The relationship with the placenta does not end with its disposal whether by ritual burial or hospital incineration. Placental symbolism is everywhere in our culture, from the handbags we carry - holding our money and other items of survival - to the soft toys we cram into our babies cribs. Some believe that much of our discontent and our urge to accumulate possessions come from the traumatic loss of our first possession; our placenta. And each year we honour our placenta by lighting candles on our birthday cake - in Latin, the word placenta means “flat cake”.
— Dr. Sarah Buckley M.D
Jenny's placenta after intact birth                  and cord buring

Jenny's placenta after intact birth                  and cord buring

What is the Placenta?

The placenta is the organ that the mothers body grows to allow for the exchange of nutrients, blood and waste while the fetus is growing in the womb. The placenta is expelled from the uterus after the birth of the child. The custom of consuming the placenta through encapsulation is centuries old.

What Is Placenta Encapsulation?

Placental encapsulation is the practice of ingesting the placenta after it has been dehydrated, ground and placed into gelatin or vegetable capsules. Traditionally the capsules are then consumed by the mother - it is believed to impart numerous health benefits.  The capsules can be taken shortly after giving birth, during a woman’s monthly menses or during menopause with the belief that it helps counter some of the symptoms.

What Are The Proposed Benefits Of Placental Encapsulation?

Traditional and holistic medical customs embrace a number of potential advantages that come from ingesting the placenta.

Among these possible benefits are:

  • Increased release of the hormone oxytocin, which helps the uterus return to normal size and encourages bonding with your newborn
  • Increase in CRH, a stress-reducing hormone
  • Decrease in postpartum mood disorder among those who consume their placenta
  • Restoration of iron levels in the blood
  • Increase in milk production

Jenny preparing a placenta for printing

Jenny preparing a placenta for printing

Is Placental Encapsulation Safe?

Placental encapsulation appears to carry no inherent risk if ingested solely by the mother. Some mothers have reported experiencing negative symptoms such as dizziness after taking the capsules which is why it is recommended to take with a full glass of juice and around meal time to help the body fully digest and use the hormones within the capsules. 

Placenta encapsulation should be completed only by those correctly trained in the storage, preparation and techniques of placenta encapsulation to ensure safety and viability once prepared into capsules.

*If the placenta needs to be stored for any period of time, it must be kept refrigerated like any other meat product otherwise encapsulation is not a viable option.