What Is Placenta Encapsulation and the Benefits of Postpartum Placenta Consumption?
Placenta encapsulation is the process in which capsules are created from the placenta after birth, by dehydrating and grinding the placenta into a microfine powder, then packing the powder tightly into gel capsules for the mother to consume as dietary supplements.
Maternal placenta consumption holds a wide variety of purposes and benefits that have the potential to affect each individual differently. The following are the fundamental purposes and benefits consumers wish to achieve.
Minimize postpartum pain, discomfort, hormone imbalance and recovery times
The first (and primary) goal is to potentially supply the mother with the corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH) that the placenta was releasing, at high levels, during the last trimester of pregnancy. The high level of placental CRH production naturally down regulates (or suppresses) the mother’s hypothalamus from producing CRH. The hypothalamus releases CRH in response to stress, in order to help the body cope with feelings such as discomfort or pain. CRH production by the placenta peaks at the onset of parturition, in response to the stress of labor on the body, and as a means of assisting the laboring body to cope with discomfort and pain.
After the birth of the placenta, the mother’s body is no longer receiving high levels of CRH. Her hypothalamus’ natural production was down regulated during labor, which leaves her vulnerable to the increase of postpartum pain and emotional distress . It takes time for the body to naturally increase CRH levels, meanwhile, the postpartum mother is experiencing a hormonal imbalance that leads to emotional instability, depleted energy, as well as prolonged recovery and healing times.
Other hormones, such as estrogen, estradiol, and progesterone, also decrease in the maternal body after birth, which drastically affect thyroid function, emotional stability, and overall hormone balance. Many women are unable to recover and struggle immensely from these hormonal imbalances. Postpartum depression, anxiety, psychosis, sustained lactation issues, and a wide range of other issues plague an overwhelming number of postpartum women every single day. These conditions can be especially significant if there is a history of depression or hyper- /hypothyroidism in the mother or her family.
By consuming the placenta after birth, the mother is able to potentially provide her body with a natural stimulus to up-regulate the production of CRH (and other vital hormones) via her hypothalamus, as well as increase the body’s ability to cope with postpartum discomforts/pains, which leads to an easier and faster recovery. The high levels of vitamin B6 and iron found in the placenta may also help the mother with emotional stability and energy levels during the postpartum period. Research has repeatedly shown a decrease in iron leads to fatigue. Fatigue, in postpartum mothers, is the first potential sign of possible impending depression.
Combined, all of this has the potential to assist the postpartum maternal body in stabilizing mood and balancing hormones that further promote a swift healing process, while avoiding the baby blues. Many women attest to the aforementioned benefits, and so many more, due to postpartum placenta consumption.