The Placenta. The Tree of Life.
Why do women consume their placentas?
There are many different reasons that lead women to make the decision to consume their #placentas. For many women, it is the first-hand accounts they hear from friends or recommendations made by their Doulas, Midwives, or Doctors. They have heard other moms talk about how consuming their placenta has been a positive experience for them. Many moms report that they believed it helped with their #postpartum experience, lessened their bleeding, reduced their pain, stabilized their moods, and increased their milk supply. For some women, this is a cultural and spiritual practice. Many cultures hold the placenta in high regards and they may even honor it by other means. We can also help those that choose not to consume it by participating in the many different placenta traditions.
How can the placenta be prepared?
There are two main methods of #placentaencapsulation: TM and Raw.
According to the TCM, after a woman gives birth, they have an opening left in the womb. Thus this causes a depletion of Qi in them. TCM believes that because there is an empty void, a woman needs to be warmed after giving birth to restore it. However, immediately after delivery and for the first 48 hours that follow, cooling foods and treatments are allowed. A raw placenta smoothie would be appropriate during this period. After the 48 hours are up, TCM suggests that only cooked or steamed foods and warm treatments are applied from here on.
Since most encapsulation specialists are not a practitioner of Chinese Methods, we use a modified version.
It is based on the principles of the Chinese Method, but it is not exactly like it has been prepared in the past. We steam the placenta first before dehydrating, and can add warming and tonifying lemon, ginger, and hot pepper in the water when the client does not have food sensitivities. As the placenta steams, a broth is left behind. Some clients may choose to keep the broth so that they can add it to soups, smoothies, or use it for various other personal preferences. Benefits of steaming the placenta include reducing the bacteria count. Then, we slice it and put it in the dehydrator.
The Raw method doesn't do the heating and herbal process. The placenta is cleaned, sliced, and then dehydrated at a temperature of 160 degrees. This higher temperature of 160℉ is to ensure any possible bacteria are eliminated. Mothers following the Raw Foods diet as well as some vegans and vegetarians may choose Raw Start. However, this does not follow the methods of a Raw Foods diet, as their methods are not safe or applicable to meat consumption. There is a risk of food borne diseases when consuming raw or under cooked products. While high temperature raw preparation has been shown to greatly reduce bacterial counts, food safety guidelines recommend steaming prior to dehydration which will result in further reduction of bacteria. This is similar guidelines that you would hear if you ate a piece of meat that was undercooked. This method yields more pills.
Some women find that remembering dosages or taking pills is hard. There are other options out there for you to utilize your placenta. You can have smoothies, tinctures, chocolate truffles, and even meals made out of your placenta. You can even use the placenta powder in your pills to put in your smoothies.
Why would I consume my placenta and what does it consist of?
***Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone (CRH) is a hormone that is usually produced by the hypothalamus under times of stress. It's release will trigger other hormones to increase and that increases the hormone cortisol. Cortisol raises your blood sugar and helps regulate blood pressure to help us when we are under stress. During the last trimester of your pregnancy, your placenta will release a lot of CRH- about threefold! According to George Chrousos, an endocrinologist who led this study, the hypothalamus releases less CRH during pregnancy possibly because the placenta disrupts the feedback system that regulates the normal production of the hormone. After birth, the hypothalamus doesn't create the levels that are needed. It takes some time to begin making more CRH. Low levels of CRH in postpartum women may be linked to depression. ***Vitamin B-6 assists metabolism, your nervous system function and helps you feel energetic. ***Oxytocin promotes the feelings of love and empathy. When you consume your placenta, its high levels of oxytocin are thought to slow your postpartum bleeding, alleviate discomfort, and assist with breastfeeding. ***Prolactin (PRL) Promotes lactation and increases milk supply.
***Placental opioid enhancing factor (POEF). It can help increase your pain relief and give you a better mood.
Where is it done and how?
Services can be completed at either your home or my work space. You should have the choice about where you want your placenta processed. There are pros and cons to both:
In your home you can watch the entire process, feel confident in the procedure, and ask questions. You will also have your kitchen area cleaned and sanitized. However, the possibility of having to explain it to visitors, not wanting the smell that comes from the process, and having me in their home for hours at a time deter some families.
At my work space you can be assured that I only work with one placenta at a time, so there is no risk of mix up. You don't have to worry about transportation and storage or arranging someone to be home so that I an work. However, some moms feel uneasy about trusting a stranger to process their placenta, so they choose for me to come to them.
Either way, I uphold the safety standards for cleaning and sanitizing the work space, wear the correct PPE gear, and use the proper equipment for the process. I have attended an extensive hands on placenta encapsulation workshop, went through months of training while attending an online school and graduated from Association of Placenta Preparation Arts (APPA), I am currently certified with #APPA, have completed a blood borne pathogens course through Biologix (which is OSHA certified and specifically designed for placenta encapsulation specialists), hold a Food Handler Certificate for the state of Georgia, and am certified in First Aid/CPR. When choosing me as your placenta encapsulation specialist, you are guaranteed the highest of safety standards when it comes to processing your placenta.
Written by Allison Fernandez, Placenta Specialist at Havenly Birth