Eat Your Placenta

From experience, I know that the first few days post-partum can be crazy in every way. You've just gone through the most physically strenuous event OF YOUR LIFE. ALL your muscles are sore from labor and pushing. Your bottom is sore from all the stretching, tearing, or cutting that happened to make way for your baby. Your stomach went from cute, firm, pregnant belly to a squishy, blubber-like pouch. You are bleeding. You don't even want to think about trying to poop. Your boobs get HUGE, solid as a rock, and oh-so-sore (not to mention they're squirting milk everywhere). You don't get any sleep, because you're up all night trying to figure out the needs of your precious, albeit alien baby whose sudden arrival has thrown everything into utter chaos. And on top of all this, you're trying to figure out how to breastfeed, which is usually much more difficult and painful than expected.

And then there are your hormones. Your raging, out-of-control, PMS-times-ten hormones.

Three days after Lucy's birth, I remember coming home from her 3-day check-up, trying to pull up the driveway, and SCREAMING at my poor husband for not shovelling properly. Now I am usually a very reasonable and laid-back person. But something was happening inside of me that I couldn't control. My emotions were all over the charts, and I was not myself. And it's not just me--practically every mom I know has experienced some version of this emotional upheaval, without realizing that it's normal, and that it can actually be avoided...

I learned a few weeks ago (at the 1st Annual Chicago Doulas Conference!), that all mammals (except for humans) eat their placenta immediately after birth. I know. Gross, huh? But here's the scoop: while you're pregnant, your body, through your placenta, produces this incredible coctail of feel-good hormones that increases as your pregnancy progresses. After you give birth and your placenta is suddenly detached and thrown away, your body sort of comes crashing down. It's literally like going through withdrawal. So on top of everything else (see above), you have to deal with this.

Enter placenta encapsulation specialist! I know that this may seem incredibly gross, but once you get past that "eww" factor, it's really pretty cool.

The specialist will take your placenta, dry it out, and make it into a powder form. Then, she'll put it into little pills. That's it! Just take a couple each day postpartum, and you won't experience such extreme emotions--your body will have a much gentler transition to motherhood. There are other benefits, too. Moms who take their "placenta pills" have more energy postpartum, greater milk supply, and a faster recovery. And if you don't need them all, you can freeze them and use them for menopause!

There are many specialists in the Chicago area, and they usually charge around two hundred dollars. For more information, click here. Let me know if you'd like a referral!

I think those other mammals are on to something... When I'm pregnant with number two, sign me up!