After struggling through the depths of post-partum depression following the birth of my son 7 years ago, I was curious when I heard that there might actually be a way to prevent a repeat of that scenario. I was a little skeptical at first. Was it really possible to prevent post-partum depression (PPD)? Isn’t that just “one of those things” that some women go through following childbirth?
Prior to conceiving again, I was right smack in the middle of the certification process to become a childbirth educator…which meant I was doing lots and lots of reading! It seemed only natural to do further research in the prevention of PPD along with all my other studying. So what was this new-fangled way to prevent PPD? Well, it wasn’t really anything “new” at all, but rather an age-old concept that has been practiced for thousands of years, cross-culturally. It’s called placentaphagy.
“Placenta-what?!” It’s a big word but the concept of placentaphagy is quite simple: a female consumes her placenta following the birth of her child. Ok, don’t bail on me just yet! Hear me out on this one because it is such an important practice that most Americans know little about. I know the grossness factor may have about bowled you over at first, but stay with me.
The placenta is often referred to as The Tree of Life. The placenta is an amazing organ created by the mother’s body. It does a magnificent job of sustaining and nourishing her baby for 9 months…but it doesn’t stop there! Here are some of the benefits of consuming the placenta post-partum:
- Stabilizes the mother’s fluctuating hormones post-partum
- Helps prevent PPD and even the more common “baby blues,” as well being a mood-booster
- Helps prevent excessive post-partum bleeding and anemia (the placenta is rich in iron)
- Promote post-partum healing (placenta is chock-full of protein and vitamins)
- Boosts energy levels
- Boosts mother’s milk supply
So maybe you’re thinking, “Sounds great! Sign me up! But wait…I have to eat my placenta?!” Believe me; I know the grossness factor may turn some people off. But there is a very simple, easy way for a mother to “consume” her placenta without “eating” it: encapsulation. During the encapsulation process, a healthy placenta is carefully cleaned, slow-cooked at a low temperature, freeze-dried, pulverized and put into individual capsules. All the mama has to do is take a couple pills a day—simple as that.
Fast-forward to the birth of my last child and I was all set to encapsulate and consume my amazing placenta. In barely 24 hours after my daughter’s birth, I was already starting to feel a tremendous shift in my emotions. Then my placenta capsules were hand-delivered to me in a pretty blue jar by Briana, a certified placenta encapsulator. Just a few hours after taking the first dose, I already started feeling more stable. Suddenly I could think more clearly and didn’t feel on the verge of tears anymore! And for 7 weeks, those suckers made my post-partum experience a night-and-day difference from my experience after my first birth. I felt wonderful: I had so much energy, even while being sleep-deprived, I healed quickly from my birth and best of all, I didn’t have the teeniest inkling of PPD. I would do it over again in a heartbeat. (I even told ZenMommy about my experience and she wrote about! She decided to take the plunge and have her placenta encapsulated, too.)
For more information or to find a placenta encapsulator in your area, check out Placenta Benefits.
from Expert Mommy, Sarah Baker