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Placental Stage

The placental stage is the last stage of labor. After the baby's birth, the placenta is expelled (which is why it is called the "afterbirth").

The placenta is delivered quickly and spontaneously: expulsion of the placenta and amniotic sac normally occurs only a few (5 to 40) minutes after the birth, during the last spontaneous contractions. Meanwhile, the new mother is observed by the medical staff in the delivery room. The obstetrician or gynecologist may exert light pressure on the mother's abdomen. If necessary, to speed delivery of the placenta, the doctor may inject a small dose of oxytocin through the umbilical cord. Oxytocin is one of the body's natural hormones. It stimulates uterine contractions.

Cord blood for stem-cell storage is taken before the placenta is delivered. This completely painless, risk-free procedure takes only a few minutes.

Once the placenta is delivered, it is examined by the obstetrician. It is placed in a bowl and the surface is cleaned with gauze. Then it is gently examined to determine whether it is intact. Finally, its shape is noted and its size and weight recorded. This procedure is very important, because if any part of the placenta is missing, the doctor will have to perform a procedure to ensure that it is completely removed.
Page created on: 03/09/2012
Last modified on: 03/09/2012
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