Paging the Northeast Doulas: Should You Eat Your Placenta?
We’re kicking off Placenta Week here with this thought-provoking piece on placenta encapsulation from my friends at Northeast Doulas – specifically, Randy the “Rock n’ Roll Doula”. I must say, I was decidedly skeptical about placenta encapsulation, but when I met with Randy and her lovely business partner Debbie, they were quite convincing. I decided they would be the perfect start to a week all about placentas! And don’t forget to tune in tomorrow to hear from the other side of the placenta-eating debate.
To Eat Or Not To Eat…. That Is The Question!
Upon hearing this for the first time I’m sure most people are pretty grossed out BUT more and more modern women are saying yes to this question every day.
Northeast Doulas receives, on average 8-15 calls per week and numerous email requests per month for information on this newly popular birth related service, Placenta Encapsulation.
Why? I’ll tell you why.
Women are struggling more than ever before, after giving birth and those women are looking for an “insurance policy”.
Unfortunately, not many studies have been done to determine the benefits or risks of ingesting your placenta. The one that is most commonly referred to in the world of placenta encapsulation is Placenta as Lactagagon Soykova-Pachnerova E, et. al.(1954). Gynaecologia 138(6):617-627. This study shows that of 210 women studied, 181 saw an increase in milk production as a result of ingesting their placentas.
But that’s not what I want to tell you about! What I want you to know is that with my own two eyes, I have seen the differences between women who ingest and women who don’t!
As an owner of a very busy Doula Agency, a few years ago I encountered a client who had an intense mental and emotional connection to her placenta and decided she would have it encapsulated for ingestion. I was intrigued! What would it look like? Would it really make a difference? What would the benefits be?
I supported that mom as she gave birth to a healthy baby boy and a big ole placenta! When I went to do her postpartum follow up visit, she pulled out a bottle of capsules and announced, “it’s my placenta!”
Now, here’s the magical part. That mom went home from the hospital. She had a 2.5 year old at home and a new baby. She was breastfeeding on demand around the clock, caring for 2 children and a home and feeling amazing. She came into our office for her 6week follow up and she blew us away! She had on a full face of make-up, her hair was freshly done, she was carrying a beautiful tray of homemade (from scratch) decorated cupcakes and she had become a Placenta Encapsulation Specialist. We were impressed!
Now she needed some experience!
I invited her to come to my Weekly Prenatal Discussion Group to speak to our expectant moms about it and offer the service to them for free in exchange for the experience. 6 of the 13 women took her up on this offer, 4 said no way, not me and 3 were on the fence about it.
As the weeks passed, those pregnant women began to give birth and within a week or two they were coming back to the group to introduce us to their little ones and share about their birth experiences.
There was a remarkable difference between the women who consumed their placentas and the women who didn’t. In fact, the ones who did, began coaching and supporting the ones who didn’t. They were offering to come by their houses to help them with their babies and other household things!
The moms who did were overflowing with energy and enthusiasm and those who didn’t were sluggish and emotional. I wouldn’t have believed it myself without seeing the amazing contrast between the two.
Do I think there is some placebo effect involved? Sure, but so what! Women are feeling better and having better postpartum experiences and that’s what’s important.
Two and a half years ago, Northeast Doulas hired that woman as our first Placenta Encapsulation Specialist and began preparing placentas for consumption based on the Traditional Chinese Method, which includes steaming the placenta prior to dehydration. We now have three specialists busily preparing placentas for consumption on a regular basis with a constant increase in demand for this service.
As an agency, to date we have prepared 182 placentas for consumption and have had 0 symptoms of illness or negative reaction from this service. Our clients are thrilled that we provide this service and the letters and emails of gratitude pour into our office regularly.
Why not eat from our bodies? The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that our babies do it exclusively for the first six months of life!
For more information on this service, please visit us at http://www.northeastdoulas.com/services/placenta-encapsulation
Tags: placenta week