In medicine, afterbirth refers to the placenta and other tissues that are expelled from the uterus following the delivery of a baby. During pregnancy, the placenta is an organ that connects the developing fetus to the uterine wall, allowing for the exchange of nutrients, oxygen, and waste products between the mother and the developing baby.
After the baby is born, the uterus contracts to help expel the afterbirth. This process usually occurs within 30 minutes to an hour after delivery. The afterbirth is examined by healthcare providers to ensure that it has been fully expelled and that no fragments of tissue remain in the uterus, which can increase the risk of infection.
After the afterbirth is expelled, the uterus continues to contract to help stop bleeding and return to its pre-pregnancy size. Healthcare providers may also administer medications such as oxytocin to help stimulate contractions and prevent excessive bleeding.
In some cases, the afterbirth may need to be manually removed by a healthcare provider if it does not fully detach from the uterine wall or if fragments remain in the uterus. This procedure, known as manual removal of placenta, is typically performed under anesthesia and can help prevent complications such as infection and heavy bleeding.
Overall, the expulsion of the afterbirth is an important step in the delivery process, and healthcare providers closely monitor this process to ensure that it occurs smoothly and without complications.