The Power of the Placenta – Post-Partum Review
My Placenta Encapsulation was carried out by a local IPEN Specialist – Claire Elwood from Doulamum.co.uk. a deposit was collected and disclaimer was signed and information exchanged regarding contact, place of expected birth and due dates to ensure that Claire was available around those dates to perform the encapsulation about 4-6 weeks before my due date.
Claire is specially trained and certified by IPEN – the Independent Placenta Encapsulation Network, in the correct preparation and handling of the placenta, not just in capsules but also for smoothies, and tinctures.
Before Birth Preparation
Prior to my Labour Doulamum emailled me with a small amount of information that needed to be prepared before the birth. One was a handout to be kept in the birth plan section of your pregnancy notes, this ensures that the professionals handling the birth now how to deal with the placenta safely so it is safe for human consumption.
There was also printable labels for the container the placenta is to be stored in which I also sterilised and sealed and was sat waiting in a coolbag next to the freezer so it could be put together with the ice packs before leaving home for the hospital.
I also made sure that I discussed the placenta encapsulation with my midwife when discussing the birth plan at 37 weeks pregnant. She was able to make me aware of the facilities available on my chosen hospital and allow me to make appropriate plans.
Following the Birth of Megan, our plans to get my placenta encapsulated started to get in motion. Due to the late afternoon birth of Megan, I contacted Claire to arrange a hospital collection of my placenta for noon the following day. Chris, my lovely hubby took the placenta home overnight to fridge and brought it back with him the next day. Ideally the Placenta should be collected within 24 hours of the birth and should be kept cool by either Ice packs in a cool bag or in a fridge. Check with your hospital whether they can provide fridge storage for your placenta or whether like me you need to make your own arrangements for keeping the placenta cool.
Thankfully the Midwife had ensured she had followed all the advise regarding the treatment and storage of the placenta following the c-section as provided by Doulamum. She allowed the cord to stop pulsating before clamping as well, which I was very grateful for.
Receiving the Capsules
The capsules arrived by post 48 hours after the collection. I started taking them the following day due to still being in hospital at this point Megan was 4 days old. for the first few days I was making sure I took 6 capsules a day (this is higher than the recommended initial dose but due to my transfusion I was keen to keep my iron levels high) and after that as many as I could remember which averaged about 3-4 per day.
Claire also did a print of my placenta onto paper and a small cord keepsake as well which was a lovely, unexpected touch. Also on closer inspection I realised how large my placenta was. the encapsulation yielded 208 capsules! The average I believe is 75-120 capsules!
Feeling the Results
As Megan Approached 10 days old I felt a notable difference in my energy, and general well being. I lost 5 pints of blood during my C-section and was only transfused 2 units of blood back.
I imagined a C-section recovery to be harder than a natural birth and having had a much longer labour with Megan than I did with Quentin (where it took me a good three weeks to feel normal after a 9 hour labour) I was surprised with the results.
Please bare in mind I can only comment on my own experiences with using placenta pills, and women often report varying results and benefits from using placenta pills.
The biggest thing I noticed from the pills was my weight loss, I suffered terribly from swelling in my feet and calf muscles in my legs and post surgery the swelling progressed to my thighs. The midwife and hospital doctors warned me it could take up to 6-8 weeks for the swelling to subside. At 10 days post-partum (6 days on placenta pills) I woke up to find I had ankles and normal sized feet for the first time in months, I’d lost a good 2 stone of weight based on my last hospital appointment. A majority of this would be loss of fluids as well as baby but still amazing that the swelling had gone already.
My energy levels have been normal, I don’t feel drained. Even with the lack of sleep due to night feeds I feel very relaxed and normal. My milk supply has been plentiful, which is fantastic as I’d been aware that milk can delay or suffer following a c-section. Megan has readily gained weight since birth and hasn’t had any weight loss.
My Lochia (post-birth bleeding) is already starting to subside. I bled for 7 weeks post-partum with Quentin. However I will comment that Lochia post C-Section has been a little different, but it is still present and variable. At the moment I’m 3 weeks post-partum and I will update with the total length once it has completely subsided.
I have only experienced one short spell of baby blues when my milk fully came in, at which point I’d only been taking the placenta pills for 2-3 days. Hormonally I feel very balanced, calm and relaxed. I recall being heavily anxious, stressed, fatigued and tearful for many weeks after having Quentin.
Typical Reported Benefits of using Placenta Pills
Placenta capsules may:
- significantly reduce post-birth bleeding
- encourage a quick and healthy milk supply
- replenish essential hormones such as oxytocin and CRH(stress reducer)
- replenish essential nutrients such as vit B6 and iron
- reduce stress levels
- prevent the baby blues and post-partum depression
- leave new mothers feeling calmer
- give new mums the energy to cope with a busy day
Reference to IPEN
My Verdict – Would I do it again?
YES – I most certainly would, from a personal perspective I feel amazing post-birth this time round. I still lack a little colour due to my blood transfusion, but post-partum recovery hasn’t been the challenge that I expected it to be.
I wholly believe that the placenta pills have been the secret to my recovery. Having been though a tough birthing experience I did fear that it would affect my recovery and therefore make things difficult for me with Quentin who is now three. He was the main driving force for pursuing placenta encapsulation in the first place as I wanted to be fit and well for him to enable him to bond with Megan and resume a ‘normal’ routine with me.
I have shocked many health professionals, both midwives and health visitors with the speed of my C-section/Post-transfusion recovery and many friends and family have commented on how well I look and how well I’m coping. So far very few know about my secret stash of placenta pills, however now I’m so pleased with the results I feel I’m going to have difficulty keeping quiet about them.