Natural Medicine Cabinet Essential: Postpartum Support

Yesterday we talked about how the body is depleted after childbirth and susceptible to cold and eating nourishing and warming foods. Today I’d like to talk about placentas. Consuming the placenta after birth is not a new fad, it is something that has been going on in various cultures around the world for quite some time. In the U.S. it became more fashionable to utilize the placenta in the 70s and is often associated with the homebirth movement. According to recent studies women who choose to use consume their placenta for postpartum support in the US are educated, middle class, and have both hospital births and home births. You might be asking yourself why on earth would someone want to do that?!

It is believed that eating the placenta offers support for lactation, prevention of or relief from baby blues, replenishes iron supply from blood loss during birth, stabilizes hormones, reduces after-birth pains, reduces bleeding time after birth and as a way to fight fatigue. Some mothers also use the placenta as a way to transition smoothly when menses returns and when weening. In some cultures the mothers themselves do not use the placenta but instead give it to their own mothers to fight symptoms of menopause.

Traditional Chinese Medicine considers human placenta an herb and is known as Zi He Che and is a warming herb. As a Chinese herb placenta holds the benefits above but has also been historically used to treat infertility, impotence, decreased libido, low back pain, light-headedness, insufficient lactation, chronic wheezing and cough and night sweats to name a few. Because of Zi He Che’s super tonifying nature it is an herb that is not recommended to be taken long term and especially not if you have a fever, inflammation, mastitis etc.

The TCM method of preparing placenta includes steaming it with lemon and fresh ginger and then dehydrating it in strips which are then pulverized and put into capsules and taken for a short period of time.

I am a proponent of utilizing the placenta for postpartum support because it helped me tremendously after having my child. I was at risk for postpartum depression and that was my main reason for seeking a placenta encapsulationist. I was a little leery about taking it from the Eck factor and the first couple of times I would swallow a pill my mind would make me feel like gagging but I felt a difference pretty quickly after I started taking them. In a pill form they look like any other supplement and did not taste like anything. I experienced pretty much all of the benefits of taking my placenta as described above. I found it particularly helpful at calming my emotions when I went back to work and had to leave my daughter.

This past weekend I received a certification of completion from Tranquil Transitions Placenta Training and would be happy to answer any questions you may have about placenta encapsulation, tinctures or salves. I am available to prepare your placenta as well.

Medical & Health Information

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