** FORETHOUGHT: Hmm... it took a lot of courage for me to write out this post. At the mere mention of placenta, it gets people giddy and feeling weird. The feeling gets worse and gross when I said placenta can be consumed.. and that I ate mine. The first time I mentioned about placenta encapsulation, there are kind-hearted people commenting and telling me to delete the post on my FB wall for fear that I will be branded as a cannibal.
Here in Malaysia, such acts is not that well-known yet and normally people (Muslims ***the local Malays) here brings back the placenta to bury near their house as they believe the placenta is some form of sibling that nurtures the baby during pregnancy and that it is only right for it to be buried after baby has been born safely. Other than that, the placenta gets thrown away after labor.
* NOTE: If you are a squeamish person who cannot stand the idea of consuming placenta, please feel free to skip reading on this post. I would appreciate only positive comments after this post and if you want to find out more, do google first before you write in to ask me.
** HOW IT BEGAN... So, how did I come across this placenta encapsulation thingy? Firstly, I saw it on some bloggers wall when I was reading up on some baby stuff. So I googled for more info to know more.
** WHAT IS IT AGAIN?? Placenta encapsulation is the act of consuming one's placenta in the form of pills or capsules. "I could deal with this", I told myself after reading about the benefits and why people are doing this. I mean, if you asked me to slice off a piece of my placenta and eat it raw (yes, people do this too!), no thanks, I couldn't stomach that thought yet... but to process the placenta and consume it in a pill/capsule form, yes, that can work!
** WHY DID I DO IT???? Now why do I bother myself with all this? Well, when I gave birth to our 2nd child in 2011, I had post-natal depression for a month, which I suspected was triggered by me wanting to tandem nurse our 2 kiddos then. And since I'm planning to tandem nurse when our 3rd child comes along, I want to be prepared this round and definitely do not want to be having PND again. That feeling sucks, really!
And of course, there are people thinking 'Ewwww... placenta is part of your body! You do this, aren't you a cannibal?!' For me, well, that placenta is in MY body, what I choose to do with my body is my decision. There are people out there buying sheep placenta pills to beautify their face and skin and are not giddy about it why go on harping about what I choose to do with mine? As I read on the benefits of this, I am more focused on it helping me should I suffer from PND again. So this is the reason why I do it.
** WHERE TO GET THE MATERIALS/TOOLS???
I googled more on how I should go about doing this. It seems people who blogs about the placenta encapsulation process already has some ready-made utensils and tools to go about making it. Things like steamer (I have!), dehydrator (I don't have but I can use my oven to replace this!), capsule filling tool (I need to get this!) and of course, empty capsules to fill up the placenta powder in (need to get this as well!
The next step I did was to find out where I can get hold of the capsule filling machine/tool and the empty capsules as well. I bought my placenta encapsulation kit here. Because I live in Malaysia, shipping charges is very high, in fact, higher than the kit selling price! But I told myself, no choice I need to get it. And so I did. The kit arrived few weeks later which I excitedly shared an update in my FB wall that the kit arrived and that's when I get the cannibal comments and I deleted the post update and keep quiet since then. Until now... after much thoughts and considerations.
** HOW DID I DO IT??? After labor, just bring back the placenta and clean up the bloody mess a bit and keep it in the freezer until you are ready to process it. Hubby helped me clean up my placenta and kept it in a plastic container. To be honest, I only started processing my placenta a week after I gave birth. I need time to do this alone without anyone interrupting me so I waited for the whole family to be out at church and I got down to clean, wash, steam, baked, dehydrate and blend it all within a day.
** WHY DO IT MYSELF??? After I ordered my placenta encapsulation kit online, I found that there are some individuals offering the service to encapsulate your placenta for you here in Malaysia. Now, it is not that I want to save up money since I have ordered the kit for myself, but I feel I should do it myself and not let others do it.
Reason being, I trust myself to handle my own things. I don't know whether other parties will be hygienic enough or professional enough to handle my personal things. If everything fails, I have myself to blame, not that I pay money for others to screw up anything with regards to this. These are my own reasons, of course, if you are squeamish and can't deal with the sight of blood or body organs, then do feel free to pay someone else to do it if there is resource for that. For me, I don't have problems with blood or any body liquids or anything, so I'm fine with doing this myself.
Oh, just want to add, when I was cleaning up my placenta after defrosting it, I was just amazed at the sight of my clean placenta. The veins on the baby's side of the placenta is just breathtakingly beautiful. No wonder people called it "tree of life". This amazing organ nurtured our baby throughout my pregnancy stage!
** ANY EFFECTS AFTER TAKING IT?? This is the important thing that everyone wants to know, right? I have so far only taken 2 capsules of my placenta. 1 capsule a day to be exact. Although the instructions on the capsule bottle said I can take 2 capsules 1-3 times a day, I chose to take 1 a day to start it off. My reasons?
1. I've already established my breastfeeding routine (tandem nursing by the way) and have no problems at all with my milk supplies, hence I don't need to take so many capsules to up my milk production.
2. I've read that some mums reported having higher bleeding when they take higher amount of capsules and I decided to take 1 to test it out. And yes, the days I took the capsule, I have bleeding (lochia) a bit. But do note that on the days I DID NOT take the capsules, I also have bleeding so I don't think this is related.
3. I decide to take the capsule only because I want it to help me if I have any depression feelings again. Not to increase my milk production, or any other reasons, but to help rid of the depression feeling, though I was pretty thankful with the energy boost I had when I consumed the capsule.
Anyway, effects after consuming the pills... on the 2 days I took the capsules, I felt dizzy, giddy and sort of high like the times I relied on the laughing gas (Enthonox) when I was having painful contractions during labor. The high dizzy giddy feeling lasted for few hours and went off by evening time. The first time I took the capsule, I felt energetic throughout the day and was not moody at all, did not snapped at my kids or any sort of moody reactions. The second time I took the capsule, I snapped at my kids once, that was towards the evening time when I was already overwhelmed throughout the whole day dealing with 3 kiddos and hubby returning back to work.
Why I stopped taking the capsules? The instructions on the capsule bottle said not to take the capsules if I have any flu or common cold, which I did still, so that's the reason of me stopping the capsules for now. As for why we have to stop the capsules when we have flu or cold, according to an article I read:
"The reason for this is because placenta is extremely tonifying in nature and can cause a pathogen to grow stronger and get deeper into the body."
** Updates on 10th Nov 2013: I have so far taken about 10 placenta pills - though not continuosly on daily basis as there were some days I was down with flu and had cold and I did not take the pills on those days. I noted everytime I took the pills, I will have long lasting energy throughout the day! No snappish moodiness or bleeding or giddiness anymore.
** MORE INFO?? I will leave the links to the resources I used/referred to for your reference. I did take pictures of my placenta and the step by step taken when I cleaned it, steamed it, oven baked and the dehydrate it and blended it into powder form and finally filling up the powder into empty capsules. But I don't think I will share all the pictures here. You can google and see the pictures posted by other people all around the world, no need to personally see my pictures to reaffirm this.
* Benefits of Placenta Encapsulation
* More info on Placenta Encapsulation
* More info on Placenta Encapsulation
* Where to buy the kit?
* How to do it? (Graphics, may be gross to some!!)
* Is there any time that I shouldn’t take the capsules?
Updates on 20th April 2015: *** I have earlier wrote that Muslims in Malaysia here brings back the placenta to bury near their house as they believe the placenta is some form of sibling that nurtures the baby during pregnancy and that it is only right for it to be buried after baby has been born safely but a Muslim fan PM-ed me to inform that such rituals are actually based on Malays' beliefs, not Muslims. I did however shared some links to the fan which made me wrote such statement originally (such as from fatwa and an article). Although the fan is not able to provide any article links that she can share with me such rituals are not based on Muslims' beliefs, I have decided to amend my post as I later on found an article which stated it is indeed Malay cultures.