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How does retained placenta affect the body?

Retained placenta can affect your body by causing bleeding or infection. When parts of the placenta remain in the uterus, post partum hemorrhage may occur. While any blood loss over 500 milliliters is considered to be post partum hemorrhage, many women lose a much more substantial amount of blood. Losing 20 percent of your total blood volume may cause you to feel anxious or sweaty. Losing more than 40 percent of your total blood volume may cause your blood pressure to drop and you may begin to feel confused or agitated.

Retained placenta affects the body in two ways: excessive bleeding and infection. The initial impact is localized within the uterus, but if untreated can have generalized effects on all body systems.

  • Excessive bleeding occurs because the retained placental tissue interferes with healing of the uterine lining and contraction of the uterus, follow the birth of an infant. If the bleeding is not controlled and stopped, the woman will become hypovolemic and go into shock.
  • Infection occurs because the retained tissue becomes a site for bacteria to adhere and proliferate resulting in an infection. If the source of the infection, the retained tissue, is not removed and the infection treated, it can spread to the abdominal cavity, blood stream and throughout the body.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.