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How do I avoid another retained placenta

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16/08/2006 at 22:42

Could anyone please tell me how I can avoid another retained placenta please? I read somewhere it could be too much Vitamin E in the final trimester but all I took was Pregnacare and Mumomega...

01/10/2006 at 17:02
I don't know, but I'd like to know too!
01/10/2006 at 21:26

I found this and thought it was fascinating (see below)
More info at

A: Make sure the mother is not taking an excess of vitamin E, in the last trimester particularly (no more than 200-400 I.U. per day). Especially make sure that she is not using any kind of lotions on her stomach for stretch marks that may contain vitamin E. Serate is one I've come across in my area that too many women use with the result of a horribly retained placenta. Vitamin E is fat-soluble and will build up in the body and cause the placenta to adhere to the uterine wall.
- A.H., midwife

A: I have learned too much vitamin E during pregnancy can contribute to retained placenta. Perhaps diet in some other way may be implicated. Angelica after delivery is sometimes used to help expel the placenta. I have also learned that when a uterus is jittery with contractions after delivery (of baby and placenta), it is indicative of retained clots which are brought out by vigorous massage. Then the uterus can properly "clamp down" and remain firm.
- Beth Germano

01/10/2006 at 22:09
OMG! With my daughter it took a long time for me to get the placenta out. They threatened to do it manually under GA but I refused and pushed and pushed and pushed until i finally got it out. (I'm very stubborn). I used vitamin E cream on my stomach daily through-out my pregnancy with her!!!

With my son, I had retained products and ended up going in for a D&C eventually after 1 month. I used almond oil on my stomach daily towards the end of my pregnancy. I also had pregnacare daily - could that have caused trouble?

I think it may be hereditary to have these problems as my mum had to have her placentas removed (3 times) manually under GA.

Thanks for that info. I am worried about what will happen this time.
01/10/2006 at 22:26
A key to preventing postpartum hemorrhage is to not rush the delivery of the placenta. Almost all postpartum hemorrhage is caused by the intervillous spaces not having a chance to contract and help control the flow of blood. Also, the overmanipulation of the uterus to facilitate placental delivery can cause lobes to be left on the uterine wall which result in uneven contraction of the uterus. These lobes need to be manually removed to prevent postpartum hemorrhage and infection. This is not any fun for the mother or the midwife! I have seen many physicians and a few midwives who will not give the placenta time to delivery on its own. But a policy of hands off, unless there is due cause, is the most important key to preventing postpartum hemorrhage. I have seen some bad postpartum bleeds which may have been avoided if the practitioner had not intervened and overmanaged the placenta delivery

That's really interesting (from the link you gave) as my midwife pulled the cord to get the placenta out with my son. I thik I will add to my birth plan not to do that this time and also not to rush to cut the cord, I will wait until it stops pulsating.
02/10/2006 at 18:14
Well I learnt something new reading this! I've had my baby but on my next one I'll sure avoid Vitamin E creams. It would definitely be worth mentioning at ante-natal classes I think.
18/07/2007 at 14:03

I have had three retained placentas, and have had two post partum haemorrhages, so consequently have had blood transfusions, my eldest daughter 28 yrs old has just become pregnant,does anyone think these things could be hereditary? My sister also had a retained placenta.

18/07/2007 at 16:51
There may be something to the hereditary hypothesis, my sister had a retained placenta too. It may also be more common with having girls. Be warned if you do want to take angelica (also known as Dong Quai) that there may be problems with breastfeeding.

Just to let you know, 17 days overdue, with three attempted inductions and lots of oxytocin, I had a healthy baby boy with no retained placenta this time. I can't tell you exactly what it was that i did differently, but:
1) I used baby oil instead of cocoa butter (no stretch marks this time either!)
2) I took Pregnacare's own omega 3 supplements instead of Mumomega, and
3) When they told me to push out the placenta, I pushed like hell!!

All the best with your deliveries,
26/07/2007 at 13:11
I'm not sure if it's hereditary, no one in my family has ever had a retained placenta but i did after my 2nd child. I haemorrhaged and had to have it removed manually. I didn't do anything different in that pregnancy to the first and they were both girls. I am now 22 weeks pregnant with my 3rd girl and am terrified of it happening again, midwife doesn't seem worried and just says i'll be fine. I will try the baby oil instead of cocoa butter, i'll try anything thats going to help.

03/09/2007 at 12:29

Hi guys, just thought i'd add my 10p worth LOL - i had a retained placenta with baby no.4 and my god it was glued to my insides!!! ended up having to have it removed in surgery and have a spinal block (very frightening - they put it in too high up so i couldnt breath!!) then of course i was in overnight!! NOT going to happen again!!! 

Had baby no.5 with absolutely no problems at all - text book! - was very disappointed as they made me go to hospital with him but this time (yes am having no.6!!) i have stuck to my guns and am having a home birth - they have been going on and on about having in hospital but the odds of having another retained placenta are 1-3 appatently so i have said i will take the chance as odds in my favour.

Realistically you cannot do anthing to prevent another retained - its just the luck of the draw as to where it adheares inside your womb.

As i said, i will not be having another spinal block thats a fact!! you can insist that they put you out (which is what i will be doing should it come to that) and then as soon as my brain is working again im outa there!!! pronto! as you can guess i hate hospitals and will not stay in for a second longer than i need to! LOL

I have been fortunate not to have suffered pph after the placenta and i am sure it deffinately isnt hereditary so i guess all we can do is keep our fingers crossed and hope the odds are for us!!  good luck to all xxxx

05/02/2008 at 08:44

i had a retained placenta but this had not happened to any of my family members so i do not know about the hereditary part, it had definitely put me off having another child even though i want one as after the birth the midwife pulled the cord and the placenta stayed inside so a doctor came and shoved his hand up there and tried yanking the thing out in the end i was took to surgery and had it removed which led to complications and massive blood loss

i too took pregnancycare vitamins but was using cocoa butter on my tummy, but thanks to your guys research i will now try to monitor what i am taking or putting on and see if it helps

 this has been wonderful as i have struggled to find information on this for three years i now feel confident enough to try for child number two thank you soo much


07/02/2008 at 23:32

I never had retained placenta and took 1 x pregnacare and 1 x 1000mg evening primrose oil and 1 x safflower oil capsule every evening as well as flaxseed capsules x 3 and calcium x 3 throughout the day.  I also kept my tummy well oiled with vitamin E and honeyhomeopathic cream - and never got one strech mark except on my boobs after the birth where I never used this as I was breastfeeding and was fearful the honey may be ingested by my little one.

Overall I think this is a lot of Vitamin E so wonder what next time will bring as I fully intend to do the same again.  I am a vegetarian and get my EFAs from flaxseed and took the safflower as had heard it helps with labour?!

08/02/2008 at 13:16
I've been using Palmers cocoa butter cream which contains vitamin E all the way through my pregnancy, should I stop using this? xx
08/02/2008 at 13:17
Just dont really wana change creams incase I do get stretch marks as I havent actually got any at min! thanks xx
08/02/2008 at 16:05

This is a very small sample to make any changes for I would speak to yopur midwife or doctor Like I said I used it throughout pregnancy and my SIL recommended the cream to me as she used it also with no retained placenta How many other other people used Vit E creams with no ill effects who knows, conversley who knows how many maybe did I amn't discounting these guys claims but don't take it as gospel, speak to a health professional

I will ask at my post natal group about this it isnt something which has come up top be honest

none of us had retained placenta in my NCT or NHS groups and we did a variety of things when it came to expelling the placenta such as letting nature take its course etc.  I will see at least how many used vit E creams.

I will definitely use them next time as I am obviously one of the lucky ones it doesn't affect in this way

09/02/2008 at 12:04

yes my sister used palmers all the way through and she did not have any problems at all so it is not proven and does not affect us all the same if you are worried though talk to a doctor.

but i did try all the natural ways to expel the placenta nad during surgery the surgen said there was no way my placenta would have come away with out the surgery 

09/02/2008 at 22:44

Hi again

About the ongoing Vitamin E debate; I now use pure organic cocoa butter from Neals Yard (no Vitamin E like in Palmers) which is great, doesn't smell too strong but it is the consistency of candlewax at room temp so I have to warm it up or scrape flakes off which melt as soon as you rub them in. Not ideal I know, but as I'm still breastfeeding, I'd much rather have no chemicals on my skin or entering my bloodstream. 

Secondly, the midwife pulled the cord with my first baby (retained placenta) and not with the second, so there could be some connection there, but I'm more inclined to think that it just grows that way during your pregnancy. With hindsight I don't think I really pushed as hard as I should have. So I reckon that the motto is: keep on pushin!!

16/02/2008 at 19:32


I was looking at all the sterchmark creams today in boots and they all seem to have Vit E in them, even the Bio Oil which a lot of people have recomended to use.  Should I be avoiding all these? I'm nearly 12 weeks and I want to use some thing which might help prevent any stetch marks.  I looked at lots of different types of cocoa butter too and they ALL have vit E in.  It anyone has found some without where are you getting it from?

Many thanks


17/02/2008 at 08:22
maybe just use i rich body moisturiser and continue regularry moisturise, if you are worried. but, really there is no proof that it is vitamin e, as i said my sister used it and did not have any bad affects maybe you could talk to your doctor or midwife to see if they could recomend something
27/02/2008 at 19:16

Hi All,

What an interesting read, I had a retained placenta after the birth of my little boy and ended up in theatre to have it removed and lost over a litre and half of blood. during my pregnancy I also used neals yard mothers butter which sounds similar to what Kate used which has no vitamin e. I am pregnant again and met with the consultant at my 12 week scan and he is going to have some bloods ready and pop in a drip when I get to the hospital rather than waiting until after the birth. He also said that as I am a redhead apparently we are prone to being "bleeders" haha, very reassuring.

Good luck all this time round.

 Cathy, Angus and 15+5 

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