Ancient remedy lauded
Placenta pills are the secret to bouncing back after giving birth, a busy mother says.
Browns Bay woman Vickie Boyle insists the medicine is not as mumbo jumbo as it sounds and says she would recommend it to any expecting mother.
After giving birth to her third son Isaac midway through last year Mrs Boyle says she expected to be knocked for six.
"With my other two I was holed up in bed.
"Having two toddlers and a newborn baby I should have been shattered beyond belief."
During her pregnancy she came across a local placenta encapsulation service.
"Fate sort of stepped in. I was doing a bit of research on Google and it turned out my new midwife Wendy was the specialist."
North Shore midwives Wendy Lee and Debbie Francis operate Placentatree, a service offering to transform new mothers' placentas into tablets or tinctures to boost their health after giving birth.
The pair are now setting up a new unit to cater for growing demand.
Pills and tinctures can be made in the client's own home or at the Placentatree clinic for between $180 and $240.
The process includes cleaning and steaming the placenta, before drying it in a dehydrator and then grinding it into a fine powder.
An average sized placenta will render around 150 capsules.
Ms Lee says the benefits can include boosting energy levels and breast milk production, replacing iron, preventing post-natal depression and stabilising hormone levels.
Mrs Boyle says her placenta was collected immediately after her birth and the pills returned to her in hospital a few days later.
"I started taking them straight away. My energy levels are what blew me away. I had no dips or anything compared to after having my other two. I was up on my feet as if nothing had happened."
The pills have no smell or taste and are just like taking vitamins, she says.
"It's not gross at all. It is only because we've all been programmed to think it is. I think it's genius, it makes so much sense."
It is Maori custom to bury the placenta on family property to reinforce the connection between the newborn child and the land.
Celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall caused controversy in 1998 when he made a woman's placenta into a pate with shallots and garlic on his show TV Dinners.
Viewer complaints were upheld by the United Kingdom Broadcasting Standards Commission. Sheep placenta facials are reportedly popular among the wealthy and celebrities including The X-Factor USA judge Simon Cowell and Victoria Beckham.
Human and animal placentas have been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years and are eaten dried or in soups.
In 2007 UK newspaper The Telegraph reported that Poole Hospital in Dorset had made £5000 selling new mothers' placentas for use in the development of anti-wrinkle creams and luxury shampoos.
The report has prompted much concern over the disposal methods of placentas by some overseas hospitals.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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