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【Things You Didn'T Know Could Happen During Labor】Retained Placenta

Once your baby's out in the world, you might think it's over, but that't not quite the case. It is normal for contractions to continue postpartum, as your body needs to expel the placenta from the uterus. The contractions are also needed to decrease the amount of postpartum bleeding. Delivery of the placenta often happens on its own within the first 30 minutes after giving birth as your placenta separates from the uterine wall and is pushed out with contractions. If it doesn't happen automatically, the phenomenon is called retained placenta.

Some causes of a retained placenta include weak contractions, the cervix closes before it has been expelled, or the placenta attaches to the muscular walls of the uterus. Medications will help relax the uterus and the doctor may recommend breastfeeding, which could cause the uterus to contract enough to expel the placenta. Symptoms of retained placenta include fever, smelly discharge, heavy bleeding, and/or constant pain. As a last resort, surgery may be necessary to rid your body of the placenta. The condition can be life threatening if not properly treated.

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Glory L. Armstrong

Glory L. Armstrong

Registered doula and mom of 5-year old girl

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