Placentophagy – a fancy word for eating your placenta. Sounds gross, right? Don’t fret. It’s not as gross as it sounds.
After you give birth, your beautiful placenta (the organ that nourished and grew your beautiful baby) can be discarded as medical waste. OR, you can request it, put it in a cooler of ice and hand if off to your placenta expert.
Why would you want to eat your placenta?
There is lots of anecdotal evidence supporting its consumption. Moms that regularly consume their placenta in the postpartum period report benefits such as:
Increased milk production
Balancing your postpartum hormones
Contracting the uterus back to “normal” size
Decreasing the likelihood of baby blues & other postpartum mood disorders
There is insignificant scientific research to support placentophagy. That does NOT mean it isn’t beneficial. It just means there haven’t been enough “quality” medical research studies done for medical/scientific institutions to support it. It takes years and lots of money to do research studies, the minimal research that exist shows favor of placentophagy.
How can I use my placenta?
There are different ways to use your placenta. The most common way is to encapsulate it. Most placentas can produce 100-175 pills that can be taken daily immediately postpartum, or on an as needed basis.
Placental tinctures and salves can also be made. These can be used for a multitude of things including: teething, nipple pain, during a time of stress or illness (put a drop or two under your tongue), and/or healing wounds.
You can also prepare a placenta smoothie for immediate postpartum consumption. Raw placenta has a much shorter shelf life than pills, 3 days for raw placenta and 6 months for frozen.
Who can help me encapsulate my placenta?
There are placenta encapsulation specialists (usually doulas or childbirth educators) in most communities. Here are some in on the East End of Long Island
When looking for a specialist, I would suggest keeping these things in mind:
Make sure they are certified in OSHA Blood Borne Pathogens Standard
29 CFR 1090.1030 (trained in OSHA standards for sanitation, and safety and handling of your placenta.
Check their training – were they trained by another doula or accredited institution?
As a “late bloomer” in all things birth, I didn’t encapsulate mine. I would love to hear any first hand accounts of placenta encapsulation. Did you notice a difference? Was it easy to convince your birthing institution to release it to you?