First things first, The After Baby Postpartum Doula Services LLC doesn't offer placenta encapsulation.
The American Pregnancy Association shares that, "Placental encapsulation is the practice of ingesting the placenta after it has been steamed, dehydrated, ground, and placed into pills." Since some of our clients have questions about it I wanted to share some information that may help you decide if it is right for you.
Many women choose to take advantage of placenta encapsulation services. It’s a growing trend with significantly high customer satisfaction anecdotes. As a postpartum doula, I hear many stories about placenta encapsulation and other uses of the placenta. Rather than give my own personal opinion, let’s discuss some of the benefits and risks of placenta encapsulation, so that you can make the best decision for yourself.
Pros of Placenta Encapsulation
Your placenta is an organ. As an organ, it is naturally rich in vitamins and minerals including iron. Of course, iron can be extremely beneficial to a postpartum woman to prevent exhaustion and keep energy up. Iron deficiency can cause mood swings, irritability and headaches. Some research suggests a link between iron deficiency and postpartum depression.
One study compared ingestion of the placenta compared to ingestion of beef, and found that their benefits for fighting anemia appear to be the same.
The placenta also has hormones like prolactin, which promotes breast milk, prostaglandin, which can help your uterus contract, and oxytocin, which can help with bonding. Anecdotally, some moms report that consuming encapsulated placenta helped with each of these areas of concern.
Cons of Placenta Encapsulation
Many naysayers suggest that the hormones couldn’t possibly linger in the tissue after going through the encapsulation process, but at least one study indicates that most of these hormones are actually retained and some are retained in high enough concentrations to provide psychological benefits.
The most often cited risk of placenta encapsulation for consumption is that there is not enough research on this growing trend. Some suggest that the benefits reported in limited studies might be a mere placebo effect. Of course, this isn’t so much a negative aspect as it is just a statement.
One potential risk cited about consuming encapsulated placenta tissue is that your placenta might contain toxins. The placenta acts like a barrier between you and the baby during your pregnancy. Some speculate that the placenta could include toxins like mercury, lead, aluminum or bacteria that you already protected your baby from once before. Reportedly, at least one analysis of human placenta tissue did find metals and bacteria in the tissue.
For Further Reading:
This blog post by an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) that notices moms who ingest their placenta struggle with low breastmilk supply.
Where should you have your placenta encapsulated? Placentas: Prepared in the Client’s Home or Specialist’s Workspace?
One of my favorite things about being a postpartum doula and working with parents is how diverse my clients are. Some choose to encapsulate their placenta, and others don't. No matter what I'll support you to make the best decision for YOU and YOUR family.
Have you tried placenta encapsulation? Did you notice any benefits or consequences?
One of my favorite resources to share is www.metrodetroitdoulas.com for a list of placenta encapsulators in Metro Detroit.
Jill Reiter CPD, Author
A mother, wife and Postpartum Doula's blog.
The After Baby Lady
Shelby Township MIPhone: 586-604-1446