“What are you doing?” my mother-in-law asked Ben as he ran through our kitchen carrying a cooler at 6:45 am.
“I’m putting Ashley’s placenta in the porch,” he answered.
My mother-in-law shared this memory with me the other day. She stayed with us for a couple of nights after I gave birth to Ivy to help out and said this memory still makes her laugh.
Ben was putting my placenta in the porch because our doula was on her way to pick it up to encapsulate it for me. Yes, you read that correctly. I had my placenta dried, ground up, encapsulated into pills, which I then took for over a month after giving birth. Doing this was the best postpartum recovery decision I made.
￼When I got pregnant, I started reading about natural ways to heal my body and mind ￼after giving birth and came across the possibility of eating my placenta. I was equally ￼intrigued as I was horrified by the idea of eating junkie that I am, I decided to look into it further.
What exactly is a placenta?
After conception, the placenta begins to grow in the mother’s body, attaching to the wall
of her uterus. The baby’s umbilical cord then attaches to the placenta, which serves as the source of life for the growing baby. The placenta provides nutrients and oxygen to the baby, protects the baby from internal infections, produces hormones to support a healthy pregnancy and eliminates waste from the baby’s blood. After the mother gives birth, she delivers the placenta. Without the baby, the mother no longer needs this extra organ.
Since the placenta contains excess hormones and nutrients that were passed from mom to babe, many women around the world believe that an important part of postpartum recovery is to consume it after birth. Some women incorporate theirs into a special meal, some freeze it into small chunks and then blend it into a smoothie and some encapsulate it into pills. Consuming it is said to help regulate postpartum hormones, increase milk supply and improve the mother’s overall mood. Since I had a very difficult first trimester of pregnancy with pre-baby blues, I decided to do whatever I could to prevent postpartum sadness.
I had no idea how difficult becoming a mom really is, and the first month was such a foggy haze that I don’t remember much of it at all. Two weeks after I had Ivy, I got my placenta pills. From the moment I took the first one, I called them my “happy pills.” They made me feel like getting through the day was possible. They gave me energy after having a sleepless night. My milk supply was overabundant and although I did struggle with the adjustment of becoming a mother, I can’t imagine going through the initial weeks without my happy pills.
Read Ashley’s Birth Story HERE.
READ MORE from our Motherhood Series:
ASHLEY WOOD is a recipe developer and writer from Winnipeg, Canada. With a passion for health, wellness and vegetables, Ashley creates simple and inexpensive vegan recipes made from whole ingredients that are often seasonal, sometimes gluten-free and occasionally raw. Ashley believe in celebrating the benefits of living a vegan lifestyle and at the very least, hopes to inspire others to eat more plants, smile and live with some Sunshine.