Nutrition Delivered - Placenta Being Used to Ward Off Postpartum Depression
The emotional crash some women experience after childbirth used to be dismissed as the “baby blues.” Now postpartum depression is recognized as a sometime debilitating mental health disorder likely connected to a sudden drop in hormone levels. As more women explore their options for postpartum wellness, placenta encapsulation—the process of dehydrating, powdering and preserving a woman’s placenta in capsules—is growing in popularity, says Amber Roman, a Pensacola doula and childbirth educator. “Placenta capsules, which a woman will take two or three of per day, are thought to contain the hormones and nutrients lost during childbirth,” Roman says. “The loss of hormones and nutrients can cause unpleasant postpartum symptoms, including mood swings, low thyroid function and decreased iron levels.
Turning the placenta into a nutritional supplement allows a woman to reintroduce her own hormones, iron and stem cells into her body as a way to reduce negative postpartum symptoms, increase breast milk supply and hasten healing.”
A doula in the Pensacola area since 2011, Roman began encapsulating placentas in 2012, after training with a midwife who had been handling placentas for more than 40 years. “I have since safely prepared almost 100 placentas for new mommas,” she says. In 2015, she received Advanced Placement Certification with the Association of Placenta Preparation Arts and began implementing the APPA “gold standard” into her practice.
“I feel that placenta encapsulation is integral to the postpartum recovery period and should be taken advantage of whenever possible,” she says. “I’ve witnessed the positive impact on all the clients I have worked with who have chosen placenta encapsulation.”
As owner of Pensacola Placentas, Roman offers a “boutique approach” to the process. She picks up the placenta from the birthplace within hours of the birth, and within three days, the client receives her capsules (usually 125 to 200) in a discreet gift box, along any add-ons she’s chosen, such as umbilical cord keepsakes, placenta prints or homeopathic tinctures.
“I’ve found that demand for encapsulation is increasing as doctors and midwives are recommending it to their patients,” she says.
Certification organizations like the APPA are working to eliminate concerns surrounding placenta encapsulation—such as food safety risks associated with storage and preparation, and cross contamination of blood-borne pathogens—by providing thorough training for encapsulation providers, Roman says. “The training involves requiring providers to maintain blood-borne pathogen and local food handling safety certifications, follow rigorous sanitization procedures, screen clients for blood-borne infection risks and provide safe preparation locations—either the family’s home or a workspace dedicated to only placenta preparation.”
With safe encapsulation options now available locally, and increasing knowledge about the process, more families are taking advantage of this alternative postpartum therapy, Roman says.