Placenta Pills and Birth Doulas: What's It All About?!

April 26, 2015

Ozzie Ozkay-VillaMarin Mommies presents a guest article by Ozzie Ozkay-Villa, founder and president of the Alternative Mothers Group, Marin Placenta Services and a birth post-partum doula and placenta processor.

What exactly is a doula anyway?

Well, doulas are trained and experienced in childbirth and breastfeeding. They know the physiology of birth and the emotional and physical needs of a woman in labor. She works on the basis of keeping birth normal and positive. They provide balanced information so clients can make their own decisions. Doulas do not replace the partner's role in birth but rather add an extra layer of support and guide the partner when they are feeling overwhelmed. She does not leave the laboring woman. Additionally, postpartum (or PP) doulas fill a large gap in our culture, and are able to facilitate a smooth transition to parenthood. PP doulas focus on the needs of the new mother as well as the newborn. She is there to nurture the mother by offering practical assistance as well as emotional support, enabling her to recover faster and feel more confident in meeting the challenges a new baby brings.

Why would one hire a doula?

I ask, why wouldn't one hire a doula? How much experience do most new parents have with birth? We live in a society where people spend more money on wedding dresses then on preparation for the birth of a child. There is a great quote by John H. Kennell, MD: "If a doula were a drug, it would be unethical not to use it."

Studies consistently demonstrate very impressive benefits when a doula is present:

  • 50% less caesarean sections
  • Reduction in the use of forceps by 40%
  • 60% less requests for epidural
  • 40% reduction in the need for induction
  • 25% reduction in labor length
  • Increased rates of breastfeeding
  • Higher self-esteem and less depression

Placenta pills... What's that all about?

This is definitely something that is catching on lately, even with celebrities. I've often been told they are like “magic pills”.

The placenta is an incredible organ. It nourishes the baby while he is in the womb. All other mammals in the wild eat their placenta after birth... OK, so no one is asking you to pick up your placenta after you've given birth and take a bite out of it.

Yes, the animals in the wild eat it partly to clean up evidence of a birth but they also eat it for many other reasons:

  • It contains lots of nutrients and hormones
  • It can help to balance your hormones and eliminate postpartum depression
  • It can increase energy
  • It can reduce your postpartum healing time
  • It can increase your milk supply and make richer milk 
  • It can reduce symptoms at menopause

Specifically, “the placenta contains high levels of prostaglandin which stimulates involution (...return to a former size) of the uterus, in effect cleaning the uterus out. The placenta also contains small amounts of oxytocin which eases birth stress and causes the smooth muscles around the mammary cells to contract and eject.” milk. (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Placentophagy)

I'll spare you the gory details, but I dehydrate the placenta, then grind it into powder, and then use a machine to fill the capsules. The process takes no more than 48 hours and a tincture (steeping in 100 proof vodka) takes 6 weeks.

Soo basically... I turn the placenta into pill form. Couldn't get easier to “stomach” than that!

Ozzie Ozkay-Villa is founder and president of Alternative Mothers Group and Marin Placenta Services and works as a birth and postpartum doula serving Marin County. For more information, or if you are interested in placenta encapsulation please visit her website at www.doulamarin.com or talk to your doula or birth professional.