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Placenta Encapsulation

This morning, I read an article on People.com about Mad Men star January Jones ingesting pills made from her placenta. Although I have heard of this practice already, this is the first time I've heard of a celebrity endorsing it. It intrigued me enough to do a little bit more research on the topic and what I've found out is making me consider encapsulating my placenta for Little C's upcoming birth.

Just a quick brush-up. The placenta is often known as our baby's lifeline during their stay in Hotel Uterus. It's what stores the food and air that will be transferred to the baby via the umbilical cord.

Placenta encapsulation has apparently been part of traditional Chinese medicine for a long time. (If family lore can be trusted, apparently my grandmother also practiced placenta encapsulation when her daughters-in-law gave birth.) Since pregnancy generally causes blood loss, a drop in energy levels and sudden fluctuations in your hormone levels which can cause "baby blues" and postpartum depression, ingesting the placenta is really good for postpartum recovery. The placenta contains a unique blend of your hormones, so by ingesting it, you are replacing the hormones you lost during childbirth with a hormone cocktail that is made especially for your body. And based on the principles of traditional Chinese medicine, the placenta is full of Qi (life energy) and can aid in postpartum recovery by providing your body with much needed natural iron, protein and essential hormones.

The healing properties and benefits of placenta ingestion provide you with the following:


Ingredient
What it is/What it does
Health Benefits
Gonadotrophin
·      Precursor to estrogen, progesterone and testosterone
·      Restore hormone levels
Prolactin
·      Promotes lactation
·      Increases milk production
Oxytocin
·      Produced during breastfeeding to facilitate bonding of mother and infant
·      Known as the “love” hormone – can promote a feeling of connectedness with others
·      Helps with pain and bonding
·      Can hasten return of uterus to pre-pregnancy state
Interferon
·      Stimulates immune system
·      Protects against infection
Thyroid Stimulating Hormone
·      Boosts energy and helps recover from stressful events
·      Increase energy levels – much needed for late night feedings and diaper changes
Cortisone
·      Combats stress and unlocks stores of energy
Prostaglandins
·      Anti-inflammatory

Hemoglobin
·      Replenishes depleted iron
·      Prevents anemia
Gammaglobulin
·      Immune booster
·      Helps protect against postpartum infections
Urokinase Inhibiting Factor & Factor XIII
·      Stops bleeding and enhances wound healing
·      Shorten postpartum bleeding


This is all in addition to nutrients and your own personal mix of hormones that are naturally present in the placenta. It also has vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin B6, iron and protein, which are all musts for postpartum recovery. If you store the pills properly, you can also keep them until the time you reach menopause, when they can also help with regulating the hormonal fluctuations.

The process of placenta encapsulation involves three basic steps: washing/cleaning, drying/dehydration and encapsulation. Currently, there are no placenta encapsulation specialists here, but upon the recommendation of Jenny of Chronicles of a Nursing Mom (read about her placenta encapsulation experience here), I called Sr. Regina Liu to ask about their fees. She's a licensed herbalist and acupuncturist who holds office in Quezon City, and their clinic encapsulates the placenta for free for their clients. Unfortunately, they don't help with the preparation of the placenta, but they do give good instructions on how to do it. All you need is a turbo broiler (to dry the placenta) and a food processor or coffee grinder (to crush it into powder). The good, old-fashioned mortar and pestle will also work, but according to the woman I spoke to at the clinic, it might take a longer time.

I'm still on the search to have someone help me with the drying process. I'm sure there's someone in the traditional Chinese medicine community who will know how to do it. Based on the pictures, I'm getting a bit squeamish, so I'm not sure I can do it by myself. Also, based on the research I did, it's safe to ingest your placenta even if you have a medicated birth (using epidurals, C-sections, etc.), but I still want to check with my OB to be sure. Plus, there's also the matter of hospital red tape. I don't know what the rules are about taking my placenta home, but I'll write another post as soon as I find out.

So mommies, placenta encapsulation, yea or nay?

*Information for this post taken from the following sources: Placenta Benefits, Authentic Parenting, PlacentaMom, and Cafe Mom. (Just a warning though, for those who get squeamish at the sight of blood, some of the pictures may be a bit too graphic.)

2 comments:

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Ashfiya said...

This is the first time i read such type of blogs,Its really useful for the users.Keep updated This type of blogs provide information to the users placenta encapsulation benefits

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