Placenta Expulsion: Here's Everything You Must Know About Placenta Delivery

Placenta Expulsion: Here's Everything You Must Know About Placenta Delivery

The delivery of the placenta, also known as the third stage of labour is the most crucial step of the process.

Your labour is over, and you have pushed the baby out of the birth canal. What remains now is the delivery of the placenta, also known as the third stage of labour. At the time of placenta expulsion, you will experience mild contractions that can last about a minute each. These will help separate the placenta from the uterine wall and move it through the birth canal so that you can push it out.

This is a crucial process as the delivery of the entire placenta is required for labour process to be termed complete. 

Function Of A Placenta And The Process Of Placenta Expulsion

Child Birth

The placenta helps in the baby’s growth (Photo Credits: Piqsels)

As you know, placenta is the lifeline between your baby and your own blood supply. It provides your baby food and nourishment, through the entire stage of your pregnancy. Typically, a placenta attaches itself to one side of the mother’s uterus and on the other side to the baby’s umbilical cord. 

Interestingly, not only does the placenta provide your baby with food, but it also acts as a barrier, since it’s vital that germs in your body don’t make your baby sick and also that your body doesn’t reject your baby as foreign material. 

The placenta also contributes to the growth of the baby and produces hormones like- oestrogen, human chorionic gonadotropin, and progesterone. 


Placenta delivery

Placenta delivery (Photo Credits: Wikimedia Commons)

Once your baby is birthed, and doctors cut the umbilical cord, the placenta is of no use. So you will continue to have contractions until the placenta comes out from your body and the process of placenta expulsion is complete. The doctor or the medical practitioner may decide to speed up the placenta delivery by massaging your uterus.  

After your baby is born, part of the placenta or membranes can remain in the womb. We know this as retained placenta. If this is left untreated, it can cause fatal bleeding.

Placenta Delivery In Caesarian Vs Vaginal Birth

Placenta Expulsion: Here's Everything You Must Know About Placenta Delivery

Image source: iStock

If you have given birth via caesarian- section, your doctor will physically remove the placenta from your uterus before closing up the incision in the uterus and your stomach. After the delivery, the doctor may also massage the uterus to help it contract and shrink.

The doctor may administer Pitocin (oxytocin) via injection to encourage uterine contractions, which will speed the expulsion of the placenta. 

On the other hand, in a vaginal delivery, after a woman has her baby, the uterus will continue to contract. These contractions will move the placenta forward for delivery. 

Either way, your doctor will monitor you to check if you have delivered the entire placenta. If not, they will help and support you to push it out of the body, based on the type of delivery you just had.  

What You May Feel After The Placenta Comes Out

You will feel contractions and need to do abdominal pushing when the placenta comes out.

According to Romper, most women describe the placenta as warm, slimy and veiny. Once the placenta comes out, you may feel a sense of great relief as some women share that there is immense pressure from the placenta. 

But in all this, the good thing is that you are not alone. Your partner may be right next to you to support you, both physically and mentally.  

How your partner can help

It is very important to stay calm in this critical situation, and the role of your partner is extremely important. 

  • Massage your wife’s temples to help ease her stress
  • Be patient
  • Stay with your wife as much as possible
  • Ask her if she is facing any discomfort. 

If your partner for some reason is unable to support you physically, you may be provided with a midwife by the hospital. Alternatively, you could request for one. They also have a very crucial role in the process of delivery.

Here’s How Your Midwife Will Help You

Some complications in the third stage of labour include- primary postpartum haemorrhage (heavy bleeding) and there may be some issues delivering the placenta if it doesn’t come away from the womb.

Here, your midwife may ask you to breastfeed your baby as soon as possible after the birth of your child. This will help your womb to contract and push the placenta out. 

Your midwife may also ask you to change position, like moving to a sitting or a squatting position. 

Incidentally, medical practitioners usually give an epidural or spinal anaesthetic in case the placenta doesn’t come out from the womb. If nothing works, then you may need an operation to remove the placenta. 

While this is still a best case scenario, in the rare chance that you are unable to deliver placenta, there are special additional procedures in place. 

What Happens When You Don’t Deliver A Placenta?

Placenta expulsion is crucial post delivery because a retained placenta is a major cause of concern. In case the woman does not deliver the placenta within 30 and 60 minutes of childbirth, she can experience heavy bleeding or infection. 

In some cases women also experience fever, cramping, and persistent heavy bleeding with blood clots.

Can You Keep Your Placenta After Birth?

Yes, you can. Some countries and states have regulations regarding saving the placenta, so check with the facility provider to be sure if they can save the placenta.

There are some women who eat their placenta and may even dehydrate it and encapsulate it into pills. They believe these pills will help to reduce postpartum depression. There are other women who may just plant the placenta in the ground as a symbolic gesture of life and earth.

Either way, it remains to be your call and you can choose to do with it what you wish.

Source: Healthline


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