Thursday, August 29, 2013

Would You Eat Your Placenta?

This is my first placenta I encapsulated.  These are like gold to me.  They are my 'happy pills'; my energy pills; my pills to help my milk production.  They are a way to bring my body back to normal after birth.  The only thing I haven't done is a smoothie and actually cook with it.  However, I will say that I've come across some mighty interesting recipes using placenta... such as Placenta Chef (although it is not 'human placenta' it could be used), Chocolate Placenta Truffles (which I am tempted to make), Placenta Smoothies, and there is even a book on Amazon... 25 Placenta Recipes.

Back in 2009, when I was pregnant with Bekah (baby 6), and was planning a possible unassisted birth (due to anti midwifery laws in KY), I first heard about placentography.  My first thought was what is to be expected.  That it was possibly the grosses thing I'd ever heard of.  However, as time drew closer to her birth, and I did a lot more research into it, I decided to go for it.  I thought she could be my last baby (so wrong with that one), and if I was going to do it, I needed to do it that time.  Only once had I had baby blues (not PPD), and I was more than happy to have something natural to try that might possibly help with that.

I'm sure my husband thought I was crazy.  He still leaves the house when I'm planning to process a placenta.  I also tend to schedule my encapsulation time for when he's going to be gone a few hours, so he's not grossed out. 

I remember the first pill I swallowed.  I looked right at my husband, and said "I'm officially crazy!".  I'm sure he agreed.  I went in a skeptic.  I was just starting to study and understand natural remedies.  I was moving out of the pharmaceutical culture.  This was a HUGE step for me, in more ways than one.

I have now encapsulated 2 of my placentas. I have also made placenta jerky, as well as a tincture. It is amazing the difference I feel when I take a bite of jerky, or a couple pills from the placentas (now located on the top shelf of my freezer).  It has made me a believer, and after researching other ingredients used in widely accepted drugs, has lost it's "ick factor". The great thing is that the placenta ends up looking like any other pill you swallow. 

After all my talking, what are these possible benefits from consuming your placenta? 

Benefits Include:
• Increase general energy
• Allow a quicker return to health after birth
• Increase production of breast milk
• Decrease likelihood of baby blues and post natal depression
• Decrease likelihood of iron deficiency
• Decrease likelihood of insomnia or sleep disorders

"There are a variety of potential benefits to placentography. For one, the placenta contains vitamins and minerals that may help fight depression symptoms, such as vitamin B6. For another, the placenta is considered rich in iron and protein, which would be useful to women recovering from childbirth, and a particular benefit to vegetarian women.
Research on placentography is still in its infancy, although there is a large body of research beginning to develop on postpartum hormone fluctuations and health. Researchers from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) conducted a study that focused on CRH (Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone). CRH is a stress reducer, and is generally produced by the hypothalamus. 

During the last trimester of pregnancy, the placenta secretes so much CRH that the levels in the bloodstream increase threefold. However, it was also discovered that postpartum women have lower than average levels of CRH, triggering depressive symptoms.(1) They concluded that the placenta secreted so much CRH that the hypothalamus stopped producing it. Once the placenta was born, it took some time for the hypothalamus to get the signal that the CRH levels were low, and to begin producing it again. This is just another sign that there is likely a biological cause for the baby blues, directly related to hormone levels. 

Interestingly enough, in 1954, researchers conducted a study on 210 women who were expected to have insufficient milk supply. They gave dried placenta to the women, and discovered that 86% of them had a positive increase in their milk production within a matter of days."