This may seem unexpected, especially coming from someone who professionally encapsulates and prepares placenta. However, as a mental health advocate, I must be clear and honest with you; your placenta capsules are not antidepressants.
Now that you're surely confused, let me explain this further. It has become recently fashionable for American mothers to consume their placentas after giving birth; most commonly encapsulated. This process may or may not include steaming the placenta with added ingredients, then drying the placenta and grinding it into powder before packing into capsules much like vitamins or other supplements.
Advocates for placenta encapsulation cite reasons such as stabilizing hormones after childbirth, speeding recovery, and increasing milk supply. However, the bulk of evidence supporting placenta encapsulation is anecdotal. It is important for mothers to know that there is no FDA regulation or policy in place regarding placenta encapsulation. Choosing to consume your placenta is a choice you make without much scientific data.
Although the majority of this anecdotal evidence is very positive, there are some women who do report a negative experience consuming their placenta. It's just as possible for you to be one of the women that has a great experience as it is for you to have a very unpleasant experience.
To be fair it would be nearly impossible to actually complete a double-blind study on the effects of placenta consumption, which is why we will probably never see much science based evidence on the subject. This does not necessarily mean that it is bad to consume your placenta or that it will not help you; it simply means that there is no guarantee.
I would venture to say that for many women consuming placenta capsules has a positive placebo effect. Sometimes placebos are a nice thing. If you choose to encapsulate your placenta and take your placenta capsules and you notice positive results that's wonderful. However if you are choosing to do this now and you did not with previous births it's highly likely that you've made other lifestyle changes that are also influencing your postpartum experience. Again this is not a bad thing just something else to consider.
What I want every mother to know when thinking about encapsulating their placenta or consuming it in any other form is there are benefits and risks in every decision we make. You are taking a gamble with the money that you spend hiring your professional encapsulator. You should be comfortable with the possibility of spending that money and not having the desired result before you lay out that hard earned money.
Moms-to-be, as you are considering paying for placenta encapsulation, please do your research! Look into the possible benefits and the possible risks. Ask lots of questions of the different encapsulators you interview. Ask about their safety protocols, how they sanitize the area where they will prepare your placenta, and more importantly ask them about their knowledge of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. If your encapsulation specialist is guaranteeing that you avoid suffering a postpartum mood disorder by consuming your placenta, RUN.
Run screaming in the other direction. This person is either ill-informed or simply cares more about your money and doesn't have your health and wellbeing at heart.
A well-trained, qualified placenta encapsulation specialist will not only know the process to safely prepare your placenta, but they will also know the signs and symptoms of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders to watch for. They will know what intensifying factors can increase your risk and have methods or resources that may assist you in decreasing your risk. They will be willing to talk to you about symptoms you're having and help you find treatment if necessary.
I'm a fan of the postpartum professionals. I am a HUGE FAN of postpartum professionals that are not only offering placenta encapsulation services, but are openly talking with their clients about postpartum depression and anxiety and other forms of postpartum distress. These encapsulators are letting you know signs to look for, perhaps providing you with symptoms checklist or maybe even the Edinburgh scale so that you can do a self-assessment. They are helping you keep track of what's going on during your postpartum adjustment.
If you are considering hiring a person to prepare your organ for your consumption you have every right and responsibility to question them about these topics.
If you happen to be in the wonderful world of placenta encapsulation, I want you to know that Mom's Matter. Of course you are running a business, of course, you deserve fair payment for your service, and (payments keep you in business!)
But please do not guarantee mothers something you simply cannot guarantee. I believe that being upfront with clients will actually grow business and professional reputations. In an end, for professionals, I am sharing a blog post written by Chinook City Doulas . When I came across this post, I was very impressed by their honest approach to postpartum care and placenta encapsulation. If you're a professional reading this, check them out to get an idea of how to fairly and accurately present placenta consumption to your clients. They've done a great job.
If you are a mom and planning to consume your placenta to avoid postpartum distress, hire an encapsulator you feel comfortable with, and please also consider additional support measures. Contact us to learn more about postpartum planning and identifying the symptoms of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.
With Placenta Love,
Big Hugs and thanks to Brandi of Flower of Life Birthing & Placenta Services for her contribution of some amazing photos in today's blog!
Each walk is different, but we walk together, and that makes all the