Potential Placental Benefits
“Baby Blues” OR Postpartum Depression
Many people have heard of women experiencing the “baby blues”, but many women also think it won’t happen to them. Women who experience “baby blues” may exhibit:
~Sudden mood swings
Those suffering with postpartum depression may exhibit the same symptoms to a higher degree and may also show symptoms of
~Extreme change of appetite
~Thoughts of suicide
~Disinterest in the Baby
In reality, 80% of women experience some form of “baby blues”. Postpartum depression rates are also likely higher than statistics show, but many women do not seek help, so an accurate number is unknown.
Causes of “baby blues” and Postpartum depression can be linked to
~Rapid Hormonal Changes
~Fatigue and Sleep Deprivation
~Physical & Emotional Stress of Giving Birth
How Placenta Encapsulation Helps
In the animal kingdom, nearly all mammals are known to consume their afterbirth. Some say this is simply to keep their nests clean and prevent the scent from bringing predators. If this were the case, then predators at the top of the food chain would not consume their placenta and non-nesting mammals would not consume their placenta. But they do! Even when the baby has long since been ready to walk, or run, from the birth site, mammals have often been observed taking their time and spending an hour or two consuming the placenta in the same birth site.
The placenta has long been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in a number of healing remedies. The placenta is most reported to help
~Enhance Milk Supply
~Quicken Postpartum Healing
~Shorten Postpartum Bleeding
~Bring Body Back into Balance
~Assist Uterus to Return to Pre-Pregnancy Size
~Help Mother Feel Happier
~Replenish Iron, Minerals, & Vitamins
The placenta is truly amazing and can help to heal, strengthen, and sustain your body.
Avoid Postpartum Depression and Anxiety
Avoid Postpartum DepressionAccording to a study performed by the National Institutes of Health, “During the last trimester of pregnancy, the placenta secretes so much CRH that the levels in the bloodstream increase threefold. However, it was also discovered that postpartum women have lower than average levels of CRH, triggering depressive symptoms. They concluded that the placenta secreted so much CRH that the hypothalamus stopped producing it… After childbirth, the hypothalamus doesn’t immediately receive the signal to begin producing CRH again, which can lead to postpartum depression. Eating the placenta will raise a mother’s CRH levels therefore, reducing postpartum depression.”
Enhance Milk Supply
“It has been shown that the feeding of desiccated placenta to women during the first eleven days after parturition causes an increase in the protein and lactose percent of the milk… All the mothers were receiving the same diet, and to the second set 0.6mg of desiccated placenta was fed three times a day throughout the period. Certain definite differences in the progress of growth of the two sets of infants are to be observed. It is evident that the recovery from the postnatal decline in weight is hastened by the consumption of milk produced under the influence of maternally ingested placenta.” McNeile, Lyle G. 1918. The American Journal of Obstetrics and Diseases of Women and Children, 77. W.A. Townsend & Adams, original press: University of Michigan.
Avoid Iron Deficiency
A 1961 study on the Iron Content of Placentas and Cords by Bonnie McCoy, M.S, Roberta Bleiler, Ph.D, and Margaret Ohlson Ph.D states, “”Data obtained on the fifty placentas and cords were expressed as milligrams of total iron and milligrams per 100 grams of the wet weight of the sample. The total iron content of the samples averaged 75.5mg and ranged from 34.5 to 170mg, excluding one value, 396.7mg which was 6 standard deviations from the mean. The latter total iron value was also omitted in the calculation of the iron concentrations in placentas plus cords which ranged from 7.1 to 34.8mg with a mean of 13.6mg per 100gm of the wet weight of the sample. The weights of the placentas and cords averaged 560gm but varied from 385 to 880 gm.” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 9, September-October 1961
“Daniel Benyshek, a UNLV medical anthropologist, and Sharon Young, a doctoral student of anthropology, asked 189 women who consumed their placentas after childbirth why they did it, how they preferred to have the placenta prepared, and if they would do it again. The results were published online Feb. 27, 2013 in the journal Ecology, Food and Nutrition. The survey found most women who participated in the practice, called placentophagy, were American, Caucasian, married, middle class, and college-educated and were more likely to give birth at home. Overall, 75% of participants said they had very positive experiences, 20% reported positive experiences and 4% were slightly positive. The most commonly reported negative aspect of placentophagy was the placenta’s appeal — the taste or smell of it was simply kind of icky. But most reported positive placentophagy experiences. “Our survey participants generally reported some type of perceived benefit from the practice, felt that their postpartum experience with placentophagy was a positive one, and overwhelmingly indicated that they would engage in placentophagy again after subsequent pregnancies. In fact, both of the  participants who selected negative or very negative to describe their placentophagy experience also indicated that they would engage in placentophagy again.” the authors write. According to the survey, the top three positive effects of placentophagy were improved mood, increased energy and improved lactation.” University of Nevada Las Vegas, February 2013
Links to Placenta Research Articles
Placenta’s Ingredients to aid in Healing
~Prolactin: Promotes lactation; increases milk supply; enhances the mothering instinct.
~Oxytocin: known to decrease pain and increases bonding in mother and infant; counteracts the production of stress hormones such as Cortisol; greatly reduces postpartum bleeding; enhances the breastfeeding let-down reflex.
~Placental Opioid-Enhancing Factor (POEF): Stimulates the production of your body’s natural opioids, including endorphins; reduces pain; increases well-being.
~Prostaglandins: Regulates contractions in the uterus after birth; helps uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size.
~Estrogen, Progesterone, Testosterone: Contributes to mammary gland development in preparation for lactation; stabilizes postpartum mood; regulates post-birth uterine cramping.
~Thyroid Stimulating Hormone: Regulates the thyroid gland; boosts energy.
~Corticotropin Releasing Hormone (CRH): Regulation of CRH helps prevent depression.
~Cortisone: Reduces inflammation and swelling; promotes healing.
~Interferon: Triggers the protective defenses of the immune system to fight infection.
~Hemoglobin: Oxygen-carrying molecule which provides a boost in energy.
Urokinase Inhibiting Factor and Factor XIII: stops bleeding and enhances wound healing.
~Iron: Replenishes maternal iron stores to combat anemia. Increases energy; decreases fatigue and depression.
~Immunoglobulin G (IgG): Antibody molecules which support the immune system.
Human Placental Lactogen (hPL): This hormone has lactogenic and growth-promoting properties; promotes mammary gland growth in preparation for lactation in the mother. It also regulates maternal glucose, protein, and fat levels.
Research is currently being done and we are eagerly waiting the results. Soon we will have scientific research to tell us which of these ingredients and in what amounts are found in the placenta after the different steps of the encapsulation process. This will guide us in better making dosage suggestions, helping mothers trouble shoot some side effects, and very importantly provide science to back up the anecdotal evidence we receive from mothers on a daily basis.