The arrival of a new baby is mostly a happy event, but at times it can be stressful whilst trying to master breastfeeding, adjust to a new member of the household, care for other children, recover from the labour and birth, and put on the kettle for a slow trickle of family and friends who are waiting to visit this new little being…
Mood changes are common, with 80% of new mums experiencing the “baby blues” within the first few weeks.
Many women are now turning to Placenta Services (placentophagia), to replenish and stabilise the lost iron and hormones, assisting to reduce the risk of postnatal depression or ‘baby blues’. Reintroducing these hormones, iron, protein and other nutrients into your system is believed to ease hormonal fluctuations, reduce bleeding, increase energy levels, and assist with early and abundant breast milk supply.
Placenta services include capsules, tincture, smoothies, chocolates, balms and printmaking.
Capsules seem to be the most common way of ingesting your placenta post birth. The methods of preparation include Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) inspired encapsulation, and the raw method of encapsulation.
The TCM inspired method begins by having your placenta specialist carefully clean then gently heat the placenta with fresh ginger. This is followed by slicing and dehydrating the placenta in preparation for encapsulation. Using the steaming method is thought to bring out the placentas healing and tonifying properties as well as warming and healing the uterus. An additional touch would be including herbs in the steaming process (specifically prescribed by your TCM practitioner after a quick post birth consultation) to increase the healing properties and provide a more personalised remedy.
The raw method skips the steaming process altogether and your placenta specialist will simply carefully clean then dehydrate the placenta before it is ground and put into capsules. Raw food activists believe that steaming the placenta destroys some of the essential nutrients.
Putting part of your placenta in tincture form is another way to stretch out its longevity. A small portion of raw placenta is added to 100 proof alcohol and left to ferment for around 6 weeks. Some of the benefits include hormone stabilisation during post natal menstrual cycles, and for menopause years down the track. The female child can also benefit from placental tincture once she begins her menstruation cycles. Once your capsules are finished, your placenta tincture will always be there to rebalance and heal both the mother and the child. This includes anxiety, illness, a traumatic experience, transition and general balance and vitality.
In addition, a balm made from your placenta and a variety of healing herbs and oils offers healing properties to c-section scars, haemorrhoids, perinneal tearing, cracked nipples, eczema, sunburn, nappy rash and much more. You have the option to choose which herbs are added to your balm, such as lavender, chamomile or vanilla. Think of the balm as a super healing ointment!
It is a common misconception that placenta encapsulation is not possible for women who have birthed their baby with common drugs on board such as pethidine, epidural and syntocinon. Placenta services are possible for all types of births, and your placenta specialist will discuss this with you during a prenatal visit. Some conditions where placenta encapsulation is not possible include uterine infections, cancerous and unhealthy placentas, where recreational drugs are used post 30 weeks gestation, chemotherapy treatment, and women on blood thinners. Women who choose a lotus birth or have birthed their baby via caesarean section are still able to benefit from the wonderful healing properties of the placenta.
Placenta Services are generally offered by doulas and private midwives, who have a real passion for the health and postnatal wellbeing of new mums and babies.
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