New mothers focused on their health are taking a different approach to after-birth recovery.
They claim they're seeing great results with a trending tool that has an ancient history.
Allison Jacobs is comfortably-seated with her feat propped up. She's in this position a lot. Her doctor put her on modified bedrest.
"I found out I was pregnant, that's fine. Then I went in and had the ultrasound and they said 'Oh. It looks like there are two heartbeats.' And I go two what? 'Two heartbeats.'"
Twins don't run in her family. To prepare for her household of three to soon turn to five Allison is doing everything she can to prepare . . . I mean everything.
Channel 8's Kristin Dickerson: "Okay so I have to be honest. The first time i heard about women taking their own placenta-- eating their own placenta after the babies come-- I was just shocked. I don't know. It just sounded crazy."
Allison: "Yeah. Well I was too, I guess. The first time I heard about it."
A Growing Trend
Allison is one of a growing number of local women either taking or making placenta pills. They join reports of celebrities like Alicia Silverstone, January Jones and Kim Kardashian.
So why are they doing it? They say benefits include more energy, quicker healing after birth, increased milk production and reduced depression.
In Broken Arrow, April took placenta capsules for both her young children. April said, "If I felt really sad I'd take two, and then within like six hours or so I'd feel much better."
April's doula and roommate during pregnancy, Jenni Anthamatten, witnessed the pills' positive effects.
"When she was having a down day I would ask her I'd say 'Did you take your pills today? And she'd say 'Oh my gosh! I forgot! And she would take it and she would feel the benefits within that same day," Jenni said.
In midtown, infant Cosette's mom, Dara, said she believes the placenta likely helped.
"I did experience a little bit of depression but nothing like i had in the past," Dara said. "Usually it's kind of drawn out and intense and this time it was really short lived and completely manageable. And I don't know if it was the placenta pills, but I'm not going to discount them because I mean something worked," Dara said.
The placenta is seen as the lifeline between mother and child. Chinese medicine has used the practice for more than two thousand years. Channel 8 spoke with Dr. Lozano at Morton Comprehensive Health Services and he said there isn't enough research to prove the pills work or don't work. So women take the pills at their own risk.
How They're Made
There are several different ways to prepare placenta capsules, and about a dozen different local women who make them.
Jenni lightly steams the placenta for 20 minutes, slices it and puts it in a food dehydrator. Shela Tarwater dehydrates it from the raw state. They both blend the dried placenta,
put them into pills and package them in unique jars for delivery.
"I love showing up at the house and dropping off their birthday gift and they're usually always happy to see me," Tarwater said.
It's a natural approach to help women recover after giving birth, and only mothers know what they've been through.
"Your sister won't even tell you how hard it is to have a baby. No body tells you about hemorrhaging, no one tells you about crying because your baby won't stop crying, and not sleeping, and lack of remembering to eat a meal," Jacobs said.
"All you want is a healthy baby. You know, honestly that's the goal at the end of the day. So you know, everybody's going to do whatever they can to make sure that they get that," Jacobs added.
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