Moms of newborns are some of the toughest people on the planet. And for those who may doubt, here’s proof.
After giving birth to the baby(ies) with whom she’s shared her entire body for over 9 months, a mother endures a hormonal, physical and emotional metamorphosis of epic proportions. To complicate matters, this transformation occurs during a period of sleep deprivation, thanks to around-the-clock feedings and care taking of the precious yet entirely dependent newborn. That alone is evidence enough for me. But let’s not forget the demands on the lactating mother, whose body works non-stop to produce her infant’s first and most perfect source of nutrition.
It’s no wonder that low energy, baby blues, postpartum depression, and challenges with milk supply are common struggles that many new moms face. To combat these challenges, mothers have traditionally sought rest, healthy food, and support from friends, family and healthcare providers. But more recently, some moms are adding a less conventional method to their postpartum care. They are following the ancient Chinese practice of ingesting their placenta (also known as afterbirth).
While the initial thought of consuming the placenta is shocking to many people, placenta encapsulation, a more modern technique of preparing it for consumption, is gaining momentum in the United States. Placenta encapsulation is the process by which the placenta is dehydrated, ground, and placed into vitamin-sized capsules. (Flavoring, like mint or grape, can also be added to help reduce the ick factor). Depending upon the size of the placenta and the specialist providing the service, roughly 100-150 capsules are typically produced. And while some mothers choose to prepare these on their own, local specialists trained in encapsulation can help to ensure the quality and safety of the product.
Learning about the potential benefits of eating placenta has also helped to reduce the shock value and convince moms to give it a try.