The Basics of Placenta Encapsulation with Kayla Levine

Did you know a pregnant woman not only grows a brand-new human during gestation, but also a brand-new organ?! The placenta is an amazing thing, used to provide oxygen and nutrients to the growing fetus and discard its waste. Pregnancy cannot work without it. After birth, it detaches from the uterine wall and passes through the birth canal within 30 minutes after the baby is born.

Placenta encapsulation is a new idea for many of us, but the practice is quite antique. When you bring it up with someone, you’ll either get a nod of approval or, well, bulging eyes of bewilderment. It is a strange concept in the context of our modern world, so I think it’s important for us to seek to understand it scientifically.

For this, I reached out to Kayla Levine of Nourishing Her, the most knowledgeable and professional placenta lady I know. Read below for her basics on placenta encapsulation.

Placenta encapsulation is the process of turning the placenta into pills or tincture after birth for the mother to take as a natural way to support her healing. Consuming the placenta has been noted in Chinese medicine textbooks dating back thousands of years and is still a traditional practice in many cultures around the world. 

When choosing to have your placenta encapsulated it is important to select a placenta specialist who is trained and preferably certified for bloodborne pathogens safety to ensure they know how to properly handle the placenta and avoid contamination. Different specialists also offer different types of placenta medicine. Most all make placenta pills, and many also offer placenta tinctures which can last you many years, placenta prints to have a keepsake painting of your placenta, placenta essence which is a very gentle energetic medicine, and even cesarean balm that is a healing salve that includes dried placenta to boost the cesarean incision healing. 

There are few studies at this time about placenta medicine, but the current research does show that placenta pills can provide about 25% of your daily iron, which is essential for postpartum recovery, especially if you had significant blood loss. Placenta also contains a mix of hormones that support balanced moods, help support breastmilk supply, and supplement your body until your ovaries begin making these hormones again at 4-6 weeks postpartum. 

Placenta encapsulation has also been proven safe for the infant, there are no side effects known for your baby while taking the pills. The pills have a significant amount of protein to help give you energy and placenta pills are known to reduce pain and speed healing because of the stem cells and a substance called Placenta Opioid Enhancing Factor which is found in the amniotic fluid. 

Every state is a little different with their rules and regulations around taking the placenta home from the hospital, so check with your local placenta specialist to find out before your birth. It is best to book with your specialist ahead of time, sign the forms, and make the payment so then you can just call them when you are in labor and they will come pick up the placenta. Usually 1-3 days later they will return the placenta medicine back to you and go over all the instructions for consuming the pills. 

Nearly all clients report improved energy levels, better breastmilk supply, more stable moods, and faster healing, especially when they compare to their previous birth and postpartum experience where they did not consume the pills! Consider adding placenta pills to your postpartum plan because you may feel great and not need them, or you may really wish you had them and regret not doing it. It’s better to have them and not need them, you can save them for when you do feel hormonally imbalanced or when your period returns. 

 

If you’d like to know more, you can contact Kayla Levine of Nourishing Her. Kayla is a Certified Placenta Specialist since 2017 and also a Postpartum Doula and Certified Vaginal Steam Facilitator. Kayla provides online postpartum coaching and postpartum planning sessions to anyone around the world and placenta services to families in Southern Arizona. You can learn more about Kayla at www.NourishingHer.com

How does Marabou support women?

We live in culture where “bouncing back” is more valued than proper rest. As admirable as it may be for a sports star to get back on the field, the same rules don’t apply to postpartum recovery. The traditional resting period has been stolen from women through pressure to get back to their job or simply through lack of presence.

Grandmas, sisters and best friends who otherwise would have been there to help a woman transition into motherhood often live too far away to be of any help. Household chores and caring for older children inevitably fall on the mom. But she just delivered a new life! She needs rest. 

Marabou Services is a unique gift registry which provides services instead of stuff. Most mom’s get too many onesies, too many baby blankets and not enough helping hands. Break out of a destructive cultural norm and start a Marabou registry today.

Start a Marabou Gift Registry!

With a Marabou registry you can sing up for any service which will benefit you or someone you know during the postpartum recovery period.

Postpartum doulas for a first time mom

House cleanings for moms of multiples

Childcare for moms with older children!

Once your registry is created, add it to any other registry or post it to your Facebook and ask friends and family contribute to your postpartum service, rather than buying you more stuff.

More and more moms find they have to figure out postpartum alone. Is it any wonder why PMDs are on the rise? Or women are embittered by the journey of motherhood? We can change that by giving the gift of peace.

Cheer Here #9: Just in the Nick of Time

It was a simple March day. I had driven my three kids 40 minutes to drop off a meal for a friend who had a newborn and was moving. We decided to capitalize on our trip by going to a local indoor kids’ park. This place was awesome. It was this whole play structure of tubes and slides and ropes and things on which to frolic. We could easily have spent hours there. My two sons, ages 5 and 3, disappeared smoothly into it, and I realized my daughter, almost 2 at the time, needed a diaper change. So, into the bathroom we went.

When I finished my daughter’s diaper change, her spirited little self was eager to go off and play. The only problem: I was 20 weeks pregnant (read: NOT able to navigate this park myself) and she was too little to go by herself with all the big kids around. Ugh. Certainly, this was going to put a premature end to an otherwise enjoyable afternoon. Before I could troubleshoot, or expend my energies on appeasing my youngest who would not understand the artificial restrictions I was putting on her, my 5-year-old came out of nowhere to save the day without so much as a request.

“Ruthie, let’s go!”

After confirming he would stay with her the whole time, off they went. I watched her brother carefully keep older kids from accidentally hurting her and leading her boldly around this exciting new realm, spending his freedom in the care and comfort of his sister. I sat down and let the feeling of relief wash over me.

There are times when it seems like things fall apart, chaos foments, and we completely lose our minds. But more often than I would expect, the above happens to me. In small ways, I get exactly what I need just in the nick of time. I don’t know what you believe, but it’s as if God Himself reaches down and removes the obstacles of motherhood, just for a moment, to let me catch up.

Most of the things that work out are out are luck. Stars align. Impossible timing works out. It’s not magic, and the grind is still there. But, God has a special place in his heart for us mamas who struggle so much. He sees us carrying on in the trenches and calms the field of battle, making us strong again in moments of crushing weakness.

Remember mama, and believe, you’ll get what you need when you need it. Things work out, even when it feels like the world is crashing down. God is good and he’ll be there for you at your strongest and at your weakest.

How does Marabou support women?

We live in culture where “bouncing back” is more valued than proper rest. As admirable as it may be for a sports star to get back on the field, the same rules don’t apply to postpartum recovery. The traditional resting period has been stolen from women through pressure to get back to their job or simply through lack of presence.

Grandmas, sisters and best friends who otherwise would have been there to help a woman transition into motherhood often live too far away to be of any help. Household chores and caring for older children inevitably fall on the mom. But she just delivered a new life! She needs rest. 

Marabou Services is a unique gift registry which provides services instead of stuff. Most mom’s get too many onesies, too many baby blankets and not enough helping hands. Break out of a destructive cultural norm and start a Marabou registry today.

Start a Marabou Gift Registry!

With a Marabou registry you can sing up for any service which will benefit you or someone you know during the postpartum recovery period.

Postpartum doulas for a first time mom

House cleanings for moms of multiples

Childcare for moms with older children!

Once your registry is created, add it to any other registry or post it to your Facebook and ask friends and family contribute to your postpartum service, rather than buying you more stuff.

More and more moms find they have to figure out postpartum alone. Is it any wonder why PMDs are on the rise? Or women are embittered by the journey of motherhood? We can change that by giving the gift of peace.

A Bookworm’s Preparations for Postpartum

Every time I’m approaching birth, I feel compelled to have a stack of books ready. My husband and I own a library of over 600 books (seriously). Neither of us own a Kindle or e-reader because we LOVE physical books. To us, there’s no replacement. Whenever we travel, we visit the local used bookstores and go treasure hunting. Curt has a wish list printed in 6-point font on a single sheet of paper that he carries in his wallet so he’s ready every time.

We’ve read a good portion, but not much over half. So, when I’m pregnant, I love going through our books and pulling ones I might like to read after the baby is born. When I’m in bed or in our rocker nursing, it’s the perfect time to catch up on the extensive reading list that’s only growing. Postpartum can be such a mellow time, if you play your cards right, and I’d hate to be on my phone the whole time. Also, reading books is peaceful instead of stimulating, so if I need sleep, it comes easily while reading a good book.

Don’t be mistaken: my postpartum book stack is not a goal. I don’t ever get through the books that I choose. It just becomes a mini-library I can pull from based on mood or ambition. I keep this stack right in my postpartum suite and pull a book from it once I’ve finished the previous one.

I always keep The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding and Hypnobirthing: The Mongan Method handy for birth and postpartum. They’ve become my references when I have questions or just to affirm answers I already know.

Besides that, this is what I chose for my upcoming postpartum phase:

  • Knit Two by Kate Jacobs: This is the sequel to The Friday Night Knitting Club, the story of a group of women who come together around an NYC yarn store. I found the first book charming and easy to read. This is my simple and not-too-heavy choice.
  • Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People by Vanessa Van Edwards: I’ve watched a few of her talks, and they’re intriguing. This is my nonfiction choice if I’m feeling in an emotional and insightful mood.
  • Precious Vessels of the Holy Spirit: The Lives and Counsels of Contemporary Elders of Greece by Middleton and Mantzaridis: Our family is part of the Eastern Orthodox Church and any Christian can appreciate the teachings of the saints and elders of these modern saints.
  • Faithful Place by Tana French: I hope to discover more contemporary authors and I’ve never read a novel by Tana French! I’ll read this one if I want to discover someone new.
  • True Colors by Kristin Hannah: Another contemporary author. I’ve read one of her books – The Nightingale, about two French sisters during the 2nd world war – and thought it was incredible. It made me cry! I’d like to see if her other work is as moving.
  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith: A classic I’ve never read!
  • My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Frederik Backman: Yet another contemporary. I read his A Man Called Ove and ate it up. I like his themes and would love to see if he could be my favorite contemporary author! He’s in the running.
  • The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver: I have intended to read this book forever, and maybe I’ll finally get to it this time. Something in me feels ready to get into her work.
  • The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway: I’ve read this classic before, but it’s been since high school. This one is short and easy to hold (important when you’re one-handed with a nursling!). I know I would enjoy reading it again.
  • The Catcher and the Rye by J.D. Salinger: Another classic I’ve never read. Shame!
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley: Another classic I must get to, though this heart-breaking tale might be too much in combination with postpartum hormones?
  • Dracula by Bram Stoker: Simple out of my desire to read more classics!
  • The Once and Future King by T.H. White: The author of The Sword in the Stone. I’ve always been intrigued by this King Arthur saga!

I love books and am always ready to buy more. What do you recommend I have at hand? Have you read any from this list? What do you think I should start with first?

How does Marabou support women?

We live in culture where “bouncing back” is more valued than proper rest. As admirable as it may be for a sports star to get back on the field, the same rules don’t apply to postpartum recovery. The traditional resting period has been stolen from women through pressure to get back to their job or simply through lack of presence.

Grandmas, sisters and best friends who otherwise would have been there to help a woman transition into motherhood often live too far away to be of any help. Household chores and caring for older children inevitably fall on the mom. But she just delivered a new life! She needs rest. 

Marabou Services is a unique gift registry which provides services instead of stuff. Most mom’s get too many onesies, too many baby blankets and not enough helping hands. Break out of a destructive cultural norm and start a Marabou registry today.

Start a Marabou Gift Registry!

With a Marabou registry you can sing up for any service which will benefit you or someone you know during the postpartum recovery period.

Postpartum doulas for a first time mom

House cleanings for moms of multiples

Childcare for moms with older children!

Once your registry is created, add it to any other registry or post it to your Facebook and ask friends and family contribute to your postpartum service, rather than buying you more stuff.

More and more moms find they have to figure out postpartum alone. Is it any wonder why PMDs are on the rise? Or women are embittered by the journey of motherhood? We can change that by giving the gift of peace.

My Postpartum Plan!

When preparing a postpartum plan, it’s important to think about all aspects of your life: your home, your children, meal + snack preparation, and even things like your mind, your emotions, and your connections to others. All deserve more than a passing glance, and it can be overwhelming to think about!

The difficult thing about postpartum planning is that you won’t know what your needs are. It’s like going in battle: you really won’t know what will happen. What your challenges will be? What you’ll struggle with the most? If others are going to offer help, or if you’ll have to ask for help.

Who knows!

This is why I tell myself – and moms who ask my advice – to plan for everything. Cover the bases. Think through all the things. I’ve never heard a mother express in hindsight that she had too much support or she mentally prepared too much. If anything, it turns out being too little.

So: where should you begin? Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a handy tool here. Start with freeing up your hands. The first thing a mother needs postpartum is rest, which means doing nothing. Ideally, you shouldn’t even be thinking about how the dishes get done, how the kids are cared for, or how dinner will be made. A postpartum plan asks the questions who will take care of my responsibilities so I can do nothing but rest, recover, and take care of my baby.

The reality is, you’ll be involved, to some extent. But this is where a postpartum plan begins, because when I know these things are taken care of, my mental and emotional health are better off, too.

Read on for my postpartum plan for the time after our 4th birth. Let’s be honest: it’ll change up until I go into labor, but I think I’ve covered my four main areas: the house, the meals, the kids, and my mental/emotional health.

#1: The House

This is usually THE hardest part of my postpartum plan – the dishes, the laundry, the bathrooms! All the things I should not concern myself with postpartum but must get done daily.

I’m lucky this time around because we live with my husband’s parents and there are many hands in our house. I highly recommend multi-generational living, even if only temporarily. When we had my daughter two years ago, my mother-in-law – who worked from home at the time – flew to us in Washington state and lived in for 5 weeks! It made a MASSIVE difference in our postpartum experience to have that live-in help. (Thank you, Barb! ❤)

In fact, many traditional postpartum customs involve this kind of structure. In Japan and India, a new mother will spend her postpartum phase living with her parents as a norm. In places like China and Latin America, the grandmother and aunties come to live in the mother’s home for focused care.

Basically: we need people around.

If multi-generational living is not an option, don’t forget there are other ways to get the help you need for those first forty days. You should consider hiring a postpartum doula for light household help or a cleaning service for more thorough house support. Can’t afford it? Me neither. That’s when a service-based gift registry comes in handy. Consider starting a Marabou registry and let your friends and family gift you these needs in lieu of unneeded baby stuff.

#2: The Meals

In our house, I cook 4 times a week and my mother-in-law cooks twice (leftover night is Wednesday).

To compensate for my 4 times a week, we plan to stock freezer meals, including meals from a nesting party. A few weeks before I’m due, my inner circle – mother, mother-in-law, sister-in-law and closest girlfriends – are coming over for pie and tea. I’ve asked them each to bring a freezer meal to help with my postpartum food needs. See here for our post on freezer meals.

During the week, my husband can thaw these freezer meals overnight and quickly reheat them to have dinner ready for our family. Easy!

#3: The Kids

This time around, I predict this will be the most difficult part of my postpartum plan. I have 3 (count’um, three!) kids, ages 5-and-a-half, 3-and-a-half, and 2. I’m also due early August when they’re off school. This eases the complexity of drop-off, but means they’re home all day!

All the other adults in our home work full time during the day, and although my husband and father-in-law both work from home (and can be around during lunchtimes and intermittent breaks), they obviously need that concentrated work time. Also, my husband is on contract and has no paid paternity leave. He will likely just take a week off after the baby is born.

I’ve basically had to piece this part together for the Monday-Friday 8-5. Here are my basic thoughts:

  • Since my husband works from home, he doesn’t need to start work until 8 am. He can get the kids through breakfast and ready for the day.
  • My father-in-law has a somewhat flexible schedule, so we’ve asked him to watch the kids for an hour or two right away in the morning. Our kids are usually happy playing in the playroom at this time of the day, so it will mostly involve making sure everyone is still breathing. This way, if I lose sleep overnight, I can at least sleep late and be as ready as I can be for the day.
  • My retired parents live an hour away from us, but we have enough space to host them overnight. We may ask them to stay with us Wednesday mornings through Thursday evenings for the first couple weeks.
  • My nesting party is at the end of July that will also involve putting together activity packs for the kids while I’m postpartum. So, when I must be up and out of bed with them, I’ll have easy and entertaining activities for them to do (aka, things that they don’t usually play with and don’t involve much adult energy). I hope to minimize TV time this way, though I’m not above that!
  • I also have postpartum doula support after my husband goes back to work (see next section), so I will have extra hands in the house to help out!

Still, this is the hardest part of our postpartum plan, even with all the support available to us!

#4: Mental + Emotional Health

Knowing myself, having these other 3 elements (house, meals, and kids) covered is a necessary safeguard for my mental health.

But, plan for the worst, hope for the best! I’ve also chosen to do our Twin Cities Chiro/Doula Marabou package (TC Chiro). If it can go wrong, it might and having experienced professional help is essential.

Although I’ll need very practical support from our doula – she is an expert in postpartum mental health. Having a doula care for your mental state is critical in our culture today. Too many women are left to process their birth experiences alone; left in their rooms to recover in isolation. Women need women! Too many women suffer from Perinatal Mood Disorders and there is really no way to know if you will be affected. Doulas are trained to identify red flags and guiding you to professional help if that is needed; but with a doula there, your chances are significantly reduced.

Other aspects to consider:

Visitors:

Visitation is not a guarantee; it is a privilege. If you are going to allow visitors, don’t hesitate to ask for help while they are there. If you would be required to entertain them, then they don’t have to see you or the baby while you’re recovering.

My plan for the first few weeks is to only invite our inner circle – those who know us well, and are willing to lend a hand instead of needing to be hosted.

Other visitors will be allowed depending on how I feel and after a call or text, and only after the 2-week mark.

Breastfeeding Support:

I nursed all my other babies, but this is a whole new baby! I hope breastfeeding goes well again, but if not, here are my resources:

  • My postpartum doula is a Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC) and can lead me through a few things during her visits. I can also give her a call if I feel something is pressing.
  • My birth center offers “Willow Café” twice a month, on the 2nd and 4th This is a postpartum support group led by an International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) so I know I can ask questions there if we’re struggling.
  • Blooma offers a free open house lactation lounge every Wednesday. I can also drop in there!

Even though I’m approaching my 4th postpartum period, I’ve never planned so well before! This exercise was an eye-opening experience.

We’ve planned diligently and the rest is up to God. Support is worth planning for, but it may also come in ways you don’t foresee. Be open to help when it is offered and keep your chin up through the long nights and rough days. Labor is short compared to the marathon that is postpartum; so, keep the long game in view, mamas!

How does Marabou support women?

We live in culture where “bouncing back” is more valued than proper rest. As admirable as it may be for a sports star to get back on the field, the same rules don’t apply to postpartum recovery. The traditional resting period has been stolen from women through pressure to get back to their job or simply through lack of presence.

Grandmas, sisters and best friends who otherwise would have been there to help a woman transition into motherhood often live too far away to be of any help. Household chores and caring for older children inevitably fall on the mom. But she just delivered a new life! She needs rest. 

Marabou Services is a unique gift registry which provides services instead of stuff. Most mom’s get too many onesies, too many baby blankets and not enough helping hands. Break out of a destructive cultural norm and start a Marabou registry today.

Start a Marabou Gift Registry!

With a Marabou registry you can sing up for any service which will benefit you or someone you know during the postpartum recovery period.

Postpartum doulas for a first time mom

House cleanings for moms of multiples

Childcare for moms with older children!

Once your registry is created, add it to any other registry or post it to your Facebook and ask friends and family contribute to your postpartum service, rather than buying you more stuff.

More and more moms find they have to figure out postpartum alone. Is it any wonder why PMDs are on the rise? Or women are embittered by the journey of motherhood? We can change that by giving the gift of peace.

Tips for Prenatal Activity

Ah, pregnancy in all its glory. Growing at an exponential rate. Joint pain. Back pain (have you seen what happens to a pregnant woman’s spine?!). Fluid retention. Swelling. Lightning crotch (heard of that one?). Round ligament pain.

This is no walk in the park here, people.

I’m currently 33 weeks pregnant and hobbling around like an Oompa Loompa. I’ve been learning my lesson – pregnancy in your 30’s is NOT pregnancy in your 20’s.

This is why prenatal activity (after approval from your provider, of course) is not only permissible, it’s advised. Perhaps necessary! I had my babies when I was 25, 27, 29, and now I’m 31 (like my pattern?). I’m regretting that I haven’t stay more consistently active this pregnancy. Maybe I have good excuses – and it’s not like I’m a couch potato – but my lack of concentrated effort to boost my body has resulted in Oompa Loompa status.

It’s not pretty.

Why is prenatal exercise so crucial?

Well – lots of reasons! Your body is changing immensely. In order to avoid or minimize joint and back pain, it’s best to stay loose and strengthen the muscles that support your joints and bones. In past pregnancies, I minimized hip pain with squats and leg lifts. Trust me, building that strength makes a huge difference!

The other reason activity is so important: CHILDBIRTH! You’re essentially training for a marathon. IF you can build up your strength, you’ll have better endurance in labor and your body will be better able to do what it needs to do. This could also mean a better postpartum recovery. And who doesn’t want that?

A few tips:

  • I usually wait until my 2nd trimester (or my 3rd apparently! Pfft) when the pregnancy is established and I’ve had my first prenatal appointment.
  • Listen to your body! I don’t know about you, but I feel especially in-tune when I’m pregnant. I’m always getting feedback: This is great! or That does not feel good. Stop or slow down accordingly.
  • Allow your routine to feel good! I believe prenatal activity is as much about loosening, stretching, and nurturing your structure as it is about strengthening it.
  • Find things that are specifically prenatal. Prenatal yoga, prenatal circuits – things designed by professionals for the pregnant body. With these resources, you’ll be able to focus on the right areas to prepare you for labor and avoid the things you shouldn’t be doing. I love Laura Dutta’s prenatal yoga (see here), Erin O’Brien’s Prenatal Fitness Fix (see here), or anything from Sarah Beth Yoga (see here).
Get it, mama! 💪

How does Marabou support women?

We live in culture where “bouncing back” is more valued than proper rest. As admirable as it may be for a sports star to get back on the field, the same rules don’t apply to postpartum recovery. The traditional resting period has been stolen from women through pressure to get back to their job or simply through lack of presence.

Grandmas, sisters and best friends who otherwise would have been there to help a woman transition into motherhood often live too far away to be of any help. Household chores and caring for older children inevitably fall on the mom. But she just delivered a new life! She needs rest. 

Marabou Services is a unique gift registry which provides services instead of stuff. Most mom’s get too many onesies, too many baby blankets and not enough helping hands. Break out of a destructive cultural norm and start a Marabou registry today.

Start a Marabou Gift Registry!

With a Marabou registry you can sing up for any service which will benefit you or someone you know during the postpartum recovery period.

Postpartum doulas for a first time mom

House cleanings for moms of multiples

Childcare for moms with older children!

Once your registry is created, add it to any other registry or post it to your Facebook and ask friends and family contribute to your postpartum service, rather than buying you more stuff.

More and more moms find they have to figure out postpartum alone. Is it any wonder why PMDs are on the rise? Or women are embittered by the journey of motherhood? We can change that by giving the gift of peace.