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A 39-year-old member asked:

Why do doctors examine placenta after birth?

7 doctor answers15 doctors weighed in
Dr. Stephen Scarantino
Obstetrics and Gynecology 26 years experience
Check if it's intact: An obstetrician would examine the placenta or "afterbirth" for a few reasons, but mainly to ascertain that all of the placenta came out; that it is intact/whole and no placental pieces are still inside of the uterus.
Dr. Pam Yoder
Specializes in Maternal-Fetal Medicine
Make sure all is out: Retained placental tissue can cause problems such as bleeding and infection. Therefore, OB providers should check every placenta to ensure that it has been delivered intact or all pieces of it have come out of the uterus. Occasionally an OB will need to insert a hand up into the uterus or even scrape with an instrument to remove any remaining tissue. That mainly occurs if a very premature delivery.
Dr. Andrew Silverman
Fertility Medicine 49 years experience
Placental examinatio: Placentas are examined for 2 reasons; 1. Each cord should have 2 arteries and a single vein, an abnormal vessel component suggests fetal abnormality most frequently the kidneys and 2. To ascertain whether or not one of the cotyledons make are missing suggesting retained tissue in the uterus.
Dr. Kevin O'neil
Urogynecology 28 years experience
Check if abnormal: The placenta gets examined to see if it has deliveredt intact, if the umbilical cord has the normal 3 blood vessels and to see if there are any gross abnormalities that would warrant having a pathologist examine it.
Dr. Padmavati Garvey
A Verified Doctoranswered
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Issues with labor: If there was an infection with labor, meconium, abruption, etc examining the placenta can help confirm a diagnosis.
Dr. Craig Keathley
Obstetrics and Gynecology 24 years experience
Placenta exam: At the time of delivery, we want to confirm that the placenta is intact and there are no missing pieces that could still be inside the uterus that may be a source of infection or bleeding if not removed. Other reasons to examine the placenta include meconium staining, twin gestation, abnormal cord insertion, bleeding during labor suggestive of possible abruption, as well as others.
Dr. Nikolaos Zacharias
Maternal-Fetal Medicine 26 years experience
Many reasons.: The placental examination is essential to assure complete delivery, assess anomalies of cord insertion, exclude paraplacenta, determine chorionicity in multifetal pregnancies, check for infection, abruption, infarction, tumors, preeclampsia changes.

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A 44-year-old member asked:

What do the doctors do with the placenta after birth?

2 doctor answers5 doctors weighed in
Dr. Megan Bird
Obstetrics and Gynecology 19 years experience
Depends!: In any high risk or complicated deliveries, we send the placenta to pathology to look for any reason for the complications. In normal deliveries, the placenta is bundled together with other placentas and cremated. If you want to keep the placenta, you can ask your doctor. It does have to be handled in a special manner though. So let us know before your delivery.

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Last updated Apr 4, 2019
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