Yep, you read that right. In response to many blog requests! I said yes to placenta smoothies post birth and here was my experience.
First off, I have to point out what a beautiful badass thing the placenta is. My body grew another organ! And shed it in the birthing of my son. It was freaking cool. It takes a few minutes post-birth before the body releases the placenta and for a for brief moments I held Indra to my chest while he was still physically attached to me through his cord. There is no other experience like that.
The placenta is the bubble that holds baby until his time to enter earth side. It was the layer between Indra’s body and mine, through which all nutrients and energy passed.
The choice to consume the placenta post-birth is typically a nutrient driven decision. The seemingly most popular process is placenta encapsulation — where it is dried and placed into capsules to take orally. For me, I recognized the natural animalistic nature of it (all mammals other than some humans consume post birth) and felt that it was something I wanted to try immediately following the birth. My midwife prepared small pieces into smoothie post-birth. Raspberries, blueberries and other fruits allowed for a blind consumption. We froze a handful more for later as well.
Flash forward four nights later. I woke up around 3am freezing (note, the middle of July and our house was not cold..). I turned to Michael who was already on high alert to help Indra and I as needed, and he jumped up to get me an extra blanket. As he did, I felt even colder — chills that started to make my whole body convulse. I was working to stay calm and not freak Michael out terribly. I knew I was okay and my body’s reaction was intense. I could tell he was stressed. He called Maria, our midwife, who had him check my blood loss levels and temperature. All were okay, and we identified the moment as a hormone shift. All a little freaked out, I bundled up even more and everyone drifted back to sleep. I continued to wear socks and layers the next couple days and eventually felt my body temperature settle to normal.
While the intensity of fluid, blood and tissue loss post birth is to be acknowledged (think almost passing out biological explosion) my body healed miraculously within the coming weeks. My mind was also incredibly stable (post coming soon on my thoughts about postpartum emotions). This being my first babe, hard to tell what affect the placenta consumption had on me overall, though I do suspect the abrupt shift in my hormones in the middle of the night had something to do with it.
All-in-all definitely glad I did it. Would I do it again? Likely that I would, once, immediately following birth. Not sure about extending it any further than that.
Happy to answer any more questions! Keep your post suggestions coming. Screen time is getting easier as the family and I settle into more and more of a routine.
Lotsa love and healthy vibes,