At some point, I turned into a closet hippie. I'm sitting here in my little post partum nest, high on the hormones from my placenta, having just rubbed my breast milk on my baby's bottom to soothe his little diaper rash. This is the same breast milk I expressed to give to my five year old in hopes it will speed his recovery from his cold. And as I sit here I can't help but be overwhelmed by the amazing power of a mother's body to heal and nourish and protect her children and herself.
But I still look normal.
I'm not sure when or where I first heard the idea of placenta medicine, but at some point after the birth of my second child I was introduced to the idea that consuming the placenta either as food, or in the form of medicine, could replenish nutrients and hormones lost during the birth process.
The Fruit of the Womb web site has this to say about placenta encapsulation:
Over 80% of mothers suffer from the “baby blues” starting in the first weeks after giving birth. Studies show that the placenta is extremely nutrient rich, high in iron, protein, vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B6 and of course, your own natural hormones. Your placenta is perfectly made for you, by you. Experts agree that the placenta retains hormones, and thus reintroducing them to your system may ease hormonal fluctuations.
Placenta pills are believed to:
- diminish “baby blues"
- increase breast milk production
- help the uterus to contract down and therefore lessens postpartum bleeding
- ease fatigue
- contain your own natural hormones
- balance your system
- replenish nutrients lost during childbirth
- increase energy levels
- ease your postpartum transition
Although current formal research on human placentophagy does not exist, what we do know is that women who take placenta capsules report fewer emotional issues, have more energy and tend to enjoy a faster, more pleasant postpartum recovery.After two bouts of post partum depression, I was willing to try anything to prevent a third round. I want to enjoy my baby's infancy, not spend it in a cloud of anxiety and tears. I figured I don't have anything to lose. There are no side effects to consuming your placenta, and the more I read about it the more it seems like something everyone should do. I'm ready to scream from the roof tops "don't throw out your placenta! Don't feed it to a tree! Take it back into you and let it nourish and heal you! You are worth it!"
I called the ladies at Fruit of the Womb and within hours they had picked up the placenta from my mom's house. They returned it to me 24 hours later with a beautiful print of my placenta, a lovely umbilical cord keepsake, and about 100 placenta pills. The directions are to take 1-3 capsules, 1-3 times a day. "Listen to your body," the label says, "you'll know what you need."
|Photo from Fruit of the Womb|
I opened the pretty little jar and was, admittedly, a bit put off by the smell. My husband claims he can't smell it, but, honestly it makes me gag. No matter. I quickly popped three pills in my mouth. I figured, with my history, 3 pills, 3 times a day would be the right dose. Within about half an hour, I felt a little. . . stoned. It was nuts. I wasn't expecting to feel anything - except maybe not depressed. But I felt really calm and peaceful and a little. . . zoned out. And my lips felt a little . . . funny. Now, I just gave birth so it's been awhile since I've consumed more than a few sips of alcohol at a time, but after some reflection I realized I felt like I'd just had a big glass of wine. Huh. Maybe the maximum dose is overkill. My plan now is to take one in the morning, two in the afternoon and three when I'm ready for bed.
We'll see how things go. I'm optimistic. Which for me, post partum, is a rare thing indeed.
If you want to learn more about placenta medicine, visit the Fruit of the Womb web site and blog. You may not be as motivated as I was to read the whole blog, but it's fascinating and worth the time. And if you're interested in placenta encapsulation and you're not in the Denver Metro area, the ladies at Fruit of the Womb have put together a great directory of service providers throughout the country.