Placenta, Consumed.

October 24, 2012

A few of you have asked, emailed and inquired about placenta encapsulation. Was I glad I did it?

Absolutely.

There is no way we will ever know its true effect on my body, but everything I observed is in line with what it is supposed to do. Refer to this post if you want more information on all of that!

30 Weeks: Yes I Want To Eat My Placenta

So here are my reflections:

We hired Nicole Link-Troen out of Richmond as our placenta guru. She was fabulous!! She charges $250 for her services in general and an extra $50 to drive up to Cville. Given all she did for us, I felt like it was well worth the cost.

After delivery, my doula brought our placenta home to the fridge. We did have a few hiccups taking it from the hospital, but overall, we got the green light from the doctor. [Apparently they always have to tell you it’s not allowed…and times may be changing. I think we are really lucky to have gotten it, and there was a moment when I thought we might not.]

So back to Nicole, she was very communicative throughout the whole process, and I called her as soon as I went into labor so she would know when to make the trip up. Since Mazen was born early on Friday morning, she came late Friday afternoon to get started. My parents were here by then and were able to let her into the house to start the process. I obviously wasn’t there to watch, but my mom took some photos for me and it was really cool to see from afar!! [I have photos of my real placenta but I decided not to share them.] Nicole left the placenta in her dehydrator overnight and then came back some crazy time in the middle of the night – like 3:30am – to finish up. She drove back and forth to Richmond, so I can’t thank her enough for the effort!

Everything with beautifully presented, including an imprint of the placenta shape (art!) and a bar of soap, plus lots of directions on taking the capsules.

Foodblog-2187

On Saturday morning my parents brought me my first pills to take in the hospital, just 30ish hours after birth.

And by Saturday night, my milk had come in. One of my nurses remarked how fast that was for a first time mom. I’m sure Mazen’s strong suck also had something to do with it.

Nicole also left “placenta tea” in fridge for when I got home, which was essentially the broth she cooked it in (I think?) seasoned with spices and flavors to make it palatable. I was brave and gave it a taste – it was like the strongest black and herbal tea I’ve ever had mixed together. There was no trace of iron or blood or anything gross. In fact, both my MOM and MATT tasted it!!! (My dad wasn’t too interested ; ) )

Upon Nicole’s recommendation, I took the capsules 3x a day the first week and then tapered off to once a day for a few weeks. I had finished about 2/3 of them by one month and decided to save the rest in my freezer. She said to take them during the baby’s growth spurts, any time I need energy or menopause! I noticed that when I stopped taking them after a month, my face broke out. Coincidence? I doubt it..

Babyblog-

I don’t have myself cloned as a control group to know what I would have felt like without placenta, but I will say this: my first month postpartum I felt completely energized and happy. Almost over-the-moon happy. I didn’t have a lick of baby blues, and given the little bit of sleep I was getting, I couldn’t believe how awake I felt. I’m very thankful of this because I know how difficult the postpartum period is for some women.

So between my energy, happiness, milk coming in and withdrawal breakouts, I’d say that the placenta did its job.

But really, we’ll never know!

{ 117 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Elizabeth October 24, 2012 at 11:02 am

Thanks for sharing! I would have never thought in a million years to ever do this, but now I am thinking about it. I live in Madison, WI, home of very “crunchy” people, so I’m sure I can find this service somewhere around me if I choose to do this when we get pregnant.

Reply

2 Andrea October 24, 2012 at 1:06 pm

Elizabeth, what does “crunchy” people mean? I’m asking genuinely! Like, it that a good thing or a bad thing? I am moving to Madison next spring so I am curious what kind of people I can expect to meet :)

Reply

3 Elizabeth October 24, 2012 at 3:00 pm
4 Julie October 24, 2012 at 10:21 pm

I live in Madison – it’s fabulous! You will love it.

Reply

5 Abby October 24, 2012 at 11:07 pm

I live in Madison, WI and had my 2nd daughter 8 weeks ago. I encapsulated my placenta. I did not with my first daughter. I am so glad I did it this time. I felt so much different, much more energy and none of the blues I had the first time. I knew I needed the energy to keep up with my 18 month old!
My opinion…lots of nice people here in Madison!

Reply

6 Andrea October 26, 2012 at 4:36 pm

I can’t wait to come up there! Have only heard great things about Madison :)

Reply

7 Mandy October 28, 2012 at 12:58 pm

I moved to Texas from Madison and I miss it dearly. I will say both Madison and Dallas have wonderful people, just wonderful in different ways :)

Reply

8 Lindsey October 24, 2012 at 11:32 am

Thank you for this post. After reading a few posts like this I think that when my time comes this is something I would do for sure.

Reply

9 Nicole October 24, 2012 at 11:36 am

You and Caitlin over at HTP were the gals that intrigued me to look into placenta encapsulation, and I’m so thankful to you girls! Like you said, there is no way we can really know if taking them has done anything, I mean most success stories I’ve heard are from mommies who had a rough time postpartum with their first kids, the they tried placenta consumption with their third and experienced a huge difference.

I, too, produced mass milk in the beginning (and still am, 6 weeks pp) and continue to take 2/day. I like that you put you’re in the freezer now, maybe I should save these fellas up! I’m almost scared that if I stop taking them I will instantly feel sluggish or depressed haha – I know, that’s looney.

Thanks again for your post back at 30 weeks sharing your decision to eat your placenta – you really helped me make the decision and I’m glad I did!

Reply

10 Kate L. October 25, 2012 at 5:08 pm

I hope this doesn’t sound too critical, but I’ve read several ladies on here comment about themselves or others taking it with the *second or third* pregnancies and remarking that everything was so much easier as compared with the first. I at least appreciate that they’ve at least had one non-placenta encapsulation and one with to better compare (when first time moms take it there is nothing to compare it to) but the slight cynic in me still wants to question those that tried it the 2nd, 3rd time around.

With your 2nd+ pregnancy/childbirth, you have a much better idea of what to expect post-partum – you’ve been through the ups and downs of those initial months so it’s not entirely shocking as it was with that first child. I would be tempted to attribute a 2nd/3rd time mom saying she had a better experience more to the fact that she HAS practice/knowledge of how to get by better in those first weeks/months than attributing it to the placenta. I think I read that you are trying the pills with your first child – – – – I would be greatly interested to find out how you (or someone else taking it with their first) feel if you DON’T take it with the next child. Given the heightened awareness and not-as-shocking nature of having a new baby the second time around, I would be interested to see *that* comparison with the placenta-consumed first.

Reply

11 Nicole October 26, 2012 at 4:37 pm

I’d have to disagree with you here. If anything, I think the “blues” hit more with a second or third since you have SO much stress not only dealing with a newborn but also (in my case) a 3 and 5 year old and all the work that goes along with them. I also found that a lot less people came around or offered to help with the second and third births. As a matter of fact, I don’t even think I got one meal cooked for me with my third!

Having taught childbirth classes for the past 12 years and being a doula (birth and postpartum), I’ve had many moms encapsulate their placenta (most of them did so because of having PPD with their first or second) and all of them reported feeling much better with taking them. We also need to realize that we are the only mammal who does not consume their placenta after birth.

Reply

12 Meredith October 24, 2012 at 11:37 am

I was a little repelled by the concept of placenta consumption at first, but reading about the issue and hearing your perspective has opened my mind. If eating the placenta (I admit that I’d have to do it in pill form because, well, it’s a placenta, not a cheeseburger) makes the new mother feel better, then I think it’s a great idea. I’m glad you’ve had a positive experience with it. Thanks for sharing your story!

Reply

13 Jessica October 24, 2012 at 11:37 am

Placenta tea? Ingesting it encapsulated is one thing, but drinking the liquid it’s been boiled in? That just grosses me out.

Reply

14 Jillian @ Reshape Your Life October 24, 2012 at 11:38 am

I’m so glad you posted this. I’m so interested in having this done whenever my husband and I have. Kids, so its great to read about positive (and honest) experiences! Glad it worked out for you!

Reply

15 Kari October 24, 2012 at 11:44 am

Few questions:
How did you transport the placenta? Via fridge? In a bag?
Is there a specific time frame that you have encapsulate the placenta after labor?

Just curious- I am not pregnant, but want to have babies someday and extremely interested in this whole process. It grosses my husband out, but oh well :)

Reply

16 KERF October 24, 2012 at 2:08 pm

In a plastic bag on ice. You should do it within 24 hours ideally, but if you can’t get in that window, you can freeze it and do it at a later point. I think it’s most beneficial to do ASAP though.

Reply

17 Karen October 24, 2012 at 11:47 am

Thank you for this it is so interesting! Very informative too!

My friends think I am nutty and crazy for trying to research this and I am glad to have some positive
response

Reply

18 Nicole October 24, 2012 at 12:17 pm

Can you please put a warning at the top of this post? I was not prepared to see your placenta on a cutting board in your kitchen while I was eating my lunch. Much appreciated. Thanks.

Reply

19 KERF October 24, 2012 at 12:18 pm

The title was placenta…

Reply

20 Nicole October 24, 2012 at 12:21 pm

I realize that. But you have posted about your placenta encapsulation many times in the past without pictures of placentas. Just a friendly suggestion, that’s all.

Reply

21 Jennifer H., CNM October 24, 2012 at 12:27 pm

Can’t please everyone! I loved my placental encapsulation experience, too. So awesome you did it! Also, I think placentas are beautiful. But maybe that’s just the midwife in me ;)

Reply

22 Amy October 29, 2012 at 4:13 pm

While I had no desire to encapsulate it, I though my placenta was beautiful. My midwife took a few minutes to show me all of its intricacies. Even my husband thought it was cool. The tree of life! It is an amazing organ and I was thankful for its hard work! Kinda sad I missed Kath’s on the cutting board. :-)

Reply

23 Nik October 24, 2012 at 1:01 pm

It’s definitely a little shock though :) You’ve posted a few times about your plans. I think a little warning before the first picture would definitely be appreciated. I have a very weak stomach and I actually felt my stomach turn! Haha

Reply

24 KERF October 24, 2012 at 2:07 pm

I cropped the photo for you guys with weak stomachs : )

Reply

25 Lindsey October 25, 2012 at 1:01 am

Funny that I am kind of upset that I missed the picture before you cropped it. I have two kids and now want to see a placenta. =)

Reply

26 Lindsey October 25, 2012 at 10:37 am

I wouldn’t have minded either. It is not any grosser than any other raw organ/meat. It is quite a mircle that it sustains a whole life inside you.

Reply

27 Hope October 25, 2012 at 1:57 pm

Maybe I’m crazy but I’m a little upset that I didn’t see it either. But I love all things that go along with childbirth. I saw my sister’s placenta after it came out and found it facinated.

The title is Placenta, Consumed and if Kath talks about something she almost always has a picture to go with it so I’m not sure why some are surprised.

Reply

28 Katie October 25, 2012 at 8:06 am

Are you looking at a different post? There isn’t a single picture of a “placenta on a cutting board.” Maybe you need to grow up.

Reply

29 KERF October 25, 2012 at 9:13 am

I edited it out Katie

Reply

30 Laura October 24, 2012 at 12:19 pm

Thank you for writing this post! When I decide to have children I think I will do the encapsulation process. I don’t think I could do the tea though!! Ugh!

Reply

31 Sara R. October 24, 2012 at 12:37 pm

So interesting to see how it’s actually done. And 1 day IS fast for a first time mom, I’m jealous! My milk didn’t come in until day 5, even with my second, and by then we were dealing with weight loss, being advised to supplement with formula, etc. So glad it has gone smoothly for you and Maze!

Reply

32 Jennifer October 24, 2012 at 12:39 pm

Have you noticed any mood changes since you’ve stopped taking them?

Reply

33 KERF October 24, 2012 at 2:08 pm

No, I haven’t

Reply

34 Julie H. of Spinach and Sprinkles October 24, 2012 at 12:48 pm

I was soooooooo scared of getting the baby blues or postpartum depression (a million and ten times scared!) ….there was nowhere in my area to get this done and I was just sure I’d feel bummed- luckily, no baby blues here!!! BUT, I still wish I would have been able to do this! Very interesting! Glad you feel like it was a good decision for you :)

Reply

35 cassy October 24, 2012 at 1:10 pm

thank you for sharing!!
this is so intersting and AWESOME!!
My friends are just having babies now and i am getting closer to baby age, this really interests me is something I am hoping I can do!

the human body is really an AMAZING thing!

Reply

36 Katy Widrick October 24, 2012 at 1:22 pm

I am so glad I had mine encapsulated, too…I didn’t have any problems getting it from the hospital, although everyone was very curious (and surprisingly supportive) about my decision. We had to sign for it and I had done a lot of work ahead of time to make sure all of the paperwork was included in my file, including a copy of the hospital’s policy on placenta removal.

Totally worth the investment.

Reply

37 Christine October 24, 2012 at 1:23 pm

Why was a bar of soap included? Is there placenta in the soap?

Reply

38 KERF October 24, 2012 at 2:08 pm

Just as a special gift : )

Reply

39 vanessa October 24, 2012 at 1:23 pm

I second Nicole’s sentiment. The title doesn’t indicate actual placenta sightings will be happening.
in any event, it’s a bold choice and if the pills worked, even if it was a placebo effect, that is good for you.

Reply

40 Dara October 24, 2012 at 1:50 pm

Hi Kath — I also went through PBI for encapsulation after my second was born 7 months ago. We actually kept it a secret from most ppl because we didn’t want to deal with their reactions. My main reason for doing it was to boost my milk supply as that has been a problem for me both times. Not sure that it helped in that area, but I did feel energized even while being severely sleep deprived. I will do it again if we have a third.

I finished every last bit of my pills…and the last few months I’ve been feeling off. Not pregnant, I can just tell my body is still working on returns to “normal”. After searching the PBI site, I decided to try sheep placenta pills. While I was first grossed out by the idea, they have really helped.

My experience with PBI was awesome. So professional and very concerned about my well-being. Glad it worked out for you too.

Reply

41 jen October 24, 2012 at 1:59 pm

i too first started thinking about doing this when i read caitlin’s post on HTP. at first, it totally grossed me out but i’m curious to see if it would help with milk supply. i am at the very beginning of my 3rd pregnancy and i struggled to produce enough milk the last 2 times..i’m going to talk to my doctor about doing this this time. i would love for breastfeeding to be easier this time around and if this could help i’m all about trying it.

Reply

42 eliz@thesweetlife October 24, 2012 at 3:32 pm

I’m impressed you did this. I looked into it but chickened out. As always, I’m loving reading your experiences!

Reply

43 Mom October 24, 2012 at 4:00 pm

Seeing the placenta was mind boggling and quite thrilling. We went to the hospital to meet Maze and then come back to Kath’s to see the placenta that enabled his life. Miraculous!

Reply

44 Hope October 25, 2012 at 1:58 pm

I was actually going to ask if your Mom thought you were crazy (mine totally would have) but since she left that really sweet comment and actually tasted your placenta tea(!!!) I guess she didn’t think you were crazy at all. :)

Reply

45 Mom October 25, 2012 at 3:20 pm

I have to say I only had a tiny taste of that tea. I prefer Lipton’s!

Reply

46 Laura October 24, 2012 at 5:51 pm

My daughter is 2 wks younger than Mazen and I also decided to encapsulate. With my first daughter I had a really rough time after with exhaustion and feeling completely overhelmed with how to still function like a normal person! This time it’s like night and day compared to the first! So much better! I’ve had tons of energy and been out and about since the day I came home from the hospital. Not sure if I have my placenta to thank or not! We brought a stryofoam cooler and ziploc to the hospital and they didn’t bat an eye about me taking it (although they have a natural birth center as part of their L&D floor so I’m sure this was not the first time someone has requested it!). The encapsulation was started within 48 hours and while I would have liked it to be sooner, I was told this was still within the window of being useful. I had initially asked my doula if she knew of anyone who could do this in my area (Chicago suburbs) and was surprised when she gave me like 4 names right off the top of her head! I thought it would be more uncommon. I am planning to start tapering them off soon and am curious to see if I will notice a difference when I’m no longer taking them.

My husband was totally grossed out about the whole thing but was fully supportive of me wanting to do it. We just did not tell his family that I did! My brother-in-law stopped by while the dehydrator was running in the kitchen and I said I borrowed it to see if I’d maybe want to buy one, and that I was making apple chips. =)

Reply

47 KERF October 24, 2012 at 6:08 pm

Apple chips! Ha!

Reply

48 Kiki October 24, 2012 at 7:50 pm

Placenta encapsulation is the placebo effect at best, and junk science and snake oil salesmanship at worst. I’m glad you felt it worked for you, but I hope any woman reading this does some serious research before deciding to follow your example. I am a nurse, and current best practices in the hospital and medical community come from evidence based data, not personal anecdotes from bloggers. Animals eat their placentas because they lost blood giving birth and they want to throw any would-be predators off the scent of their after-birth. Thankfully, human mommies don’t have to worry about this :) Again, glad you had a good experience, but I couldn’t suppress my urge to play devil’s advocate. Or perhaps I need to go into the placenta encapsulating business, judging from all these credulous comments! I would make bank!

Reply

49 KERF October 24, 2012 at 8:16 pm

Is there hard science to back up your claim? I’ve heard enough pro-placenta anecdotal evidence that even if a research study DID prove it wrong, I would assume the study was flawed rather than the thousands of women who swear by it. As I said in my post, you really can’t test this because woman to woman, pregnancy to pregnancy is so variable, so while you can’t prove it works, you really can’t prove it doesn’t either.

Reply

50 Kiki October 25, 2012 at 6:13 am

You would believe a valid scientific study was flawed, if it contradicted your own experience? Then that’s just your own opinion, it doesn’t mean that the study is flawed. There’s no scientific study being conducted on placenta encapsulation because there’s no reason to do so. Let me use a hypothetical example: I and all my friends start eating black jelly beans for dessert after we give birth. None of us have any problems with fatigue or PPD! Amazing! We’ve never eaten black jelly beans regularly before giving birth, so that MUST be what’s helping us feel so good. Now, I can shout this from the rooftops, tell my OB-GYN and all the medical researchers I want, but nobody will start studying the effects of black licorice on PPD because it is simply correlation, not causation. This, in effect, is what you are saying happened with you and “the thousands” of women taking placenta pills.

Reply

51 KERF October 25, 2012 at 9:14 am

You have your bias of skepticism and I have mine. Now I’m off to find some jelly beans…

Reply

52 Jen October 25, 2012 at 11:33 am

I had my baby right after Easter and did eat a lot of jelly beans after she was born, so this made me chuckle.

In fact, I often joked that my breastmilk must have tasted like jelly beans. I didn’t get PPD but did feel the “baby blues” for a few months. They must not have helped. :)

Reply

53 Shahla October 25, 2012 at 11:55 am

According to an OB I spoke with, placenta is a good source of iron and hence it is beneficial. So there is some scientific fact to show that placenta could be good for you.

Reply

54 NDL-T November 11, 2012 at 2:13 pm

“Placentophagia: A Biobehavioral Enigma
KRISTAL, M. B. NEUROSCI. BIOBEHAV. REV. 4(2) 141-150, 1980.”
soundly states in the study that the idea of animals eating placenta to throw off predators is a myth for several reasons- animals that give birth and they and their young can walk away from the birth site (therefore leaving the afterbirth) don’t. Deer take their time to eat the placenta and don’t move from the sight immediately for fear of predators. Also animals that live in trees (monkeys) who could easily drop the placenta and not have a mess, don’t. they take the time to eat it. Also, mammals that eat the placenta still have several cups of blood and fluid at the birth site that can’t be cleaned up. Therefore, predators is not enough of a reason for mammals the world over to consume their placentas. Kristal says in his study that he doesn’t know why thus the title “a behavioral enigma”.

If you want to read the studies surrounding placentophagia I encourage you look through this page: http://placentabenefits.info/research.asp

also, this article sums up the lack of research nicely: http://resources.thefeministbreeder.com/labor-birth/postpartum-health-healing/placenta-encapsulation-the-story-of-the-missing-evidence/

Reply

55 Erin Motz October 24, 2012 at 7:59 pm

Wow, what an amazing post! I was sooo curious about how this would go, especially since I’d never heard of doing it until you wrote about it weeks ago. It definitely adds something to keep in mind for the future. Thank you for sharing all this!

Reply

56 Ramona October 24, 2012 at 8:02 pm

Love the blog, and I’m a new mom so forgive me if I missed it, but you guys were gonna do cloth diapers right? Have you phased those in yet?

Reply

57 KERF October 24, 2012 at 8:14 pm

We are hoping to, yes, but the ones I have are still too big. I’ve tried some prefolds and covers and felt so-so about it. I might feel differently when we convert 100%.

Reply

58 Sara October 24, 2012 at 8:05 pm

Thanks for sharing!!! I had PPD after my first and want to do this with my second. I really hope to experience a difference. I have a friend who is trained to do it and took them with her 2nd and 3rd children and had good results. I’m not sure I could try that “tea” though!

Reply

59 KERF October 24, 2012 at 8:13 pm

I didn’t think I could try it either when my mom told me about it, but when I got home I figured I should at least taste it for the experience and it wasn’t all that bad once I saw it

Reply

60 Sarah October 24, 2012 at 8:17 pm

There are no double-blind studies (i.e., scientific proof) that support the hypothesis that a human female who consumes her own placenta will see benefits in milk production, postpartum mood, or any other post-pregnancy symptoms.

Perhaps all women would be better off if new mothers who have such good fortune consider donating the $300 placenta encapsulation fee to causes that support prenatal care for undetpriviledged women, for example.

Reply

61 KERF October 24, 2012 at 8:18 pm

But are there any double-blind studies that disprove it? Why so negative. This was my choice.

Reply

62 Tina October 24, 2012 at 8:47 pm

I admire your bravery to make your own choices! Some people are such sticklers for evidence-based practices! You’re a MAMA now, and you know what’s best. However, “double-blind” means both researchers and participants are blind to treatment. Before a treatment is tested in humans, it is tested in animals. Double-blind isn’t relevant here, because there is no animal data. Even if a study did disprove the efficacy of placenta ingestion, negative data does not get published. Post-partum depression is a debilitating illness, and if placenta pills had any potential for efficacy, don’t you think Big Pharma would be capitalizing on it? For instance, hormone replacement therapy for menopausal women is hormone-based.

Reply

63 Ally October 24, 2012 at 10:28 pm

^I don’t understand why people think being a mom means you know anything. Yes, having experience with your own child gives you insight into the child’s needs, but it doesn’t mean that your decisions are somehow correct. Mothers make bad choices for their kids all the time.
Kath- I think it’s great you had a positive experience with placenta encapsulation. I’m just surprised that you are satisfied with anecdotal evidence and seem to be dismissing medical research. Placebo effect or not, it worked out well for you and that’s fantastic for you and Mazen. Don’t take all the comments so personally! We all have our own opinions and values and parenting is controversial in itself. I don’t agree with everything you do/say, but I still like to read your blog :)

Reply

64 KERF October 24, 2012 at 10:48 pm

I’m not dismissing it, I’m just saying there isn’t much out there so I’m just going with my gut

Reply

65 Jaspreet October 25, 2012 at 11:42 am

Kath, as an R.D. who completed quite a lot of science coursework, I’m surprised that you’re so scornful of scientific research and evidence-based practices.

The reason why people are sticklers for evidence-based practices is because they save lives. This is the basis of science and medicine. Without evidence-based science, any old practice that’s purported to be good and helpful can be used, even if they cause harm. Like the old school practices of using leeches and bleeding patients. Doctors, without evidence and scientific trials to back them up, believed that leeches and bleeding removed “bad humours” from the body. Eventually scientific research proved that those practices were indeed harmful rather than helpful.

While mother’s intuition is a good thing, mothers often DON’T know what’s best for their children. (Remember when kids used to be given liquor-soaked rags when teething?) This is why we have science and medicine to help guide our way.

Reply

66 KERF October 25, 2012 at 4:18 pm

I am not at all being scornful towards evidenced-based research – and I completely agree with everything you said!! The thing is though, there isn’t much (if any) solid research on either side of placenta encapsulation (and there probably won’t ever be given the circumstances around it). If there were tons of solid studies showing absolutely nothing but placebo effect, I probably would have a different opinion of it. But there isn’t, so just as I admit I can’t say “it worked!” the skeptics can’t say “it’s witchcraft.”

Reply

67 Sarah October 25, 2012 at 1:10 pm

Incorrect, there is a small study in rats from 2004: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=placenta%20pain%20dipirro%20kristal

Reply

68 Sara October 24, 2012 at 9:18 pm

I am not a mother, and have no opinions about eating your own placenta (other than thinking it is a bit gross that your mother and husband drank the tea!), and I support a woman’s choice to do whatever she wants with her placenta (pro-choice just took on a new meaning!).

I think that your readers respond strongly and sometimes unfavorably to your posts about placenta, blackout curtains, circumcision, pregnancy, etc. because (in my humble opinion) your writing style sometimes carries an air of superiority and has the potential to alienate people or create strong feelings that compel them to comment. Issues concerning motherhood are naturally complicated, and have to be delicately and thoughtfully addressed.

Reply

69 KERF October 24, 2012 at 10:10 pm

Well I feel that I have made it really very clear that I am a first time mom with zero experience on anything, so I don’t know where this superiority seems to seep from. I’m not sure how sharing my personal experience about placenta encapsulation, buying blackout curtains or morning sickness would possibly suggest that I am a superior to anyone else.

Reply

70 Anna October 24, 2012 at 11:41 pm

I think Sara is talking about the tone of your writing style. I am a long time reader of your blog and I agree with Sara that sometimes there is an air of superiority and defensiveness in your responses to readers. I understand that you deal with a lot of negative comments because of your public persona but sometimes I think issues that are sensitive to a lot of people (i.e., motherhood) should be addressed thoughtfully and considerate of both sides. You have an incredible opportunity with the online presence you have to inform and thoughtfully engage your readers in lots of aspects about motherhood, especially controversial ones like placenta encapsulation. But sometimes I feel like when someone points out a position contrary to your opinion, your response can sometimes come across as rude and defensive. I know that a lot of it probably isn’t but that’s why an effort should be made careful with the tone conveyed online–for everyone, not just you. No one can hear the inflection in your voice; they can only read your words. That said, I think it’s great that you are so open and transparent about your life–I love reading about your early days of being a mother to Mazen and look forward to reading many more posts about it. All the best to you.

Reply

71 Elizabeth October 25, 2012 at 9:11 am

I am also a long time reader and I am not sensing any of the superiority that some others are getting from your more personal pregnancy/baby posts. Why on earth should it be Kath’s responsibility to discuss both sides of a decision when this is her PERSONAL blog to discuss her pregnancy? If this was an article on The Bump or something, yes. But the purpose of this blog is to share her personal journey through pregnancy and motherhood.

I haven’t personally agreed with every decision Kath has made, but I think she has been more than thoughtful when discussing them.

Thank you again, Kath, for this blog, and I’m going to be sad when it ends! There’s always #2, right? :)

Reply

72 Anna October 25, 2012 at 12:05 pm

I agree that Kath doesn’t need to bring in arguments and counter arguments to reinforce her opinions and decisions. I do think that sometimes her responses to comments are not considerate of another person’s point of view. We’re all doing the best we can, like Kath but she does have an obligation as someone with a public life to be sensitive to her tone with readers. I completely understand that it must be grating to stand under such a harsh spotlight when you’re a first time mother and just trying to survive at this point. While you bring up a valid point that this is her documentation of a personal journey, it is also her job, as she has stated many times before. I think it is fair to expect a thoughtful discussion to take place between Kath and her readers instead of one where both sides are defensive and come across as rude. Like I said in my original post, I really enjoy this blog and seeing her day to day life but sometimes I just feel like maybe everyone should be a little more respectful in the comments. Kath should be able to take constructive criticism and suggestions from readers and the readers should be respectful of Kath.

Reply

73 Holly P. @ A Year in Wichita October 24, 2012 at 11:18 pm

I have been somewhat leery of the whole consuming your placenta thing, but I have YET to read a negative review. Even without solid evidence to support ingesting placenta, I am willing to give it a try due to LACK of evidence NOT to ingest. I definitely want the smoothest transition between pregnancy and birth and, in my opinion, it’s worth the chance.

Reply

74 Nicole October 25, 2012 at 12:12 am

I’m always surprised at the comment when a “personal choice” post is published. Kath, thanks for continuing to post YOUR experiences through motherhood. :)

Reply

75 Hope October 25, 2012 at 12:42 am

Glad to hear you had a positive experience! I’m surprised that hospitals don’t normally let you take your placenta home – here in New Zealand it’s extremely common to bring it home, they even tell you at antenatal classes to make sure you label it properly if you’re storing it in the freezer….possibly to prevent any ‘is that liver or is that placenta?’ issues lol! I’m 38 weeks and we’re planning to plant a beautiful tree in our yard with mine.

Reply

76 suzy October 25, 2012 at 1:52 am

as a midwife in a public hospital, I ask every mum if they would like to take their placenta home. a lot are shocked because they have never considered it and some choose to after being asked and some turn their nose up at the idea. I dont mind, sometimes its the first they have heard of it – times are a changin! yippee.

Reply

77 Melissa R October 25, 2012 at 9:08 am

I had never heard of this before I read about it on your blog. I think it is very interesting and something I may consider after looking into it more.

Reply

78 Emily S October 25, 2012 at 9:43 am

Thank you for sharing your experience on this! It is something I would definitely consider.

Reply

79 Alex October 25, 2012 at 10:49 am

I usually dont comment on blogs but I wanted to say THANK YOU so much for always expressing your experiences and views honestly and openly – it shocks me that so many people are so critical of personal opinions. Motherhood is the hardest job in the ENTIRE world and NO ONE is perfect – we as women should be building each other up instead of criticizing and nit picking on everything! As long as you have good and self-less intentions with your baby’s best interest in mind I think that it what makes someone a fantastic mother – all of the other stuff is just a matter of opinion :)

Reply

80 Leah October 25, 2012 at 12:08 pm

Hey Kath, just wondering if you experienced any negativity or reactions that were less than positive from your own family and friends? I can’t imagine telling my parents or friends that I would even consider doing this because they would think I was CRAZY!

Reply

81 KERF October 25, 2012 at 4:16 pm

Most people – myself included – say “oh gross!” But no one was unsupportive or rude. Lots thought it was pretty cool.

Reply

82 Haily Foytik October 25, 2012 at 1:18 pm

Thank you for being so open about your personal experiences on your blog. The idea that you have “a sense of superiority” is ridiculous. A sense of superiority would be you knocking on our doors and passing out copies of why placenta encapsulation is a good thing. This is your place for expression and no one is forced to read it; furthermore, you are not advertising as an expert on anything, just your own opinion of what worked for you. I am glad you followed your gut with this and even more glad that you believe that it worked for you – that is what navigating motherhood is all about.
For those who felt like they should have “had more warning” before they read… Well that excuse is like saying that you walked to a nude beach and are complaining that their are breasts out. Your title was “placenta, consumed.”

Reply

83 Haily Foytik October 25, 2012 at 1:19 pm

*There are

Reply

84 Sarah October 25, 2012 at 1:25 pm

Hi Kath,

While I appreciate the fact that you are trying to convey your own personal experience with placenta encapsulation, you also point out that all women have very different pregnancy/birth/post-partum experiences. Many, many women who do not encapsulate their placenta also have their milk come in early, avoid PPD, and the other purported benefits of consuming your placenta. If you had a positive experience, that’s great, but statements like “I noticed that when I stopped taking them after a month, my face broke out. Coincidence? I doubt it..” are extremely naiive and unsupported by any actual science. Since the placenta-consumption-community claims all of the benefits, the burden of proof is on them to provide direct, scientific evidence of these benefits. As a scientist, I am personally offended when you say things like “I’ve heard enough pro-placenta anecdotal evidence that even if a research study DID prove it wrong, I would assume the study was flawed rather than the thousands of women who swear by it.” – this is how myths like vaccines cause autism get started – there is a little bit of bad science to support the idea, and then people run with it because of “anecdotal evidence” from their friends or people they’ve heard of on the internet.

Here’s some more information on the science of placenta consumption, if you are interested:
http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/eating-placentas-cannibalism-recycling-or-health-food/
http://www.buffalo.edu/news/13306

To quote the second article: “He says ingested afterbirth may contain components that ameliorate these problems, but although there have been many anecdotal claims made for human placentophagia, the issue has not been tested empirically.

“If such studies are undertaken,” he says, “the results, if positive, will be medically relevant. If the results are negative, speculations and recommendations will persist, as it is not possible to prove the negative.””

So you are right that it would be able to disprove that consuming placenta has any positive effects, since arguably the placebo effect is a positive effect. Anyways, that’s just my thoughts on the issue. Thanks.

Reply

85 Allison October 25, 2012 at 8:21 pm

This is a great reply. Thanks for this.

Reply

86 Lou October 25, 2012 at 8:26 pm

Wow! Thanks so much for this informative post. I now feel confident I can skip this.

Reply

87 KERF October 25, 2012 at 8:37 pm

Funny because I feel the opposite after reading the articles. Especially the second.

Reply

88 Emma November 2, 2012 at 8:09 am

great articles. i feel confident with my decision not to eat my placenta.

Reply

89 Erin October 25, 2012 at 1:32 pm

Hi, I have never commented before, but I am an avid reader and fan. I think you are pretty freaking awesome! Thank you for being so “out there” for all of us. I have learned a lot from you. You are a wonderful mother and everyone is going to have an opinion on what you do, so keep doing what you are doing. :)

Reply

90 Laura October 25, 2012 at 5:02 pm

It amazes me how rude people are to you! This is YOUR blog about YOUR opinions/experiences! Sheesh. No wonder you posted awhile back about not blogging about everything baby related due to how people react. I enjoy reading about your thoughts/opinions about everything during pregnancy/birth/etc.

Reply

91 Seana October 25, 2012 at 5:39 pm

Ignore the haters. Personally, I think it’s kind of gross. I understand why you’re doing it and that’s great. Just ignore those who judge. Your body, your baby, your life. And that’s all that matters. No need to justify to others. Go with your heart and beliefs :)

Reply

92 Elizabeth October 25, 2012 at 10:07 pm

Kath, Thanks so much for posting about this! I am planning on using Nicole in January here in C’ville too. I’m nervous about MJH giving me push back but I will just have to hold my ground :) Glad to hear you had such positive results and thanks for being willing to post about this personal part of you life!

Reply

93 N October 25, 2012 at 11:59 pm

Sometimes people a- maze me. But you can’t please everybody. I think this would be a fabulous study to complete and could be a double blind one as well. I thought I would share an anecdotal story that puts a twist in all the positives of encapsulation. My best friend did this with her first and third child. For her first she had the worst post PPD of all three despite encapsulation and taking the pills as suggested. The second (without) was exactly the opposite and the third (with) was like the second. Again, it’s an anecdotal story. Each person is different and reacts differently too, I guess I figured adults would have realized this and not take one story for their own truth. This is your truth and I’m glad it was positive for you. But I would have anticipated that if your experience was different all the pro encapsulators would have given you advice of what went wrong. My hope would be for people read these blogs just as someone’s experience and nothing more.

Reply

94 jane October 28, 2012 at 2:46 pm

i agree-people shock me sometimes. I am not pregnant and do not imagine that I will eat the placenta when i am (but who knows?!) but honestly do not care if Kath does or not. I do not mean that I am not interested in reading about her experience with it, but I mean if she eats her darn placenta and feels happy about her decision well then by all means it was a fantastic choice for her. I am happy to read about her positive experience but it’s just that-her experience! I do not understand that people get so riled up. I know people will say it’s because people go online and read blogs to help make decisions for themselves, but people need to also do what is right for them and guided by their own doctors. Heck if I did everything that I read online…….anyways, Kath, glad the experience was good for you. In fact, you seem to insinuate that you aren’t sure if it is really the placenta that helped or the placebo effect, but in reality who cares, as long as it makes you feel good. Keep on keepin on :-)

Reply

95 Jess October 26, 2012 at 12:12 am

Thanks for sharing! I’m not planning on having kids at this point in my life, but if I ever do, I definitely want to do this too after reading your posts about it! Also, I’m not sure if it’s just my biological clock kicking in, but I’ve never been fond of babies and I think Mason is SO adorable! I just started reading KERF and BERF two weeks ago and I am hooked!

Reply

96 Charlotte October 26, 2012 at 2:39 am

So cool to see your story with this, and truly brave of you to try the placenta tea! I may consider doing this in the future myself the more I learn about it. I’d love to ward off the baby blues (postpartum blues) if at all possible, and have energy when it’s so needed!

Just curious, since you mentioned that Maze seems to be sleeping well now – do you think that your feeling full of energy when you were taking the placenta pills could have been connected to Maze’s lack of sleepiness too?

Reply

97 KERF October 26, 2012 at 4:06 am

Interesting point. Nicole did tell me if I right felt tooo energetic to back off the pills. I suppose it could be related, but he also went through a pretty classic path for a baby of his weight. 6 weeks is a big turning point for all babies, and he was never so awake that we suspected a problem. But maybe!

Reply

98 Anna October 26, 2012 at 7:01 am

I thought about doing it with my 17 mo. old but heard too much negative from some doulas, midwives, and my OBs. The two women I know personally who did it ended up suffering from bad PPD. After my research, I think there’s a reason why the body expels it and it dies. I think women who do this get a placebo effect.

I will say in my experience with birth – that childbirth sets the tone for the first few weeks of motherhood. I think if women get what they want from the experience and it meets their expectations then the first few weeks of living with a newborn can be smoother than if a woman had a negative experience. I had a great birth experience and a wonderful recovery – my milk came in day 3 too without placenta pills. I know some women who had a not so fantastic birth experience and they took a little longer to recover. Weeks and months later, I don’t think it matters but I think emotions play a significant role in PP recovery. If one is trying to sort out what happened during birth while recovering and taking care of a newborn, I think it might be a lot to handle. I do understand that there is no science when it comes to placenta ingesting but I do caution women considering it that it’s not pills of sunshine and rainbows nor are they cure alls. I’m not against it but it is something women should heavily scrutinize before buying into it.

PS – I took my placenta home and we planted a tree on top of it.

Reply

99 Lisa @bitesforbabies October 26, 2012 at 7:22 am

You had me at “feel energetic!” I would do anything to not go through that initial phase of complete exhaustion! Having said that, the thought still makes me queasy…I wish it didn’t because I’m due in 6 weeks and I’m already dreading the sleepless nights!!!!!

Reply

100 mandy pierce October 26, 2012 at 9:09 am

Kath, lots of negativity in the comments on this post! I just wanted to say thanks for putting yourself out there and being willing to share your experience with a world full of strangers! As a first-time mama-to-be (6 weeks to go!), I am incredibly grateful for courageous women like you who have been there and choose to share, in detail, about your pregnancy, birth and postpartum time.

Reply

101 Shauna October 26, 2012 at 9:27 am

Thanks so much for this post! I’ve been waiting for it. I suffer from Hormone related depression and mood swings, so was very intrigued about encapsulating my placenta (anything to help). I know I will be so excited and happy about my new baby, but I’m also very worried about the baby blues creeping up on me. So after talking about it with my husband, and finding someone in our area that encapsulates placenta, we are very excited! And your posts were helpful in our decisions as well!

Reply

102 Emily S October 26, 2012 at 1:36 pm

Kath, I’m curious – any information on whether placental encapsulation is generally covered (or not covered) by insurance?

Reply

103 KERF October 26, 2012 at 4:42 pm

No it isn’t… That I’ve heard of

Reply

104 Stephanie C October 26, 2012 at 9:52 pm

I’m appreciative of you posting your personal experience doing this. I mentioned it to my husband and while a little grossed out, I don’t think he was opposed to it.
I have some time before we even begin trying, but this is definitely something I’ll be researching and talking to my doctor about. Thanks :)

Reply

105 Lindsay @ Fuel My Family October 26, 2012 at 10:06 pm

this is so intersting. I had never heard of this until i started reading blogs. I didnt do it with either of mine and doubt i will with future babies either but its still really interesting. Wish there was some control gorups and studies done on the subject!

Reply

106 Megan October 27, 2012 at 2:20 am

Wow. Interesting! Thanks for posting this. There are a lot of things like this that have been done for a long time to help women with childbirth and recovery. So happy your recovery and immediate post-partum days have been so good, your son is so beautiful! I too had a good recovery (no placenta encapsulation) and chalk it up to a healthy diet/exercise/positive attitude and expectations about parenthood.

Reply

107 Jenny O. October 27, 2012 at 10:08 am

If encapsulating and consuming your placenta makes you feel better ( whether real or placebo effect), that’s all that matters. I don’t get why this is so controversial. It might be helping and it certainly isn’t hurting anything.

I have two children (age 9 and 6) and my best advice to all new parents is, “do what works for you and your family.” You read all the research, books, etc, and then you make the choice that works for you. At the end of the day, whether it’s scientifically proven or not, the capsules make Kath feel better. Does it matter if that is a real effect or a placebo effect? If it helps her, it helps her.

Reply

108 ash October 27, 2012 at 4:14 pm

Thank you for the informative post!

Reply

109 Amy October 27, 2012 at 4:54 pm

I’m angry that people are picking on you. It’s your blog, your life, your choice. I raise my coffee cup to your never-ending courage and convictions. Thanks for bringing visual joy to me everyday through your blog. Your photography is just what a need after a long day of people at work. You are often the great transition from my rough day to pleasant evening! Happiest of birthday wishes to you.

Reply

110 Salem October 28, 2012 at 8:44 am

After having my first baby, my milk came in within 24 hours and was more than plentiful. I was on a sustained ‘high’ that defied all the sleepless nights. I experienced motherhood euphoria and had no symptoms of the ‘baby blues’. Had I taken placenta pills, I too would have given credit to them… naturally. However, I didn’t and I just think that some mom’s have a different experience. Our hormones are going crazy trying to re-balance and to some that can have more harsh effects than others. With subsequent pregnancies, I don’t anticipate the same outcome each time either. Just as each pregnancy can be different, so can each post-partum experience. Our minds can play a powerful role.

Reply

111 Jenny October 28, 2012 at 11:32 am

Hi Kath,
wow, I was just reading this blogpost thinking, “how interesting, how brave of Kath to post something so controversial …” I scrolled down to find such a plethora of negative comments. Just keep doing what you’re doing. You seem like a very positive person so I’m sure you would have done great even without the placenta! But of course, it’s awesome that you did eat it. Will look into it too..

Reply

112 daphna October 28, 2012 at 3:01 pm

In your research did you come across any contraindications to eating one’s placenta, like chorioamnionitis, multiple placental infarcts, etc? Thanks!

Reply

113 KERF October 28, 2012 at 3:13 pm

I didn’t, no

Reply

114 Allison October 30, 2012 at 6:16 pm

My parents breed dogs when I was growing up and the vet always told us that mammals eat their placentas instinctually to hide the scent of new birth from predators . . . which makes sense.

Regardless, if eating your placenta made you happy, more power to you!

Reply

115 Kristyn November 3, 2012 at 10:07 pm

Was there any aftertaste (irony/bloody flavor) from taking the placenta pills when you burp or when they went down? Might sound strange, I know, but you know how taking some vitamins makes a funky after flavor? Just wondering…When I have my first child I am planning to encapsulate my placenta. I have heard so many success stories like yours :)

Reply

116 KERF November 4, 2012 at 4:00 pm

No, not at all. I was worried about that too because I have a keen sense of smell and taste.

Reply

117 Monica November 8, 2012 at 1:27 pm

Thank you so much Kath for sharing your feedback on this! I had intense postpartum and when I read your pregnancy post about placenta consumption I was very curious. The body goes through so much when recovering from such a drastic change that I think every natural bit you can do to help is a huge step. I look forward to doing this with my next bambino!

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: