I recently blogged on the third stage of labour, and felt it was time to update my knowledge on the choices that women have regarding their placentas; Placenta Encapsulation is something I have heard of, know vaguely about and have read briefly around, but I did not feel I had enough information to really talk to women about consuming their placenta and the perceived benefits of this. I also felt I had to get over my own queasiness over the idea of eating what is often viewed as a waste product.
The workshop was really interesting; doulas, student midwives and aspiring midwives made up the group of interested women - I was the only midwife on this day, although Lynnea confirmed that midwives often attend the study day. The morning looked at why women choose to consume their placenta, testimonials from women on the benefits and an exploration of mammals normal instinct to consume the placenta (and the really cool fact that the only land mammals who don't consume their placenta is the Camel!). Testimonials from women included:
- increase in milk production
- reduced postnatal bleeding
- faster recovery
- more energy
- less depression
These all make sense when you consider that the placenta is a power-house of hormones and an iron-rich food source that has nourished and grown a baby for 9 months. Lynnea was clear that there is not huge scientific evidence to support placenta consumption, but as she rightly pointed out, there is no money to be earned from women eating their own products so no-one will be putting funding towards an RCT on this area!
Later on in the day we learnt about safe storage of placentas, infection control and reduction, and then had a 'hands-on 'session making placenta tinctures and essences...... and Smoothies. We made a 'berry placenta smoothie' which looked just like my breakfast this morning. Apparently it tastes good too! (Placenta Encapsulation is studied at a separate workshop).
As a midwife, I feel much more informed to offer this choice to client, and more importantly, I am convinced that a smoothie would benefit my clients significantly. Of course, women need to be open to this choice, and within our culture where eating offal is considered 'yukky', this might prove a challenge! I am however, looking forward to sharing, exploring and learning more about this with the women I care for, and to writing about this further and would be interested to hear your comments on placenta consumption.