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ABSTRACT

Manual removal of the placenta carries significant risk of hemorrhage and infection plus the risks associated with general anesthesia, if used. Transporting the patient from home or birthing center to hospital or from birthing room to delivery room or operating room is also disruptive to the patient and the initial parent–infant attachment process. The injection of oxytocin into the umbilical vein is a safe procedure that can cause placental separation and delivery, thus preventing the need for manual removal for some women. This technique can be useful in a nurse-midwifery practice in the management of a retained placenta or prolonged third stage of labor. The following review of current research and example of a protocol used in a nurse-midwifery service will provide guidance for incorporating this procedure into practice. As with any new technique, the need to continue to collect and publish outcome data is important.