What is it?
It is the process of converting a woman’s placenta into a ‘pill’ form.
Also known as ‘placenta capsules’ or ‘placenta pills’, placenta encapsulation is the most popular way to ‘consume’ a placenta.
It involves steaming and/or dehydrating the placenta, then grinding to a fine powder that is placed into empty capsules for the mother to take.
These tasteless capsules look just like any other vitamin supplement.
This form of placenta consumption is favored due to its convenience, palatability and preservation.
The capsules may be used for up to 12 months after the birth.
BodyWise BirthWise offers two different methods of preparation:
TCM Based Method and the Raw Prep Method.
The Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) based method sees the placenta gently rinsed, steamed, dehydrated, ground into a powder, then placed into empty capsules.
The Raw Prep Method is identical to that of TCM, except there is no steaming of the placenta.
See the FAQ for more details of the differences in these methods.
Why use the placenta?
To understand how placenta encapsulation can benefit the new mother, it’s helpful to learn about the placenta itself.
Let’s look at the hormonal components.
The placenta is a classified as a temporary endocrine organ. In other words its main job is being a massive hormone factory, for a designated period of time.
It begins producing hormones at 6–8 weeks gestation to help sustain the pregnancy. These hormonal levels continually increase as the pregnancy progresses.
By the 3rd trimester, oestrogen levels increases 30 fold above baseline.
Progesterone levels are raised 10-fold and cortisol (our stress regulating hormone) is increased 3-fold.
Oestrogen continues to rise and peaks in the days leading up to the birth.
After the baby is born, the placenta is delivered. As a result, the mother loses this primary source of hormonal saturation.
Over the next 3-5 days the hormone levels drop significantly, plummeting back to preconception levels. This is a huge fluctuation going from a super high to normal/below normal level.
It’s also the time of the ‘Day 3 blues’ or ‘baby blues’.
The mother’s body needs to regulate to it’s new normal. Her body needs to begin producing her own hormones now that the hormone factory (placenta) is gone.
All while shifting gears into another ‘hormonal regime’ of breastfeeding. This is where the balancing properties of the placenta come into play.
The goal is not to simply return all of these lost placenta hormones to the mother as her needs are now different.
The practice of placenta consumption helps buffer the intense hormonal transition to the postpartum state. It also helps provide the body with the elements for rebuilding and restoring after pregnancy and birth.
So many of these hormones affect a woman’s physical energy, stress response, mental clarity, anxiety levels and moods.
What’s in the placenta?
The placenta is a rich source of nutrients, hormones and other biochemical substances.
Here are the substances it’s known to contain and their effects.
Oxytocin – the hormone of love, bonding, protection; promotes mother/baby bonding; helps helps uterus to return to normal size and reduces postnatal bleeding; decreases pain; counteracts the production of stress hormones and enhances the breastfeeding let-down reflex
Prolactin – the hormone involved in stimulating milk production; also enhances maternal instinct
Prostaglandins – anti-inflammatory hormones regulate the uterine contractions after birth, also help uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size
Haemoglobin / Iron – vital for energy, mental health and immune system. Helps combat anaemia or postnatal iron deficiency; rebuilds iron stores after birth
Gonadotrophin – the precursor to oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone
Human Placental Lactogen (hPL) – has lactogenic and growth-promoting properties; also regulates maternal glucose, protein and fat levels
Placental Opioid-Enhancing Factor (POEF) – stimulates the production of your body’s natural opioids, including endorphins; reduces pain; increases well being
Thyroid Stimulating Hormone – regulates the thyroid gland, balancing metabolism and energy levels
Interferon and Gammaglobulin – both stimulate the immune system protecting against infection
Urokinase Inhibiting Factor & Factor XIII – helps reduce bleeding and enhances wound healing
Cortisone – combats stress and unlocks energy stores in body
What positive benefits do women report?
- No or lower experience of baby blues
- No or lower experience of postnatal depression
- No or lower experience of anxiety or overwhelm
- Increase in energy levels
- Increase in sense of well-being and mood
- Breastmilk came in quickly
- Breastmilk supply abundant
- Postnatal iron stores replenished
- Postnatal blood loss finished quickly
- Postnatal hair loss decreased
- Postnatal recovery enhanced
Read more feedback from mamas here.
The statements, services and products on this website have not been evaluated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) due to the nature of this service and products.
The placenta encapsulation services offered by BodyWise BirthWise are not intended to diagnose, treat or prescribe for any condition.
Whilst the benefits of consuming the placenta postnatally are based on research studies, articles and testimonials from new mothers, this research is ongoing and BodyWise BirthWise does not give any warranty or representation that these benefits are guaranteed.
It is your responsibility, based on your own research of the benefits and risks of placenta encapsulation, to determine whether using placenta preparations may be of benefit to you.