Week 29: Placental Encapsulation

wpman holding capsuleWow. I thought I’d heard it all in terms of natural childbirth and all the baby and mom friendly options we pregnant mamas have to think about. In pregnancies past I’ve taken Bradley Method Classes, Hypno Birthing Classes, read Birthing From Within and done prenatal yoga all second and third trimesters long. I’ve used birthing balls, water and birthing bars to help my kids enter the word drug free. My husband was on the receiving end of my first two deliveries. I held each baby on my belly even as the cord still pulsed. We asked to have the eye drops held. I was the first to give each their first bath (an experience I wouldn’t trade for the world) and so on and so on and so on…

But with all the healthy, conscious birthing choices we mamas have to consider… I’ve gotta say, this latest one I’m considering seems the furthest out there (at least upon first talking about it.) It’s definitely the hardest one I’ve come upon for me to admit to considering. It’s placental encapsulation… another way of saying I am seriously considering the health benefits of eating my placenta(s) post delivery of our twins.

I don’t mean I’m going to sit down to a nice placenta steak dinner with onions on the side (though I JUST watched a video of a women doing just that!)… nor am I going to offer it to my husband, family or friends (yes! I also saw this – freaked me out – to each his or her own I always say.) No, What I’m considering is the health benefits of having my placenta turned into powder and encapsulated to take following childbirth. WHY?!?!!?! you ask? Great question.

I know at first it sounds a little freaky. Some of the YouTube videos I watched (mentioned above) just now while doing my research still have  my stomach turning. But let me tell you what ELSE I learned before you judge the whole thing as completely wacko, and then if you still find the idea of placental encapsulation insane, let the cannibal comments begin. *wink*

Why? It’s my new friend Sarah. Her personal story has me considering this. A mom of two, Sarah delivered her first vaginally and the second (breech) via cesarean. I asked her if the healing was harder this go around, post c-section. I got this reply via email today and it seriously has me looking into all of this. She wrote:

“I had a wonderful experience taking my placenta capsules… it literally was a night-and-day postpartum experience for me, compared to my first birth when I had severe postpartum depression (PPD). I had SO much energy after this last birth, even though I was recovering from my c/section and was sleep-deprived…”

And I know the PPD following her first had been severe. I know this time around she had the added stress of a first born to tend to on top of a new baby AND abdominal surgery! I also know the odds of reoccurring PPD are high…. and yet, her experience this go around was better?!?!? The only real difference she could attribute this to was the placental encapsulation. So the fact that she had such an amazing experience following her recent delivery and attributes it to the capsules goes a long way with me.

I asked her a lot of questions. She explained how they hired a local women trained in placental encapsulation to transform hers into powder placed into capsules which she then took daily. She said the effects were immediate and undeniable. I asked for the ladies name and number…

So now, sitting here at my computer after hours of research, here is what I have found; the sum total of which, in addition to Sarah’s experience,  has me nearly convinced to do this myself:

  1. The process is about $250.
  2. The process is fairly simple. I just have to ask the hospital where we’ll be delivering their policies around releasing the placenta. And if I meet any resistance, I’ll have this placenta release legal form ready to go.
  3. I’m supposed to have my placenta ready for pick up with in 72 hours of delivery.
  4. The process of making the capsules is not complicated: The placenta is heated at a low temperature (below 100 degrees F) for 8–12 hours, dried, ground up and placed in tasteless capsules. And bonus, I don’t have to DO or SEE any of this…. that is where the $250 comes in. The capsules are just delivered in a pretty blue bottle to me a few days later.  🙂
  5. The placenta is known to contain a high source of iron, protein and hormones. When given in the postpartum period it is thought that these hormones play a large role in preventing PPD (as it did for my friend.) It is also purported to help increase mama’s milk supply. (A good thing when having TWINS!!!)
  6. Most women takes 2 pills, 3 times/day for the first 5-7 days postpartum. Then, it’s reduced to 2 pills/twice day for a few weeks. And then down to 2 pills a day until they run out.. (Sarah told me her placenta made about 100 pills and lasted her 7 weeks but some people get as many as 200 pills.)

OK, all this said I have not talked to my husband or my doctor about this yet. (I thought I’d tell the free world first!) I’d love to hear from you. How does all this “sit” with you? Does it make your stomach turn just a little bit (as it does mine and I’M the one considering this?!) Have you done this? Known anyone who has? Have you had PPD and would you consider this your next pregnancy?

As I said, I’ll talk to my doctor (ultrasound TOMORROW… so psyched!!) and hubby and get back to you. But here’s your chance to weigh in. I promise not to be insulted… what do you think?

PS: Just fyi, on cord blood banking (which I wrote about week 24) … after much research, we’ve decided to donate our babies’ cord blood a public bank. I hope this becomes a new trend as then we’d all have plenty to turn to if need be.

Related Articles:

39 Weeks : We are so BLESSED!
37 Weeks : Crystal Ball
36 Weeks : Pre-Birth ENERGY
35 Weeks : House Arrest
34 Weeks : Like “Cantaloupes”
33 Weeks : Blessingways and Birth
32 Weeks : Other New Moms & Icing
31 Weeks : Newborn Baby Checklists
30 Weeks : Sage “New-Mom” Advice from a Friend
28 Weeks : Pregnancy Calf Cramps to Wake the DEAD
27 Weeks : Holiday Maternity Fashion Tips
26 Weeks : The Nursery
25 Weeks : Back to Baby Names
24 Weeks : Cord Blood
23 Weeks : Baby Fat
22 Weeks : Baby(s) Moving! Time for Belly Massage
21 Weeks : Flu Bug
20 Weeks : Parents As Teachers
19 Weeks : Sleep
18 Weeks : Breastfeeding
17 Weeks : Childbirth
16 Weeks : Sex of the Babies. We’re having…
15 Weeks : Baby name Game
14 Weeks : Prenatal Yoga
13 Weeks : Mindful Nesting
12 Weeks : My Changing Pregnant Body
How Spirit Moves

due logo This Zen Mommy Minute is published in partnership with Due Maternity, a great place for maternity clothes.  xoxo

Suzanne Tucker, aka Zen Mommy

In addition to mommying to two magical girls born in 2000 and 2003 and expecting twins in Jan of 2010, Suzanne co-owns a holistic health center with her husband Shawn in St. Louis, Missouri where she practices as a physical therapist, Certified Educator of  Infant Massage and health education teacher. Certified in a number of healing and life education approaches, Suzanne is a Co-creator of My Mommy Manual and the online parenting course, Yogi Parenting, a positive parenting approach for raising kids of all ages.


  1. Wow… that is something!!! LOL

    But I think there might be something to it… I know in other cultures they eat it.

    For me, I tend to doubt I’d actually do it until I saw more scientific evidence. BUT, it’s a moot point since I’m not planning on having any more children.

    Very interesting though… I’m looking forward to hearing what others think about it and what you end up doing.

  2. Zen Mommy says:

    thanks for the comment janice? susan? 😉 i’m interested to hear what my doctor has to say about it tomorrow and what more i can find from more a a science/research perspective. i wonder if many studies have been done on this. WebMD here i come.

  3. JanetinDC says:

    Suz – Chinese medicine would say “yes”.
    Makes sense you can potentially replenish depleted hormones and control baby blues, but is it proven medically?
    If dried, ground into capsules then are nutrients lost?
    I most like that it’s a CONNECTION between mother and child and “spiritual”.
    I did google this out of curiosity and read that you can freeze the capsules and save them for menopause (interesting…)!

  4. I’m with Janet….

    I just found out through our facebook page that my cousin did it though. I’ll see if she’ll chime in.

  5. Zen Mommy says:

    hey janet – you crack me up. back to baby names. definitely more fun to hear about than placental capsules, huh? lol.

    so far favorites are: Ivy Elizabeth and Leo Collin; Hadley Elizabeth and Collin Sean; Amelia Jane and Patrick Sean

  6. You really got me thinking Zen Mommy & you got my hubby & I in quite a conversation over dinner 🙂 He had heard of this before & wasn’t as grossed out as I was. Of course it would be me doing the consumption not him! The benefits are definitely interesting . You will have to be the one to take the plunge & tell us all about it. I think that will help me make my decision when the time comes. 🙂

    Love the names you are thinking about especially Patrick Sean & Collin Sean. Ivy Elizabeth is beautiful – very royal sounding but sweet too. I’m sure the names will fit perfectly whichever names you pick!

  7. I like the idea and definitely plan to do it with my next baby. I think I bordered on PPD with both of my other children and I’m intrigued by the idea of replenishing myself in this way. I had triumphant, empowering, joyous, natural births, but then I felt pretty WIPED OUT afterward and think the placenta could have boosted me a bit.

    Of course, I also made a placenta print of my second son’s placenta, so taking placenta capsules isn’t as “far out” to me as it might be to others 😉

  8. I am currently taking my encapsulated placenta from the birth of my daughter on December 17th. We did the encapsulation ourselves, and it really was a kind of interesting process. This is my first child, so I don’t have anything to compare it to, BUT I am prone to depression, my mom had severe PPD, and I wanted to do everything I could to avoid it. I did forget to take my pills for a couple of days in a row and had my only days of what I would call the blues, which have gone away since I started taking the capsules again.

    That being said, I also ate a few bites of my placenta raw within an hour of her birth (I had a midwife assisted homebirth, so we didn’t have to deal with any hospital stuff). It actually tasted really good to me…kinda salty and mild.

    It makes a lot of sense to me and I have heard plenty of anecdotal evidence to support it.

  9. followup: We DID THIS and it ROCKED. So helped me in my post-partum phase.

    We are six months out now and I don’t know how I would have had the energy or the patience I had after the twins were born if not for my capsules. I am saving some to aide me when I hit menopause. I was told I can freeze the ones I have still and they would help keep my hormones in check at that time.

    If you have done this, PLEASE send in comments to help encourage other moms to do the same. Can’t say enough good things about it. Even my hubby is a believer now… he lived with me after all three of my pregnancies and this last time after the twins he could FEEL/SEE the benefits I received (which meant he received them too…lol).