The practice of consuming your placenta after birth is a common practice in China. It’s considered to help the mother with her recovery. Recipes on the internet show that soups, meatballs, dumplings and so on can be made with the placenta, and can balance energy depleted by labor and birth. Consuming your placenta after birth is believed to not only increase milk production but also balances hormones and help the new mother with a better postpartum period.
There has been a bit of hype eating your own placenta in the Western world. Loads of celebrities have been eating theirs and sharing it on social media. When I gave birth four years ago I had the idea to do the same. Not wanting to make dumplings out of it, but rather making pills and taking them over the course of six months as I believed the health benefits would be great. I asked my Birthing Center in London if they knew somebody who could do this for me. They referred me to this website to find a placenta encapsulation specialist. The specialist would come and pick up my placenta after birth and return it made into pills. But we then realized another option, as my husband and I are both chefs. We could rent a placenta encapsulation kit, and do it ourselves at home. My husband was actually very excited about this idea as he would be the one doing it.
We rented the kit that included everything we needed to make our own placenta pills. I only had to buy a Tupperware that was big enough to transport the placenta home, a cool box, and ice packs. We added these items to my birth plan including an explanation for why we would take the placenta home, and that the doctor had to put the placenta in the Tupperware. I bought the biggest one I could find as I assumed my placenta would be as big as my belly, which was the size of two watermelons. My hospital did not want to keep the placenta in the fridge till we were ready to go home, so my husband had to dash home to store it.
I consumed my placenta pills, for months after the birth and it gave me the energy I needed. After that I used them when I was feeling low, and when my milk supply was dropping (every day). I kept them in the fridge and later in the freezer. My mother also tried them, and it made her feel a bit emotional. I am sure we will also make placenta pills the next time I give birth because it was a very unique experience and it really did have a noticeable effect on me during this magical time of getting to know my baby.
This blog was posted originally on the beijingkids website.