A anywhere from two to fifteen minutes after your baby is born, your placenta will begin to detach itself from...
A anywhere from two to fifteen minutes after your baby is born, your placenta will begin to detach itself from your uterus, and doctor or midwife will ask you to give another little push. (Compared to what you just went through, a push of this size will seem about as hard as tooting out a little gas.) Your caregiver will be holding onto the umbilical cord to help direct the process, and the afterbirth, aka the placenta -- which feels like a little slippery thing -- will plop out. Should cause no pain. It's usually followed by a gush of blood (and/or maybe some big blood clots). Sometimes a doctor will give a little pitocin to stimulate contractions, aiding in the delivery of the placenta and helping to encourage your uterus to clamp down. If the placenta doesn't arrive within 30-60 minutes (depending on your caregiver's guidelines), they may decide to go in and manually remove it. If this is the case, you'd be under either general or regional anesthesia. The placenta will be checked carefully to be sure it's all out of you, as if even the tiniest bit is left behind, it can cause bleeding and potentially infection. If you're having a c-section, the placenta will be removed without much ado as part of the process of getting you cleaned out and stitched up -- usually about five minutes after your baby's birth. The placenta looks like a huge piece of raw liver, and is rough on one side (where it adhered to the uterus) and smooth on the other (which was near the baby). If you have the stomach for a little blood and guts, ask if you can see! Think of it: You have created a brand-new internal organ just to serve as your baby's life support system all of these months. That's pretty amazing.

recommended for you

Comments