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The placenta is known as the afterbirth once you enter the third stage of labour. Unfortunately mum, once you’ve delivered your gorgeous baby your job is not quite done as you will then have to deliver the afterbirth. The best way to think about this part of labour is to remind yourself that after delivering a 7 pound baby, a 1lb. flat, flexible organ will be a piece of cake to deliver.

Did you Know? The word placenta comes from the Greek word for cake.

You can deliver the placenta in several different ways.

  1. An injection of oxytocic medicine into your thigh after your baby’s birth, which causes your womb to contract and the placenta to then separate from your uterine wall.
  2. Breastfeeding your baby immediately after birth, which also causes your womb to contract and thus produces the same result as method 1.
  3. To wait for the placenta to naturally separate from your uterine wall, however this method can cause blood loss or a postpartum haemorrhage (PPH), so it is a bit of a risk.
  4. If you’re having a C-section your doctor will deliver the placenta for you right after delivering your baby.

More often than not you will be able to choose the method you prefer, however most doctors do not like method 3 and there are some hospitals and birthing centres which do not offer all four options. And mum, just so you know, either the midwife or nurse will check to make sure you have delivered everything so don’t panic and just relax, because they will keep you informed every step of the way.

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