"You're suggesting I do WHAT with my placenta!?!?"
That is exactly what my first thought was when my midwife suggested that I look into consuming my placenta.I had done a lot of research on natural childbirth and was planning my first home birth but I had never before heard of placenta encapsulation. Even though I suffered moderate bouts of postpartum depression with my first two children, the idea didn't really peak my interest.
I left the prenatal appointment and didn't think anything else of it... until later that night. In my inbox was an e-mail from a totally unrelated person all about the benefits of placenta medicine. It was absolutely fascinating! What at first sounded almost a little disturbing, had now become something I was really interested in doing. After looking over all the research I decided I was going to do it!
After my sweet baby boy was born in July of 2009, I encapsulated his placenta. At the time of his birth my husband, my 3 children and I were living in a one bedroom "apartment" without a kitchen in the attic of a boarding school we were volunteering at. My husband left 3 days after the birth to begin his job as an over the road truck driver. I was far away from my and my husbands family and our house half way across the country that refused to sell. There were a lot of stressors in my life but I did not have once instance of post partum depression. I had energy to tend to my young children and all the tasks I was now responsible for completing without the help of my husband. My milk supply was plentiful. This was the first baby that did not have supplentation with formula. It was amazing and I couldn't believe it! Thus began my passion for placenta medicine.
So what are the benefits of placenta medicine?
** HELP WITH MOOD & POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION The wonderful thing about using placenta pills instead of pharmaceuticals is that, since it contains your placenta, it is perfectly suited to your needs and already contains your own natural hormones.Pharmaceuticals can have a long list of side effects that most people wish to avoid. Research has shown that new mothers have lower than normal levels of a corticotropin-releasing hormon, or CRH. The secretion of CRH releases a cascade of other hormones, including cortisol, which helps us fight stress. During the last weeks of pregnacy the placenta secretes a lot of CRH in the blood stream of pregnant women. After the birth however, the levels remain low because feedback has been disrupted from the higher levels. It is believed that ingesting the placenta will help elevate the levels of CRH naturally and help post partum women deal with the new stresses of motherhood more efficiently.
** IRON DEFICIENCY During a normal delivery a mom will lose about 550 cc of blood. Your placenta contains hemoglobin which is a protein that replenishes iron deficiency and anemia. Consuming your placenta can help you avoid the risk of iron deficiency - which can cause weakness, fatigue, dizziness, or headaches. None of which you want, especially in early motherhood!
** INCREASE YOUR MILK SUPPLY Struggling with breastfeeding and milk supply can be a very discouraging and emotionally challenging experience for a new mother. Your placenta containsprolactin which is a hormone that promotes laction. The placenta also containsoxytocin, which is referred to as the "love" hormone. Oxytocin helps alleviate pain and also facilitates bonding between the mother and her baby.
** HELP WITH ENERGY & STAMINA After having a baby the mother needs as much rest as possible. But regular daily activities must resume eventually. When that time comes the placenta can be a great way to support her energy levels. The placenta contains a thyroid stimulating hormone that boosts energy and also helps recover from stressful events. As mentioned earlier it also contains cortisol, which helps with energy as well. The placenta also contains gammaglobulin and interferon,both of which stimulate and boost the immune system to keep the new mom from succumbing to common sicknesses.
The placenta is an amazing, life giving organ that can continue to give nourishment long after delivery!!
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