Think placenta encapsulation is just for celebrities? Think again! We asked five moms who tried it to share their reasons -- and results.
There are no scientifically proven benefits of consuming your placenta, but more and more new mamas -- including celebs Kourtney Kardashian, January Jones, and Alicia Silverstone -- are doing it, and many women swear they experienced improved mood, an energy boost, and increased milk supply because of it. Placebo effect? Honest-to-goodness placenta medicine? We don't know. But these moms say placenta encapsulation worked for them.
"I Was Grossed Out at First"
"I completely understand that people would be freaked out that I encapsulated my placenta. It does seem a little cannibalistic and weird. When I was pregnant with my first child, five years ago, I never even dared to consider having my placenta saved. But when I was pregnant with my second, I changed my tune. I had two very good friends who knew that I had intense exhaustion and hormonal changes with my first. They knew how much I struggled and both of them suggested placenta tablets. They spoke very positively about their experience of taking them and it made a huge impression on me. I trusted these women and valued their opinions. If they were raving about how amazing they felt after taking placenta tablets, then I knew that this is something I wanted to try. Of course, it's hard to know whether or not the tablets were responsible for how I felt after baby number two, but I did feel very different this time. I felt that they gave me more energy and just made me feel a little bit more grounded. If I was feeling low and tired and crying, I'd take a tablet and, honestly, feel better." -- Alice Ross, mother of two, Portland, Maine
"There Was a Lot of Red Tape to Deal With"
"My husband was the one who told me about encapsulating the placenta. He heard about it from a friend. There seemed to be so many benefits, I thought it couldn't hurt. I had dealt with depression during my late teens and early twenties, and I was worried about postpartum depression. My ob-gyn, however, was less enthusiastic. Not only had she never heard of it, our hospital didn't even allow us to take my placenta. They didn't have a placenta policy in place. My husband and I had to write e-mails to the hospital saying that we wanted to take the placenta home and we would be switching to a different hospital if we weren't allowed. Luckily, the hospital got their placenta policy in order one week before I gave birth. We wound up having to retrieve the placenta from the hospital mortician! But two days after we got home from the hospital, my pills were waiting for me. I had started feeling blue and took the pills immediately -- and my mood improved. Maybe it was all in my head, but it worked." -- Amy Collins, mother of one, Houston, Texas
"I Felt Amazing!"
"When my first child was born in the hospital in 2003, I had never heard of encapsulating the placenta, just of people burying it. I didn't think that was an option for me because I was in the hospital. But when my second was born at home, we decide to bury the placenta in the yard. We planted a beautiful blooming crabapple tree over it that flowers right around my son's birthday every year. It's really special. For babies number three and number four, we encapsulated. I was older when I had the last two kids -- 40 with my fourth -- but the placenta capsules made me feel amazing. They gave me way more energy than I would have had. I feel like my milk came in sooner than it had with the others, too. To me, the placenta is a gift from my baby and my body -- there's no reason not to use it." -- Erin Bonello, mother of four, Southport, North Carolina
"I Felt Sick at First"
"I was in rough shape and in a lot of pain following my C-section. I had vomited for hours while trying to nurse and hold my new baby. It wasn't pretty. I'm not even sure what I was hoping for when my husband came back to the hospital the next morning with a small brown glass jar of my placenta capsules. I immediately took two, and within fifteen minutes my body got super-hot and I was sweating profusely. I was nervous. Naturally, I stopped taking them. But when I was home and feeling better, I tried again. I'm so happy I did. My husband and I started calling them my 'happy pills.'" -- Clara Bryant, mother of two, San Juan, Puerto Rico
"My Milk Came in Beautifully"
"I learned about consuming the placenta when I was doing my initial research on home birth for my third child. It kept coming up again and again. And I'll be perfectly honest, when I read about putting it in a smoothie, swallowing a piece, or putting a piece in your cheek to quell bleeding, I gagged. I knew I never wanted to down a placenta smoothie, but I could swallow a pill. And because I had pretty intense postpartum depression and anxiety after my first two children, I thought it wouldn't hurt to try. But I did not want to do it myself. Instead, I asked a local doula, who I was very comfortable with, to do it. We placed it in a plastic, lidded bowl and put it in a brown paper bags so my family didn't have to look at it. But I'm so happy I ate it. I'm not sure if it was the home birth or the placenta pills, or both, but I felt so much energy, I was much calmer and less anxious, and my milk came in beautifully. My baby-making days are over, but if I had another, I would definitely do it again." -- Maria Moser, mother of three, Middletown, Maryland
Labor & Delivery: Placenta
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