No... Not fresh out of the womb with a knife and fork, or spread liberally over a few slices of toast... Don't panic, and get those common 'eww'-inducing misconceptions out of your mind! For placenta encapsulation is the way forward, and there's absolutely nothing gross about it at all.
You've probably seen sensationalised headlines in various newspapers and celebrity magazines recently about the likes of Rochelle Humes, Coleen Rooney, Tanya Bardsley, Alex Gerrard and Amy Childs 'eating their placenta' after giving birth, which at first glance you might think was a little bit weird. But these ladies, and many more, have in fact turned to the practice of placenta encapsulation by the Liverpool-based, female-owned and -run business called Placenta Plus.
Danielle Kinney started her business after experiencing the benefits of placenta encapsulation first-hand. Having suffered from crippling post-natal depression after her first baby, Danielle heard about the advantages of placenta encapsulation and tried it with her subsequent pregnancy. Her experience was so drastically different from the previous one, and so overwhelmingly positive, that she pursued a path to make placenta encapsulation accessible to many more women in the UK.
In case you hadn't gathered from the term 'placenta encapsulation', the process literally involves the placenta being steamed, dehydrated, ground, and placed into pills or capsules, which you can then take daily as you would any multivitamin or health supplement until your yield runs out. Danielle at Placenta Plus offers two methods of placenta encapsulation: Traditional Chinese method, which involves steaming before the dehydration process and is thought to have a more calming and rebalancing effect, or the Raw Dehydrated method, which skips the steaming stage and is recommended as the more energising of the two methods.
So why exactly have I decided to do it? Well...
The benefits of placenta encapsulation include:
- Increased energy levels
- Reduced post-birth bleeding
- Faster reduction of uterus size post-birth
- Reduced risk of post-natal depression and post-natal thyroiditis
- Reduced likelihood of suffering from a post-natal 'hormonal crash' - hormones are rebalanced much quicker
- Enriched and more plentiful supply of breastmilk
- Reduced amount of time to return to pre-baby weight due to boosted metabolism
Your placenta is a tailor-made source of nutrients, hormones, naturally occurring chemicals, iron and protein, created specifically by your own body to nourish your growing baby during the gestation period. Therefore, consuming an encapsulated version of your placenta and all the nutrients it contains is like taking a multivitamin supplement which was designed exclusively for you. The majority of mammals (including herbivores) eat their placenta after giving birth, proving that this is a beneficial practice in nature throughout the animal kingdom.
The placenta is rich in nutrients and hormones such as:
- THYROXINE: a major key for all thyroid patients like me, especially after suffering a sudden increase in TSH levels during pregnancy. Natural thyroxine from the placenta will assist with rebalancing TSH, improving thyroid function, boosting metabolism to assist with shifting the baby weight quickly, and staving off the risk of post-natal thyroiditis (which is often misdiagnosed as post-natal depression)
- ESTROGEN, PROGESTERONE & PROLACTIN: Female hormones which contribute to stabilising post-natal moods, boosting lactation, regulating post-natal uterine cramping, decreasing depression and normalising libido
- THYROID STIMULATING HORMONE (TSH): essential for regulating and restoring thyroid function, boosting energy levels and supporting recovery from stressful or traumatic events
- OXYTOCIN: known as the 'love hormone', this stimulates bonding between mother and baby, therefore reducing the likelihood of postnatal depression. It also counteracts the production of the stress hormone cortisol, and enhances the breastfeeding let-down reflex
- CORTICOTROPIN RELEASING HORMONE (CRH): increased levels of CRH are vital to fighting off the risk of suffering from post-natal depression
- CORTISONE: reduces inflammation and swelling, and promotes healing after childbirth
- INTERFERON: triggers the immune system to fight infections - remember, your immune system is massively subdued during pregnancy
- PROSTAGLANDINS: an anti-inflammatory which helps to regulate uterus contractions and shrink it back to pre-pregnancy size
- IRON: replenishes maternal iron supplies to combat the common onset of post-natal anaemia, whilst also increasing energy and reducing depression
- HAEMOGLOBIN: oxygen-carrying molecule essential to increasing energy levels
- CYTOKINES: trigger cell metabolism healing and replace damaged cells and tissues
- VITAMIN B6: aids in the production of antibodies
- VITAMIN E: rich in healing properties for damaged skin cells
- IMMUNOGLOBULIN G: antibodies to support the reinstatement of the immune system
- HUMAN PLACENTAL LACTOGEN (HPL): boosts lactation as well as regulating maternal glucose, protein and fat levels
So, for the privilege of receiving all the evident benefits above, I have booked in and paid for a £200 package from Placenta Plus to encapsulate my entire placenta, which can yield anything between 90-250 capsules depending on its size. That's almost a year's supply of custom-made multivitamins designed just for me. There are also packages available including pills and body cream, but for me I feel the pills will be of most benefit so I preferred to maximise the number of those I will receive.
The whole Placenta Plus procedure includes Danielle sending a licensed medical courier to collect the placenta from wherever you give birth in mainland UK, and delivering the beautifully-packaged pills along with a dried umbilical cord keepsake (sweetly twisted into the word 'love' - a bit better than the grotty old cord clip my mum has saved from my birth back in the 90s!) between 24-48hrs after you give birth. An exceptional service, and I can't wait to try it out. I will definitely be posting more about my experience once I've had the benefit of trying the pills myself.
For more information about Placenta Plus or to book in for your own placenta encapsulation (available in England, Wales & Scotland only), visit their website - www. placentaplus.co.uk