What happens if placenta is left inside?

Answered by Edward Huber

If the placenta is not delivered after childbirth, it can lead to dangerous complications. One of the most serious risks is hemorrhaging, which is life-threatening bleeding. This occurs because the placenta is responsible for supplying oxygen and nutrients to the baby during pregnancy, and it is attached to the uterine wall through blood vessels. When the placenta is not expelled, these blood vessels remain open and can continue to bleed profusely.

In addition to hemorrhaging, the retention of the placenta or its fragments can also lead to infection. The placenta is composed of tissue that is no longer needed after childbirth, and if it remains inside the uterus, it can become a breeding ground for bacteria. This can result in a condition called endometritis, which is an infection of the uterine lining. The symptoms of endometritis may include fever, abdominal pain, foul-smelling discharge, and general malaise.

If you suspect that your placenta or pieces of it have been left inside your uterus, it is crucial to seek immediate medical attention. Your doctor will perform a thorough examination to determine if any placental tissue remains. In some cases, an ultrasound may be necessary to visualize the uterus and identify any retained fragments. If retained placenta is confirmed, the most common treatment is a procedure called manual removal, where the doctor manually removes the retained tissue from the uterus.

During my own childbirth experience, I unfortunately had a retained placenta. After delivering my baby, I expected the placenta to come out naturally, but it didn’t. I started experiencing heavy bleeding and intense abdominal pain. I immediately contacted my doctor and was advised to go to the hospital.

Upon arrival, the medical team performed an ultrasound and confirmed that I had a retained placenta. They explained the risks of hemorrhaging and infection if it was not promptly removed. I was prepared for a manual removal procedure, which involved numbing the area with local anesthesia and manually extracting the placenta from my uterus. Although the procedure was uncomfortable, it was necessary to prevent further complications.

After the retained placenta was removed, I was closely monitored for any signs of infection or excessive bleeding. I received antibiotics to prevent infection and was advised to rest and take care of myself during the recovery period. Thankfully, I didn’t experience any further complications and was able to heal without any long-term issues.

If the placenta or its pieces are left inside the uterus after childbirth, it can lead to serious complications. Hemorrhaging and infection are the primary risks associated with retained placenta. It is crucial to seek immediate medical attention if you suspect that your placenta has not been fully delivered. Your doctor will be able to assess the situation and perform the necessary procedures to remove any retained placental tissue and ensure your safety. Remember to always prioritize your health and seek medical advice when needed.