I recently took a certification course and learned how to encapsulate placentas for a living.
I don’t think I will actually do it for a living, but I am so glad I got the information. I feel that information about placentas is really a lost art and I am thrilled to be a part of its renaissance.
Before taking this training, I encapsulated half of my placenta-and I ate the other half (I made placenta tacos!). I did all my own research and taught myself what to do. I made some mistakes, like I forgot to take the membrane off before cooking it, which made it extra difficult to grind up.
Even with my mistakes, I enjoyed the process so much and experienced so many benefits that I wanted to learn more.
And learn more I did! I wish I knew what I know now, when I had just given birth to my daughter. After her beautiful home waterbirth, my intention was to simply bury it in the ground and plant a tree over it, so I immediately put it in the freezer to largely be forgotten. But if I could do all over again, I would have eaten a piece of my placenta, raw, directly after birth. Even though I got many benefits from encapsulating my frozen, year-old placenta, I would have received many more if I had consumed it sooner.
Postpartum was a nightmare for me since my daughter and I were unable to breastfeed, so I really wasn’t able to start thinking clearly until she was about a year old. Around that time, I had the idea to encapsulate my placenta. I had heard that it helped with milk supply and fighting off postpartum depression. Since I exclusively pumped for her entire first year of life, and wanted to do it another year, I wanted something to help keep my supply up for the long haul.
I found that you can just rip off a piece of the placenta, if you don’t want to take a knife to it. Just drizzle some honey on it and swallow it whole. Don’t chew! If you want to tuck it in your cheek for a few minutes (it does not taste bad, the chewing is what gets most people) that is a great idea too.
I also would have made smoothies with a few raw pieces mixed in, over the first several days postpartum, or continued with the raw honey, shoot-it-back-style.
Once my placenta was encapsulated I would have taken it orally, every day for the first couple of weeks, then as needed for as long as they lasted.
Each placenta usually yields 100 to 200 pills; it all depends on the size of the placenta. The bigger the placenta, the more pills you get.
I ended up saving about ½ cup of my ground up dehydrated placenta. And I am so glad! Did you know that you can take a placenta pill when you are going through menopause? It will help with help with all the symptoms (hot flashes, night sweats, and emotional unbalance) and make menopause a much easier experience.
You can also give some to your daughter when she gets her first period. Even if it is not her placenta (it may be her brother or sister’s) but because she is a female in the direct bloodline of you, it is safe and helpful. It will help her regulate her teenage hormones and balance her out. You could also give your placenta pills to your mother. When she goes through menopause or simply is having a hard time later in life. I thought that was just fascinating!
So what exactly are the benefits of consuming your placenta?
The placenta can slow or prevent postpartum hemorrhage by helping the uterus contract. The placenta has lots of oxytocin hormone in it. This hormone taken over a long period (as in with encapsulation) will help with feelings of bonding, pain relief, and increase happiness, but taken immediately it also helps significantly with uterine contractions.
It can prevent anemia. Most people don’t realize how much blood and nutrients are lost during a normal childbirth. Consuming your placenta helps restore those lost nutrients, especially iron and protein, very quickly, giving your body the tools it needs to heal and recover fully. I remember after I birthed my daughter, I wanted steak very badly. I ate steak for days afterwards. I wonder how I would have felt if I had just consumed my placenta instead.
Placenta consumption can also support breast milk production. Prolactin is a known hormone found in the placenta. I can attest to this one! Even consuming my placenta after a year, I saw an increase in my milk supply.
It can also help deter against postpartum depression. The placenta is high is various vitamins and nutrients, such as B6. Assimilating these nutrients help Mama’s brain chemistry work properly. It can also increase a mother’s blood levels of a hormone known as CRH (corticotropin-releasing hormone), a known stress-reducer.
The placenta can also provide spiritual and emotional healing. At least it did for me. Touching my placenta as I began to prepare it for encapsulation was a very powerful experience. Many traditions throughout the world revere the placenta for its life-giving energy and life force. Touching mine, I could feel the life force of myself and my daughter, the power of childbirth and the connection to all women and daughters everywhere. I was able to create a beautiful ceremony for myself, honoring the journey I had been on beginning with pregnancy, giving birth and continuing through my postpartum struggles. I was able to connect to my heart and my true self. It helped peel away another layer on my journey to learn how to operate as my authentic self.
If you would like to encapsulate your placenta, I encourage you to find someone in your area that has done it before, or even a certified placenta encapsulator. If you do not have one in your area, you can ship your placenta overnight with dried ice to someone who is.
You can check out this web page for more information and to find a certified placenta encapsulator in your area.
Stephanie Brandt Cornais is a Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Itsy Bitsy Yoga Instructor, Certified Infant Massage Instructor, Certified Doula and Birthing From Within Mentor. She blogs about natural parenting, family wellness and much more at her blog.
Rhythm of the Home is an online magazine for families that focuses on creating with children, nature explorations, seasonal celebrations, conscious parenting, and mindfulness in all that we do.