Placenta smoothies on offer for new mums
Women in Northern Ireland are being offered a new service to have their placentas turned into healing capsules, smoothies, tinctures or other remedies.
Hazel Mayger, who recently trained with Independent Placenta Encapsulation Network, has become Northern Ireland's first Placenta Encapsulation Specialist.
"People are often shocked to think of women eating their own placentas," said Ms Mayger, "but many cultures have been practicing this for centuries and other mammals have been benefitting from the healing power of placenta by eating it raw after birth since the dawn of time.
"Placenta Encapsulation has become a growing trend across the world for many years and has recently been made popular by celebrities such as January Jones, who had her placenta encapsulated after birth, and Arsenal football player Robin Van Persie who used placenta remedies to aid recovery from a torn ankle ligament in Serbia."
According to the network, during and after a normal delivery a new mother will lose between 1/8 to 1/10 of her body’s blood supply. With caesarean section births blood loss can be significantly more. Losing a large amount of iron so quickly can cause anaemia, leaving a new mum feeling tired, faint and exhausted. The placenta benefits a new mother by supplying incredibly reach meaty iron, amino acids and essential fats which specialists believe is the perfect replenishment following the ordeal of birth.
Stem cells and growth factors in the placenta play a key role in healing the wound left inside the uterus after birth by the separation of the placenta from the uterine wall. A mother will typically bleed for 3-6 weeks after birth - blood loss stemmed from this wound.
Ms Mayger said: "We have found however that mothers who consume their placenta after birth, particularly after consuming raw placenta in a smoothie, bleed significantly less.
"The most important nutrients found in rich supply in the placenta include stem cells and growth factors, iron, vitamins B6 (aids in the making of antibodies), Vitamin E (for healing damaged skin cells), Oxytocin hormone (essential for facilitating birth and breastfeeding), CRH (responsible for reducing stress levels), Cytokins (fibroblasts that trigger cell metabolism healing and replacing damaged cells and tissue. Women who have consumed their own placenta testify that it has given them energy, improved their mood, reduced the likeliness of post natal depression and improved their milk supply."
Ms Mayger lives in Banbridge and currently works across Northern Ireland as The Belfast Doula; a birth and postnatal doula, offering emotional and physical support and education to couples before, during and after the birth of their babies. As a trained nutritionist and birth preparation teacher it seemed only natural that she would branch into Placenta Encapsulation.
“As a Mum of four myself I have experienced every difficulty and joy associated with giving birth and I wish that I had known about the benefits of placenta consumption after my own births," she said.
"My aim is to give new Mums in Northern Ireland the opportunity to experience a more positive post-birth experience with the help of their placenta, as mothers across the UK and the rest of the world have been doing for years.”
She uses both the TCM and raw methods of encapsulation to make her capsules, steaming the placenta then dehydrating it and grinding it down into a powder form to be encapsulated. Parents also receive a "placenta print and an umbilical cord keepsake" as a lifetime’s reminder of the magic of life and birth.