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Eating placenta becomes business; midwife makes pills with afterbirth

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Saginaw, MI — Laurel Miller creates what some call a life-changing remedy for new moms.

For years, she’s helped dozens of women give birth, “I’ve always had a passion for birth work ever since I was a little kid.”

Through her passion, she learned about a natural remedy some new moms use, “I was pretty enamored with it over the benefits that were claimed,” she said. “Everything from boost in energy, boost in milk supply, reduction in postpartum depression.”

That magical remedy is something many people today would call gross: placenta, the organ connected to the fetus for food supply and waste, WNEM.

But hearing the benefits, Miller says she wanted to give her clients the option of eating their placenta, too. So she learned how to put the organ into pill form.

In 2013, that knowledge would become more important than she could have ever imagined during the birth of her son.

“I had a beautiful birth at home as planned,” Miller said.

But this joy of being a new mom was quickly interrupted, “About four hours after my son was born, I was hit with this wave of anxiety that I cannot even describe,” she said. “It just felt like running your car full force into a brick wall.”

Miller, who has a history of anxiety and depression, was afraid she’d have to go to the hospital and back on the heavy medication she had worked so hard to get off.

Her midwife suggested eating her placenta, something Miller wasn’t planning on.

Little did she know, this decision would give her work encapsulating other women’s placentas even more meaning.

“Within 10 minutes of consuming my smoothie, my color was completely back to normal, I no longer felt light-headed, I felt like I was back in my body again.”

Miller stuck to placenta smoothies for a few weeks before she encapsulated her own and consumed it that way for several months.

Miller says that allowed her to be the mom she wanted to be. It helped regulate her mood, anxiety, energy and boost milk production.

“From there, it was like OK all placentas, all the time,” she laughed. “Go a little placenta crazy and be the placenta lady and spread the word about this because people need to know how beneficial this is.”

Miller isn’t alone, though. A 2013 study from the University of Nevada Las Vegas reported almost 80 percent of the 189 women surveyed reported very positive experiences. The three most reported positive side effects were improved mood, energy and lactation while the three most common negative side effects included unpleasant burping, unappealing smell or taste and headaches.

Last month, Miller made placenta encapsulating a full time business in hopes of helping new moms all over our state.

“All I’m trying to do is spread the knowledge and information and then provide the service of taking the “ick factor” out so women know that they can have this tool in their tool box for their healing.”

Though Miller realizes our own cultural perceptions may turn some away, she says eating her placenta changed her life.

In fact, without it, she says she wouldn’t be the mom she is today, “There’s no monetary value that I can really place on that.”

Miller says while using placenta was all she needed to regulate her anxiety and depression, some moms might need to visit their physician for prescription medication.

It’s also important to note, not all hospitals let new moms take home their placenta.

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