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 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
"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
"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 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
"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
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