I Was Wrong About Placenta Encapsulation


Placenta EncapsulationI’ve always been a practical person, guided by logic. It’s hard for me to believe in things that I can’t see or feel for myself. I follow science, doctors, experts, those with advanced degrees. As a child and through college and graduate school, math was my best subject. One clear answer. Black and white. Right and wrong. True and false.

A lot of that shifted when I became a mother. For the first time in my life, I didn’t follow all the rules or live life on a strict schedule. My babies sleep in bed with me, eating and sleeping when they choose. I allowed myself to be guided not only by “shoulds” but also by feelings and instincts.

I also had a very difficult time producing breastmilk, no matter what I tried. And my postpartum anxiety was a serious struggle. When my first baby was born in 2013, I powered through as best I could, accepting help from my village along the way. When I was pregnant with my second baby in 2015, someone recommended I look into placenta encapsulation.

My automatic reaction was to laugh. Like Kourtney Kardashian? And hippies? No thanks, I’m good. Eventually, my curiosity got the better of me, and I Googled it. No scientific studies have been done to prove effectiveness. That’s a hard pill for someone like me to swallow (pun intended). I asked my ob-gyn about it.

She said, “There’s no real evidence one way or another, but a lot of my patients have been really happy they did it.”

“Any risks or danger to me or the baby if I do it?”

“Nope. It’ll help, or it won’t. As long as it’s done hygienically.”

Hmm. Back to Google to read about personal stories. Tons of people were reporting how much it helped them with breastmilk production and PPD/PPA. In the end, what did I have to lose? I guess nothing: “It’ll help or it won’t.”

So I did it. And I’m so glad I did.

My second baby was born on Christmas Eve, so the encapsulation process was delayed a few days, and then getting the pills to me was delayed another few days (doulas have lives and families too). When I came home from the hospital, I was in a DARK place. Much darker than I had been with my first baby. Not only was I struggling with severe PPA, but my breastmilk once again wasn’t coming in fully. Twenty-four hours after starting the placenta pills, I began to see the light. It was like magic. And I could feel my milk coming in.

If you’re like me, I know what you’re thinking: placebo. And as we know, there is no way to guarantee that this wasn’t the case. But I can promise you that it felt very real to me (also, breastmilk ounces don’t lie, and I had very low expectations of these pills making a difference).

In the coming days and weeks, my energy was back. There were times when I would even say I felt happy and joyful. I couldn’t believe it. And, of course, when my third baby was born in 2021, I did it again. And again – magic.

So from now on, I’ll defy all my logic and recommend placenta encapsulation to anyone who will listen. And I’ll try not to be offended when they laugh in my face. Because it turns out it’s not just for Kourtney Kardashian and hippies.


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