Yes, I said it. Placenta. I know you are thinking I am going to launch into some history of eating the placenta by indigenous tribes in Africa. I'm not. I don't know much about the history of this practice, but I can tell you what some mamas are doing in Portland. I met a woman today that encapsulated her placenta. She took her placenta and prepared it, dehydrated it, and then crushed it (in a Magic Bullet no less!) and put it in capsules to store in the fridge. She then took 2 or 3 capsules a day for a couple weeks as she adjusted to motherhood with her second baby.
Her results? A big change she said from not having them the first time around. And a big difference after taking them (within hours she reported) vs. just trying to 'tough it out'. This was the first time I have heard from someone directly about the experience of using her placenta to balance hormones and emotions after the birth of a baby.
Here are some of the claims of placenta ingestion, based on this site:
Your baby's placenta, contained in capsule form, is believed to: balance your system replenish depleted iron give you more energy lessen bleeding postnatally been shown to increase milk production help you have a happier postpartum period hasten return of uterus to pre-pregnancy state be helpful during menopause
Amanda Englund is one local specialist I met today at the GreenSprouts festival who offers this service, which is surprisingly affordable for the amount of work it requires. On a sliding scale ($175-$250) she will arrange to come to the home of a couple, prepare and dry the placenta, and come back the next day to finish the preparation. Even if the couple has a hospital birth, they are often able to take the placenta home and can continue with this process.
Wendy Gordon is another placenta encapsulation specialist I know (as well as a fantastic midwife), and has offered this service to her midwifery clients in the past few years. Both Amanda and Wendy have bio pages on the Placenta Benefits site where you can find out A LOT more about all things placenta.
I wish I could give you a lot of research on how this solves the mysteries of those up and down moments in the early hormone roller coaster weeks. I don't think the research has caught up with the practice yet, but more is being done. In the meantime I thought I would at least share it with you for something to consider if a baby is in your future.