After a typical vaginal delivery and the ensuing lochia, a new mother/birthing person will lose between 1/8 to 1/10 of their body’s blood supply. This can be significantly higher in caesarean section and instrumental births.
The hormonal and nutritive composition of the placenta can help boost postnatal healing by ensuring that your cells have an increased amount of iron to transport oxygen to your cells and aid healing and that the hormonal crash that can occur at around day 3-5+ (the baby blues) is alleviated slightly with the known hormonal content of the placenta.*
Stem cells and growth factors in raw placenta can play a key role in healing the wound left by the separation of the placenta from the uterine wall. Feedback shows that people who consume their placenta after birth, particularly after consuming raw placenta in a smoothie, bleed significantly less e.g. usually much lighter bleeding for between just 5 – 10 days compared to the 3-6 weeks that is generally considered the norm.
Information in this paragraph taken from the Placenta Remedies Network site.
Our bodies are naturally amazing at healing and your placenta can help you along your healing journey in a multitude of ways. To help you heal and recover, your placenta contains:
✔️ Stem cells and growth factors (in raw placenta) which actually target areas in need of healing.
✔️ Vitamin E which heals damaged cells.
✔️ Cytokines- fibroblasts that trigger cell metabolism to replace damaged cells.
✔️ Urokinase inhibiting factor- stops bleeding and enhances wound healing.
✔️ Gammaglobulin- an immune system booster that helps to protect against postpartum infections.
✔️ Prostaglandins- hormones with anti-inflammatory properties.
✔️ Interferon which stimulates the immune system to protect against infection.
It also contains certain hormones which, although they may not contribute directly to healing, may help you 'feel' better- for instance prolactin, oxytocin and corticosterone*- hormones responsible for bonding, facilitating breast/chestfeeding and reducing anxiety and stress levels. *See study referenced below.
From around Day 3 post-birth we can expect to experience 'the baby blues'- feelings of anxiety and sadness. In 10% of women/birthing people (although the unreported figure is believed to be much higher) these symptoms can occasionally develop into post-natal depression and/or post-natal anxiety). This is NOT a reflection of you, this is not something you've done, it's a chemical/hormonal imbalance in the brain which needs support as would any other physical condition.
The symptoms of PND are linked with the sudden lack of essential nutrients such as vitamin B6 and the hormone CRH (hormone responsible for regulating stress hormones) after birth, both of which can be found in the placenta. Progesterone and allopregnanolone are also sometimes used medically to treat the condition and we also find these in placenta in amounts which 'could conceivably yield physiological effects'* according to the study by Young, Gryder, Zava, Kimball & Benyshek- (2016) 'Presence and concentration of 17 hormones in human placenta processed for encapsulation and consumption.' Consuming the placenta can nourish you with lost essential nutrients and hormones and may help to avoid the baby blues and PND.
Your placenta contains a wonderful combination of hormones, vitamins and minerals (including iron). Iron is an important component of haemoglobin, the substance in red blood cells that carries oxygen from your lungs to transport it throughout your body. We are often low in iron after birth which can contribute towards feeling tired and sluggish.
The minerals and nutrients in the placenta were made by your own body and so are more bioavailable to you, meaning you are able to absorb more than you can from other sources.
So many clients report having fantastic energy levels while taking their pills. No mean feat when looking after tiny people!
I think it's firstly very important to firstly say- I do not want to in any way insinuate that you NEED placenta pills or remedies in order to have a good milk supply- what you NEED are you, your boobs and good support around you. I think we get told so often about things we need to buy for our babies and I don't wish to contribute to that.
What I do know however is that a great milk supply is just one of the reported benefits of taking placenta remedies. A study (Soykova-Pachnerova) confirmed the use of dried placenta increasing milk supply in 86% of the participants. For transparency- this is a very old study.
Placenta contains oxytocin - the 'love' hormone essential for facilitating bonding and breast/chestfeeding and prolactin - the hormone that promotes lactation.
Happy feeding! (However you do it)