I have been thinking about what we're going to do with this baby's placenta. While I am not yet resolved on the question, I am looking into the specifics of my options, so I thought I might as well share them with you.
In this article, I will look at the choices you have when you pick encapsulation, and how it's done if you were to do it yourself.
Ingesting the placenta has numerous benefits and can be done in different ways. Encapsulations enables you to enjoy those benefits for a long time. Even though the process of encapsulation does deter some of the nutrients, you have the advantage of having easy pill sized little bombs of important minerals and vitamins and you can even take them with you. Each placenta's hormonal and mineral make up is completely unique to the mother and cannot compare with any supplement or pill. Some of the benefits when taking encapsulated placenta are (1):
- increase in energy
- assists the uterus in returning to normal size
- increase in mental clarity
- hormone stabilizer
- may help in the prevention of PPD
- increase in breastmilk
- milk often comes in quicker
- shorter postpartum bleed
- can aid in better sleep
There are two methods for preparing the placenta for encapsulation: the first is the traditional Chinese medicine method and the second is the raw foods method.
|Image: Danoxter on Flickr|
The raw foods method does not cook or steam the placenta prior to dehydration. The rest of the process remains the same. This method retains more nutrients and is more convenient for people who follow the raw foods diet to some extent. It is however not suited for all placenta's (eg when the mother had an infection during birth).
Now how do you do it yourself?
The placenta needs to be prepared as soon as possible after birth (unless you freeze it, then it remains good for encapsulation up to six months), within the first two days. To maintain your placenta in optimal condition for encapsulation, it should be refrigerated as soon as possible (within 4 hours after birth). The encapsulation process takes two days.
First, you need to order an encapsulation kit, you can do this online, at a multitude of sites. For now the cheapest I have seen is at Placenta Benefits, and includes a capsule filling machine. Tou can also buy a dehydrator there.
This step by step encapsulation post in pictures explains how to encapsulate steamed and dehydrated placenta, adding dried herbs to the mix.
The standard dosage of pills is one or two three times daily the first 2 weeks postpartum, then decrease to one or two pills per day, as needed.
When you have opted for the raw foods method, capsules should not be ingested in the evening, since they could keep you from sleeping. With this method, you'll take one capsule in the morning if you wake up feeling low energy or blue, one more can be taken a few hours later if necessary.(2)
Encapsulation is not an exclusive method. The mother can still choose to first ingest a small piece raw (possibly in a smoothie or a small piece under the tongue immediately after birth), reserve a part for a tincture - which can be saved for a longer and/or freeze small parts to add to smoothies or other preparations over the days after birth or to be swallowed as is (since they are frozen, there is no smell or taste, and you would nearly have all the benefits of fresh placenta).
Before ingesting placenta in any of these forms, make sure that your placenta is healthy. If you are insecure, ask your midwife to check.
(1) Plakoeis, Placenta Encapsulation Services
(2) Placenta Apothecary