Placenta, anyone?

I realise this seems like quite a celebrity trend but I want to talk about placenta encapsulation and to share my experience after giving birth. If the vision of your placenta in a frying pan, served up as dish for you to eat is not quite appealing (me neither), there are lots of other options for you to explore like having your placenta dried out and prepared into capsules.

So what is the placenta and what does it do? The placenta is an organ attached to the lining of your womb during pregnancy. It keeps your unborn baby’s blood supply separate form your own blood supply, as well as providing a link between the two. Oxygen and nutrients pass from your blood supply into the placenta. From there, the umbilical cord carries the oxygen and nutrients to your unborn baby.

I was somewhat aware of placenta encapsulation as I had read quite a few articles online, as whilst pregnant with Austin I was very anaemic and researching natural methods of how to restore iron levels after giving birth. I did try to raise my iron levels with more natural methods during pregnancy, I was knocking back spartone and Floradix liquid supplements every day and consuming so much spinach and steak I could rival a body builder’s diet! Unfortunately repeat blood tests showed despite my best efforts my iron levels were dropping further and I had no choice but to be prescribed iron tablets. When I was approx 35 weeks my levels were still a little off and as a result I was referred back to the hospital to see a consultant. They were concerned about blood loss during labour so it looked like an iron transfusion was looming.

Thankfully just in time my iron levels rose and I avoided a transfusion, but clearly worried about my levels dropping again after giving birth I started to research placenta encapsulation and after a recommendation from a friend I found myself on the Earth Bound Baby website. Amanda is qualified and certified in Placenta Encapsulation and I was amazed at what your placenta can provide for you and your baby.

Some of the benefits include:

Decreased Risk of Post-Partum Depression

Reduced Risk of Post-Partum Aneamia

Increase in Breast milk production

Reduction of Post-Partum bleeding

Pain relief and faster healing

Balancing hormones

For me personally having my placenta encapsulated (raw tablets) offered the best option, drinking it in a smoothie was just a little too much for me but amazing for some that are braver than I am. The preparation for this was also much easier than I imagined. Amanda sent me a list of what was needed and even where to buy. This included a mini cool bag, plastic tupperware container, zip lock bags and some freezer packs! A ready-made placenta picnic!! There are very strict temperature control regulations so if you prefer you can purchase placenta collections kits which keep the placenta below 5oC for 12 hours.

When planning to preserve your placenta you do have to factor in that you will need help, as this needs to happen straight after giving birth. Some hospitals may not be as helpful, you can ask for ice or to keep your freezer packs cold. It is definitely advised to speak to your midwife or hospital in advance. I was also aware that Mr M goes a slightly grey colour watching Holby City so I did wonder how on earth he would be able to physically transfer my placenta into a plastic box before Amanda arrived! Maybe watching me give birth was graphic enough because he had no problems transferring and preparing my placenta ready for collection. My mum (a nurse) was also on hand but Mr M was fully in control.

Luckily my placenta was delivered quickly (and complete) but even if there are complications such as meconium in the waters or if you have tested positive for Group B Strep (GBS) there are options. Having a straight forward birth is not always possible but Amanda did provide me with a list of scenarios and I felt confident I would be able to benefit from my placenta in some form despite any complications that may have developed during my labour.

I also requested (and had) delayed cord clamping, which I actually think is standard procedure for a normal delivery in most hospitals now. This simply means that the umbilical cord is not clamped or cut until after pulsations have ceased or until after the placenta is delivered. Research has shown that when we delay cord clamping the baby will receive up to 30% more of the fetal-placental blood volume.

My Raw placenta capsules, balm and essence were delivered to my home 48 hours after giving birth and I was very excited to receive them! The dose was 1-2 capsules up to 3 times a day with a glass of orange juice for 4-6 weeks after giving birth. The essence (lasts indefinitely) was used as drops in water to help when Austin was unsettled, irritable or unwell. It can also help with teething pain and offers comfort to babies with colic. The balm could be used daily when necessary (not on open wounds) and could be used for up to 12 months.

The benefits I received from my placenta package were amazing. I was lucky to be able to breast feed Austin and really believe the capsules helped sustain my milk supply. After an episiotomy and lots of stitches, I also found my body healed quickly and I really did feel great (albeit sleep deprived) in those early weeks. Most importantly I had no iron deficiency and was happy to be giving my body some much-needed nutrients when I was struggling to find time to eat in my newborn baby haze!

So any mum’s to be in the Surrey area if it is something you are thinking about then head over to the Earth Bound Baby website and have a good read of ALL the benefits and information you might need. I do understand this does come at a cost, I paid £200 for my package but there are other options available. Amanda was fantastic and the whole process was pain-free (unlike my labour!) so if we are lucky enough to have another baby I wouldn’t think twice about enlisting Mr M as my placenta courier and Earth Bound Baby to supply my capsules!

Kate xxx

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