Written by Pradeep
Giving birth is undoubtedly a miraculous process. An amazing organ known as placenta nurtures your baby in the womb throughout your pregnancy. The placenta provides all the nutrients and oxygen to your baby and once the baby is delivered, the role of placenta also finishes. The placenta is then expelled during the third stage of labor. But it does not always come out easily resulting in retained placenta. Keep reading to know what it is, what its causes, symptoms are and what is done to bring it out.
Typically labor happens in three stages:
If the whole or a part placenta or membranes remain inside your womb for more than 30 minutes after your baby is born, then it is known as retained placenta.
If retained placenta is left untreated, it can cause complications that can be life threatening.
A placenta normally gets retained due to three main causes which include:
When you have a retained placenta in your body, you will experience the symptoms of it after a day. Some of the main signs and symptoms of retained placenta include:
The main factors that can increase the risk of a pregnant woman to have a retained placenta include:
If you have any of the above risk factors, then your doctor will be able to guide and assist you as to how to manage the third stage of labor.
In order to diagnose retained placenta, your doctor can carefully examine the expelled placenta to ensure that it is still intact. Any missing part is a cause of concern.
In cases where the doctor was unable to diagnose a small part of missing placenta, then the woman will start to experience the symptoms mentioned above after delivery.
If your doctor suspects retained placenta, then he will perform an ultrasound scan to check whether any part of the placenta is remaining in your womb. If this is the case, then immediate action is required to avert further complications.
Suppose the expulsion of the placenta is taking time after giving birth, breastfeeding your baby or rubbing the nipples is a good move as this will release oxytocin hormones. This triggers uterine contractions that will in turn help in expelling the placenta.
In a managed third stage of labor, if the placenta does not come out within an hour of delivery, the doctor will administer an oxytocin injection that will stimulate the contraction of the uterus. The doctor will assist in the expulsion of the placenta. However, if this does not happen, another dose of oxytocin injection along with saline is administered into the umbilical vein to help in placenta expulsion.
If the retained placenta has not come out even after the doctor has administered oxytocin and saline injections, then the doctor will do any one of the following:
In a normal delivery, the contraction of the uterus occurs in order to stop any bleeding. However, if a part of the placenta is retained inside the uterus, it is unable to contract properly causing blood vessels to bleed continuously. Your uterus will not be able to properly close and thus prevent any blood loss.
If the expulsion of the placenta takes more than half an hour after delivery, the chances of severe bleeding increases. Severe loss of blood in the first twenty-four hours after birth is known as Primary Postpartum Hemorrhage.
If small fragments of the placenta are left behind in the uterus, it can cause severe bleeding and infection later. This case is known as Secondary Postpartum Hemorrhage which is quite rare.
Have you or anyone in your family faced the problem of retained placenta? Do let us know about your experience in the comments section below.
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