In Which I Encapsulate My Placenta

3

June 22, 2012 by Leah

While I was pregnant, I did a lot of reading. I knew I needed to be really vigilant about post-partum depression, because I have a history of depression and because lack of sleep is a major trigger for mental instability for me. I decided that I should probably do everything I possibly could to ease the transition from pregnancy to new parenthood, up to and including encapsulating Elias’ and my placenta. (I also ate a very nutrient-rich pregnancy diet, talked about my hopes and fears with Aaron, exercised up until the day before I went into labor, did deep relaxation and guided meditation, and got a lot of sleep.)

Ingestion of the placenta after childbirth is supposed to help with a laundry list of symptoms, from keeping up supplies of iron and micronutrients to minimizing bleeding and increasing milk production. It is also supposed to help regulate hormones and prevent night sweats. I wasn’t about to cook and eat my placenta (as we know,  I never managed to force myself to love liver and placenta smells just like liver), but encapsulation didn’t look too hard.

Getting the placenta out of the hospital could have posed a challenge, but when I asked my OB about it, she was really interested in and supportive of my wish to try placenta encapsulation, and she checked with the hospital and got the ok for me to take the thing home. Once we were actually at the hospital, we discovered that it was against hospital policy for us to take the placenta because it is categorized as hazardous waste (Aaron overheard some nurses talking about this and quipped that, if that was the case, the baby must also be hazardous waste). That said, we got the placenta home and into the freezer with no difficulty.

Most people hire someone to come over and encapsulate their placentas, but a) there is no one in my area who does this (of course) and b) I wasn’t about to waste $200 on something I could do myself. (Warning: taking on this kind of project at five days post-partum is kind of a big deal. There was a lot of standing. I got light-headed. But it was fine.)

I followed these instructions and everything went well, except for a few hiccups with the Cap ‘M Quick machine (I was getting tired by that point in the proceedings, so the hiccups were definitely down to user error).

I encapsulated on the fifth day post-partum (which was also the only day I sat in bed, clutching my baby, and sobbed) and have been taking three pills a day since. I’ve barely been weepy, my milk has been abundant, I haven’t had any night sweats, my bleeding was minimal, etc. etc. I don’t know if I wrote on here before, but Aaron and I both agreed that I was more stable during pregnancy than we’d seen me, ever, and the trend seems to be continuing – even with the lack of sleep. So, though this is based on entirely unscientific means, I have to say I am a huge fan of placenta encapsulation and it’s definitely been working for me.

Here’s how the process went down:

Placenta. Nice and dark and rich looking, as I promised my OB it would be.

Steaming the placenta.

Steamed placenta.

Very thinly sliced and placed on a (waxed-paper-covered) dehydrator tray.

Dehydrator. Isn’t it spiffy?

Placenta after dehydration and a trip through a coffee grinder.

The actual encapsulation.

Ta da!

And, here’s a cute baby picture:

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3 thoughts on “In Which I Encapsulate My Placenta

  1. lahancock says:

    I’m really proud of you for being willing to post this. I’ve encapsulated Nick’s placenta myself (well with the help of my mom, I too had a hard time doing it, the stupid pill machine was a pain in the butt!) I’m thinking I will do it again this time because I too did not suffer the uber weepy period with Nick that I had with Liam. This time I think I’m going to do a raw prep instead of steamed after talking with some of my friends about it. I’m glad it is helping you so much and that you are willing to speak about it. I know some of my co-workers read my blog and I already get enough crap about home birthing, breastfeeding, co-sleeping ,etc, that I just couldn’t handle the comments about placenta encapsulation. I also agree with the smell. Yuck. I do not like the smell of it at all, but the few pills I did take, I felt better.

  2. Mary C. says:

    LOVE! I encapsulate placentas as a service here in Omaha and did my last two placentas myself, too.
    Isn’t it amazing the nourishment we can receive from what nourished our babies all those months??

  3. Kim_F says:

    Thanks for sharing! I’ve been hoping to hear of more people I know giving encapsulation a try.

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