Written by Helen Zee 1st July 2013
Every now and then a woman crosses our path that accesses ancient knowledge and wisdom and she walks the earth to deliver it to us in a modern way.
Meet Anna Urbanski founder of Opening to Life offering women birthing services right through to placenta encapsulation. It’s a statement worth repeating – placenta encapsulation. Anna offers placenta services to women. In a nutshell (or pill casing, pardon the pun) she offers new mothers nourishment and energy in a bottle via their placenta as opposed to starting out motherhood depleted because of the energy expended during labour.
When I met Anna it was like greeting an old friend. Our values and support systems for women and the majestic power all women hold at creating and sustaining new life were kindred. Having a fascination at old age rituals and finding Anna who delivers the goodness of consuming your placenta in a palatable way
Now you may be gagging at the thought – in which case you may not be ready for the super powers of what’s on offer, but intrigued enough to read further and share this information with others. I know this will be an article that will stick in your mind …because the power of what I’m about to share is potent.
Or you may be reading this prelude and be jumping for joy as you have heard, read and know how nourishing it is to replace lost energy through labour and replenish your mother Shakti energy so you can be one with the new life you have created. And it doesn’t mean investing in a new cookbook to cut up, ingest and eat your after birth… Anna manages to deliver the potency in a new age delivery – popping pills
But these aren’t ordinary pills. These have the power and magic of your body, your ability to sustain and nurture life. It is the elixir of life is it not? We are scanning and searching for pills and potions every day to make us feel more vibrant, alive, and full of energy. Many of us blindly pop pills filled with artificial products just to achieve a feeling or state of being, and ride the placebo effect for a while. In an interview with Anna I discovered what is involved.
The placenta CONNECTS…SHARES…SUPPORTS…. So why are we the only mammals that do not ingest it and discard it like it’s a waste product?
1) How did you discover your passion of bringing placenta digestion into our modern western world?
I have long been aware of lotus birth, delayed cord clamping, and ingesting the placenta. At the time of the birth of my third baby in 2004, I did attempt to eat the placenta. It was in my freezer and I was hacking small pieces off each day! I was torn with the cumbersome way that I was treating it by hacking into it and it was off putting but I really wanted to achieve this for myself as I knew it would support me.
In 2012 I hosted a woman from the US wanting to teach placenta encapsulation in Melbourne. It was incredibly fascinating, but my real passion happened when I started to actually encapsulate placentas myself. And now the whole experience for both me and the women whose placentas I work with is incredibly powerful!
Each and every woman reported amazing results. But it is not only the results it is this deep satisfaction, a deep compulsion that women feel to do this! The placenta is SO profound, it provides everything a human being needs to enable them to grow, it does all the functioning of all the organs for the baby until they are mature enough to be independent, oxygen, nutrition, hormones – everything is processed through the placenta. It is simply incredibly profound. The more I work with placentas the more amazed I am.
Also, the placenta is the organ of support – it is the organic life support system. The energy of getting all of your needs met is what it is about. This energy surrounds the placenta during the whole process and beyond – amazing!
2) how did Placenta encapsulation come about as opposed to the other ways of ingesting?
I don’t have a huge history of placenta encapsulation, as far as I know it has really taken off in the last couple of years!
3) I loved what you shared about the life giving force and capability it has – that even if a placenta is half formed or deformed or irregular it is still able to sustain a baby’s life throughout pregnancy and birth. Can you elaborate on this?
The placenta is incredibly robust. Each placenta is so unique. The size, shape, colour, texture. Sometimes the placenta is not functioning well at all, or the cord may be mis-formed and yet it still supports a healthy baby to grow and thrive! I feel like it is willing and it is designed to do whatever it takes to nurture the baby into the world.
4) Has it been difficult to have western culture embrace what used to be a natural act of life and passage?
It seems to be having quite a surge of interest, I am having to problem building my business, and people who want it want it. The benefits are so powerful and very logical, there is more research being done. Women are so isolated and so often depressed in the post natal period, they are looking for ways to feel strong and happy – and here is a great way that is in built!
5) Do you ever wish a celebrity takes on your service and brings it out to mainstream?
This is starting to happen in the US, January Jones did eat her placenta and Kim Kardashian was talking about it – it is very exciting! There is also more and more media coverage in general.
6) How important is your message to empower women?
It’s very important to me. In the current culture, we are led to believe a good mother sacrifices herself for her children/babies, so we think it is ‘normal’ to feel exhausted, emotional and chaotic after birth. Part of this is the rite of passage of new motherhood, but it does not have to be so difficult.
The placenta has come to be seen as waste product and it is discarded as no longer useful after birth. We have become disconnected from the fact that when we are growing our babies, all of our nourishment, love, hormones and energy goes from us to our baby through the placenta. All of the love, hormones, energy and nutrition that is ours, perfect for us, gone! And we commence our mothering depleted.
Ingesting the placenta is supporting the new mother by giving all of that energy and nourishment back to herself; she does not have to lose it. Reclaiming the placenta, is reclaiming that a strong mother is the best mother, what is best for the mother is best for the baby.
This is a huge issue, and in my minds stems back to religion and patriarchy when women were condemned as sinners, and the pain of childbirth was said, by the church, to be punishment for women’s sins. The belief that women have to suffer is very deeply entrenched. I do not believe it has always been like this. Previous to religious patriarchy, in the times of hunters and gatherers women were revered nature was worshiped. the seasons and fertility of life and women were deeply connected and honoured.
I don’t even know how to express how profoundly this is reflected in our birthing and mothering culture.
It is sinful to be sexual, natural, and primal. Birth is sexual natural and primal. Nothing expresses that more viscerally than the placenta! Most people are disgusted by it. That disgust is the disgust of our animal nature.
I could go on and on with this – you get my drift – I would like to explore this topic more for myself but I am not an anthropologist. Ina May Gaskin has written about these cultural impacts on birthing over our modern history very well in her book Birth Matters.
7) How is it the discarding of the placenta is like discarding a part of your sacred self?
This is covered a bit above. The placenta – so incredible, so amazing, so miraculous – as miraculous a creation as the baby! Imagine! We grow a complete organ that functions for all of the baby’s organs and supplies all the nutrients and oxygen needed to sustain life, filters out all waste, it is almost too profound to comprehend. Where does the disgust and disregard come from?
There are many cultures around the world who have treated the placenta as sacred for all of time, such as the Maori people and all New Zealanders – they take the placenta home to bury, it connects them to their land, they would never dream of leaving a piece of themselves behind.
8) You have 3 options on preparing the placenta – what is the most common option chosen?
I prefer and recommend the raw option, preparing and dehydrating the raw placenta as it the less processing the better, along with the tincture. The capsules are for immediate post natal wellness, replacing all of the iron, blood, nutritional energy the mother has lost in the birthing process, supporting breastfeeding and mood stabilisation with the hormones.
The tincture is a lifelong personal constitutional remedy – like a rescue remedy – for both the baby and the mother. It takes 6 weeks to prepare.
The TCM steaming method is preferred by TCM lovers as it is warming with herbs and can be mixed with a blood building TCM herbal mixture. Placenta has been used throughout time as a Chinese blood tonic remedy.
9) Can you explain the process required by women wishing to encapsulate their placenta? Timings, storage conditions and any other information?
They simply book in with me, when they have their baby we arrange delivery to me, the process takes approximately 24 hours and they have their capsules within 72 hours! The capsules are usually around a 2-3 month supply and last in the fridge. The tincture lasts indefinitely.
10) Are birthing centres and hospitals aware of this option for women and do they accommodate the request?
Couples simply let their place of birth know that they want to take the placenta home with them and are usually given a container to carry the placenta in if they have not brought their own. They sign a release form as well. There is usually no problem at all with this. The couple may or may not tell their doctor or midwife what they want to do with their own placenta.
Well there you have it – up close and personal insights into placenta encapsulation. You can find more information at:
Or call Anna on 0408 954 120
So the question remains to be asked. Would you consider ingesting your placenta knowing its potent benefits?