WARNING: This blog post may contain images that some viewers find graphic or disturbing. This post contains images of a real human placenta (my placenta) and the encapsulation process following the Traditional Chinese Medicine Method. If you are easily disturbed by blood or graphic images of human organs, please do not continue. Thank you.

So, my husband is amazing.
Like, honestly, he blows my mind sometimes. Early in our pregnancy, we talked about the idea of consuming your own placenta. While we agreed that there probably were many benefits, we (especially I) brushed off the idea. (I mean, honestly, the thought of sitting down to a placenta steak turned my stomach. No offense to all you ladies who consume it that way – you have nerves and stomachs of steel!). Later on in the pregnancy, we came across placenta encapsulation, and eagerly brought it to our midwife. She hooked us up with the right woman, a doula in our area, but after hearing the price, we ran far far away.

We had just spent over $400 the night before on our cloth diaper stash, and there was no way we were comfortable with dropping another $300 to have my placenta encapsulated. So, what do you do when you want something done? You do it yourself!

So big A, being the sweet man that he is, stepped up to the job. He had the placenta tucked away in a cooler before my midwife could even finish her uterine “massage”. (ha ha) And his mom had it safely in our refrigerator before the sun went down. After 24 hours in the hospital, my husband stood in the kitchen with his task at hand. And let me tell you, he handled it with such grace.

We decided to follow the Traditional Chinese Medicine Method. I figured capsules would be the easies way of getting those benefits, while avoiding as much of the ick factor as possible.

 

So, if you’ve never seen one, this is a placenta! It’s actually a lot bigger than I thought it would be, and just so cool to look at. It’s important to really rinse as much of the blood from the placenta as you can. After sitting in the fridge for a day or two, it’s common for most of the blood to be coagulated and clotted. Remove the membranes and cord (you can even do a cord keepsake if you want), so that you’re just dealing with one big organ without any frills attached. Below, you’ll find see a photo of the sac – inside is where the sweet little baby lives for over nine months, growing and thriving. I find it so fascinating to look at, and am so happy to have this photo.

 

Once rinsed, you just want to toss it into a pan. Per the TCM method, we added 2 lemons, a jalapeno, and ginger. We boiled it for about 20 minutes. You honestly want to cook it just enough so that it’s done. Boiling it does remove some of the nutrients, so you really don’t want to cook it longer than necessary. Looking back, now that I’ve processed two placentas at home, it is a much wiser decision to steam the placenta for 10-15 minutes. Doing so preserves significantly more good stuff than any type of boiling.
Many people have asked me about the smell while it’s cooking. It didn’t really bother me or my husband, it just smelled like cooking meat. Some people do find the smell overpowering though, but we didn’t.
My placenta shrunk significantly after boiling, which is will do after steaming as well. This is normal.

Once cooled enough to handle, cut the placenta into small strips. The smaller the better! Not only will it make the drying process faster, but it will also make it much easier to turn into a powder. We left ours in the dehydrator overnight (so, about 8-9 hours) and they were very ready when we took them out!

The pieces were put straight into our Ninja blender, and blended into a very fine powder. We used a capsule holder (which can be purchased here), and capsules size 00. This was probably the longest and most frustrating part. It’s just time consuming, and easy to spill the powder as it is extremely fine.
I still pat my husband on the back, and thank him for doing this for me.
I will definitely be encapsulating all of my placentas with future children – and I will not be paying for it!
Total, I think I had around 200 capsules, so I was able to take them for 6 weeks! I guess the question of the hour is “Did it work?” And, I’d have to say YES! While I do think that it took a couple of days to kick in and actually start working, it did work! The first few days after giving birth, I found myself extremely emotional, sore, and just all over the place. Within a week, I felt more normal that I could’ve imagined. By two, I was having sex! Store your capsules in a cool dark place for up to 12 months – freeze for a longer life. I hope this helps, as I know resources for encapsulating your own placenta are limited.
Until next time,
Savannah

Savannah is a full-time mom of two, and can often be found outside on one of her various adventures. She enjoys carving her own path through natural and holistic living, as well as discovering ways to use food as medicine.