A Spontaneous Placenta Delivery Please!

Learn more about the last stage of labor: the placenta delivery. Find out why you should delayed cord clamping and how the birth of your placenta should not be the result of manual cord traction.

“Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.” -John Quincy Adams

WOW! Your amazing journey through pregnancy comes to an end. Your baby is born! Your journey as a mother officially begins! You will finally meet your baby’s gaze. A very powerful moment. Even today, after almost 10 years, I remember it vividly. There is a symbiotic attachment that is taking place in the first 2 hours afterbirth. It involves a chemical imprint, a motherhood imprint!Bonding is occurring.

Very delighted and sometimes overwhelmed with your experience, the first moments with your child should be respected. The last stage of your labour should be too! No rush please! The Apgar score can be done discretely by a nurse while you hold your baby!

Because skin-to-skin contact is the best regulator of body temperature, it is recommended that your child be placed on your abdomen. A cotton blanket can be add to keep you warm. You can keep your baby to placenta level for a little while. This will encourage your baby to crawl and it will surely lead him or her to your breasts. Besides many health benefits, skin-to-skin contact encourages a good latching and successful breastfeeding for most infants.

Find out more on our step by step guide called Pregnancy Yoga Resource. Click here to download it in PDF format.

Within minutes after birth, but sometimes it can take up to an hour, you will notice small uterine contractions beginning again. Nipple stimulation leads to secretion of natural oxytocin. This hormone causes contraction of the uterus so that it gradually resume its normal size. The final stage of delivery ends when the placenta detaches from the uterus and it’s expelled.

When the placenta separates from the wall of the uterus with the help of contractions, it causes a little bleeding. The loss of about 250 milliliters (about a cup) of blood is normal.Breastfeed your baby will contribute to reduce bleeding at the same time. The expulsion of your placenta is usually without pain as there is no bone and it’s much smaller than your baby. Still, it can be uncomfortable for some women.

If you need stitches because your perineal muscles tear or if you had anepisiotomy, it will be done immediately after birth.

That being said, accelerating the placenta delivery is often part of hospital protocol.

Clamping the Umbilical Cord

If the cord is not clamped immediately at birth, like it’s generally done, blood will usually continue to flow between the placenta and your baby for a few minutes. Delaying the cord clamping a couple of minutes or until it stops pulsating offers many health benefits to your baby.

Find out more on our step by step guide called Pregnancy Yoga Resource. Click here to download it in PDF format.

According to a new McMaster University study that urges health care providers not to cut umbilical cords immediately afterbirth;

Waiting at least 2 minutes would allow precious red and white blood cells to be transferred to the infant.
Placental transfusion can give the baby about a fifth of its blood volume at birth.
It can increase the health and well-being of a baby.
It could protect against anemia and irregular breathing for weeks and months after delivery.
Placental transfusion through the cord drains the blood left in the placenta. I believe that it may help the placenta to separate from the womb and may reduce overall blood loss afterbirth. In fact, the blood is literally lost during the placenta delivery if the cord is cut too early!

If, as the last family that I accompanied, you want to keep the cord stem cells to treat potential immune or metabolic disorders, I invite you to read these recommendationsfrom the American Academy of Pediatrics.

When the doctor or midwife cut the cord quickly (within 30-60 seconds), it happens that there is also a manual traction to accelerate the placenta delivery. Meanwhile, a nurse may applied pressure on the abdomen to encourage the expulsion. An injection of synthetic oxytocin (a uterotonic drug) is usually given to the mother. Very often, with my observations, these interventions are systematically applied, all together.

Initially, these medical interventions aim to prevent a risk of hemorrhage. What if, in fact, the excessive bleeding was caused by manual cord traction? Why not leaving the injection of a drug (which may imply risks and complications) only in case of a real emergency?

Unless there is a real problem, why not insisting that they let this last stage of labour to unfold naturally and spontaneously?

Placenta Delivery: The Tree of Life
You can ask to see your placenta once it’s expelled. It may be interesting to see what feed and protected your baby during all these weeks. After a quick visual inspection by your health care provider, if your placenta seems healthy, it’s usually discarded. Some families want to keep the placenta and bury it under a tree to honor their newborn. The placenta oddly resembles a tree with all its roots, don’t you think? The tree that gives life!

Placenta traditions all around the world tend to treat this organ with great respect. In some asian cultures such as China, the placenta is viewed as a life-giving force. It’s dried and they add it to their diet to increases energy and vitality. For thousand of years, placenta has been use to prevent Postpartum Depression, insufficient lactation and hormonal imbalance in new mothers. Placenta encapsulation is something that interest a lot of women that I frequent.

According to the Independent Placenta Encapsulation Network (IPEN), the placenta is composed of healing chemicals such as:

Stem Cells and Growth Factors.
Iron, essential for oxygen absorption in the cells.
Vitamin B6, aids in the making of antibodies.
Vitamin E, for healing damaged skin cells.
Oxytocin hormone, essential for facilitating birth and breastfeeding.
Corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH), responsible for reducing stress levels.
Cytokines, fibroblasts that trigger cell metabolism healing and replacing damaged cells and tissue.
If we consider that your baby will also benefit of all these nutrients through breastfeeding, I agree to bring up to date this lost tradition. To read more about research and articles concerning post-birth healing through eating your placenta, please visit IPEN.

In order to achieve a natural placenta delivery, breastfeeding can help you during your last stage of labour.

Intimacy, support, patience and time are required.

You have a large influence in terms of changing hospital practice.

State your wishes in your birth plan!

How about a placenta smoothie to celebrate the miracle of life?!

Find out more on our step by step guide called Pregnancy Yoga Resource. Click here to download it in PDF format.