Doulas of Berks County, LLC

Serving Berks County and Beyond

"Eww! You did WHAT with your placenta?!?!"

 

I have a confession to make.  When I first heard about placenta encapsulation, that was truly my first thought. 

“Eww!  You did WHAT with your placenta?!?!”

Thank goodness I was smart enough to keep my mouth shut and not let those words pass my lips.  Imagine the people I would have alienated.  Imagine the lesson I would have missed.

Then I started to research placenta consumption to see what all the BUZZ was about. 

I still wasn’t fully sold on the idea, but I found myself the owner of a doula agency in a geographic area where there was high demand for this and related services.  I had already decided that I was going to offer the service to my clients, as I had doulas trained as placenta encapsulation specialists, but I felt I needed to take the training myself to ensure I fully understood the services we were offering.

I showed up to my training a disbeliever.  I simply had to get through the next two days and I could go back to my regular doula work.  The stuff I really enjoyed.  Connecting with new mothers and their families.  Empowering mothers to trust their maternal instincts.  However, not more than an hour had passed before I started to question my disbelief in all things placenta. 

As I listened to our experienced trainer explain some of the potential benefits of placenta encapsulation consumption like,

  • Restoration of iron levels postpartum, especially beneficial for women who go into pregnancy with already low iron levels or women who experience any hemorrhage during childbirth.

  • Increase of oxytocin when most women struggle with the decrease in hormone levels after the delivery of the placenta

  • Increased milk supply, when low supply is a common concern for almost every breastfeeding mom I’ve worked with

And the one that really made me open my eyes…

  • Decreased risk of Postpartum Depression

 I started to wonder why I had been so close-minded in the first place.

Then there were all the perceived health risks associated with placenta consumption I had read about.  What about those?  Did the risks outweigh the rewards?

For my training, I spent the next two days wearing something that looked similar to Dexter Morgan’s preferred outfit of choice.  For those of you unaware, it consisted of gloves, disposable apron, face mask, safety goggles, hair covering, saran wrap everywhere, and bleach…a lot of bleach. 

I was blown away by the time and attention that was given in this training to the SAFE and CAREFUL preparation and handling of the placenta. 

I was truly impressed! 

I learned that following the method in which I was trained, the placenta never leaves the family’s hands.  I’d always wondered about how you know you’re getting YOUR encapsulated placenta back.  Knowing that the placenta never leaves the clients sight made a lot of sense and it was something I could get behind. 

And then finding out that all of the preparation and encapsulation takes place in the client’s home…this was HUGE!  If I were having my placenta prepped for consumption, I would like to see how it was handled so I knew it was being done with a lot of care and safe handling methods.  I was beginning to think this whole placenta consumption thing wasn’t as weird as I’d originally thought. 

After that I diligently worked on my certification which was very thorough and I found I really wasn’t minding this work like I thought I would. 

But it was when I saw how the women I was providing this service for really benefitted from the consumption of their encapsulated placenta, that I finally became a believer.

While completely anecdotal, I witnessed women whose milk supply increased almost overnight, women who had a history of postpartum depression feeling much better after consumption and women who went into their pregnancy with lower than normal iron levels feeling like they had more energy than after prior birth experiences. 

It was remarkable! 

And the added bonus for all of these women was, because the encapsulation happens in their home they have four hours – free of charge - (two the first day of prep and two the second) a Postpartum Doula who is also trained as a Certified Lactation Counselor and Infant Care Specialist at their disposal. 

As I was prepping and encapsulating the placentas, moms were sitting with me, asking questions, sharing their birth experiences, and in general, seemed comforted by my presence.  And surprisingly I found I got what I loved too...to connect with new mothers and their families during this very special time, while knowing that what I was doing is helping them have a better postpartum experience and bond with their newborn in such a meaningful way.