sure about that for Blendtec. I would double check on Vitamix’s design. And jars from Vitamix would likely be more expensive than Blendtec.)
    Have you seen the scene from Breaking Dawn (part 1) where Bella drinks blood because her baby is hungry? I thought if was kind of sweet in a strange sort of way. She drinks it through a straw to help her baby who is hungry. It just made me think that when you are in the actual situation you might feel more open to the idea.
    Hugs, and remember, it’s just a little pill! 😀

  28. Women’s health matters are chronically under-researched, so beware the argument that “there’s no medical evidence.” There may be no evidence because the proper studies haven’t yet been properly funded and conducted.

  29. I did it. I gave birth 3 days ago and have been making smoothies. I lost quite a bit of blood during delivery (was borderline but luckily able to stay at home) I was severely light headed and found that the smoothie really helped. My bleeding is steady and not extremely heavy or painful as it was with my previous 2 children. And my milk has come in already.

  30. Kirsty Holland says

    I had mine done after my twins were born and it was a life saver. I had a PPH and was really low on iron and it saved my sanity too as I has PTSD last time.
    My only words of wisdom are to take them with food as you will taste them if you burp… and if you are anything close to being sick, avoid them. They don’t taste as good coming up the 2nd time!

  31. I initially thought this was crazy but was very afraid of PPD. I had mine encapsulated with my first and it was wonderful. My energy was great after long labor and I still take one every so often when I need a boost in milk supply. I had no issues with meat flavored burps(gross) and may have stopped if I had. The doula who did my encapsulation also offered strawberry and coffee flavored gelatin capsules to help with the ick factor. Good luck!

  32. Michelle Burton says

    Does anyone know who does this in the Boston MA area? I know I can look it up but I figured I would ask here in case someone can be highly recommended 🙂 I am due 1/19/15 and would love to have this capsules made from my placenta 🙂
    Thank you!

  33. I had my mum cook mine up like liver and onions. I couldnt bear the thought of mine being out of my sight (an being mixed up or any other horror story lol)
    My blood pressure was up my platelets were low, I almost needed a transfusion. I had a 10lb 8 baby boy with very little bleeding afterwards and a plentiful milk supply soon after birth. And the following week my platelets were recounted and had tripled. I’d say iy did me the world of good and id do it again for sure.

  34. I did it with both my boys and I still have some left over from my second 4 months ago. I still take them when I feel like I need a boost if I am having a bad day. I had amazing results with my first son. My husband was deployed to Iraq 3 days after our first was born. I never once had the baby blues while he was gone for the first year. I had great milk supply and my bleeding stopped relatively quickly! Second son, hubs was/is home for and it helps me with my emotional state more than anything now since I am have a 3 year old and a newborn. We called them my happy pills while my mom was here because she couldn’t stand the idea of placenta pills, but even she noticed that I healed remarkably fast and emotionally I was great!

  35. I dont believe any other mammals eat their placenta. When I had my child they took it to be checked for problems

  36. I have a 5 month old and I had my placenta encapsulated! It has been wonderful! I would definitely do it with all future babies! No pp depression, healthy milk supply, happy momma and happy babe over here. I would recommend it to everyone!:)

  37. I wanted to and had planned to but my husband said absolutely not. He’s not a very open minded person

  38. Do u have to refrigerate the pills?

  39. I did this and it is worth it! The pills are easy to consume, and it has been great for me, I just take them along with my other supplements.

  40. Patricia Paquin says

    I did it with my second and I would recommend it to anyone! I had amazing results! I will admit I was a little freaked out too but I just sucked it up and swallowed the capsule! I still have some left and I am almost 14 weeks pp. I take them randomly. I had some weird/random pp bleeding that would last for about a week then go away for a week and then come back again. I didnt and haven’t done any birth control this time. I want to cut some chemicals out. But I loved it!

  41. What is in the placenta that would give such results? Protein and hormones? Also, has any woman had a child without consuming the placenta and compared it to the next time when they did? Would any of the content be destroyed by dehydrating?

  42. How many a day is recommended? A friend is doing mine.

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