Placenta Encapsulation saved my sanity!

Does that look so bad!

I had a tough time adjusting after my daughter was born. I felt weepy, resentful, confused, out of control and I had no idea what mothers instinct felt like. All I felt was very overwhelmed and under-slept! I thought ‘no wonder people are labelled with Post Natal Depression’.  The immediate change in your life, so completely, is very difficult to adjust to. Your body is still not yours. You are breastfeeding and your needs are very low down on the list of things to do. It was not until a year had past that I started to feel like myself again. My blood sugar levels were all over the place, my moods were awful, I was constantly confused, groggy and I had zero energy. I was on fish oils, calcium, zinc, pro-biotic capsules and magnesium and I felt like these nutrients were keeping me together.  I had heard of Placenta Encapsulation whilst studying to be a Naturopath; however children were off of my radar then, so it was one of those things that came and went.

When I became pregnant with my second baby I was watching a programme (in the UK) on alternative parenting and one of the women was a Placenta Encapsulation specialist. A friend of mine had said she had contacted her local one and that she was going to do it. I looked into it and was very interested. Thinking about how I felt the first time round, I knew with a toddler and a baby I was worried I would not have the time or energy again to be able to look after them and nurture them both. When I was moving to Hong Kong in the middle of my pregnancy, I was so relieved to find someone did it here. When I met Lizzie I was convinced it was for me.

However I was still undecided whether I would have the smoothie. I was happy taking a powder in a capsule, however knowing the fresh one was in the drink I was worried it would taste like blood, metal, liver… I remember reading someone saying that right up to their birth the thought of drinking their placenta in a smoothie was too much to think about. The minute her child was born she craved it. I was sceptical. However the very same thing happened. I had a home birth here, so when my husband asked me what I would like to eat/drink after labour- it was the first thing that came to mind.  Bless my husband he was going to have a go but it completely eluded him so when Lizzie arrived I had had no sleep and was still on an adrenaline rush! She made me two smoothies, I drank one straight away (promise you taste nothing but fruit) it was actually the most delicious thing- I had the other one a few hours later. My pills arrived a few days later and I started taking them. The energy, combined with calm is truly remarkable. It was so completely different. I felt like me, I felt whole again.

I unreservedly recommend it. It makes sense. The nutrient deficiencies I see on a regular basis post partum (especially post partum hypothyroid/hyperthyroid) alone recommend it. There is no easier way to replenish what your body has lost, than to put it straight back in again. I also have the homoeopathic pills which I have given my daughter when she has started to feel the pressure of the change for her. Her reaction after taking them was also obvious, calmer and back to her loving self. She felt part of it again and it has helped us to grow into being a family of four from 3. I wish I had done it the first time, but having felt how I did, it might not have been so obvious feeling the opposite?

Benefits:

Everything it is suggested it is good for has been and still is experienced by me;

Increased energy

Balance (both mood and hormones)

Very fast milk supply (the next day and even through mastitis and feeding from 1 boob for months, I met demand)

Lighter post bleeding (only heavy for a couple of days and gone completely much quicker)

Quick healing (from tearing and abdominal muscle tone and separation was back before 6 weeks- That was also due to exercises!)

I took them 2-3 times a day for the first 6 weeks and now I take my pills every now and then, when I feel run down, like everyone wants a piece of me, stressed and angry. They do calm me down. I took them with me on my recent trip to the UK at Christmas and took one a day and my milk supply did not suffer from the jet lag at all. My friend I mentioned at the beginning is saving hers for her menopause, so is not taking them any more  However I believe that by taking them all when needed  post-partum  you will replenish your body and not need them during menopause (a time hopefully too far away for me to consider freezing them for that long). If not I will still always have the homoeopathic potency to use and the mother tincture. I use the mother tincture also at times of need and also put a little in the bath. Again I fell nourished and energised, generally nicer and calmer!

Nutrient Value of a placenta useful post-partum:

Gonadotrophin: the precursor to estrogen, progesterone and testosterone,
Prolactin: promotes lactation,
Oxytocin: for pain and bonding; produced during breastfeeding to facilitate bonding of mother and infant. In pharmaceutical form this is a very addictive drug because it promotes a feeling of connectedness with others,
Thyroid stimulating hormone: boosts energy and helps recovery from stressful events,
Cortisone: combats stress and unlocks energy stores,
Interferon: stimulates the immune system to protect against infections,
Prostaglandins: anti-inflammatory,
Hemoglobin: replenishes iron deficiency and anemia, a common post-partum condition,
Urokinase inhibiting factor and factor XIII: stops bleeding and enhances wound healing,
Gammaglobulin: immune booster that helps protect against post-partum infections.

(source)

Benefits that attracted me as a nutritional therapist that you can’t get from any other supplement or food!

The best thing I have read about placenta encapsulation and echo here is-

What’s the harm!

In my opinion, it’s ‘Why wouldn’t you?’

To see how contact IPEN or in Hong Kong see here

Birth Preferences

Since all I can think about right now is the impending birth of my second child my posts for the next few weeks will reflect this! I have just finished my birth plan. I am 35 weeks tomorrow and my first baby was born totally unexpectedly at 36 weeks, I had barely packed my bag and had my appointment at the birthing centre the next day to go through my birthing plan. I had a good idea of what I wanted back then, a water birth, calm and relaxed in a modwife led centre with no pain relief and no interventions. I also knew I would not be giving my child vitamin K and was looking forward to a short labour.

I got some of those wishes, I turned into a drill sergeant barking orders and demanding many things such as no vitamin K I would only push on a contraction and I had to relent and be in the stupid position they insist upon in a hospital. My labour from show to baby was 1 hour and a half. I had been in labour for longer but I thought it was just Braxton hicks! Yep, mild period pains I described. When I got to the hospital I could feel my daughters head and 7 minutes later and 3 pushes she was with us. Most people say it sounds like a dream labour. But the shock of it all reverberated through both me and my daughter for a good few weeks later. If not months. This time I want to enjoy the experience and I really want my whole family to be able to enjoy it too. My 2.5 year old has been told whats going on and that she has the choice as to whether she says in the room or whether she goes. My husband has always 100% supported my decisions as they have never been made on a whim and have always been well researched and discussed with him. If he had any concerns he has always been free to voice them and his opinion is very important to me. However saying that those who know me know I am a bit of a control freak at times!

I have discussed with this baby too, whats gonna happen and have asked him to please wait until at least 38 weeks. We have just moved back to Hong Kong and all our boxes arrive tomorrow I would love to have the time to put the house together and have some tie to chill out to give him the best atmosphere to enter into. Home birth in Hong Kong is very very different from the uk. For a start you dont really see midwifes r if you do they dont speak in the public system. It is all doctor led, even a nurse takes your booking information. I find this very strange. I have been asked several times if I want my breasts examined? No has been my answer, for a start your breasts are naturally lumpier during pregnancy and anything I am uncomfortable is just gonna stress me out.

I have had my fair share of stress and heartache and happiness through this pregnancy. Every thing on that list of things to stress you out has been ticked- Money(neither of us is working at the moment due to the move), Death, Move, Birth (impending) and Wedding (brothers very happy day) all in the last 4 months. I have been kind to myself but I naturally will look after others before myself and there are a few people to look after at the moment.

This baby has definitely been a rock, always assuring me that he’s there and okay (I didn’t have a scan or hear the heartbeat until I was 22 and 20 weeks respectively) He never gave me cause for concern. I had to take 5 long haul and 2 short haul flights from 11 to 27 weeks pregnant, he always went with the flow. By all appearances he’s helping by being in the right place and position now and I can feel he’s getting ready himself. I have really enjoyed having very little intervention in this pregnancy and am looking forward to continuing that through the birth. I am prepared that I may need to go to hospital, although am in no way thinking this will happen. I have a clear vision of how it will all happen and am confident that my gorgeous boy will be born how and when he will be born, just like my daughter was! They do have a part to play and decisions to make, its up to me to try and facilitate that as far as possible.

Below I have shared my birth plan. I have done so under the understanding that it is incredibly personal to me and my wishes and should not be taken as a template for your own as you have to decide your plan of action with your partner and indeed your baby. However if it helps people to know just how detailed they can and sometimes have to be then I am happy to share.

I have used many resources to get to this plan;

Birth Reborn By Michael Odent

Homebirth- A practical guide by Nicky Wesson

Hypnobirthing by Marie Mongan

Homeopathy for pregnancy birth and your babys first year by Miranda Castro

My own experience and my friends tips and anecdotes of their own births.

Please feel free to ask me any questions.

Birth Preferences:

  • To consider artificial initiation of labour only after 42 weeks and may choose to do nothing until 44 weeks if there is no medical urgency and only after discussion and agreement.
  • Will use Caulophyllum 30c every 30 mins for 3 hours and then will wait 24 hours before considering any other methods.
  • To delay artificial induction of labour until 96 hours after membranes have been release and mother and baby show no signs of infection as directed in the NICE guidelines. To be allowed to wait during this time period at home.
  • To deliver baby at home with Hulda Thorley as midwife.
  • We request patience and understanding to support our wishes to refrain from having any practice or procedures that in absence of medical urgency, including constant fetal monitoring that could stand in the way of having the most natural birth possible.
  • Manual intermittent monitoring that is agreed to and done in a non invasive manner.
  • Minimal number of vaginal examinations and only after been agreed on by the mother
  • To be allowed to ignore contractions and time period between them until forced to take notice of them.
  • The option of a water birth (bath or pool) and alternative space with a calm atmosphere
  • Be able to use lavender and clary sage in a diffuser and or massage/bath oil.
  • Allowed nutritional snacking if labour is prolonged.
  • Freedom to walk, move or not move during labour
  • Freedom to change position and assume labour position of choice as dictated by the mother.
  • To use PPMP tissue salts, rescue remedy and arnica 200c as pain relief methods. No other pain relief is to be offered or discussed.
  • Minimal number of vaginal examinations and only after been agreed on by the mother
  • To allow nature to take its course without any references to pain management, moving things along or facilitating labour.
  • To allow mother control of birthing and her involuntary processes and instinct.
  • To allow Father, Midwife Hulda Thorley as above in room at all times.
  • To allow daughter to choose to be present or not present as she decides.
  • Allow baby to be breathed out without external coaching or other methods, unless coming from the father.
  • No Episiotomy, no forceps, no ventouse unless medical urgency and it is agreed on by the mother after discussion.
  • To have the baby’s baby grow and blanket on a heated towel rail ready for when the mother or father directs its use.
  • Immediate skin to skin contact with baby placed on stomach or lower chest. Father to be able to place hand on baby’s back under a warm blanket. No wrapping of baby.
  • Father to cut cord after pulsating stops and no clamping.
  • Wait for a natural placenta delivery with baby brought to breast to assist placenta birth. No syntometrine unless homeopathy has failed to work and it has been discussed and agreed to by the mother.
  • Allow vernix to be absorbed into the baby’s skin, no cleaning or rubbing. Placenta to be retained in a container supplied by the Father. Saline is added then refrigerated to wait to be collected by Liz Purnell-Webb.
  • To be allowed between 30 mins to an hour of skin to skin with the mother before taking the baby to be weighed. Only after agreement with the mother.
  • No vitamin K administered to the baby either oral or injection.
  • Absolutely NO vaccinations of any kind.
  • Star of Bethlehem and Walnut Bach flower remedies to be applied to the crown of the baby’s head after birth by the mother or father
  • Breastfeeding only and baby to remain in the room with the mother at all times.
  • To be allowed to use homeopathic remedies and other natural remedies brought by the mother as and when either she or the father desire to use them.
  • To be allowed to bathe with baby after weighing etc if so desired.

X