Your Healthy Family

Feb 10, 2014 11:04 AM by Annie Snead

Local moms eating placenta to fight postpartum depression

It sounds bizarre, women eating their own placenta, but new moms are doing it in our area and across the county.
And they say it's helping them with recovery after giving birth.
Amanda Lundgren says she suffered from pretty bad postpartum depression after having her first daughter Alice.
So when she got pregnant with her second she decided to give what's called - placenta encapsulation - a try.
"You know if you're just going to take the placenta and put it in a shake, that might be a little bit weird but since it was freeze dried and ground up and put into a capsule, really it's not daunting at all," she said.
While pregnant with her first Lundgren heard about women eating their placenta.
"And I was like what? why would you do that? But because I had post partum depression and it was a horrible awful thing, really I was interested in anything that would help," she sid.
She says it was worse than the baby blues - crying all day, every day for months, until she got on medication.
But she wanted to try something natural. After having her daughter Emily, she says not only did eating her placenta help with the post partum depression, but she didn't have any milk supply issues like with her first, she had more energy and less bleeding.
"Most of all, first and foremost, is hormone balancing issues, so people who have suffered from post partum depression often are really eager to try something that will help and this does most cases," said Jessica Nipp, A certified placenta encapsulation specialist in Colorado Springs.
Nipp says she she does an average of 10 to 20 placenta encapsulations a month.
"What I start out by doing is just inspecting the placenta to make sure that it's complete, we remove the membranes and the umbilical cord and wash it really thoroughly," she said.
For around $95 - the placenta is either steamed or sliced and dried, ground into a fine powder and put in capsules.
And women can start taking them right away.
Dosage varies for women, some take it all in the first month, others save some pills for issues later on like PMS or a drop in milk supply.
"There's a lot of factors to post partum, placenta isn't going to cover all of them, but what it does help with is hormones and energy, which are two of the bigger factors in post partum depression so I've seen huge differences in that," Nipp added.
"There are no scientific studies to support that consuming placenta prevents any kind of medical complications - including post partum depression.
Doctor Mark Alanis with Memorial Hospital says if a patient wanted to do it - he would talk to them about the potential risks.
"The risks would be for the most part, the risks of contamination and infection, and the lack of regulated, at least from an FDA standpoint, regulated packaging and preparation of the placenta," said Dr. Alanis.
And says he can't say whether it actually helps or hinders the woman consuming their placenta.
"I would tell the patient that there are no known medical benefits and everything that has been reported to be a benefit is speculation only," he said.
But for Amanda, she says what her children need, is a happy mom.
"We're the only mammal who doesn't do it, so it might sound weird, and if it grosses people out - well then don't do it, but I did it and it was great," Lundgren said.
Dr. Alanis also says that in some cases additives are being included in the capsules and they're not sure what they are, plus there's no regulation for it.
He does think because of the huge interest in this, there will be some sort of study or trial done in the next few years.


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