There are so many decisions we get to make surrounding our Pregnancies and Birth. If you are in any sort of a mom group I’m sure you have heard about women consuming their placentas after birth. Placenta encapsulation is definitely a topic that can be controversial. At first thought it sounds gross, right? Why would anyone choose to eat their placenta? I’m going to break down some simple facts for you, and spoiler alert, there is no actual proven scientific evidence that has shown consuming your placenta is beneficial. So why would anyone do it then?
I decided to have my placenta encapsulated into pills with my last baby who is now 2 years old. I read the research and decided it was something I would love to at least try. Before we get to the facts about Placental Encapsulation I want to share a little bit about my personal experience. Before my birth I was given a bag to store my placenta in to transfer from the hospital (I had a home birth, but transfers do happen!) along with an information sheet about what to do once he was born. The day he was born, we called our placenta encapsulators at Boise Birth Services to let them know we were ready for them. Soraya came to my house, disinfected my entire kitchen and went to work. She even answered all of my 8 year old sons questions about the placenta and gave him a little tour of it! When she was done for the day, Soraya scrubbed my kitchen down again and left the dehydrator containing my placenta to do its work! When she came back she finished the pills up and presented them to me, along with the preserved umbilical cord in an airtight case and a Watercolor print of my son’s placenta. She also gave me instructions on how many to take. She also informed me that if I showed any signs of infection I should discontinue taking them. She was always very upfront and honest that she couldn’t guarantee they would benefit me. A very small amount of women actually feel that they cause anxiety and mood swings to be worse, or an oversupply of milk which can be very painful. She gave me her cell phone number and encouraged me to call her if I had any questions. Thankfully, I didn’t have any complications during my postpartum period and was able to take my pills as recommended!
Right after my son was born a story went viral about a baby that got very sick with a GBS infection that was traced back to it’s mother’s placenta pills. You can read the report from the CDC about that case here: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/66/wr/mm6625a4.htm?s_cid=mm6625a4_w
After reading the articles I decided to call Soraya, (who encapsulated my placenta) and figure out what had gone wrong with for this mom and baby, and what should have been done differently. Here’s what she (and the CDC) said:
After Birth your placenta should be kept refrigerated. The placenta of the sick baby was not refrigerated
The placenta should always be stored out of the danger zone temperature of 100 F - 120 F
Placenta should be heated up to 160 F to eliminate surface bacteria
Your placenta encapsulator should have a Food Safety certification and practice Food Safety Standards
Ideally your placenta should not leave your possession. Placenta encapsulators can come to you!
Placenta Encapsulation is not regulated, nor is it scientifically proven to have any benefits. So why are women still consuming their placentas?
Lots of women report better mood regulation when taking Placenta Pills
Many women have reported a stronger milk supply with a second baby after taking placenta pills
I personally feel like I benefited greatly from taking my pills. I noticed a difference in my mood when I would forget to take them. I do have to say that I did not experience PPD, but I did feel the emotional ups and downs of postpartum, and a little bit of anxiety. Whether or not the pills did help, or if it was placebo effect I will never know. I can say that I truly am grateful I had my placenta encapsulated, and I do recommend it to my friends!
I would love to hear your thoughts on Placenta Encapsulation, leave a comment and let’s discuss! If you are in the Boise area, and looking for any type of birth service, I highly recommend you contact Soraya at Boise Birth Services. You can find her here: https://boisebirth.com/
Another resource I highly recommend for any Birth-y information is Evidence Based Birth. She has some information on the very few studies that have been done on the benefits of Placental Encapsulation. You can find her article here: https://evidencebasedbirth.com/evidence-on-placenta-encapsulation/