SWC offers placenta encapsulation. I’ve never really believed in this hocus-pocus but since I’m growing another placenta myself i thought i would actually try to look into it a bit for myself and question some things. Sondra believes wholeheartedly in consuming placentas, and so do a whole host of other people who send her their placentas and pay her to dehydrate and grind them down and encapsulate them. in fact shes making a reasonable off-the-books income right now with placenta services while technically being on maternity.
here’s the basic idea – most mammals eat their placentas and humans in some areas still consume theirs as well. now the rich white ‘nature and natural things is always good’ type people are looking into consuming their placentas again (yes, this is a vast generalization, but its that type of genre thats becoming interested in this) the most common way to do this is to cut them into little pieces, dehydrate them (or steam them) and grind them up into a powder and put the powder into capsules and take 2-4 pills a day or more. you can also eat them raw – people put them in smoothies. or cooked. theres recipes for placenta lasagna, placenta meatloaf etc. theres entire cookbooks about placentas.
i looked up the apparent benefits. there are many. too many to count really, its like a magic bullet cure-all. some of the main ones are bounce back faster from labour, have a higher milk supply, have more iron (placentas ARE high in iron) and get some good hormones into your body and decreased risk of postpartum depression. the list goes on and on. apparently “look younger” is a benefit as well. yeah, right.
so these benefits are making some big leaps and generalizations here – first of all, yes theres a lot of hormones in placentas, but whos to say that the hormones are still active once you process the placenta and turn it into a pill? and arent there probably hormones in a placenta that you don’t want back again? theres one specific hormone that placentas make that suppresses milk production since while the placenta is still inside you, you don’t need to be making milk. once the placenta is out and so it the baby, your body gets the cue to make milk. so is milk suppressing hormones what you want? probably not. but since milk suppression isn’t associated with placentas, I’m thinking that the hormones arent really ‘working’ by the time you encapsulate and ingest it. yes there’s a lot of iron in a placenta, we for sure, 100% definitely know this already, but how much of it are you going to digest? how many of the nutrients are bio-available?
I’ve heard the argument that it can’t do any harm because it was already inside your body in the first place. you’re just putting it back again so theres no risk. i would like to point out that while we have a liver inside us, to consume a human liver would be toxic. our livers contain dangerously high levels of some vitamins that if we re-introduced to ourselves again would be pretty damaging. one of the roles of a liver is to lock up those nutrients and dole them out in small amounts when necessary. to bomb your system with a human liver would be bad. very bad.
as for the studies that have been done? basically none. LOTS of studies on placentas – we know a lot of super cool things about them, but mostly its along the line of how they function, how they change and adapt, and quite a lot of info along the lines of stem cell research. there is zero evidence-based info available about consuming them again. theres been some studies with rats, but rats to humans is not a 1:1 comparison. there is not one single double-blind, placebo-controlled study thats been done. but a lot of placenta-enthusiasts are quoting these badly done ‘studies’, or not actually having checked out the study but just quoting someone else who says they are quoting a study, somewhere, somehow. its like a game of telephone. the info doesn’t exist and yet people are pulling it out of the air from somewhere becasue they heard someone else say it and saw it on a mommy blog or other shitty not worthwhile or credible resource.
ALL the ‘evidence’ is anecdotal. all of it. some survey stated that 98% of women questioned who consumed their placentas would do it again because they got some benefits from it. that means NOTHING. that means that 98% of people you talked to are delusional and think that a) placebo effects are the real thing, or b) had an easy time and decided to attribute it to consuming their placentas instead of, i dont know, maybe 82469 other variables that may have existed. 98% of people who have cancer ate tomatoes at some point. therefore it must be the tomatoes. no, you idiots.
so those top couple benefits: better milk supply, bounce back faster from labour, higher iron, less depression. well i do not need more milk. i could wet nurse the whole neighbourhood already. as for iron supplement, I’m most willing to believe that this is the most likely to be true. but how about just taking an iron supplement? you loose a lot of blood in labour and birth and so it makes sense to take a supplement and i had a really good one which i liked which was liquid and tasted like grass. its probably better than a placenta, just going out on a limb here. bounce back faster? sure. i do that already because im young and healthy. all your people having your babies in your late 30s? you are going to have a harder time because of your age. a placenta is not going to cure that. while we are on the subject, please tell me why ‘bounce back faster’ is a scientific technical term and what it actually means if you were to define it.
depression was the only one that i was actually interested in. less depression would be great! I’m pretty sure I’m going to get jumped again and get pulled back into living in my haunted house. I’m seeing it come on already. if eating a placenta was proven to relieve depression i would sit up and be interested. but you know what probably works better and has been proven to make a difference in me as dramatic as night and day? citalopram. I’d go that route honestly. and citalopram is actually one of those approved of drugs to use in pregnancy and while breastfeeding. i would look into that a bit further if i was considering going back to it right now, because contrary to the knowledge of the 70’s we now know that literally everything crosses the placenta and you share it with the baby, but i know that the info is at least available and backed up by, you know, not people who write shit-filled mommy blogs on the internet.
placentas are amazing and i love them. but I’m also intelligent.