“Why would you?” “How could you?” “Does it actually do anything?” Have you heard of eating your placenta? It’s a hot topic among parents-to-be and healthcare professionals right now and something that is growing in popularity as a great way to help recovery after delivery. As a birth doula, I had heard many glowing testimonials from clients who had benefited from this but wanted to see the truth for myself.
To give you a bit of background, placenta consumption is an ancient practice most often associated with Traditional Chinese Medicine. The theory behind it says the body can benefit from stress reducing hormones, help reduce post partum depression, manage iron levels, help the uterus to contract and help milk production. There are studies in the US taking place as I write but until now scientific data has been limited. Research has been mainly anecdotal from happy parents who’ve experienced the benefits themselves. I therefore decided to take matters into my own hands (literally) and to see the truth for myself.
At the recent birth of our third child I thought what better way than for me to compare my own post partum experiences than to try the placenta products this time round (opting for smoothie, capsules, tinctures and creams).
(It was a really beautiful sight when 1 hour post delivery I was making my own placenta smoothie in my Hong Kong hospital room! Some squeamish ones among you may find this disgusting, but the placenta really is an amazing organ than deserves our respect – after all it has kept your growing baby alive for the last 9 months.)
What happened next was interesting. I felt the benefits from the smoothie straight away mainly because of the energy I felt it gave me. The smoothie was a fruit based drink of bananas, berries, fruit juice that tasted just like any other fruit smoothie. It felt like a boost and meant I never felt any real dips in the days that followed. I felt strong and even my husband could vouch for my more balanced disposition.
After I left the hospital I made the capsules which I took everyday to support my general well being and milk supply, I’ve always been lucky with a good milk supply but having 2 other ‘crazy’ kids definitely impacted on my energy and patience.
I liked being able to have a little extra help and I felt that if I’d done too much (something my mum always says I do) then the capsules could provide a needed boost.
I also made the tincture using a piece of the raw placenta and putting it in vodka for 6 weeks. It is taken like ‘Rescue remedy’ and is said to help balance and emotional well being. It lasts and lasts and again is said to help you through the menopause. I then used some of the tincture in a cream which I still use everyday 4 months later. I can’t say the cream has turned me into a super model but if so many other cosmetic companies put sheep placenta in their products then perhaps there are some benefits from using our own placenta.
Obviously I am just one case but I wanted to share my experience. It is something to think about if you are having a baby. Do your research. Look at IPEN and make your own mind up but if you are interested then I am here to answer questions and help.
Cathee Jackson is an accredited IPEN placenta specialist based in Discovery Bay. For more information visit dbdoula.com or call Cathee on 5993 3699.
Note: Here at the HK HUB we are not qualified to give medical advice and so we would suggest that any parents-to-be considering placenta encapsulation should discuss it with their healthcare provider first.
Cathee Jackson moved from the UK to Discovery Bay with her young family 5 years ago. She is a birth doula, breastfeeding counsellor and works with couples leading up to their big day teaching antenatal classes. To get in touch you can visit her website DBDoula.com, email her or Whatsapp her on 5993 3699.