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Does Placenta Encapsulation Really Work? DMV Birth Doulas, LLC

Nikita Johnson SM, COBST, CD(BAI), PES - CEO/Founder

Does Placenta Encapsulation Work?

Except for a few species, all mammals consume their placenta after giving birth. Some speculate that this is because of the nutritional benefits of consuming a placenta after having a baby. Anecdotal evidence on placenta consumption in human beings is overwhelmingly positive. There are a few different ways in which a person can consume their placenta, but placenta encapsulation is the most popular method for human consumption. Consuming the placenta is a tradition of Chinese medicine and is gaining popularity in the United States. The placenta is an organ created by the body during pregnancy. The placenta delivers nutrients and oxygen to a developing baby, and it is full of vitamins and minerals such as B6, B12, and iron. The placenta is also hormone rich with progesterone and estrogen.

Placenta Encapsulation 101

Placenta encapsulation is the practice of ingesting the placenta after it has been made into pills. DMV Birth Doulas, LLC encapsulates placentas by first cleaning and steaming them with ginger, cayenne pepper, and lemon, dehydrate them in a food-grade dehydrator, grinding the placenta into a powder, and encapsulating the powder into a pill for ingesting. For those who choose to encapsulate their placenta, the encapsulation process typically occurs immediately after birth, and the postpartum parent starts to consume their placenta within a few days.

What are the Pros of Placenta Encapsulation? Does evidence back it?

While there is little evidence-based information available regarding placenta encapsulation, anecdotal reports suggest that it has many benefits. The possible benefits of placenta encapsulation include:

  • A decrease in postpartum mood disorders.

  • Increased production of oxytocin.

  • A reduction of stress hormones.

  • Restoration of iron levels following bleeding after birth.

  • Increased milk supply.

In a small study, data has demonstrated that hormones remain present in the placentas following the preparation process. Researchers have found that both progesterone and estradiol levels are currently at high enough levels to cause physiological effects when consumed. According to the American Pregnancy Association, placenta encapsulation has been proven to assist with mood stabilization through supplementing oxytocin levels. Additionally, this suggests that placenta encapsulation has a potential regulatory effect on postpartum hormones, affecting both postpartum mood and milk supply. Click here to watch a video about the benefits of placenta encapsulation.

Can I get sick from ingesting my placenta?

No sizeable randomized study currently exists to suggest that there are any risks associated with placenta encapsulation. Some women report that they feel jittery or increase anxiety on infrequent occasions, much like feeling over-caffeinated, after consuming their encapsulated placenta. Some reports suggest that women can experience a decrease in milk supply instead of an increase in milk supply following the ingestion of their placenta. Each individual must evaluate the potential benefits verse the potential risks to decide whether or not placenta encapsulation is right for them. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently warns against placenta encapsulation; however, there are limited documented risks to support this recommendation.

I'm interested in placenta encapsulation; how do I get started?

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