Why I Chose Placenta Encapsulation (8 Weeks Postpartum Now!)

When I first visited our midwives-to-be in September of last year and they mentioned placenta encapsulation I did not even know what to think. It was not something I ever heard about before, so I could not truly decide whether to get grossed out or not, but having heard some of the reasons for doing it, I decided to consider it.  Here is an exerpt from my September post.

“So, the midwives [our midwives], post delivery, leave the placenta attached to the baby.  They simply place it into a bowl, close to the child and the Mother, while the two of them are bonding, and midwives are cleaning up and doing all of the necessary paperwork in a different room. When the Mother and the baby are ready, the cord is clamped.

But, wait, it gets MORE interesting! I promise you!

Apparently now there is a practice going on, where specialists can take the placenta, process it in some special way, and encapsulate it for the Mother to take, starting on Day 3 after the delivery.

You know that when I heard that I was on the edge of my seat.  WHAT?! Can you say that again and louder, please?  They do what? And they give it to who?

Apparently I was not deaf after all! Check it out. [If you are getting this post via e-mail, click on the link to view the video.]

Turns out that the humans are the only primates who do not eat their own placenta–all other species do (or at least that’s what I heard ;)).  Come to find out there are a lot of benefits from doing so:

  • The placenta is filled with hormones, vitamins and nutrients, which help women beat the “baby blues”–postpartum depression, while also helping with energy levels and improved sleep, and transporting the same benefits to the baby through breast milk.

WOW! This gives me something to thing about…”

I know that there are a lot of bashing going on of those who do choose to encapsulate their placenta. When I first mentioned the possibility of doing do, I even received an email with a link to a post in which the writer was giving “Biblical” reasons not to do it.  One of them was, and I am paraphrasing, that God meant suffering for us, and by avoiding possible postpartum depression, we might be avoiding his will somehow. When I read that, several thoughts came to my mind:

  1. Really? No, really? Why do you then take an Advil, or get an epidural, or, maybe, if you are having a surgery, you should do it without an anesthetic?
  2. What form of Biblical rape is this? (Biblical rape happens when you take a Scripture out of context and try to apply it to something that it is not meant for ;)).
  3. and again… REALLY?

Then there is the “Oh, it is gross!” bunch. Most are the same people who eat diseased flesh of animals, and junk like hot dogs which contain things far worse than our own placenta.

In reality, especially if you are a woman who had experienced postpartum depression, you are probably willing to take about anything to avoid it ever happening again. Postpartum depression, which happens due to wacky hormones, can be vicious. We had a lively conversation about this on Facebook (if you are not there yet, you are really missing out), and if you only read some of the stories poor women who had gone through PPD shared, you would be an instant believer in any cure possible to prevent it.

Being that I am an intelligent being (yes, thank you very much ;)), I thought: “Why even take the risk?” Given, that with my diet and B12 supplementation I, most likely, would not have PPD symptoms, but why take a chance if I can avoid it altogether? If I knew I might get a cold or flu, I would take measures to strengthen my immune system so that I could prevent a runny nose, coughing, sneezing and other nasty stuff. Why wouldn’t I want to do the same with PPD? I did NOT want to find out for myself what PPD might feel like… so, I chose to encapsulate my placenta (it was kept in the bowl next to me, after giving birth, since the umbilical cord was still attached to Sprout up to an hour after birth).

When I delivered Sprout and everything was said and done, our midwives delivered my placenta to a specialist who performs encapsulations.  Three days later she delivered it to my door in a pretty jar:

If you did not know that it was encapsulated placenta, you might have thought you were taking regular, over the counter vitamins. (Just think how much you do not know about what’s in the vitamins you are taking!) The same day I began taking my placenta. I also continued with a clean diet and B12 supplementation.  I am happy to tell you that 8 weeks postpartum, besides sleep deprivation and occasional grogginess that comes with it, I have experienced no signs of PPD! So, whether there is enough research on whether placenta encapsulation works or not, I do not know.  However, I had spoken to women who had done postpartum recovery both ways-with and without it and they all said the same thing–it was night and day experience.  With their words reinforcing my decision, for me it became a simple preventative measure which cost only $150–a small price to pay to avoid PPD.

I find that opponents of this method are normally those who never tried it, or those who had never gone through PPD, or men, who will never experience PPD. And let me stress this again–a lot of them eat things much worse than their own encapsulated placenta on a daily basis, and I do not see anyone bashing them.

So, ladies, if you ever considered it, but are not sure whether you should do it or not, make it YOUR decision, and not someone who is ignorant of the topic or the experience. I can tell you that I do not regret doing it and will do it with future pregnancies as well, and whatever capsules I do not use (what you see in the picture are my leftovers), I will save for my menopausal days, as placenta has shown to be a great aid in alleviating menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes. It is a cheap way to prevent a possible PPD, and trust me, no one should ever face PPD–it is a cruel, cruel place to be. Although I did not have PPD, I had experience depression when I was suffering from hypothyroidism. That was one of the main reasons I had chosen not to take any chances.  And I also can personally report to those who are interested–there was NO “gross” factor in taking them whatsoever! On the days when I was especially tired my husband made sure I took at least a couple of capsules, and I did not say no ;).

If you have questions or comments, do share.  However, if you get nasty, your comment will be deleted.

And, here I am, at 8 weeks postpartum, only 2 lbs away from my pre-baby weight–all due to delicious, clean eating, as I have not been able to resume my workout schedule yet.

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  • Diana

    Elena what way was your encapsulated placenta was done, stemed, raw dehydrated? As I am studing this topic now their is several ways they prepare it.

    • http://www.vega-licious.com/ Elena

      It was dehydrated, powdered and encapsulated.

      • Diana

        Did they stemed it before dehydration or was it dehydrated in raw version?

  • Priti

    Wow, you shared something I’d never heard of before with me today.  Thank you for the thorough explanation.  I did enjoyed reading it very much!

    • http://www.vega-licious.com/ Elena

      We always learn something new :)

  • Shay Quigley

    Your explanations were wonderful. I belonged to the “EW!” camp before this post, but now you’ve got me thinking. Also, your bouncing back into your pre-bundle-of-joy body is astounding! Poster child for vegan pregnancy? I think yes!

    • http://www.vega-licious.com/ Elena

      Shay, there are so many things that we are conditioned to think EW about, but if you think about it, outside of our society, than they make more sense ;)

      And than you :) I will take that title.