Consuming placenta has been a part of history for a very long time and is a part of traditional Chinese medicine that women have been taking for thousands of years to aid in the speedy recovery from giving birth.
Placenta contains many vitamins and minerals such as B6 and is high in iron and protein. It also contains Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone which is proven to be a stress reducer which postpartem women have a less than average amount of. Placenta is also believed to help with lactation.
I found this website to be very useful: http://placentabenefits.info/index.asp. After talkign with my doula who has been processing placenta for nearly 30 years and also talking with my midwife, I decided this was something I was interested in.
When I delivered the placenta the nurses put it in the freezer for us. I was expected them to say something but they didn't even bat an eye. I've heard horror stories of hospitals refusing to release the placenta to the mother, etc. But this wasn't our case at all I think because it's becoming more and more popular for mothers to take the placenta home.
Lorie, our doula, came over 4 or 5 days after Sophie's birth to process the placenta for us. At first I was looking into doing it ourselves as it is pretty simple but caring for a newborn, a toddler, a teenager plus recovering from childbirth I knew it'd be best to hire someone to do this for us!
I meant to take pictures of the encapsulation but I decided to take a much needed nap instead. Basically what Lorie did was remove the cord and membranes (we have that in the freezer still to plant under a special tree for Sophie this spring or summer) and then she steamed it. This part I remember quite well as it has a very strong smell much like liver. After steaming it, she sliced it thin and dehydrated it for 7 or so hours. The next morning Lorie came over to grind it up and put it into capsules for me. Simple as that!
I take two each morning and I can honestly say I feel a difference. I'm no longer weepy, less stressed and I generally just feel better.