If you’ve been following my postnatal journey on Instagram, you’ll know that I made the decision second time round to take placenta capsules after having my son, Felix, in May. As The Parent and Baby Coach, this is an area that I’ve always been interested in the science behind and something that I wanted to experience first hand, both for the personal benefits but, also, so that I could explore this topic with clients. I am not a scientist but I have studied the research behind placentophagy (ingesting a placenta) for a while and was thrilled when Cherished Placentas agreed to turn my placenta into 200 capsules for me.
The experience has definitely been positive for me, and I am genuinely feeling very sad about coming to the end of “the pot”. You are able to take a couple of capsules several times a day, to be perfectly honest, I haven’t been all that routine like about taking mine, aside from the first few weeks when I did make sure it took them twice a day. For fear of running out, I have taken one as and when I remember or, quite honestly, when I felt a bit tired (more than usual after a newborn!) or run down. Perhaps it is a placebo effect or perhaps it is perfect sceince but, each time, I have felt a burst of energy and much zingier afterwards. Also, I have come to realise that I must be attributing positivity to them, because I feel really emotional about the day where I will finish them … perhaps an attachment thing? Who knows!
I lost 2 litres of blood after birth and was laying in the hospital doing skin to skin with my baby, feeling a little down that, although my birth had gone to plan, I had still ended up in hospital because of haemorrhaging. Doctors and midwives had been in to warn me that I may be in for a few days and that to keep in mind that my milk might not come in for a long time, if at all, or that I might struggle to breastfeed – tough things to hear when you have had an amazing home birth but then this postnatal drama thrown into the midst.
Amazingly, lovely Nikki from Cherished Placentas had already been to our house hours after the birth to collect the placenta, clearly seeing the aftermath that was left in the kitchen (there was a LOT of blood!) and decided to make me up some smoothies, as well as the capsules that I had initially ordered. She text to say to get my husband to come and collect them from the fridge ASAP, as they would help with my blood loss and recover. So, 6 hours post-birth and there I was drinking a placenta smoothie and no one could believe how quickly I recovered from the blood loss. Obviously. I cannot prove cause and effect here and need to leave that down to scientific research, which is hard to prove when there is not enough funding to do the research. However, I cannot help but think perhaps my recover was due, in part, to the nutrient content of my placenta. A recent article, written by Physician Sophia Johnson, from Jena University in Germany, explains how ‘ a single placenta weighing 450 g contains an average of 234 calories, 4 g of fat, 899 mg of cholesterol, 513 g of sodium, 48 g of protein, plus significant quantities of the trace elements iron and selenium along with calcium, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc.’
We all know that iron tablets can help with energy levels during pregnancy, which seems to match my experience after birth, too. Humans and camelids are the only two types of mammal known not to commonly ingest their own placentas and they’re used in different schools of medicine across the globe to treat everything from lactation stimulation to improving reproductive function. There are so many opinions on placentophagy – some of which I was recently exposed to in a negative way when writing about my experience of them on Instagram, but in my humble opinion, you cannot ignore the multiple stories and anecdotal evidence that we hear in the media – that show us there are huge positive benefits to aiding a woman’s postnatal recovery. I genuinely believe that mine aided my recover of haemorrhaging fairly significantly but, also, my postnatal experience second time around, with two little ones to look after but yet, still bounds of energy.
If you are interested in this current piece of scientific research and would like to read more, you can do so here.
The company that created my placenta capsules are called Cherished Placentas and I would highly recommend them. Nikki was super responsive and my placenta was collected within hours from birth. She cares deeply and believes strongly that this is something all women should try and offered me the experience in exchange for an honest review – there was no payment made and this is not an ad. It goes without saying that I would highly recommend both the experience itself and Nikki, they say it takes a village to bring up a baby and I fully see Nikki in my village – helping that postnatal journey just that little bit easier.