Giving birth to a new baby is about more than just active labor, contractions and pushing. For the last 40 weeks, the baby has survived in the womb thanks to the placenta. This blood rich pseudo-organ must pass out of the vagina after the baby. But before it can pass, it must first detach from interior uterine tissue. Contractions will continue as the placenta detaches and moves through the vaginal canal and out the vagina.
Pushing the placenta out of the uterus takes only a few moments and one strong push. The first few contractions actually detach the placenta and the final contraction pushes the placenta out with the woman's help. As soon as the baby is born, the umbilical cord is clamped; this stops both the woman and her baby from losing any blood. Once the cord is cut, the baby can be placed on the woman's belly or taken by attending nurses for examination. The placenta will come out next. Once out of the body, the placenta is placed in a plastic bin. Some hospitals will taken a small piece of the placenta and test the tissue. What tests are run will depend on hospital policy.
The remaining tissue is thrown out as medical waste. In some cultures, the placenta is consumed after birth or saved and buried under a tree or plant that can grow with the baby. If the baby is delivered in a hospital, it is important to make your wishes of keeping the placenta known before giving birth.