Placenta: Third Stage of Labor

The placenta is an organ that plays an important role in furnishing nutrients to the fetus. It allows the passage of nutrients and the waste elimination via the mother’s blood stream.

The delivery of the placenta is considered the third stage of labor. After the birth, the placenta is expelled within 5 to 30mn. You may feel a contraction which indicates that the placenta has been detached from the uterus wall. Some doctors would speed up this delivery because they are eager to begin the episiotomy repair. They would administer Oxytocin via intramuscular injection to initiate contractions followed by a traction on the cord. This method is quite risky with the probability of leaving a bit of the placenta inside the uterus which will cause hemorrhage.

After Placenta expulsion, the midwife or doctor will administer Methergine via intramuscular route to control bleeding and will massage the uterus gently to reduce the bleeding flow called “Lochia”.

Once the placenta is out, your health care will note the time of its expulsion and examine it to make sure that all parts are normal and complete.

Once the check up is finished, the midwife will clean you and move you to the recovery room were you will be allowed to remain some time with your baby and be monitored for at least an hour or so to make sure that you are not bleeding and your placenta is firm. At this level, pregnancy is over and motherhood has begun. Congratulations!