Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, such as postpartum depression, are more common than most people think and that is because they are under-discussed. 11-20% of women who give birth experience symptoms of postpartum depression according to the Center for Disease Control. Considering there are roughly four million births a year in the United States, that means that some 600,000 women are suffering from postpartum depression and other postnatal mental health challenges each year. For various reasons, the actual number may be significantly higher.
Luckily, babies come with a natural supplement that may elevate your mood and reduce nervousness - it’s the placenta. People have been consuming placenta for thousands of years. It is documented in many ancient cultures including Traditional Chinese Medicine. Although the thought of eating your placenta may elicit slight gag reflex, it may not be as bad as you think. Typically, the placenta is steamed, dehydrated and ground up and then placed into capsules and taken as a daily supplement. However, other mothers choose to eat the placenta in its dehydrated, beef jerky-like form without grinding it up, or to just throw a chunk in the blender with some favorite ingredients and make a smoothie.
Some women report that consuming the placenta aids in softening the symptoms of menopause. Another possible benefit of Placenta Encapsulation is a surplus of oxytocin. Oxytocin is an important hormone that plays critical roles such as restoring the uterus to its normal size, increasing milk production, and encourages bonding with your child. Placenta encapsulation may also restore iron stores and produce Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone (CRH), which helps in regulating stress.
Although there is no significant research published to verify these findings, there are countless anecdotal cases of relief from the symptoms mentioned above and current studies are under way. It is also thought to be pretty safe, although some women do experience symptoms of dizziness or feeling jittery and others experience mild to moderate nausea. Considering only a small fraction of the 600,000 or more women suffering from postpartum depression reach out for help, placenta encapsulation could potentially help many women who otherwise would not be getting any. The price to have your placenta prepared by a professional typically ranges from $200-$400. Speak with your midwife or doctor to learn more about the potential benefits of placenta consumption.