Yes! This blog is your one-stop refer-all site for the wonders of placenta medicine, better known as the post-birth maternal consumption of the placenta. If you haven't heard of this before, you are in for a treat!
To introduce this yummy topic, read about my first experience with placenta medicine - part 1 and part 2. Then hop over here to check out a list of links to the scientific studies supporting placentophagy (consumption of the placenta) for numerous benefits - help with hormonal fluctuation, anemia prevention, postpartum fatigue alleviation, afterpain relief, postpartum depression prevention and treatment, and milk production.
With my first birth, I had never heard of placenta medicine, and my placenta went the way of all good biowaste (*sob*). With my second birth, I had heard of placenta medicine and decided to try it - it just made sense, as almost all mammals (and many traditional peoples) eat their placentas. Why not? So I tried it. I had a placenta smoothie right after the birth, and I decided to dehydrate and encapsulate the rest.
To my surprise, the effects of placenta medicine were amazing. Placenta medicine helped my postpartum energy and moods (which were sorely tested by the severe nursing problems we experienced) tremendously. Most amazing, however, was its effect on my afterpains.
For those of you who haven't yet given birth: Afterpains are the post-birth contractions of the uterus, the purpose of which is to shrink the uterus back to its pre-pregnancy size, and also to prevent too much bleeding. They are very uncomfortable! However, with one's first birth they are supposed to be extremely mild or even unnoticeable - they then get worse with each subsequent birth.
That was NOT my experience.
With my first birth, the afterpains were excruciating. I believe "toe-curling" is the correct descriptor. They were so intense and painful that I was unable to hold the baby for more than a couple of minutes after the birth. I then had to hand over the baby to my husband and midwives to hold while I dealt with the afterpains. I completely missed the "nursing window" - the first hour after the birth when baby is awake and alert and when nursing introduction is optimal (after that, baby usually falls asleep for a few hours, and you have to wait quite a while to initiate breastfeeding). It was awful, and the afterpains continued for weeks upon weeks. It totally stank.
Enter placenta medicine!
I still had horrible afterpains. I still missed the breastfeeding window. But my afterpains (which should have gotten worse for a second birth) were so much better! It was night and day! And I only had a few "toe-curler" afterpains, instead of days and weeks of them. It was a HUGE improvement!
I was a complete convert.
With my third birth, I was determined to outwit those afterpains and have a fighting chance at a decent bonding experience with my baby. Thus, I developed the following postpartum plan:
- Placenta Medicine
- Advil within seconds of the birth, max dosage
- Homeopathic Arnica
- An afterpains tincture from an herb shop
- Calcium-magnesium liquid supplement, taken during the 3rd trimester and during the postpartum
Immediately, however, I ran into a snag - there is no way to eat a placenta in that way fast enough to consume the placenta before it goes bad. Thus, I asked my husband to put it in the freezer for me, and I used the pieces frozen.
Only problem - DH did not keep the pieces separate in the freezer, so all of them froze together in one huge, icy, placenta-blob. Thus, if you had come over to our house in the two weeks after our birth, you might have seen me hacking wildly at the placenta-ice-brick with an ice pick, attempting to break off a piece for a smoothie. Amusing, to say the least!
And how did this plan work to eliminate those hideous afterpains?
It worked BEAUTIFULLY!
Wow, it was night and day! Only mild-by-comparison afterpains which dissipated much more quickly. My postpartum was a dream.
I know that the plan made a difference, just because afterpains do typically get worse with each baby. As I've worked on my plan and implemented placenta medicine and other components, they have atypically gotten better and better.
This will be my plan from now on!
If anyone has any questions or further ideas, please let me know!