For many centuries, the placenta has been recognised as a valuable source of nourishment – not only for the child while within the womb, but also for the mother herself after giving birth. The rich composition of hormones, vitamins, protein, iron and other beneficial elements found in the placenta has led to mothers throughout history consuming it as a natural means of boosting energy, mood and milk production after birth.
There are many ways the placenta can be consumed, including eating it shortly after birth, getting it made into tinctures and balms, and taking it in capsule form. This last method of encapsulation has rapidly risen in appeal over recent years – even celebrities including January Jones and Natasha Hamilton have admitted to consumption of placenta capsules after pregnancy, further contributing to its popularity.
Let’s take a look at the reasons why placenta encapsulation is on the rise, detailing the many benefits reported by mothers around the world as well as outlining some scientific findings.
A Safe and Natural Process
One of the major attractions of placenta encapsulation that continues to draw women in is the nourishment it offers within a natural form. Many mothers seek some form of supplement after giving birth to replenish hormones and vitamins, and consuming the placenta offers a natural solution. The encapsulation process is also easy, safe and affordable. It involves the placenta being dehydrated, ground into a powder, and inserted into capsules which can then be easily consumed without any strong taste being experienced. This makes it ideal for those who find the other methods of consuming placenta unpalatable, whilst still enabling the great benefits of consumption to be gained.
Tried and Tested by Mothers Across the World
Throughout history, mothers have experienced a wide range of benefits as a result of consuming their placenta. This anecdotal evidence goes back several centuries, with the practice being especially prevalent within Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Pregnancy can take its toll on the body, depleting it of important elements and causing fatigue and these days we have seen an increase in postnatal depression. However, many women who have taken placenta capsules have experienced improvements in mood, energy levels and breastfeeding. This is likely due to the many beneficial hormones and vitamins contained within placenta, including oxytocin (the hormone of love and increases bonding between mother and child) and prolactin (the hormone responsible for the mother’s milk supply). B vitamins and iron (responsible for an increase in energy and stamina)
The full list of benefits that have been reported by thousands of women around the world include:
- 1) Improves mood, helping to minimise post-partum depression symptoms.
- 2) Increases energy levels.
- 3) Increases milk production for breast feeding.
- 4) Helps to replenish iron levels depleted during pregnancy.
Backed by Science
While placenta encapsulation is largely unstudied, with no double-blind human studies yet conducted, there is nevertheless some scientific research that exists on placenta consumption.
A 1954 study of 210 women who consumed their placenta found that 86% of them considered it to be a positive and beneficial experience. Another study revealed that consuming placenta could provide pain relief, finding that rats were better able to suppress pain after doing so. It has been discovered that this is due to the opiod enhancing factor (OEF) that until after childbirth does not exist in the body. Meanwhile, a 1980 study determined that rats who consumed their placenta had improved levels of certain hormones in their blood after giving birth. Research has also shown that most other mammals are known to eat their placenta after giving birth, suggesting there’s an evolutionary purpose or benefit to be gained from the practice.
These studies, as well as the wealth of anecdotal evidence from mothers, have impacted significantly on the popularity of placenta encapsulation, helping many in today’s society to look at the practice with an open mind and give it consideration. If you’re interested in learning more about placenta encapsulation, visit Butterfly Beginning’s helpful ‘about’ page. You can also contact us if you have any questions.
We are working with Placenta Services Australia to create a regulating body for the placenta encapsulation services industry to keep the standards high for consumers as a safe and beneficial as possible and provide a quality service to families around Melbourne and Australia.