Placenta Encapsulation : Pros & Cons


A common question I’ve received is regarding placenta encapsulation. The unfortunate thing surrounding this topic is that there is very little research to substantiate either side and the studies that have been done are very small (usually test groups under 30)..but hopefully as it gains popularity, more research studies will be done.


I have never personally encapsulated my placenta after birth, and I wanted to break down some pros and cons for you. I know in the natural community, having cons related to this will be controversial and against the grain. 😅 There is absolutely no judgment from me if you feel differently, many women I know and respect have done it and recommend it. I’m just offering my perspective. ❤


If you aren’t familiar, placenta encapsulation is when the mother pays to have someone dehydrate her placenta after birth and grind it up. It is then placed into pills and ingested by the mother postpartum. Some mothers also choose to ingest their placenta raw in smoothies or paté form.


During delivery, after baby comes out, your placenta gets delivered. That usually happens 5-10 minutes post delivery. Your midwife or your OB will deliver the placenta and you have an option of what you want to do. It is your organ.


Mammals in the wild always eat their placenta after giving birth. It’s something that people in the U.S. think is super weird but were meant to have those nutrients for a reason. There is a century old process called Placenta Encapsulation. What you can do is have them save your placenta and then you can get a service done where the placenta is dehydrated and grinded up and put into capsules for you to actually take. This is a service you need to have set up ahead of time so you will need to make those arrangements before birth.


Pros

  • Decrease in Postpartum Depression

  • Increase in Milk Supply

  • Increase in Hormone Oxytocin (which is what helps uterus contract and go back down to normal size)

  • There have been small studies performed that do show detectable concentrations of various hormones and minerals in the placenta pills could yield physiological effects.

  • Can promote bonding with baby


Cons

If you think about what the role of the placenta is, this is where most of my reasoning comes from as to why I don't consume it. The main function of the placenta is to provide the baby with nutrition. It also acts as a filter (think kind of like a kidney). This amazing temporary organ filters out substances that could be harmful to your baby and removes carbon dioxide and waste products from your baby's blood. So, if it's filtering out toxins - in my opinions, I don't really want to consume that organ (yes, even though the toxins are supposed to be excreted). In one small study performed, the presence of toxins like arsenic, lead, and mercury were present.

Other cons include

  • Cost (usually anywhere from $100-$300 depending on where you live)

  • Reports of PPD/PPA being worse or milk supply actually dropping on the pills

  • Possible contamination from preparation

Note: I see no issue from a biblical perspective on placenta encapsulation. Some think it has pagan roots but I've found no evidence to support that. I also don't personally consider it cannibalism.


Conclusion

In my opinion, it is an expensive way to get nutrients and possible way to reintroduce toxins. Also, a big reason women struggle with hormone balance postpartum is because their livers aren't breaking down hormones the way they should. So for me, I would rather focus on a clean, whole food diet and using herbs that support optimal liver function.