Written by Olivia Arrow

The experience of being a first-time pregnant mother is both thrilling and overwhelming all at same time. During pregnancy the female body undergoes significant changes to accommodate a growing baby and the postpartum period often brings with it a range of physical and emotional challenges to navigate. Many new mothers are now turning to an unexpected source of support during this time of adjustment, their placenta.

The placenta was once considered medical waste, and has gained awareness in holistic circles for its potential benefits during the postpartum period. This has led to an increase in the popularity of placenta encapsulation, a practice involving the drying and crushing of the placenta into tablets for mothers to consume postpartum. Many new mothers are turning to this natural approach as a means of easing their transition into parenthood.

Let’s Have A Quick Look At The History Of Placenta Consumption

The practice of eating the placenta, called placentophagy, has been done for thousands of years by people all over the world. From ancient civilizations to modern-day indigenous communities, the placenta has been seen as a powerful source of nutrients and a symbol of life. People used to think it could help new mothers feel more energised, help them produce more milk, and be healthier overall.

In the western world, the trend of placenta encapsulation really took off in the 1990s, right around the same time that holistic health practices and natural remedies were becoming more popular and mainstream, it is believed that placenta encapsulation has a ton of benefits, like:

Hormonal Balance
The placenta is just packed with hormones, like oestrogen, progesterone, and oxytocin. Some people think that eating it can help regulate your hormones, making you feel less moody and lowering your risk of postpartum depression. And it might even boost your milk supply.

More Energy
The placenta has iron in it, which can help with postpartum anaemia and fatigue. Plus, it’s got vitamins B and C that can give you a boost of energy.

Quicker Recovery
Since the placenta has some anti-inflammatory stuff in it, some people think it can help speed up your recovery from giving birth and make your pain go down faster.

Better Mood
Oxytocin, which is sometimes called the “love hormone,” is found in the placenta. So some folks think that eating it can raise your oxytocin levels and make you feel more calm and connected to your baby.

The Science Behind the Claims Varys

It’s easy to find information on the internet about how placenta encapsulation can help with all sorts of things postpartum, but the scientific evidence is actually limited. Multiple studies have looked at the possible advantages, however the results are inconclusive.

Hormonal Effects
The placenta does have hormones in it, but there is limited medical research to show that eating it will help regulate hormone levels. Some studies have shown that taking placenta capsules doesn’t really change your hormone levels.

Energy and Recovery
The placenta has iron and other nutrients that are important for energy and recovery, but there’s not strong evidence that eating it gives you any more of a boost than eating a well-balanced diet would.

Mood Regulation
Oxytocin is in the placenta, but our bodies might not be able to absorb it well through our digestive system. Studies haven’t shown that taking placenta capsules makes a big difference in how we feel emotionally.

The Safety Concerns of Placenta Encapsulation

It might seem like a great way to get all those amazing postpartum nutrients, but there are some risks you should know and consider about placenta encapsulation.

Here are some of the risk you should to consider:

The placenta can be vulnerable to bacteria and other contaminants, which is why it’s important that it is handled properly and prepared safely, if not, there’s a risk of infection.

Hormonal Imbalance
The placenta contains all sorts of complex hormones in it, and eating it could potentially mess with your already delicate hormones during those tricky postpartum weeks.

Allergic Reactions
Some individuals might be allergic to the substances found in placentas, which could cause them to break out in allergic reactions.

Weighing The Pros And Cons

Placenta encapsulation is a topic that divides people. Some swear by its benefits, while others are sceptical. While there isn’t enough scientific evidence to prove all the benefits, it is a personal choice and discussing with your doctor could help you make a better medically informed decision.

If you’re thinking about trying placenta encapsulation, here are a few things to keep in mind:

Educate Yourself
Make sure you understand the potential benefits and risks involved.

Talk To Your Doctor
It’s important to discuss your plans with your medical team and make sure it’s safe for you.

Choose A Reliable Person To Do It
Make sure the person who will be handling your placenta is properly trained and follows safety guidelines.

Pay Attention To Your Body
If you notice any negative side effects, stop using it and consult with your doctor straight away.

Whether or not to encapsulate your placenta is up to you. Although there is still a lot of uncertainty around the science behind its benefits, some mother’s find comfort and empowerment in the practice. When it comes down to it, whether you choose to encapsulate your placenta should be based on your own research, what you think you need, and a consultation with your medical team.