.....That got your attention, didn't it?
Well, it's true.
I did - and occasionally still do - consume my placenta. Not in the raw, bloody, chewy form - but in a simple, dehydrated, powder form (though if you're interested, I've seen many a recipe on the internet for cooking with your placenta! Extra yum!)
I haven't told too many people this, for obvious reasons. But I finally decided it didn't really matter who knew and perhaps someone reading this would find it at least interesting. I don't think it's a very controversial issue - either you think it's disgusting or you see the benefits in it. If you don't know the benefits, keep reading. I'll get there. And if you're among the people who think it's absolutely revolting, then you can say what you want to yourself and skip reading the rest of this while you try not to gag. It's okay - I understand. I get a little grossed out myself if I think about it too much.
We were first introduced to the idea during my Hypnobirthing class. A doula came in and chatted with us about the benefits of placentophagy, and then proceeded to offer her services to the class. She would come into your home and dehydrate your placenta with some special herbs and then encapsulate them for you to easily (and tastelessly!) consume.
When we got back out to the car, Adam asked me if I wanted to do it. I was surprised - I had thought it was interesting, but hadn't really considered actually doing it until he asked me about it. It seemed just a touch too granola for me. But then we started talking about it and doing more of our own research online and I decided I wanted to try it --- only we were going to dehydrate my placenta on our own.
As it turned out, there was no "we" in the process - Adam, fabulous as he is, did ALL the work for me. This involved placing my placenta in a ice-filled cooler as we left the birth center, putting it in the freezer until he could get to it, thawing it, cleaning it, cutting it up and blending it. When it was in pureed form, he poured it onto a flat cookie sheet with parchment paper underneath. Then he put it into our oven at the lowest temperature possible so that it would slowly dry out rather than cook. After it was dried, he cut it up into small strips and blended it in a food processor. It was now in powder form! He did all of that - and it didn't even come from his own body!
At this point we didn't have any empty capsules, so for the first two weeks I would simply throw a spoonful of powder into a berry smoothie every morning for breakfast. The powder has a pretty strong smell, so I tried not to breathe in whenever I got it out. There was also a slight earthy taste added to my shake when I used it. Once I even tried just adding water and drinking it quickly, like taking a shot. Once. Never again. Eventually I got sick of smoothies everyday so we bought empty capsules and that was a lot easier.
So, what are the benefits of consuming your own placenta? Increased energy, increased milk supply, a mood-booster, and replenishing your iron supply after losing so much blood, to name a few. The number one reason I decided to try it was that I was worried about postpartum depression. For those of you who haven't noticed yet, I'm a pretty emotional person, so I was willing to try something that claimed it would help with baby blues.
Did it work for me? Well, never having had a baby before this, I don't have much to compare it to. However, I really believe it did affect me - especially my milk supply. I was overproducing like crazy - to the point where poor Axton would sometimes have milk coming out his nose. It was just too much for him to handle. I stopped taking the pills for a week or so to see if it would help tone things down a notch and it really did. Things got under control and I started taking it again, just less. I also think it did help with regulating my hormones and emotions. Sometimes, on emotional days, Adam would ask me if I had taken my Placenta Pills that day and usually I had not.
I will definitely do this again with my next child - I don't want to take any chances. In my opinion, it can only help, so why not? If you struggle with milk supply or postpartum depression, I would recommend looking into this to see if it might be something you would be interested in trying.
Here is video that goes into further details about how and why placentophagy is beneficial.
And another personal account of a woman who tried placenta encapsulation after her third birth: http://www.passionatehomemaking.com/2011/10/the-benefits-of-placenta-encapsulation-for-postpartum-healing.html
If you have any questions for me, I'd be happy to answer them. As always, I hope we can be mature adults and leave only kind comments!