I got this package in the mail…. I was very excited!!
Inside was…. one of my (empty) tupperware containers, and a dozen ice-packs (those blue things you keep in the freezer!).
But I was absolutely bursting with anticipation when I opened a smaller box and found this:
That parcel is the result of placenta encapsulation!
Yup – I had one of my kids placenta’s encapsulated! Baby Tree Placenta Services did the honours and I have had joy in getting to know Kirsty who owns the business.
Why on earth would one want to encapsulate a placenta?
In short, eating your placenta (that is, the mother!) can help with post-partum bleeding, post-natal depression, bring in or increase milk supply, and increase energy levels – all things we worry about after having a baby!
Its not a new thing, in some cultures it has been done for years and certainly it is seen in the mammal/animal world.
“Many people of the world have known the secret power of the placenta as a medicinal supplement. Among the Chinese and Vietnamese, it is a customary practice to prepare the placenta for consumption by the mother. The placenta is thought to be rich in nutrients that the mother needs to recover more readily from childbirth. In Italy, women have been known to eat parts of the placenta to help with lactation. Hungarian women bite the placenta to expedite the completion of labor. And knowledgeable midwives in this country have their birth mothers take bites of raw placenta to help stop hemorrhaging, due to its beneficial oxytocin content.? *And in western civilizations some women have found that you can dehydrate, grind, and put it into capsules to also reap the benefits.
There are a variety of potential benefits to placentophagy. For one, the placenta contains vitamins and minerals that may help fight depression symptoms, such as vitamin B6. For another, the placenta is considered rich in iron and protein, which would be useful to women recovering from childbirth, and a particular benefit to vegetarian women.
Traditional Chinese Medicine has been using placenta medicinally for thousands of years. One of the well-known TCM uses for placenta, or Zî hé ch?, is to help with insufficient lactation.2 Interestingly enough, in 1954, researchers conducted a study on 210 women who were expected to have insufficient milk supply. They gave dried placenta to the women, and discovered that 86% of them had a positive increase in their milk production within a matter of days.3 It is exciting to see that some scientific research has validated TCM theories of the benefits of placenta. More recent research has discovered that placentophagia could enhance pain tolerance by increasing the opium-like substances activated during childbirth. This would obviously be beneficial during the postpartum healing process.
In my personal experience, women who have taken placenta capsules report positive results in an overwhelming number of cases. Some women have even reported feeling positive effects as quickly as the same afternoon of the day they began their first dose. Women who were already feeling “weepy”, or experiencing other early signs of the baby blues, have felt better within days. Although the current scientific research is exciting, we have barely begun to scratch the surface of the potential benefits of placentophagy. Considering that placenta is a completely natural substance, created by a woman’s own body, encapsulation of the placenta is definitely worth considering as part of a holistic postpartum recovery for every expectant woman.
More specifically, placenta pills may help to:
• Increase general energy
• Allow a quicker return to health after birth
• Increase production of breast milk
• Decrease likelihood of baby blues and postnatal depression
• Decrease likelihood of iron deficiency
• Decrease likelihood of insomnia or sleep disorders
The body is so individual and because of the powerful nature of this medicine other benefits are also likely but too numerous to mention. I believe that this practice is particularly beneficial to vegetarian mothers and those prone to post natal depression” (Jody Selander, 2006).
Sooo….. that leads me to mine. This placenta was in the freezer, it hadnt yet been buried because I was very very keen to make a print of it. I have seen prints such as this beautiful one from Birth Balance and I wanted one! I think it truely does look like a tree, representing the Tree of Life – this placenta is amazing!
Anyway, before this baby was born I had stocked up on a canvas, some beautiful paper, and of course paint! But after having the baby, I hardly had energy to be creating art and thus the placenta was frozen for me to do at a later date!
Time went on and then I heard about Baby Tree – and I was hooked! I sent the FROZEN placenta triple-wrapped (I didnt want any suprises for the Postie lady/man!) and encased in all those ice packs! It was a harrowing period waiting for Kirsty to email me to say it had arrived safely – we had a sudden heat wave and I was stressing about it melting!!!
The thing is that I heard about the placenta being either eaten raw (ewwww!) or cooked and used as normal meat (as in, yes, making a bolognaise or lasagne with it). Fascinating, I’ll admit, but still gross. And then I heard about encapsulating it – thus, all the ick factor for me was taken out!!!!!!! Swallowing a capsule is not gross! And swallowing THIS capsule is all NATURAL and not derived in a lab like many other supplements I take!!!
So Baby Tree Placenta Services posted me back the box I showed you above, along with this GORGEOUS print (and several others!!)
I asked Kirsty about the ‘ick’ factor and she said it really didnt bother her! She finds the placenta’s all different, and fascinating, and loves helping mothers.
While all this was going on, Baby Tree was featured on Close Up – http://tvnz.co.nz/close-up/2012-03-05-video-4759287 – and New Zealand became divided on whether eating placenta’s (and indeed, encapsulating them for others) was insane and assylum-worthy. I was disgusted by the narrow-minded-ness of some people in our country. But never mind, thats a whole other topic!
There are a growing number of ‘Placenta Specialists’ around the country, you can easily courier your frozen (or fresh!) placenta to one of these ladies for safe encapsulation!
I’m of the mind that…… its been around for centuries – longer? – and if the animals think its good………….! Also, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain!!!!
So…. I now have my beautiful prints…. I have framed one and put it on the new sleep room wall!
And I have a glass jar with 133 little tablets……… I plan on taking them when baby starts to wean 🙂 I am certainly looking forward to the energy boost!!!!