The Crunchiest Thing I’ve Ever Done

If you’ve spent a few minutes here at the Heights, then you know that we tend to lean toward the crunchy life. I’ve talked before about what we do to avoid getting sick and how we handle sickness when it does come knockin’.

I’m pretty open to the natural way of life and could easily hop on board with things like coconut oil, essential oils, coffee with butter, and salt lamps.

But there are certain aspects of the cliche crunchy life where I draw the line (at least for now). Menstrual cups? Can’t do it. Cloth diapers? No thanks. Eating dirt? Not for me.

Incidentally, however, there was always one thing that I swore up and down that I could never, ever do.

And I did it.

Placenta Encapsulation

The thought of consuming my own placenta after giving birth was so foreign and, frankly, gross, that I wouldn’t even consider the idea for the majority of my pregnancy. I talked to many people who loved it, and I was happy for them; I just never saw myself following in their steps.

Why I Decided to Consume My Placenta

In the final month of my pregnancy, however, various articles about the benefits of a woman consuming her placenta after birth kept creeping across my social media and blog outlets. I had heard it all before. I knew that placenta consumption is believed to:

  • “Help to balance your hormones
  • Replenish depleted iron levels
  • Assist the uterus to return to its pre-pregnancy state
  • Reduce post-natal bleeding
  • Increase milk production – this has been proven in a study
  • Make for a happier, more enjoyable post-natal period
  • Increase your energy levels” (source)

The more I read, researched, and talked with real-life women who had done this before, the more I was convinced to give it a shot.

I finally decided to have my placenta encapsulated for the following reasons:

  1. My natural temperament errs toward emotionally low lows, and I was worried about my emotional state postpartum.
  2. I knew I would be going back to work soon after the baby was born, and I needed all the energy I could muster to perform well on an inadequate amount of sleep.
  3. I did not want my iron levels to dip so low that I would feel faint or weak, especially when caring for a baby

How I Did It

There’s no way I would ever eat the placenta in its raw form. THAT I’m pretty confident won’t be changing. The only way I could choke this thing down is if it were in pill form. By having the placenta encapsulated (dried out, ground up, and put into pill casings), I could trick my mind into thinking it was just another prenatal vitamin. I could stomach that.

I contacted a woman in my area who does placenta encapsulation and set up all the details. The day George was born, my midwife put the placenta on ice (no, I did not look at it), and my awesome sister-in-law picked up the placenta at the hospital and took it to the woman who would encapsulate it. The whole process took about three days, and within a week and a half, the capsules were delivered to our front door.

The Verdict?

In short, they worked for me.

Pros:

  • My mood has been drastically uplifted by consuming the placenta capsules. If I ever forgot to take the capsule, I would notice a significant difference in my state of mind. I would be much weepier, much shorter on patience, and much more melodramatic. Then, within a short time of popping those pills, I would have a much saner outlook on life and on motherhood.
  • We really are getting zero sleep these days, and yet I am somehow still functioning and going full speed for about 13 hours each day, so I’m assuming it’s helping with energy levels.
  • My bleeding has been extremely minimal throughout the entire postpartum period, and thus my iron levels have remained balanced and I have felt fueled and nourished.

Cons:

  • I think they taste weird. I have to hold my nose and down the pills quickly before my tastebuds realize what’s going on.
  • Because my instructions were to take several pills throughout the day, I would often forget my afternoon or evening dose and pay for it emotionally.

Will I consume my placenta with the next pregnancy? Absolutely.

Would I recommend it to every pregnant woman? Yes. While some women experience a negative result with the capsules, it is nothing that cannot quickly be remedied, and I believe the possible positives far outweigh the possible negatives.

What Say You?

Think I’m crazy? Tell me. Have you encapsulated your placenta before? Would you ever consider it? Let me know!

Comments

  1. I’m so glad you shared this. I’ve never been completely opposed to it but always a bit hesitant. I will definitely be seriously looking into it when the time comes !

  2. I did not eat my placenta but would consider it in the future. I’m not convinced that encapsulation makes that much of a difference so if I did do it, it would have to be raw and consumed within the first few weeks /months. Which I ‘m not sure I could do since I didn’t even look at mine. But I did watch a friend’s birth and see the placenta earlier this year – something I once thought so would rather die than see – so I think I ‘m headed in the right direction.

    P.S. The idea of even tampons has always grossed me out but I bought a menstrual cup and love it. So easy, my periods are shorter and less painful and way less messy than ever. It’s not really as radical as you think.

  3. I was a bit concerned at first……cause I’ve kissed you since then, haha

  4. You are so much braver than me… I know all the good things about it. Heck, animals do it…there’s got to be a reason for it. But I just couldn’t stomach the idea. My midwife showed me the placenta afterwards and that may or may not have been the swaying point to not for me lol. However, I’m so glad it’s working for you and that it does work 🙂

  5. I’ve been wondering about this… glad you posted! Seems gross, but also makes so much sense! I will have to look into it locally when the time comes. Is it expensive?

  6. I considered doing the same thing this time around, but decided against pursuing it. I think if I ever have a winter baby, I may have to try it though. I did look at the placenta this time for a few seconds longer than last time. So very gross. I get the fascination with it but… bleck. Not something these eyes want to study!

    Funny story though! Jon knew that some people consumed placenta but at our birth refresher course when he heard the term “placenta encapsulation” he was totally confused. He thought the nurse was talking about putting the placenta in a glass jar like a brain or worse, like Han Solo was encased by Jabba the Hut. I about died.

  7. Haha! I’m super duper crunchy … yet really could not get my mind wrapped around it. I just kept thinking, “This is my baby’s organ…” ugh!! But I know TONS of women who do and swear by it. I totally looked at mine with Lucy and it is pretty amazing. But not um…appealing to eat. 🙂 I have no idea how the ladies do it raw in smoothies. Also, yeah, I would love to be able to use a cup or something but it still weirds me out a bit and sounds uncomfy. Then again, I’ve tried sooo many weird things and been converted (including cloth diapers! not that bad, and clay, but never internally, only externally) so you never know!

  8. Olivia!! I just found your blog … ! This was probably the best post to have at the top =) 😉 All I can say is when I get to this point in my life choices, I will totally be on board. Anything to make a person’s hormones more normal is worth it.
    Now on to the other posts …
    ~ Clara
    ps – I was a cloth-diaper baby … but I was the baby.

  9. Wow, I’ve never even heard of this…fascinating stuff!I’m with you I’d have to swallow the pills fast before my tatse buds realize what is going on…

  10. Olivia, (I wanted to use your name because I find it to be oh so lovely.)
    As a nurse, I find this post to be quite amusing. In college I learned in some cultures the men choose to consume the placenta as a “manly” way to welcome the baby to the life-outside-the-womb family. As an oblivious nurse, however, I never knew (was totally blind, actually) to the fact that the placenta has nutrients that are good for the mother as well. Obviously, the baby gets his nutrients from the mama through the placenta, but that the mama can re-benefit? All feels. Very love. Much Jesus.
    The best part of this, for me, is seeing your desire to sacrifice all for your baby. You admit, countless times over, how disgusted you were at the thought of consuming your own placenta. (Do not blame you, here). Yet, you do it for the good of another, to have the energy to care for the little one. So good for my soul to hear.
    I hope you teach Theology, and not English. I am not good with the grammar. Jesus is always merciful though, when my intentions are good 🙂
    Thanks for being the you that is you all over the interwebs. I appreciate it immensely.
    Amanda

  11. I thought it was so weird, too!!! Then, I began researching more about it and although none of the studies are “scientifically proven”, I thought, “why on earth would I not try this and see for myself!?” Long story short, my family thinks I’m crazy but we have scheduled to have my placenta encapsulated next week after my son is born. I love your blog because every post aligns very much with who I am!! Thank you. 🙂

  12. All I can say is that I’ve been paying $50 a month for liquid iron supplements during my pregnancy. I found a close by encapsulation services for $125. I’m not sure how many pills one placenta provides, but it has to be a great iron source! And the thought of helping with milk supply is appealing to me!

  13. I know this is way behind the times, but I just wanted to chime in about the cups. I was really weirded out by them, too. After a long time of not committing to trying them, I found out there was a disposable version called Soft Cup (I got mine at Rite Aid). I actually used that for a while before I got the courage to try the Diva Cup. I just wanted to throw that out there as an option since most people don’t know about them. It’s actually pretty revolutionary to not have to deal with changing pads or tampons frequently. Usually after the first day or so, I can pretty much forget I’m having a period except at the end of the day when I empty it. Putting it in and taking it out is not my favorite thing but not feeling gross the rest of the day more than makes up for it.

Leave a Reply