You’ve just had your baby and your newborn is on your chest. You’re absolutely enamored and don’t see anything else in the room. The pain of birth has momentarily become non-existent. Then, the midwife says it’s time to deliver your placenta.
OK, seriously?! Isn’t one thing coming out of your vagina enough for today?
Delivering your placenta
Your midwife will ask you if you want to go with active management or physiological management.
Active management is when you get a little injection of oxytocin into your thigh that helps the womb contract and the placenta move away from the uterine wall. It can take up to around half an hour for the placenta to be ready to be delivered. It’s the recommended way of delivering your placenta for most healthcare professionals.
Physiological management is when you let nature take its course. It can take around an hour for your placenta to be delivered this way. If the placenta has not come after that hour or you experienced heavy blood loss you will probably be encouraged to have active management to move things along.
If you haven’t been able to deliver your placenta within half an hour of active management and an hour of physiological management you will likely be diagnosed with retained placenta (when your placenta remains in the womb), but that’s not very common.
Does it hurt to deliver your placenta?
Your midwife will offer some guidance while you deliver your placenta. They will likely pull gently at the umbilical cord (which is no longer attached to your baby) while you push just like you did with your baby.
It’s very likely that you’ll be able to hold your baby while you do this, but if you feel more comfortable this may be a good time for baby to have some skin-to-skin with Dad.
You’ll definitely feel your placenta being delivered, but really, your vagina just spat out a baby…a squishy placenta is nothing! It’s actually a bit of a neat feeling as it passes.
What happens next?
Ooooh, well, THIS is the part that is not as comfortable. You’re about to get the worst, most important massage of your life.
After you deliver your placenta you’ll get a fundal massage. This is when your midwife will knead your uterus (on top of your belly) to get rid of blood, clots, and everything else that needs to not be in your body after birth. If this is not done your chance of postpartum hemorrhage (excessive bleeding after birth) is increased. You can read all about it in this post.
This won’t last long, and it is uncomfortable, but it’s really important.
Once that’s complete your perineum will be assessed to see if you need any sutures. Don’t worry, you’ll be given an anesthetic for that and won’t feel a thing.
After that, you’re all done!
Now, you need to deal with hemorrhoids, perineal healing, and after pains (to name a few). These next few weeks of healing are important, Mama. Make sure you’re giving yourself time to rest!
Are you feeling a bit better about having to deliver your placenta knowing it’s not super painful?