TMI WARNING: Placenta/Afterbirth Question

This is a TMI Warning. This thread contains questions and discussions regarding the human placenta a.k.a. “the afterbirth”. This normal human organ, which at one point we all possessed, and which serves an entirely natural process, seems to cause Major Squick in some people. If you are one of these people consider yourself warned.
OK - here we go:

Ladies who have given birth, I suddenly realized last night most discussions revolving around childbirth talk a lot about the baby but almost never about the afterbirth. Not having given birth myself, I now have a few questions.

  1. Given that the afterbirth is boneless and squishy, I’m assuming it was MUCH easier to deliver than the actual baby. Is this true?

  2. Were you aware of it leaving, or was it all mixed in with the excitement of the new baby, relief at having the baby out, and all the other attendant mess of childbirth?

  3. About how long after the kid did the placenta arrive?

  4. When a woman has fraternal twins with separate placentas, is it possible for her to deliver a kid, then a placenta, then the other kid, then the final placenta or does it always go kid-kid-placenta-placenta?

  5. When a woman has twins that share a single placenta, do the two kids come out first, or could the placenta come out in between the two babies?

That’s it for right now. I might think of more later.

  1. Yes, much easier. A couple easy contractions and out.

  2. Yes, aware. I was exhausted after my first delivery and had held my son, but passed him to his dad at that point. I actually dozed off and on during the placental delivery and repair of lacerations, but was aware it was happening.

  3. By about 30 minutes, 45 maybe? Can’t precisely recall.

Can I ask a related question? How long does it take? I assumed it’s pretty quick, but IvoryTowerDenizen’s remark about dozing off has me doubting the assumption now.

Not long at all. A couple of contractions and out. They also were stitching me up around that time.

Well, yes, you said that, but about how long is “a couple easy contractions”?

And, just curious - did you have an episiotomy or did you tear? (You don’t have to answer that one unless you want to)

Contractions near the end of delivery were only a few minutes apart, so call it 10 minutes? The placental delivery started a few minutes after delivery completed, so all told 20-30 minutes after birth the placenta was delivered.

I did have an episiotomy, but tore very badly as well. It was not a simple delivery…

With my second, I din’t have time for an episiotomy, and re-opened my my previous scar.

Yes, it is true.

Ok, I’ve had two kids, and the experiences were quite different. The first time I gave birth, my OB (who was a total bitch, but I didn’t have enough life experience and self-esteem to advocate for myself very well) grabbed the umbilical cord after cutting it, and YANKED THE PLACENTA OUT.

I shit you not, and no one I’ve ever told that to has ever even heard of such a thing. I’m curious to hear if I’m like, the only person this ever happened to.

It hurt, but not a huge amount. It was shocking and gross though. I obviously noticed it, and it was pretty disturbing to me. The second time I gave birth I had a different OB and he sort of massaged my belly after the birth. I had a couple mild contractions, and he helped guide it out gently by massaging my belly and pulling (gently!) on the umbilical cord. It was completely painless, and as I recall I started to cry because it was so much less scary an awful than the first time (the whole birth was much better). It took a few minutes; I’d say more than 5 but less than 10. The first time it was instantaneous, obviously.

Pretty much right after. Both times I was given a moment to hold the baby, and then it was whisked away and it was time to deal with the placenta. After that they stitched my up the first time because I’d had an episiotomy. The second time I didn’t, nor did I tear, so that was the end.

I snipped the other questions because I’ve never had twins.

I wanted to say, also, my second birth went very very fast and was on a holiday (Fourth of July), so the doctor hadn’t actually arrived. The nurse delivered the baby, just as the doctor was walking in. So the only thing he delivered for me was the placenta. Kinda weird…

eta: reading Ivory’s replies I’m starting to think the delivery of the placenta must have taken longer, but it didn’t seem like it at the time. You’re so loopy and tired after the baby comes, time is weird, I think. Thinking more, I think the second time must have taken more like 15 or 20 minutes, but I don’t know. The first time it was super fast though, I’m sure of that. He came out, she clipped the cord, I held him for a second before the nurses took him, and before I knew what happened she grabbed the cord and PULLED. It was fairly awful.

miss elizabeth that sounds truly horrible. What a horrible doctor.

Yeah, to me the worst part has always been that I had no idea she was a bad doctor, really. I was pretty young when I had my son (20) and I just figured that must be how it was. I remember being really surprised none of the books I read explained that was how the placenta was delivered, because it hurt quite a bit. But then of course when I talked about it later, I realized it’s not done that way.

She also laughed at me in my follow-up visit when she did the vaginal examination roughly and I started to cry because it hurt. After that I didn’t return.

Cecil wrote a classic “Straight Dope” about people eating the placenta. I’ll leave it to you to find it.

Well it’s goddamn ugly.

Wait, she yanked it out? I was under the impression that that’s incredibly dangerous?

So are most internal organs, at least to me, but “ugly” and “squick” aren’t precisely the same thing.

yes . Been there, saw that. Don’t do it.

Let them use Syntocinon to accelerate the detachment, but don’t let them yank on it.
My wife had that happen…Obs. yanked on the placenta… The midwife knew bit would be left behind, so quickly took the placenta away.

Bits of placenta were left behind, proved as the bits came out the next day. So wife was back in ER the next day to make sure it had all come out, to check that there was no risk of infection , toxic shock and all that.

My placental delivery wasn’t exactly uneventful but from speaking to other mothers it’s not exactly a rare occurrence.
My placenta just didn’t want to come out. they gave me a bunch of pitocin(sp?) but nothing happened. So the OB just reached into my uterus with his hand and tried to yank it out. He wasn’t successful so the resident that was there also tried (yay smaller hands) but still no luck. Finally after another hit of the epidural the resident just went to town and just yanked the fecker out bit by bit. The midwife said that it was pretty eviscerated (is that the usual term?) and she didn’t recommend looking at it.
My sister had a similar experience only they took her into an operating theater to get a spinal block maybe that’s normal in Ireland, my friend had the old ‘yank it out’ procedure, both she and I are in Canada.

If anyone pregnant is reading this, I’m sorry. You’ll probably be able to deliver the placental naturally and if not having someone yank out the placenta is unpleasant but all going well you’ll have a lovely baby nearby and it won’t be that big of a deal.

Huh. I had some pretty huge clots afterward, but I thought that was normal. They said to tell them if the clots were larger than a lemon, and several were as big as lemons, but not bigger, so I never bothered telling the nurses or anything. I’m ok now (it’s been 13 years) so I guess it all worked out ok. :slight_smile:

And the pain wasn’t excruciating or anything. It hurt, but I mean, I’d just had a baby. You recalibrate the ol’ pain meter after that. The main thing was how quick and harsh she was about it.

3 out of my 4 deliveries sound pretty much like everyone has described here…fairly fast and painless. However, with my third child, the placenta did not want to come out. They took me into surgery and I believe did a D&C to remove it. I lost a lot of blood, and they wanted to give me a transfusion, but I refused. It took a while for me to recover.

How do they deliver the placenta after a Caesarian delivery? I understand that just pulling the placenta out is a BAD IDEA. However, it’s also my understanding that following a normal labor and delivery, the placenta should detach from the uterine wall without intervention. If the baby is delivered by Caesarian section before labor begins, do they use medication (e.g. the aforementioned Syntocinon) to cause the placenta to let go, carefully pull it free, or something else?

After childbirth you’ll have clots the size of lemons?!? :eek:

Excuse me while I go faint now.

After the C-section, they sucked it out, and I doubt I would have really noticed much except the waste pipe went up and over my head, so I got to watch it leave the area. :eek: