Is there any evidence for eating my placenta?
Oh my gosh – I am feeling just SO hormonal!!
Yes, that’s the cry of many of our mums following birth – especially as the “baby blues” hit on day 3 to 5. Strangely enough it is actually a drop in hormones that makes mums feel so “emotional”. Many people will tell you that is “normal” and to be expected – but is there anything you can do about it?
Yes! For all those people that ask “Why should I eat my placenta?” – a lab review has shared their initial findings of helpful hormones being found in placentas after delivery – and it is believed that those hormones can assist the mums researching how to avoid PND and Baby Blues when consumed.
Of course anecdotally we have known this for a long time – a quick look at this amazing organ that is grown with each baby should be enough to help you understand it’s wonder – and you only have to listen to the thousands of mothers that acknowledge the benefits of eating their placentas (in capsule, raw or smoothie form) – but it is wonderful to finally be seeing this tested in lab conditions.
I regularly debate with sceptics that tell me there is no evidential proof of the benefits of placental encapsulation – to which I say “no shit Sherlock!”. Pharmaceutical companies make a mini mountain of money each and every day that they are selling their drugs to mums with PND.
Now don’t get me wrong – I truly believe that these drugs are necessary and lifesaving to some mums and they should be available to all women that need them during the often turbulent transition to parenthood. BUT – and it’s a big BUT – there is no way a pharmaceutical company will be paying for research to discover that you already have a free and natural way to boost mums hormones that is given to her as a gift “a packet full of hormones – delivered free of charge” literally after birth.
Following preparation for encapsulation placental tissue retains hormones, iron and protein.. These included:
CRH (Corticotropin-releasing Hormones) which help reduce stress levels – the journey into motherhood can be shocking, numbing and all encompassing in those early weeks as a mum tries to juggle the pleasures of full time parenting with the sadness of losing her previous freedoms and sheer exhaustion. 1 in 10 women are thought to suffer with ongoing PND (please check out this link if you are concerned that you or a friend may be suffering PND) and mums are increasingly interested in remedies that may help improve their mental health well-being in those early days with a newborn.
hPL (Human Placental Lactagon) – helps prepare your body for breastfeeding and encourages lactation. In my experience as a postnatal doula the most common concern for mums following birth is “do I have enough breastmilk” – yet the mums that are consuming placenta smoothies or placenta capsules never seem to have this concern!
Oxytocin – which helps breastfeeding by encouraging a let down reflex, but also plays an ENORMOUS part in bonding with your baby. If you would like to read more (because I can’t even begin to do it justice here) then read “The Oxytocin Factor” by Kerstin Uvnas Moberg.
Raw placenta was unsurprisingly shown to have the highest level of hormones which may suggest that mums may wish to prepare a smoothie after birth or have “raw” capsules (these are still a powdered form, just without Chinese Traditional Method of steaming applied).
We’ve all heard the saying “don’t chuck the baby out with the bath water” (meaning an avoidable mistake in throwing something good away believing it to be bad) perhaps now we should be saying “don’t chuck my placenta away – make me a smoothie!”