By SP Turgon
Your placenta is a nearly-magical, temporary organ that develops only to nourish baby while she’s in utero. When baby’s born the placenta is expelled, never to be used again…unless you follow the current trend of many celebrities and women around the globe who are making their placentas into pills or capsules.
Encapsulating your placenta is still controversial in the US, although some cultures swear by its benefits for postpartum women.
If you’re going to choose to do what celebrities like Kourteney Kardashian, Coleen Rooney, January Jones, Mayim Bialik, Alicia Silverstone, or Tia and Tamera Mouery have done, you will definitely need to mention in your birth plan that you want your placenta saved. Especially if you’re planning to give birth in the hospital, be sure that important statement is on the final birth plan you include on your hospital bag checklist!
Be sure to check the laws in your state to see if your chosen hospital will permit you to take it with you. As you plan your hospital birth, this is an important question to clarify.
Placentophagy, eating the placenta, is a new and still-controversial topic, especially in the US. We’ve written about ways to munch it in our post, “Eating Your Placenta.” But for those who want the benefits but not the chew, popping a daily pill could be the answer.
The most popular advantages claimed by many women include:
- reduction of postpartum depression
- pain reduction
- increased milk production and energy
- reduction of postpartum bleeding
- more rapid uterine recovery
- enhanced maternal bonding
- boosting of the immune system
Critics claim there are no such benefits, the effects are placebos, and that not enough research has been done. The latest study to date (2015) definitely says there are no advantages to eating or encapsulating your placenta.
Another side of the argument is that placental manipulation (eating, cooking, dehydrating, encapsulating) is unregulated. We don’t know if processing placenta introduces bacteria or diminishes some of the nutrients from their raw, pure state. Because there are no standards for processing, there are no controls over whether the processing is sterile.
But women swear by the benefits they get from consuming their placentas. Whether or not these effects are real or imagined is hardly the point to them. If they don’t get sick and they do feel energized, soothed, or happier, does it matter?
Many areas offer placenta encapsulation services; many midwives or doulas also offer it. An internet search will tell you who in your area will pick up, process, and return your placenta to you in easy-to-take pills. A typical placenta makes 80-120 pills.
Your choice is your own. Especially if you plan to give birth in the hospital or birthing center, it’s a choice that usually needs to be made when you’re writing your birth plan, not afterward. If you give birth at home, you have the option to decide after baby is in your arms.
To learn more about options for after the birth, download our free Birth Plan eBook now. After three years of research, collaboration with more than 100 childbirth experts and resource centers from Healthy Child Healthy World to the American Association of Neonatal Nurses, the Best Ever Baby Birth Plan Guide is available for a free download.
This new resource for pregnant families is a compilation of top tips and advice from more than 20 nationally-recognized experts in the field including renowned pediatrician, Dr. Alan Greene and GraceFull Birthing founder, midwife Elizabeth Bachner. These trusted experts offer thoughtful guidance for whatever type of birthing experience parents want, in whichever setting they choose.
Published: September 30, 2017 | Reviewed by: The Best Ever Baby Expert Team | Last reviewed: September, 2017