Is placenta encapsulation just a placebo?

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Is it all a placebo?

When you’ve been considering whether to have placenta encapsulation, and have read about the amazing placenta benefits many women say they've experienced, you might have wondered: “But is it just a placebo effect?”

My view as a placenta specialist, with over a thousand past cases and glowing testimonials from happy mothers, is definitely: “No!”

Let’s consider the matter.

A placebo effect is defined as: “A beneficial effect produced by a placebo drug or treatment, which cannot be attributed to the properties of the placebo itself, and must therefore be due to the patient's belief in that treatment.”

But my own evidence strongly contradicts the idea that placenta medicine is just a placebo.

I have personally encapsulated over a thousand placentas with an overwhelming majority of mums writing a testimonial about how they benefited from the remedies. There are more than 150 placenta specialists in the UK and their clients will have had similar experiences. This is why the popularity of, and demand for, placenta encapsulation is growing rapidly, as can be seen by the resources available from the Placenta Remedies Network, an organisation that trains and lists placenta specialists in the UK.

Placenta Remedies Network screenshot

What’s more, community and private midwives, doulas, hypnobirthing consultants and consultant doctors recommend my service to their clients.

My experience is borne out by a survey reported in 2013 in the journal Ecology of Food and Nutrition. This work carried out by researchers from the Universities of South Florida and Nevada, in the United States, found the vast majority of women surveyed reported that placentophagy (consumption of the placenta) was a very positive experience (75%) or positive experience (20%).

Positive effects the women claimed they experienced included improved mood, increased energy/decreased fatigue, improved lactation and less bleeding/discharge. Other positive self-reported effects included balance, increased strength/vitality, facilitated bonding with their baby and reduced pain. The mums made comments such as:

“I felt almost immediate relief after my first ‘smoothie.’ Previously I was feeling dizzy from low iron and had no energy. After my energy was up, I felt back to normal. I had no problems with depression after this birth unlike past births.”

“The [two] postpartum periods were markedly different. My recovery was faster. My moods were lifted. I had more energy than I ever thought possible just days after giving birth.”

“I had no negative effects at all, only positive effects. The placenta encapsulation affected my mood to the point that I was able to enjoy my time with my new baby instead of stressing about having a 17 month old, a newborn, and a brand new house. Within hours of taking the first pills I felt a definite change in my mood and energy level. I would absolutely do it again, and would recommend it to anyone.”

You can read the full survey report here.

I can tell when a first-time mum is cautious/sceptical about the remedies. She will usually order just placenta pills, because she’s not quite sure if she will see any benefits but doesn’t want to miss out. When I encapsulate the placenta of mums who have come back to me after their second, third or even fourth birth, however, they all order far more remedies. I put this down to the very real and positive effect they experienced – and they now want to make sure they benefit for even longer.

From the testimonials I have received from mums, the physical changes they experience include:

- Reduced water retention

- Better skin, noticeable by friends and family

- Reduced swelling

- Reduced bleeding

- Quicker return of uterus to pre-pregnancy size (mistaken by some as weight loss)

- Reduced pain.

There are hundreds of testimonials from our clients on our website

My next blog will look at whether there is any scientific evidence of the benefits of placenta encapsulation.

In the meantime, do contact me for further information about this amazing subject.

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