Why I chose to encapsulate my placenta

Placenta Encapsulation

// Tshirt - Monki x RSFU //

I'm not gonna lie, the first time I heard the words 'Placenta Encapsulation' it made me think of digging a hole in the garden, popping your placenta into one of those time capsules and burying it with a nice letter for some sort of good luck spell (or for your ancestors to discover hundreds of years later, yum) Well guys, I can confirm that's not the case! Placental Encapsulation is the practice of ingesting the placenta after it has been steamed, dehydrated, ground, and placed into pills. And you can guess by the title of this post that's exactly what I have done with my own, so I'm gonna share some reasons why.

Baby Friendly Cafe

Photo by Ashley Baxter

Your placenta is essentially this amazing organ which grows with your baby during pregnancy, providing them with oxygen and nutrients, and also removes any waste products from your baby's blood, moving gases like carbon dioxide from their blood to yours. Pretty fucking awesome if you ask me. As if growing a baby isn't amazing enough, your body also develops this magical organ which acts as a life line between mother and baby, ensuring the baby gets what it needs from your body to survive and also protecting them from some maternal infections.

Placenta Prints

Side by side, just as they were for 9 months, is a print of my placenta along with our 16 week scan of Reuben. I received this print from a very special lady, who came to the hospital just hours after Reuben was born, to collect my placenta and encapsulate it for me - Jen Muir, owner of Bad Ass Birth. Jen got in touch with me in the early months of my pregnancy to ask if I fancied working with her, and after a chat over coffee a few weeks later I knew I 100% wanted to go ahead and get my placenta encapsulated by her. Although there are no formal medical studies which prove the benefits of ingesting your placenta, all of the anecdotal evidence I read up on was extremely positive, and as a first time mother why the hell would I not want to try something which could benefit my post partum health with an organ which otherwise would have just been thrown in the medical waste bin. Some suggested benefits of consuming your placenta are the following: 

- Increased milk supply 
 - Rejuvenated energy levels
  - Aids & hastens healing (particularly beneficial for c-sections, episiotomy and vaginal tears/grazes) 
- Marked reduction in risk of Post Natal Depression 
- Improved display of maternal instincts 
- Restoration of iron levels in the blood 
- Increased release of the hormone oxytocin, which helps the uterus return to normal size and encourages bonding with the infant

I knew that writing a review on the effects of the capsules would be hard, as I didn't have another birth to compare it to where I hadn't taken them. But the Mums I've spoken to who did this second time around all said to me the difference was like night and day when experiencing post partum without the pills and then with them. I had a c section birth was worried about my milk coming in soon enough, but it did come in quite quickly which I do wonder was down to the pills. Of course you're exhausted as a new Mum, once the adrenaline wears off and you're kicked out the hospital in your own home it's like being hit by a bus. But taking 3 capsules a day religiously I found that although I was tired, my energy levels really improved as the days went on. I was also able to come off those yucky iron tablets really soon after I started taking the capsules, which was a massive sigh of relief because they made me feel absolutely horrid (two tmi words for you... BLACK POO!) In terms of PND, I think this was the biggest worry for me given my history with anxiety. I do get down days but all in all I have felt good since having Reuben. Post partum is bloody tough but mental health wise I have been coping a lot better than I believed I would. Maybe it was all just a placebo effect, maybe it wasn't. I don't think I'll know fully unless I have something to compare it to. All I know, is that taking these capsules has made me feel good and I feel like I can nod to everything mentioned in the list above. I plan to get my next placenta encapsulated too, without a shadow of a doubt.

Placenta Tablets

Milestone Cards - This Mama Does c/o Annie Evelyn Baby Box

If you decide to encapsulate your placenta, I can't stress enough how important it is to get it done by a certified professional. Jen is a fully qualified IPEN (International Placenta Encapsulation Network) specialist working across Scotland and Northern England, is registered with the Placenta Remedies Network, and holds certificates in Infection Control, Food Hygiene and HACCP. This training ensures that she is completely qualified to ensure your placenta is treated in the safest and most sterile conditions. The whole process is pretty straightforward too, you meet Jen beforehand for a chat and to collect your cool bag and ice packs which you take to the hospital, along with some information sheets and forms for the doctor so they know what to do with your placenta after the birth. I made sure to discuss this with my midwife so she knew what was happening (DON'T BIN MY PLACENTA PLZ!) and they were more than happy to help. My midwife said they're seeing this more and more these days in the hospital and she has heard lots of good feedback. Jen knew my estimated due date, but happily sprung into action 3 weeks earlier than planned and drove to the hospital just a few hours after Reuben was born to collect my placenta. Less than a week later she posted the capsules to me along with the print and Reuben's umbilical cord in a little drawstring bag. Pete was a tad freaked out by the whole thing, which I'll admit I was initially, and I know a lot of people are in general. But I don't think some capsules are anything to be squeamish about. We eat stranger things and do weird shit to our bodies in this modern age, and I don't think there's anything remotely odd about using something which my body has already created.

Black Pine Coffee

All in all, your placenta is an AMAZING thing, and I know Jen would be more than happy to chat to anyone further that's maybe considering going down that route but would like some more information. She can also make you a tincture, essence, homeopathic remedy, and a balm or cream. Jen is kindly offering a free pot of balm for my readers with any orders, just mention Little Blog Of Horrors when you book! The balm is incredibly effective on sore nipples, nappy rash and can even aid healing of scars and improve appearance of stretch marks. The balm would be loaded with stem cells from your own placenta and can be infused with any essential oils. Told you, your placenta is awesome! If it's not your kinda thing though I totally understand (Jen is also a Doula and provides birthing support and classes too!) but I hope this post has made you consider your placenta to be more than just 'after birth' ♥ You can read some testimonials on Bad Ass Birth here - it might have made me cry a little bit (and it also might have made me want another baby...)

*I recieved my Placenta Capsulation from Bad Ass Birth in exchange for an honest review.

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