What is placenta preparation and encapsulation?
Placenta preparation is the process of creating a powder out of the placenta after birth and encapsulation is the process of putting the prepared placenta powder into capsules for mother to consume as dietary supplements. The prepared placenta powder may also be used without encapsulating it.The purpose and benefits of maternal placenta consumption are many.
Why consume the placenta after birth?
One of the main, initial, goal is to potentially supply mother with the corticotrophin-releasing hormone, or CRH, that the placenta was releasing at high levels during the last trimester of pregnancy. This high level of production naturally down regulates, or suppresses, the mother’s hypothalamus from producing CRH. The hypothalamus is the normal producer of CRH. CRH is released by the hypothalamus in response to stress to help the body deal with discomforts, pain, etc. CRH production by the placenta peaks at the onset of parturition and, again, is in response to the stress of labor on the body to help the body cope with the discomforts and pains.
After the birth of the placenta the mother’s body is no longer receiving these high levels of CRH and her hypothalamus’ natural production was down regulated, so pain increases, emotional distress increases, etc. It takes some time for the body to naturally up-regulate the hypothalamus’ CRH production again. In the meantime, the postpartum mother is experiencing hormonal imbalance causing emotional instability, decreased energy, decreased healing and recovery, etc.. Other hormones, like estrogen, estrodiol, and progesterone decrease in the maternal body after birth, as well, and drastically affect thyroid function, emotional stability, and overall hormone balance.
Many women are not able to recover from this hormonal imbalance and can potentially suffer postpartum baby blues, depression, psychosis, lactation issues, and/or a wide range of other issues; especially if there is a history of depression in the mother’s family or with the mother, or a history of hyper- or hypo- thyroidism in the mother. By consuming the placenta after birth mother is able to potentially provide her body with a natural stimulus to up-regulate her natural production of CRH by the hypothalamus, regulate other hormones, and help her body cope with postpartum discomforts, pains, etc., and recover easier and quicker.
The high levels of vitamin B6 and iron in the placenta could also help mother with emotional stability and energy levels during the postpartum period. Research has shown that decreased iron leads to fatigue, and fatigue in postpartum mothers is the first potential sign of possible future depression. There was a notable correlation between low iron, fatigue, and postpartum depression.
All this combined could potentially help the postpartum maternal body to balance hormones, stabilize, and heal, with the goal of possibly avoiding the baby blues, and hopefully even postpartum depression. Many women attest to the benefits of placenta consumption postpartum for mood and emotional stabilization, as well as, over all physical and energetic support during recovery.
For more information about the benefits and research available regarding the placenta please visit our Articles & Research section.
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