Monday, July 27, 2009

Big plans for my placenta

With Suzi, I never even saw my placenta. I was too busy rubbernecking at my daughter who was being weighed and measured and tested across the room. It was unceremoniously thrown away. Now I regret dismissing this piece of our birth so carelessly, but at the time I didn't know any better. With Ivey, I want things to be different.

Many women feel compelled to honor their placentas in some way. The most common way I've heard of is to plant the placenta under a special tree. A few weeks ago, a lady from work told me she'd heard of women actually eating the placenta, and didn't I think that was weird? It's not that it's weird (other mammals do it), it's just not something I'd want to do personally. Placenta sandwich and placenta spaghetti just don't whet my appetite. Besides, if you consume the placenta this way it only lasts a day or two.

Instead, we decided on placenta encapsulation. I heard about it at babywearing (of course) and immediately thought it might be good for me. With Suzi, I remember experiencing almost immediate (fresh-out-of-the-hospital) anxiety and depression. My milk supply also suffered due to several factors, so I ended up getting a drug called Reglan prescribed to fix it. The trouble with Reglan is that it can aggravate postpartum depression. So, instead of getting over that horrible gloomy feeling, it just got worse and worse. I ended up on Zoloft, and I can't help but think that all of this could probably have been avoided if I'd taken a different path!

Placenta encapsulation involves drying out, grinding, and depositing the placenta into capsules so that it may be consumed in pill form. It is said to balance hormones, enhance milk supply, and increase energy during a mom's postpartum period (info from There are various testimonials to support its effectiveness as a supplement.

There are a couple of different ways to achieve the goal of having your placenta encapsulated for use after the birth. You could take a do-it-yourself approach, which would require purchasing a placenta encapsulation kit and a food dehydrator. We purchased our kit from Jodi Selander at Placenta Benefits, but we found a food dehydrator on eBay at a slightly better deal. (Jordan had been wanting one for a long time anyway, and they are good for lots of things.) The kit includes almost everything else you'll need (except for a few kitchen items), including the promise of phone support from Jodi during the encapsulation process should you need any help. The only catch to doing it this way is that the placenta will need to be encapsulated shortly after the birth--when mom will probably need to be recovering and bonding with baby, not standing in the kitchen. Therefore, most of the work may need to be delegated to someone else. Jordan volunteered to encapsulate my placenta, but this is not a job every husband is willing to do.

PBi Placenta Encapsulation kit

If there isn't anyone available to do the job for you, your placenta can be taken to a specialist who will encapsulate it for a fee. There aren't any in South Carolina at the moment, but there are some in North Carolina and Georgia. I offered this option to Jordan, but he declined. He's a do-it-himself kind of guy (plus I think he really wanted the food dehydrator). We'll see how it goes! I am going to try to sit at the dining room table and help him.

Our decision to try placenta capsules to remedy my postpartum issues wasn't a cheap one (as you know if you clicked the above links) but we feel it was the right thing to do. If my experience this time is even somewhat easier than what I went through with Suzi, it'll be worth it. Stay tuned for a few weeks to see how it works for us!


Theresa said...

Seriously now, you need to hold fast to that man. I even gagged when I was reading your post! Good for you though, and I hope it helps. I'm all geared up for this baby, just waiting . . .

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you could make a print of it before you dehydrate it. Cover it with paint and put it on poster paper- looks like a tree!

Anonymous said...

crystal stein does this also!

Emily said...

I am anxious to see how this works out for you! I am still debating whether to hire someone or go the DIY route...I've also heard of freezing it and adding it to smoothies. I might be able to stomach it that way..

Ashley said...

If this doesn't work out for you, one thing that really helped me (that my midwife recommended) was liquid chlorophyll. You mix about 3/4 cup with some water or juice and take five times a day after the baby is born. This helps you to feel REALLY good, helps with your milk supply and resupplies your body with what might have been lost during birth. I found a bottle at the local herb shop. It was about 25 dollars for a bottle. Expensive... but so worth it.

Btw, found your blog through Rissa.