After Rooney was born, I went through the baby blues and what I believe to be postpartum anxiety and depression. It was a main reason we waited three years before trying for another baby - and a definite concern of mine as we approached Finch's due date. Would I have PPD again?
One evening during my pregnancy, I told Eric about this thing called placenta encapsulation. Basically, the contents of your placenta are put into pills that you take after the baby is born. It is supposed to help boost milk supply and iron levels, gently wean the mom off pregnancy hormones, and speed up healing.
I wanted all of those things, but I wasn't sure if he would think it was too weird. To my pleasant surprise, he said, "I feel like you have to do that." (PPD was so traumatic, we were willing to try almost anything!)
There are a few local businesses who provide the service, and I decided to go with Pleasant Postpartums. Laura was really sweet to work with, and she was always quick to answer my questions via email. Overall I had a really positive experience and wanted to share a little about the process, if you're curious!
HOW IT WORKS
Before Finch was born, I filled out a Pleasant Postpartums questionnaire and placed my order. There are a few different ordering options, which is really nice. I hate swallowing pills, so I chose to receive smaller sized pills. I also asked for berry flavored capsules because I was nervous of what they might taste or smell like without the flavoring. :-)
Then, after he was born, we had the hospital store my placenta, and I emailed Laura and told her it was ready to be picked up! She met Eric in the hospital parking lot that night, and then the very next day she delivered the pills to my hospital room with instructions. (You can have your placenta encapsulated in your house or hers. She did ours in her own home.) I was so happy that I could get started taking them right away!
What I got:
- 162 pills
- Placenta prints
- Keepsake cord
My postpartum this time was so much better than last time. I'll never know the exact reason for this (maybe it would have been better even without the pills), and I certainly have had some anxiety here and there, but it was never as severe as it was with Rooney. With Rooney, I also had terrible night sweats as my body got rid of my pregnancy hormones. I did not experience night sweats this time and contribute it to the fact that the pills helped me gradually wean off the hormones.
You take most of the pills in the first two weeks after delivery, and can play around with your dosage (the most common side effect of an overdose is headaches, which I definitely experienced if I took more than four at a time). My breastmilk came in on day 2.5, and I had a great supply. Then, on days 4 and 5, my anxiety crept in (we were away from Rooney and I could tell she was feeling the distance, which made me feel sad and anxious). But I always felt better within an hour of taking the pills.
At two weeks postpartum, I felt pretty strong, which was completely different from the weakness and exhaustion I felt two weeks after Rooney's birth. After that, some days I felt strong and forgot to take the pills, so whenever I was feeling anxious, Eric would ask me, "Have you taken your pills???" Then, around week 3, I grieved the death of my grandma and felt down and anxious again, so I increased my dosage.
I'm four months postpartum now, and am so glad we decided to encapsulate my placenta. I'll never know for sure what it would have been like to recover from his birth without the pills, but, because of my history with postpartum anxiety and depression, I would never want to chance it.
So now the big question you are all wondering - WAS IT GROSS TO INGEST AN ORGAN THAT YOUR BODY GREW AND THEN BIRTHED? And, honestly? Not at all. I really didn't think about it. The pills don't smell, and they look just like a vitamin or other supplement you take!
If you're having your first baby and have any history (or family history) of depression, I highly recommend it. If you're having your second baby and dealt with PPD the first time, if you struggle with low iron after giving birth, if "pleasant postpartums" sounds like an oxymoron to you, or if you have a history of low milk supply, I think it would ease your mind to know you have the pills in case you need them!
I still have two doses left...I'm saving them for a rainy day (or maybe even menopause)!
My placenta encapsulation was provided to me by Pleasant Postpartums in exchange for this blog post. I was very impressed with the product and service and highly recommend them. All opinions are my own.