It seems like the new trend is getting back to nature. People are eating paleo and birthing naturally and living minimally. It’s all about being more basic these days. I am not a minimalist by any means. In my mind I would like to be but in reality I am so far from it that it’s not funny. One of the things that I have taken from this trend though is living a more natural life. In the last four years our family has been on a journey of health. We have changed a lot of the ways we eat, the chemicals we bring into our house and the medicines we put into our bodies. In all honesty, it has been life changing.
Just to give you a little back story, my oldest two boys are both adopted. Without going into one million details we were told we would never conceive. We adopted our two boys and then 5 months later we were pregnant with our third baby. I haven’t always been the healthiest person so I really wanted to treat my body as well as I could during my pregnancy. I ate a very clean diet, hired a health coach and monitored my blood sugar throughout. I hired a midwife and planned for a natural childbirth so I could have a medication-free birth. I hoped that this would give me and the baby the healthiest start to our little life together.
As the birth approached I hired a Doula who talked to me about placenta encapsulation. She said that one of the biggest triggers for postpartum depression is the fact that when you have the baby the placenta that holds most of the hormones you have been building for 9 months evacuates your body and you are left with a deficit. She said that by encapsulation you can slowly wean down on the hormones by taking the pills daily and slowly working your way off of them. I spoke with my midwife about it who told me all of the details she knew and said she would support my decision either way but I needed to let her know by the birth so she could make arrangements for my placenta.
My husband, Justin, and I discussed it and he thought we should do whatever we could to avoid postpartum depression, so we decided to go for it. Having struggled with depression at different points in my life I felt like it was important to at least try to keep myself from going down that path.
In case you aren’t familiar placenta encapsulation, it is a process where a certified placenta specialist takes your placenta and freeze dries it and then takes the tissue and makes pills. You take three or more for the first week and then wean down after that essentially getting you less dependent on the hormones. I also opted to have a small amount put into a smoothie right after the birth as it was supposed to help me recover quicker and can aide with preventing hemorrhaging after the birth.
So my thoughts afterward. I do feel like taking the pills helps bring my milk in faster and also establish a large supply early on. I believe that it really was one of the biggest factors in keeping me focused on breastfeeding when we were having problems. I also feel like I was relaxed and calm during those first few weeks after birth.
Did it keep me from developing PPD? No. I ended up needing to go on medication about 8 months after the baby was born. I do think that it kept my PPD at bay for a time and I also think that my case was not as severe because of the pills.
Would I do it again? Absolutely. I feel like there were many good things that came out of it and I don’t have any negative ones. Really, the only downside for those considering it is cost. Placental encapsulation can run $200+ at a time when you’re already spending a lot of money. I would encourage worried about PPD to look into and see if it would work for you (please also speak to your OBGYN or other health care provider if you are concerned about possibly developing PPD–we have all these great medical professionals for a reason). It might not be everyone’s jam but it definitely worked for us and now I can say that the strangest thing I have ever eaten was placenta.
I should also note that my Doula and my midwife both commented that I had the nicest placenta they had ever seen. Apparently they were able to use the entire thing as there were no fatty deposits or dead areas. She said that it spoke to how clean I ate while pregnant. Basically, I’m thinking about including that on my resume now…