Danielle set up Placenta Plus following a visit to her GP with concerns about postnatal depression, which she had been wracked with during her previous pregnancy with daughter, Tess
Determined to find an alternative to anti-depressants, which Danielle was prescribed for 18 months after Tess’ birth, she came across Placenta Encapsulation treatment, which is popular among young mums in America.
The treatment allows mothers to restore the body’s natural hormones following birth and has a long list of benefits from increased milk supply to aid breastfeeding to reduced postnatal bleeding and reduced incidence of post-natal depression.
Unable to find a local clinic to carry out the treatment, Danielle decided to become a placenta encapsulation specialist herself, taking on intense training and certification before finally becoming her own first customer.
She said:” What helps to forge close relationships with my clients is that they see me as a human being, they know I’ve had children of my own and I’m speaking from personal experience.
“I’m not a corporate specialist from a clinic, I’m a Mum who identified a need to help women battle this crippling illness in a way that is natural, and beneficial but both mum, baby and the wider family unit.”
“Postnatal depression is commonly mis-diagnosed as baby blues, and while its normal to feel down and a little overwhelmed after giving birth, educating women to spot symptoms and to speak out, is paramount.”
A recent PANDAS survey (Pre and Postnatal Depression Advice and Support) found that more than 50% of parents with a perinatal mental illness contemplated taking their own lives when they were ill.
Among those who took part 82% have suffered from postnatal depression and 52% experienced postnatal anxiety.
Danielle is saddened but not surprised by the figures having had first-hand experience of how the illness effects not only the sufferer, but those around them. She said: “There needs to be more information on pre and post-natal depression from the very start of pregnancy.
“If more women and their families were made aware of the warning signs at the initial booking-in appointments, there may be less stigma in talking about it further down the line.
“Services are over-stretched and in the fast-paced lives we lead, feeling like you’re just a number going through the motions can result in some women feeling like there’s no time to discuss their concerns and fears.
When asked about the real life implications of living with post-natal depression, Danielle explained that from the outside she had everything in order, her house was always clean and tidy and her kids were happy and unaware of the struggle she faced.
She said: “There’s an awful lot of pressure to live up to this ideal of having a perfect pregnancy and then bouncing back from the birth while having mastered breast-feeding within a week. The reality is, its bloody hard and its unsurprising that so many women feel like they can’t say they’re struggling, like it’s an admission of failure.”
Danielle is now working closely with midwifery teams and doctors across the country to introduce Placenta Plus as a post-birth recovery aid to even more pregnant women.
Often labelled as being something of a ‘hippy’ remedy, Danielle is keen to educate others on the natural benefits of placenta pills, and she already has some famous fans.
With backing from mum of three, Colleen Rooney, who took to Twitter to thank Danielle for her brilliant service following the birth of her youngest son Kit, Placenta Plus is now gaining nationwide interest.
Danielle explained: “Since I started out in November 2015, interest in placenta encapsulation treatment has rocketed, so much so that I now employ a courier so that women from further afield can also book our services. I already have a number of bookings for January from London based clients who have chosen our Merseyside based service over local ones.
Still a relatively new concept in the UK, Danielle explains how the process works.
“When a client goes into labour, we receive a phone call, usually from Dad or a birthing partner and we’re then on call to collect the placenta immediately after birth.
“Packed in ice the placenta is then brought to our purpose-built Merseyside facility where it is checked, cut and dried before being ground into powder and made into capsules. The finished product is returned to mum in 24 hours so she can start the treatment immediately.
“The most common question I get asked is what do the capsules taste like and the answer is nothing! We have now developed flavoured capsules for those who were a bit nervous about the taste.”
Now a regular at Liverpool Women’s Hospital and birthing units around the North West, Danielle is like part of the permanent staff with midwives learning how to prepare the placenta for transport, and actively sharing the benefits of placenta encapsulation treatment with their patients.
Danielle is hopeful that with more awareness and education on the benefits of Placenta Pills in the prevention of postnatal depression, less women will have to live with the effects of this crippling illness.
For more information about Placenta Plus and the products available go to www.placentaplus.co.uk or call 07736 738 959.