During delivery, after your baby is born you will birth your placenta, this is known as the third stage of labour. Your uterus gently contracts to detach the placenta from your uterine wall and in 2% of births not all of the placenta is removed from the uterus, known as retained placenta. Left undiagnosed retained placenta can lead to severe complications such as life-threatening infection and blood loss.

Signs and Symptoms of Retained Placenta:

Discharge odour
Heavy bleeding
Large pieces of tissues discharge from vagina
Pain in the pelvis and vagina
Bleeding after 6 weeks postnatal

How can a Physiotherapist identify retained placenta in your 6 week assessment?

Typically, your bleeding stops around 4-6 weeks postpartum. During your 6 week assessment we will ask if your bleeding has stopped to screen for retained placenta. Additionally, if you choose to have an internal assessment your women’s health physiotherapist will observe the vulva for any redness or irritation that could indicate an infection. If your physiotherapist notices anything that could indicate retained placenta, we will recommend you seek advice from your GP or obstetrician. To definitively diagnose retained placenta, you need to have an ultrasound of your uterus.

What happens if you do have retained placenta?

If your doctor identifies any retained placenta in your uterus, you’ll require surgery to remove any remaining tissue. This is to eliminate any risk of further infection or blood loss.

Your physiotherapist will work with your doctors to monitor your body after surgery and during the recovery period. For continued pelvic floor recovery we recommend working with your women’s health physiotherapist for any symptoms you may be experiencing post birth.

Our friendly physiotherapists at Bump Fitness are always available for any questions you may have around birth, labour and recovery!