Childbirth question: I really don't want to know this but.....

After the umbilical cord is cut, what happens to the part still attached to the mother?
I can’t believe I am actually asking this. I am totally grossed out by childbirth (no, I’m not a guy) but I’ve wondered this for years.

The placenta and the rest of the cord come out a little bit later, on their own. “A little bit” means minutes, as soon as the mother’s body realizes there isn’t a baby attached any more.

The mommy-end is expelled with the uterine lining and blood in a rather gross puddle of goo known as afterbirth.

Ahh. I knew about afterbirth but I didn’t realize the cord came with it. I assumed it’d still be attached.


The cord IS attached to the afterbirth. Or is that not what you meant?

It is still atached… to the placenta. The placenta detaches from the wall of the uterus when blood flow to the babe stops. (When the cord is clamped then cut.)

The placenta, (a.k.a. afterbirth) is a dark, cake-sized tissue that is stuck to the inside of the uterus, and acts as a nutrient-and-oxygen transfer station between the mom and the baby. Remember, the mom’s blood has all the food, all the oxygen, and likely a different blood type from the baby. The placenta allows moms blood and baby’s blood to circulate right beside each other, close enough to exchange oxygen and nutrients (mom to baby) and wastes and carbon dioxide (baby to mom) without mixing the two bloods and causing an immune response. The baby’s blood is circulated by the baby’s heart from the baby’s body, out to the placenta, where is gets all this good stuff, and back to the baby’s body. This connection between the baby and the placenta is the umbilical cord, which has an two arteries and one vein. When the baby is born, the placenta remains in position, as the baby needs oxygen throughout the delivery. After the baby is born, the placenta detaches from the uterine wall and is delivered just like the baby, with the other end of the cord attached.

There are lots of cool physiological things that are involved- for instance, baby hemoglobin is better at taking up oxygen, so the baby’s blood pretty much rips the oxygen away from the mom’s blood.

One more way to lay a guilt trip on your offspring when they emerge.

When I was a kid, I believed that the umbilical cord connected to the mother’s belly button internally.

You’ve been here since 2003 and missed all the “placenta” and even “pan fried semen” stuff?

Actually, a lot of times the Dr. has to stick his or her hand up there and pull whatever part that didn’t come out, out.

I caught the pan-fried semen stuff. I didn’t catch anything related to placenta. I tend to avoid things like that. I don’t know what, exactly, is my problem. I love human anatomy. I love medical stuff. Hell, I’m training to be a medical transcriptionist and my ultimate goal is to transcribe autopsies. But, pregnancy and childbirth just gross me out. It’s a good thing I don’t want to have kids of my own. I don’t think I could deal with being pregnant.

I am in awe of the whole process of growing another person inside you. I just don’t generally want to know the details, which is why I didn’t know the umbilical cord was attached to the placenta. I never really had any kind of idea what it was attached to, mainly because I didn’t want to think about it. Despite that, I’ve always wanted to know what happened to it afterward.

When I was in 7th grade health class, we were shown a video of a woman giving birth. And when I say shown, I mean we were SHOWN. In full, gory detail. I watched until the head came out and then the very idea of shoulders coming out of that hole caused me to look away. I looked back just in time for the afterbirth and I only caught a very small part of it before having to look away again.

The only other medical thing I’ve found that bothers me quite as much is the idea of a damaged achilles tendon (thank you horror movies).

Anyway, I thank you all very much for your answers. Now that I know, I am going to go back to pretending the stork stories are real. :stuck_out_tongue:

Ok, it took me 4 tries to read that. But, I finally did it. Thank you. That was very informative and actually very interesting. And totally gross.

Cecil on Placenta Stew.

Thread abut SNL skit"Placenta Helper"

Should not have read this post and the aforementioned Cecil article before breakfast… I don’t think I can manage scrambled eggs now…

You saw the worst of it. The head’s bigger than the shoulders.

not only is it good eating but can be used in sacred rituals. also stem cells can be saved from it.

And it’s the only type of meat that nothing has to die to produce. So I expect all the vegetarians to “eat up now”!

Well that’s surely not true. I’m sure a lamb could happily survive with three legs, say, allowing me to enjoy a nice roast without killing any critters?

I had a discussion with a vegan friend of mine where I pretty much forced him to concede that any human body part that is given up by an adult with full consent and intent that it is to be eaten is ‘vegan’ according to his definition of veganism.