Recap: Lawrence doula chats about placenta consumption
May 9, 2012
This chat has already taken place. Read the transcript below.
Lawrence resident Lilly Mason will be available to discuss natural childbirth and placenta consumption.
Mason, 33, has been a doula for 10 years and is becoming a certified midwife. She has been teaching childbirth classes since 2005, and she owns a business called Joyful Choice Birth Services, which offers placenta encapsulation, natural birth preparation classes, fertility cycling awareness classes and midwives assistant services.
She also has written “Mothercake: A Guide to Making Placenta Remedies.” It provides detailed instructions for making placenta capsules, tincture and salve, and it is available on blurb.com.
I want to thank Lilly for coming in today to answer questions about placenta consumption. I am health reporter Karrey Britt and will be moderating this chat. So, I understand you just had a client, which is why we are starting a little late. What can you tell us about that?
Another beautiful baby was born! This family chose to use placenta remedies because they saw your article on well commons last week, so thank you for helping get the word out about this wonderful remedy. I welcome questions
Can you tell us about what services you offer?
I make placenta remedies for women who have recently birthed. Recycling the placenta back into your body after birth helps speed recovery, increase your milk supply, balance your mood and guard against post-partum exhaustion and depression. Currently I make three different products from the placenta, pills, tincture and salve.
What have you found to be the most popular form of placenta consumption? Taking the encapsulated pills?
I started out offering only the pills and now I offer all three because each remedy is useful for different things and I've found that women benefit form having all three. I make all three for each family for one set price so people don't have to choose ahead of time. It's difficult to know what you will need in the future, so I give people all three remedies and then they can use what they need. The pills have had more research and media coverage so I find people are beginning to know about pills, whereas I still have to explain the tincture and salve a lot because people haven't heard about them yet.
Can you explain the tincture and how it works? How long does it keep?
The tincture is an alcohol extract, which means that you use alcohol to extract the hormones from a small piece of the placenta. My clients receive a dropper bottle of liquid which they can take by placing the liquid under their tongue or in a glass of juice, water, tea etc. It is basically a natural hormone replacement therapy, so I suggest that my clients use it anytime they are feeling like their hormones are out of balance. It is very helpful for post partum mood swings, PMS, menopause, post-weaning mood swings etc. It keeps in definitely in a cool dark place like a typical medicine cabinet.
Do you ever think really hard about what you're doing and second guess yourself or just get completely grossed out?
I started doing this because I personally suffered post partum challenges and I watched so many of my clients and other mothers struggle with finding the new balance after their babies are born. Our medical system does not offer women adequate help for this very difficult time. Most docotrs just prescribe anti-depressants which don't really do a good job of addressing the specific needs of post-partum women, and often requires that mothers stop nursing which is detrimental to both the baby and the mother. I have seen so many women benefit from recycling the placenta back into their bodies that the opportunity to truly help people vastly outweighs the "ick" factor for me.
Has anyone ever reported any type of illness from eating placenta?
The service I offer includes washing, draining, steaming and dehydrating the placenta before consumption so any germs that may be present are taking care of through the processing. I also personally follow FDA, CDC and OSHA guidelines for safe handling and disposal of human blood products and food handling safety while I am making the remedies. None of my clients have ever gotten an illness from using their remedies. I do not know the statistic of how many people get sick from consuming raw placenta, but I have had many clients who chose to consume some portion of the placenta raw and none have had ill effects.
I received several emails from nurses about using antidepressants for postpartum depression. According to them, women can take certain drugs and still nurse their babies. Is this true? What are your thoughts on this issue?
The research on long term safety of taking antidepressants while pregnant and nursing is very lacking. I know many women who feel very uncomfortable about taking antidepressants post-partum and so chose to suffer through their difficulties rather than seek medical help. I also know many women who are not helped by antidepressants because their post-partum issues are anxiety, irritability, major mood swings, or unbalanced stress response, not classic depression. I think that Post-partum depression would be more correctly named Post-partum exhaustion because many of the problems women experience during that time stem from lack of sleep, over work, under nourishment and lack of support. The placenta helps because it addresses both the mother's hormonal and nutritional needs by giving her a supplement full of iron, protein, B-vitamins, minerals, plus oxytocin, estrogen, progesterone, serotonin, CRH, cortisol, and other hormones that are still being researched.
I have heard of people cooking and eating the placenta as part of a meal. Do you recommend this? Would there be a benefit to taking the placenta in pill or tincture form over eating it?
Encapsulating the placenta (putting it into pills) allows the mother to spread its benefits out over a longer time, which is great because post-partum difficulties can last up to a year or more after giving birth. I know many people who have shared their placenta with others as part of a special meal or sacred tradition. That can be a beautiful thing. The mother needs the placenta more than anyone else does, so what I've heard form people who have participated in such ceremonies is that the placenta tasted great to the mother, not so good to the father and others. To me that is a good sign that really only the mother needs her placenta.
As I stated in an earlier post, my wife and I each tried this practice upon the birth of my son.
I said that my experience was that the taste was bitter and a little sour. Would you agree w/ my statement, or was your experience different?
I wasn't sure if the placenta tasted different to the birth of a boy vs. the birth of a girl, or maybe diet. My wife and I are both vegan, and didn't know whether that could affect the bitterness or sourness of the placenta.
Thanks for sharing your experience garyr. It does match with what I have heard from other fathers. I don't know about the boy placenta vs girl placenta issue, I'll have to start asking my clients :). I notice differences in them as I'm processing them which I'm sure are due to a variety of factors, diet included. I do know that placenta is the only organ meat that is officially vegan because it is consentually given.
Payment Methods :
I charge $250 plus a traveling fee if you live outside lawrence because I do the process in my client's homes and it involves two trips to your home, plus a trip to the hospital to deliver your remedies. I am willing to discuss payment plans and I take cash or check.
Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to chat about placenta consumption and your services. We appreciate it. If people want to learn more, do you have any recommendations on where they can get information?
Many good articles about placentophagy are available at http://placentabenefits.info and links to several placenta research studies are available at http://mommyfeelgood.wordpress. There is more info at my website www.joyfulchoice.com and in my book Mothercake: A Guide to Making Placenta Remedies which is available at www.blurb.com. Thanks so much for hosting this, its been a pleasure talking to all of you.