Want to find out more about how placenta remedies are made or have a more specific question? Try our Placenta Encapsulation FAQs page where many common questions are answered in depth.
Please read our disclaimer before reading the below information.
What is Placenta Encapsulation?
There are many ways to benefit from your placenta after birth and all are equally spiritual and physically supportive to the new mother and her newborn. The most modern and easiest way to consume the placenta is in capsule form, also known as placenta encapsulation ie. placenta pills or placenta capsules. There are two types of encapsulation methods, Simple Dried Capsules and Steamed Capsules.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Steamed Placenta Encapsulation
The most popular placenta encapsulation process used widely around the world is based on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) techniques, where the placenta is considered a powerful and sacred medicine. TCM holds the placenta as a ‘full of life force’ organ offering those who consume it ‘jing’ energy only obtainable at birth and consuming placenta is comparable to ‘drinking from the fountain of youth’. Placenta remedies are an important part of birthing history. One of the first and greatest medical and pharmaceutical experts of China, Li Shi-Zhen, included placenta ‘zi he chi’ as a medicine in his first TCM Materia Medica published in 1578. There is scattered documentation of dried placenta prescribed as a remedy in Europe and other parts of the world up until the late 1700’s. However it wasn’t until the mid 80’s when Raven Lang, an American midwife who studied TCM, brought back this lost tradition by promoting placenta remedies during a MANA conference in America. Putting dried placenta powder into empty vegetable capsules, known as placenta encapsulation, has become very popular in recent years in America and Canada and is now available as a service in the UK and Europe.
Contraindications with TCM capsules: TCM placenta capsules are known as a ‘heat’ or ‘yang’ energy in Chinese Medicine and therefore should be avoided when the body is experiencing excess heat from infection, such as fever as a result of mastitis/flues or illness. It is said that the heat from the placenta capsules will feed the infection, rather than feeding the body itself. We highly advise mothers to suspend their capsules while they are ill or feeling feverish until they are fully recovered and well. We recommend mothers to take their placenta essence while ill as a replacement.
Some facts about TCM Placenta Encapsulation:
- Placenta Capsules are made from your placenta with no added ingredients
- The placenta is steamed with lemon, ginger and green chilli according to TCM recipes
- The placenta is dehydrated using a food dehydrator or oven for 8-10 hours until crisp
- The dried placenta is ground into a powder and put into empty vegetable capsules
Placenta capsules have been reported by mothers to:
- reduce post-birth bleeding
- encourage a quick and healthy milk supply
- balance hormones (peaks and drops)
- improve the appearance of the skin/hair/nails
- reduce stress levels
- prevent the baby blues and post-partum depression
- energy to cope with a busy day after little sleep
Will placenta pills help prevent the ‘baby blues’ or post-natal depression?
The ‘baby blues’ is now a named symptom of birth and mothers are told to expect to feel sad, anxious and very emotional around the third day after the birth, usually when the milk engorges the breasts. These symptoms can sometimes develop into post-natal depression. Studies have proven that the symptoms of post-natal depression are linked with a severe lack of essential nutrients such as iron, vitamin B6 and hormones including CRH (our stress reducer homone), all of which are in high supply in the placenta. Consuming the placenta after birth using placenta encapsulation or other placenta remedies nourishes the mother of lost nutrients and hormones and may entirely prevent the ‘baby blues’ and/or post-natal depression.
Making the decision to have placenta capsules was the best decision I made. After struggling with post-natal depression after my first birth, I looked into placenta encapsulation. They have been absolutely fantastic and I highly recommend them to any mother. I noticed that as soon as I started feeling weepy, I would take one of my placenta capsules and within 5 minutes, I was feeling happy again. They are incredible. Will definitely be using this service again and will definitely use my placenta specialist again as she was full of information, always answered my questions, always full of reassurance, very friendly and very approachable and just a really lovely person in general! Thank you so much, I don’t know what I would have done without my capsules. And I still have plenty, hurrah! -Mum of two, Surrey
I had postpartum depression after my first birth of my daughter and was afraid of going through that again. The Placenta Encapsulation Remedy seemed like a great way to try to combat that and do something proactive about it. I couldn’t have been more pleased with the results. I know that every birth is different and the reasons for PPD are many, but I can gladly say that I did not experience any PPD after the birth of my second child while using my placenta capsules. Also, there were days when I would experience some mood instability (normal with all the hormones after birth and with breastfeeding), but I would go ahead and take a capsule and feel much better soon after. I am very thankful to have had them after the birth of my second child and would gladly order them again should I have another. -Mum of two, Sussex
Doesn’t the cooking process damage the nutrients and hormones present in the placenta?
To some extent, yes we believe it may affect the stem cells, hormones and B vitamins which are sensitive to heat but to what degree is unknown. Minerals such as iron are not damaged by heat and there is minimal damage to other nutrients found in the placenta. Placenta pills give a new mother the chance to benefit from her placenta for months after birth and have incredible benefits to energy levels and breast milk supply. There is currently no scientific evidence to suggest the placenta pills are or are not beneficial. Placenta Remedy Specialists rely on personal experiences and testimonials from new mothers who reveal placenta encapsulation was the key to their speedy recovery following birth.
Moreover, many people chose to eat organic meat to avoid added hormones and other artificial growth factors that are injected into livestock by non-organic farmers to produce more meat in a shorter space of time. If artificial hormones that are injected into livestock are still present in cooked non-organic steaks on the dinner table, then hormones surely survive the cooking process and can have an effect on our body.
Will placenta capsules help with my breast milk supply?
In our experience placenta capsules have supported many of our clients through many months of successful breastfeeding. In some cases some mothers have still struggled with their breast milk supply, however, there were other problems involved that may have caused the reduced milk supply. We cannot guarantee any effects from placenta capsules on breastfeeding however many of our clients notice their milk ‘comes in’ much quicker than expected and remains consistent without problems for weeks post-birth.
IPEN breastfeeding survey results from over 700 mothers taking placenta capsules:
17% of our clients have milk within 12 hours after birth, 18% within 24 hours and 31% of our clients have milk by 36 hours after birth. 76% of our clients have milk by day 2 post-birth…well before the average of 3-4 days for most post-natal mothers.
58% of our clients have no problems breastfeeding, 65% of our clients have a consistent supply with no problems during the first 6 weeks after birth, 20% have a heavy supply without infection and 25% have a rich supply with the ability to express large amounts. Only 0.5% of our clients were unable to breastfeed due to low milk supply.
52% of our clients said they knew for sure their capsules had a positive influence on their breastmilk supply, 40% were unsure if placenta encapsulation had anything to do with their milk supply.
Read IPEN founder Lynnea’s experience with Placenta capsules and Breastfeeding
How many capsules will my placenta make?
A placenta will make between 75-200 capsules depending on the size of the baby, gestation and capsules size. The average amount of capsules from a placenta delivered at 40-42 weeks gestation is 120, size ‘0’ capsules.
How often do I take my placenta capsules?Capsules can be taken 2-4 times a day during the first 6 weeks. Some can be saved for hormonal imbalances like when weaning baby off the breast. Placenta pills should be stored somewhere cool and dark (not in the refrigerator due to condensation) and then transferred to the freezer after a year to keep for menopause.
Are there any side effects with placenta encapsulation?
We cannot guarantee results with placenta capsules or any other placenta remedy. Because your placenta is made by you the quality and potency of your placenta remedies is unique to your own placenta. We highly recommend you follow the care instructions given by your Trained and Certified Placenta Remedy Specialist. Storing your placenta capsules properly, avoiding TCM capsules when ill and not taking over the recommended dose will reduce your chances of experiencing any side effect. Very rarely, less than 2% of our client have reported some side effects when taking their placenta capsules. We have listed these below for your benefit.
- Mild headaches (reported 3 times – we believe a lower dose is recommended to solve this problem)
- Stomach cramping or abdominal pain (reported once – was the result of improper storage of capsules)
- Diarrhoea, loose stools or constipation (this may be caused by the high levels of iron in the capsules and we recommend you do not take iron supplements alongside your capsules)
- PUPPPs rash returning after 3 days of consuming capsules (reported once)
- Pelvic girdle pain (PGP) sufferers feel less relief (we believe this is due to the high level of relaxin hormone in the placenta, which is the cause of PGP)
- Unexplained lack of milk production (reported from 4 women over the last 5 years)
- Emotional symptoms similar to PMS (reported 4 times)
Information provided by IPEN Placenta Network, Professional Training in Placenta Services