Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Postpartum Health: Benefits of the Placenta {A Birth Circle Topic}

Historically, midwives knew the placenta could be used to stop a postpartum hemorrhage when a small piece was cut off and placed in the mother's cheek, but the benefits of placentophagia, or consuming your placenta, extend far beyond that!

Encapsulation is on the rise with the placenta capsules giving you a consistent flow of oxytocin, making you feel good and encouraging your uterus to return to its normal size. Many studies have been published but for North America this is still a fairly new concept; that being said, with the many potential benefits and no negative side affects, why not?

Many mothers report a shorter period of lochia as well as increased energy. The placenta is rich in iron, which replenishes your blood, may regulate your hormones and along with B vitamins found in the placenta, boosts your energy, all of this preventing or lessening the risk of postpartum depression or 'baby blues'. Also found in the placenta are hormones made by you, for you, including cortisone, interferon, prostaglandins, hemoglobin, prolactin, Urokinate inhibiting factor and factor XIII, and of course, oxytocin.

As mentioned, oxytocin is a 'feel good' hormone- creating feelings of bonding, happiness and pain relief- but what are all of those other hormones?!

Cotrisone combats stress and unlocks energy stores in the body.
Interferon stimulates the immune system to fight off infections!
Prostaglandins act as an anti-inflammatory. Hemoglobin replenishes iron.
Urokinase inhibiting factor and factor XIII lessen bleeding and promote faster healing!
Proclactin stimulates milk production. The placenta also provides the mother with hPL hormone, Human Placental Lactogen, which helps establish early and healthy milk supply.

And for more about the placenta encapsulation and lactation, click below:
Image courtesy of MotherChi.
Click to read 'The Complementary Relationship Between Placentophagia and Lactation'
The placenta can be prepared via the raw method- meaning it is prepped and dehydrated to preserve the enzymes, it is then ground up and placed in capsules.

The Traditional Chinese Method- the placenta is steamed, often with complementing herbs, and then dehydrated, ground and encapsulated.

You can also make a piece of your placenta into a smoothie for immediate benefit or into a tincture for very long lasting benefits.

Interested in placenta preparation for yourself? Click on the link and contact me for more info!

And share your experiences with placentophagia here!

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Contact info

Jennifer Valencia | Labor & Postpartum Doula | 928.300.1337


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