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Introduction to placenta encapsulation
Placing a placenta into capsules does exist. As a matter of fact, this controversial practice is dated to be centuries old and is recommended to take to bid baby blues goodbye.
Placenta capsules are also believed to be an effective energy booster for moms who just gave birth. To understand more about placental encapsulation, below are the following terms as an introduction for this bizarre beauty practice:
The placenta (plural form: placentae) serves as the unborn baby’s life support system while inside the womb. It is an internal organ inside the uterus which gives the fetus an access to oxygen, nutrients, and blood.
Placental encapsulation (widely spelled and called as placenta encapsulation) is the process of transforming a raw placenta into a pill or capsule. This type of bizarre practice is mostly done by Chinese, Vietnamese, Hungarian, and Italian medical practitioners.
The placenta capsule FAQs (frequently asked questions)Pregnancy week by week
Since placenta encapsulation is a weird practice, here are some of the frequently asked questions of curious moms who want to try ingesting their own [or other mother’s] placenta (in a capsule form):
What does it taste like?
The dried placenta tastes like any other herb that is being encapsulated. It has been reported that a placenta capsule has no aftertaste unlike other herbal medicines.
On the other hand, some women claimed that placenta capsules taste like iron supplements in capsule form (since the liquidize iron supplement taste much worst).
What is the recommended dosage?
Placenta capsules are recommended to take for at least 2x a day. These can be ingested as soon as a mother receives it (expect to receive 100 – 200 capsules to be manufactured from a single placenta).
How much does letting one’s placenta encapsulated cost?
The cost of letting one’s placenta encapsulated varies on the specialist.
Process of encapsulating the placenta
The process of encapsulating a placenta postpartum is done by placenta encapsulation specialists (encapsulator for short) who can be found across the globe.
As a matter of fact, placenta encapsulation specialists have attained a variety of probable training courses. However until now, this type of practice has not been passed by the law
- Primarily, the midwife / ob – gyne / doula / health care practitioner will place the placenta in a freezer shortly after birth. For health and safety purposes, the organ is placed into casserole dish with a lid. As a matter of fact, some specialists opt not to encapsulate the placenta if it has been exposed for too long. In line with this is when the placenta has been birthed in water since it increases its risk to contamination. However, some have no problem with water – birthed placentas since they wash and clean the placentas thoroughly.
- The midwife / ob – gyne / doula / health care practitioner puts the bloody and rubbery raw placenta in a colander in a sink
- The placenta encapsulation specialist collects the frozen placenta for thawing. A raw placenta takes one whole day to prepare and dehydrate itself entirely. For a frozen placenta, it will take approximately 6 weeks after the encapsulation specialist can take it out of the freezer.
- Once the thawing is done, the specialist puts it in the sink to rinse the dehydrated placenta clean.
- Remaining blood clots [and maternal blood] will be removed. To ensure that the placenta is entirely dry, the encapsulation specialist will poke the organ using a skewer to drain off the remaining blood inside.
- After its final quick rinse, some placenta encapsulation specialist will put the organ in a saucepan steamer and placed on top of a stove. The flattened and circular organ is steamed to perfection (with or without herbs such as garlic and ginger, as for traditional Chinese medicine) to make it nice and tender. The placenta is steamed for 15 minutes on each side. During the steaming process, expect the placenta to shrink about half of its pre –steaming size. On the other hand, some encapsulation specialists opt to proceed to the next dehydrating process.
- After the steaming process, the tenderized placenta is placed on a clean chopping board. Using a sharp knife, the placenta is sliced into very thin strips (julienne cut). The umbilical cord is also cut into small chunks.
- After chopping, the placenta and umbilical cord pieces is laid onto a tray with a baking sheet or a tinfoil.
- Then the tray will be transferred inside an Excalibur food dehydrator. If no dehydrator is available on hand, a microwave oven will do. For the oven method, set the temperature at its lowest heat, for about 6 – 8 hours.
- Following the heating and dehydrating process, the placenta is pulverized using a kitchen grinder machine (a pestle and mortar can do if no grinder machine is available on hand). Just add 1 – 2 chunks or strips at a time since the dehydrated placenta is very hard. Repeat the grinding process until it the placenta is purely powdered (no lumps left).
- Finally, the pulverized placenta is placed into empty gelatin capsules (clear or colored will do) by using a piece of clean paper to scoop and pour it in manually.
- Right after pouring the placenta powder, the specialist fully encloses the capsule.
Always store the placenta capsules in a cool and dry place, avoid the capsule from getting wet as they will dissolve easily. For mothers who live in a tropical country, always place the placenta capsules in a refrigerator to prevent the formation of mold.
Placentophagy is the scientific term which refers to the act of a person or mammal eating the placenta post – delivery in any form at any time. This act is believed to have emotional and health benefits among midwives and alternative – health advocates.
However in some countries, placentophagy is linked to cannibalism. This is because no scientific study and research has been proven yet that eating the placenta lowers the chances of postpartum depression and brings a lot of health benefits after childbirth.
In line with this, placentophagy is divided into different categories namely:
Human placentophagy refers to a person eating the placenta post – delivery, either raw, altered (i.e, encapsulated into a medicated form, frozen, dehydrated, dried, and ground).
As a matter of fact, placenta recipes do exist (cooked, steamed, sliced, soaked in fluid). Some people incorporated placenta in a special dish, either served in small chunks, cooked into a pizza or lasagna, blend into a smoothie, as a form of meat product and the like.
Did you know that only a minority of placental mammals out of 4000 species do not take part in maternal placentophagy? Maternal placentophagy refers to a modern mother (or any specie of placental mammals) eating her own placenta post – delivery.
Traditionally, a placenta is frequently ingested by the mother shortly after childbirth, during her menstrual period, and/or during her menopause (which is believed to counteract some of its symptoms).
Non – maternal placentophagy
Non – maternal placentophagy refers to any person (excluding the mother who owns the placenta) eating others placenta any time, either raw or not. The instances of non – maternal placentophagy are attributed to the following:
- A change toward carnivorousness right after childbirth
- Specific appetite
- General appetite
Corresponding effects of eating the encapsulated capsule
Eating the placenta is touted by some to bring health benefits. This is because the placenta contains residual nutrients, hormones, and cells that were passed from the mother to the unborn.
With that being said, below are the corresponding effects of eating the encapsulated placenta:
Proposed benefits of eating a placenta capsule
Did you know that only 71 out of 210 women who ate placenta are very satisfied with its results (which include enlarged breasts size) while 110 women felt good with the benefits of placenta encapsulation?
As a matter of fact, until now, the benefits related to eating the encapsulated placenta have not been proven yet. Most of the information regarding its placenta capsules came from recommendations of women who have ingested one.
- Aids in the balance of hormones
- Increases the amount of oxytocin release (also called as the cuddle / trust / love hormone) – oxytocin is a hormone released right after the dilation of cervix and vagina (posterior lobe of the pituitary gland). It is responsible for uterine contractions which triggers and speeds up labor, it also strengthens the mother and the baby’s bond
- Helps the uterus to return to its pre – pregnancy size
- Reduces the risk of post – natal bleeding
- Increases the levels of Corticotropin – releasing hormone (CRH) – CRH is a hormone which is responsible to reduce stress
- Decreases the levels of postpartum mood disorder (also called as postpartum depression, abbreviated as PDD) –is a type of medical depression which affects both sexes after the newborn is conceived. Postpartum mood disorder refers to the unexplained feeling of sadness, chronic fatigue, alterations in sleep and eating patterns, low sex drive, pseudobulbar affect (episodes of crying), nervousness and irritability.
- Heightens the instances of a carefree post – natal recovery period
- Boosts the energy levels
- Restores depleted iron levels in the blood
- Improves lactation – proven to increase the supply of colostrum and/or breastmilk
Imposed risks and side effects of eating a placenta capsule
Did you know that only 29 out of 210 women experienced negative effects by eating the placenta?
The adverse outcomes for these women are due to the incorrect encapsulation process and unsanitary storage of the placenta. Because of that, it imposes risks and side effects such as the following enlisted below:
- Vertiginous epilepsy – some mothers who ingested their own placenta (in a capsule form) reported that they experienced dizziness and series of seizures
- Blood – borne infectious virus – is a type of disease which can be passed to others if the encapsulated placenta is ingested by family members
- Occasional tension – type headaches
- Unpleasant burping
- Cause rashes to their newborn baby
- Worsens hot flashes – for menopausal women
- Abdominal cramping
- Heavy vaginal bleeding
- Colon congestion
On the contrary, some women experienced no intrinsic risks and side effects regarding the placental encapsulation and consummation. This is because the placenta is stored properly and it is ingested by the one who owns it.