Within hours of taking placenta capsules many mothers report an increase in milk supply. A Randomised controlled trial in 1954 (Soykova-Pachnerova) found of new mothers taking Placenta Capsules, 181 women (86.2%) reacted positively to the treatment, of these 117 (55.7%) with good results and 64 (30.5%) with very good results and only 29 (13.8%) gave negative results. As all people metabolise natures chemical and hormones differently not everyone is going to have the best outcomes, but according to this study 86.2% is an encouraging number to go by. This is an out dated study and is highlighted here as there are no recent studies, but it is an indication of the potential benefits in regards to lactation.
Anecdotal evidence has repeatedly and overwhelmingly demonstrated that consumption of dried placenta raises overall energy levels in new mothers. Hopefully, one day in the not so distant future we will have clinical trials to confirm these findings. The lack of evidence from clinical trials does not mean these benefits do not exist, it just means clinical trial have not been conducted to confirm the anecdotal evidence. It has been thought, the combination of hormones, vitamins and minerals (especially iron) as well as amino acids speed up the healing process following birth and balance excessive peaks and drops in hormones levels allowing the new mother to function optimally in the weeks following birth.
AVOID THE 'BABY BLUES' AND POST-NATAL DEPRESSION
The 'baby blues' and post-natal depression (PND) are well recognised consequences of giving birth and mothers are told to expect to feel sad, anxious, nervous, in doubt and very emotional around the third day after the birth, coinciding when the milk comes in. These symptoms can sometimes develop into PND. The symptoms of PND are linked with the severe and sudden lack of essential nutrients such as vitamin B6 and hormone Corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH), (this hormone is responsible for regulating stress hormones), both of which are of high supply in the placenta (Weekely, 2007). CRH is normally secreted by the hypothalamus, during pregnancy the production of CRH dramatically increases, which peaks at delivery (Thomson, 2008). After birth these levels tend to fall, by consuming the placenta CRH levels are able to revert back to normal levels much faster, potentially preventing the 'baby blues' and post-natal depression.
RECOVER FROM BLOOD LOSS
Lack of iron can affect lactation, fertility and ability to function effectively as a new mother. The placenta is a rich source of bioavailable iron and protein as well as other nutrients. During and after a normal vaginal delivery a new mother will lose between 1/8 to 1/10 of her body's blood supply. A caesarean section including episiotomy births, can result in even higher levels of blood loss. Losing a large amount of iron so quickly can cause anaemia, leaving a new mum feeling tired, light headed and short of breath. Blood needs iron to carry oxygen to all the cells of the body, if iron levels are low, oxygen levels can also be low, resulting in some organs in the body, especially the heart, to work harder. By consuming the placenta iron levels are able to be restored to normal levels much faster.
During the birthing process the uterus receives some trauma as a result of the separation process of the placenta and the uterine wall. Stem cells and growth factors in the placenta assit in the healing of the uterus post birth. A postpartum mother will typically bleed for between 3 — 6 weeks, mothers who consume their placenta, may significantly shorten that time to as little as 5 — 10 days.
From a chemical analysis perspective, this is the breakdown of the placenta?
Corticotropin Releasing Hormone (CRH): Low levels of CRH are implicated in postpartum depression. Regulation of CRH helps prevent depression.
Cortisone: reduces stress and unlocks stores of energy Reduces inflammation and swelling; promotes healing.
Cytokins – Fibroblasts that trigger cell metabolism healing and replacing damaged cells/tissue.
Estrogen, Progesterone, Testosterone: Contributes to mammary gland development in preparation for lactation; stabilizes postpartum mood; regulates post-birth uterine cramping; decreases depression; normalizes and stimulates libido.
Gamma globulin: immune booster that helps protect against postpartum infections Urokinase Inhibiting Factor & Factor XIII – stops bleeding and encourages healing Thyroid Stimulating Hormone: boosts energy and helps recover from stressful events
Gonadotrophin: the precursor to estrogen, progesterone and testosterone Interferon: stimulates the immune system to protect against infection
Hemoglobin: replenishes iron deficiency and anemia. Oxygen-carrying molecule which provides a boost in energy. Urokinase Inhibiting Factor and Factor XIII: stops bleeding and enhances wound healing.
Human Placental Lactogen (hPL): This hormone has lactogenic and growth-promoting properties; promotes mammary gland growth in preparation for lactation in the mother. It also regulates maternal glucose, protein, and fat levels.
Interferon: Triggers the protective defenses of the immune system to fight infection.
Immunoglobulin G (IgG): Antibody molecules which support the immune system.
Iron: essential for oxygen absorbtion in the cells. Replenishes maternal iron stores to combat anemia, a common postpartum condition. Increases energy; decreases fatigue and depression.
Oxytocin: known as the “love hormone”. Faciliatates bonding between the mother and baby. Helps shrink the uterus back to its normal size. Decreases pain and increases bonding in mother and infant; counteracts the production of stress hormones such as Cortisol; greatly reduces postpartum bleeding; enhances the breastfeeding let-down reflex.
Placental Opioid-Enhancing Factor (POEF): Stimulates the production of your body’s natural opioids, including endorphins; reduces pain; increases well-being.
Prolactin: Promotes lactation; increases milk supply; enhances the mothering instinct.
Prostaglandins: anti-inflammatory. Regulates contractions in the uterus after birth; helps uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size. Anti-inflammatory effects.
Thyroid Stimulating Hormone: Regulates the thyroid gland; boosts energy and supports recovery from stressful events.
Urokinase Inhibiting Factor & Factor XIII – stops bleeding and encourages healing.