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Placenta Encapsulation – Postpartum Support

When I first heard of placenta encapsulation my stomach lurched.  Having your placenta prepared to consume after birth? But I’ve learned to take time and really think through information before judging and after remembering that was my initial feeling when first hearing about The Diva Cup. I started to think that the idea of placenta encapsulation might be exactly what the Dr. should be ordering for moms that have a history of depression. I also didn’t know that placenta pills can assist moms that have low production with breast milk, expedite healing, and give new moms an increase in energy to cope with a new baby.  I feel so lucky to have a local advocate Roxanna Farnsworth of A Conscious Beginning who is trained and certified in the method of placenta encapsulation to ask questions and I’ve completely changed my view on the topic. Maybe rather than depression pills, new mothers can consume something that is natural, high in nutrients and can provide what a new mother needs to regain physical and mental strength after having a baby. So if you’ve heard of placenta encapsulation but couldn’t bring yourself to understand the process, this topic deserves a second chance at being understood. Read through my questions for Roxanna – I loved her answers and can feel her passion and dedication for improving the health of the postpartum journey.

Suzanne: who is a good candidate for placenta encapsulation – is it recommended for all new mothers? Any candidates that should think about it more seriously than others?  Prone to depression, low iron, etc.?

Roxanna: I think all women should be aware of the option and benefits of placenta encapsulation. Not all women will want to and that is ok. I believe strongly in women listening to their bodies and doing what feels right for them.
Placenta encapsulation is strongly recommended for women who have a family and/or personal history of depression or anxiety. It is also very beneficial for women who have issues with anemia (also women who are vegetarian or vegan).

Suzanne: how is it done if you have a hospital birth?  C-section birth?

Roxanna: If you have a hospital birth or c-section I highly recommend that you bring a small cooler to the hospital. You will need to have your partner or doula let the nursing staff know when you are admitted that you will be keeping your placenta (sometimes this will need to be repeated for staff changes). Within 2 hours of the placenta being birthed you need to put the placenta on ice. The hospital will bag the placenta in sterile bags and/or put it in a small white bucket (depending on which hospital you are at). As soon as its possible your partner or doula can get a bag of ice. I highly recommend that you keep the placenta with you at all times. If you have booked my services you text me and we arrange a time for me to pick up. I usually pick up within 24 hours of receiving the text.

Suzanne: are there any studies or traditional dr.s that have seen a drop in post-birth stress because of placenta encapsulation?

Roxanna: There is current research in the works of being peer reviewed regarding the benefits of placenta encapsulation by the founder of PBi Jodi Selander. Most of the evidence so far is years of mother’s reporting the effects. Placenta consumption has been practiced for literally centuries in various forms. There is research based evidence showing that placenta has a strong lactogenic effect, meaning it helps with milk production. In China placenta is mainly used to help women make more milk. Placenta also has a very high iron content. Iron deficiency is highly correlated to fatigue which can lead to depression postpartum.

Suzanne: what does everyone needs to know about placenta encapsulation?

Roxanna: Placenta encapsulation is a great way to consume your placenta postpartum to ease the transition into motherhood. I consider placenta encapsulation to be a vital part of planning for a healthy, easier postpartum. Placenta encapsulation includes safe handling of the placenta, rinsing, steaming, dehydrating, grinding, and encapsulating it. This allows you to consume your placenta by swallowing capsules, much like taking a vitamin. The encapsulation process needs to begin within 48 hours of the placenta’s birth. If it can’t begin within 48 hours the placenta will need to be frozen. A frozen placenta can still be encapsulated and is beneficial to the mother, though you do lose some nutrients.

Suzanne: why you started assisting women with placenta encapsulation?

Roxanna: After my first son was born in Los Angeles, California I suffered from PPD. I was told by my doctor that I would need to stop breastfeeding and go on medication. I said bull. Breastfeeding was very important to me so I started researching other ways to get help. I found an acupuncturist and began treatment. She was fabulous! I changed my diet and continued my research. What I found was there isn’t much support for new moms in our culture. A lot of people dismiss baby blues as normal or as no big deal. Through my research and with the help of my acupuncturist I discovered placenta encapsulation. By the time I learned enough to want to do it I could not use my first placenta. I became passionate about helping new moms plan for their postpartums, from freezing meals to getting a dog walker and yes consuming their placenta it all makes a difference! I apprenticed with a doula to learn how to encapsulate, then a year later I completed the TCM training and certification with PBI. I have been practicing for almost 3 years now and love it so much!

Suzanne: did you consume your own placenta after the birth of both of your boys?  If not, what was the difference you felt with your 2nd?

Roxanna: After the birth of my second son in February, 2012 in Port Moody I encapsulated my own placenta. I was so excited! My postpartum was VERY different emotionally with encapsulation compared to my first postpartum. I still experienced ups and downs postpartum, especially in regards to my older son adjusting to being a big brother. The big difference for me was being able to handle all the transitional stuff without being overwhelmed, stressed, or depressed. I could tell myself that yes I was having a tough moment, but it will pass.

My thanks to Roxanne for answering my questions!  I hope it helped with questions you might have. Check out her Facebook Fan page to follow her journey in Placenta Encapsulation and Reiki healing treatments.

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