Community cares: Placenta encapsulation known for helping with depression, increased breast milk

- First time mom, Jennifer Weitman, adores her baby boy, Drew.

When she found out she was expecting, she did everything she could to ensure she would give him the best care possible, and that meant taking care of herself.

"A little bit of personal family history of anxiety and depression, so I wanted to be as proactive as I could be to help with that post-partum period," said Weitman.

Her research led her to Phoenix Family Birth, a company that will encapsulate a mother's placenta.

"Placenta encapsulation is really simple," said Bethany Sawhill. "It's exactly what it sounds like. It's taking the placenta and preparing it to put into capsules that can be taken just like a vitamin."

Sawhill is the company owner, a labor dula, and a placenta specialist who comes to your home to take care of the encapsulation.

A placenta specialist will bring all of the equipment and supplies necessary for the encapsulation process. Specialists all complete rigorous hands-on training and mentorship under the leading experts in the field, and are also certified in Blood Borne Pathogens knowledge.

"There's current scientific studies underway to give us an idea of the benefits, but many mothers have reported things like increased breast milk supply, better mood and energy in the post-partum period, a feeling of more stability," said Sawhill.

Mom's are given a kit, and they tell their labor nurse to save the placenta where it then goes home in the fridge.

"On the first day, we come and we make sure the kitchen is covered," said Sawhill. "We create a barrier with the plastic wrap to make sure the kitchen stays fresh and clean. And then the placenta gets unpackaged from its transport kit."

"We steam the placenta, and the reason for that is to remove some of the surface bacteria and create a safe, dehydrating product," said Sawhill. "We take the placenta pieces out of the dehydrator and we put them into our grinder."

Weitman appreciated the process took place in her own home, giving her peace of mind that the placenta was  handled safely - that she would feel her best as a new mom.

"I did notice that I felt like my emotions were more managable," said Weitman. "I felt like I could kind of take a step back, and really kind of check myself when I was getting a little bit anxious or depressed."

It's recommended that you take the capsules most often the first three weeks, and then you take them as needed beyond that point.

"I know it's not for everybody, and it freaks some people out, but I had a great experience. I would say, don't knock it until you try it," said Weitman.


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