Viral Plate Photo Shows Why Moms Need Longer to Recover After Birth, For Those Who Don't Get It

placenta wound after giving birth
breastfeedingmamatalk/Facebook

There's a common misconception that women should just be able to "/bounce back" after birth. Some people who've never had a baby think that if a woman just eats right and exercises during her pregnancy and has a "natural" and "easy" birth, that she should be back up and running at full speed in, like, two weeks. But there are important reasons why many countries give new moms not just weeks but months to recover. And a major one of those reasons has to do with a dinner plate. Yes, you read that right.

  • The popular Facebook page Breastfeeding Mama Talk shared this image of a common dinner plate to show the size of the wound left behind post-birth.

    Its post, originally shared by Earth Mama Organics, reads: "We tell women all the time how important rest and recovery after birth is. The placenta leaves a large wound where it once was. If that same wound were exposed culture would see healing after birth in a different light."

    After a baby is born, the placenta detaches from inside the uterus. That 8-inch dinner plate represents the size of the open wound it leaves behind. That's why we bleed so much. That's why birth is so dangerous. That's why we need more than "four to six weeks" to recover.

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  • The startling image has struck a chord with moms, many of whom say they were never even educated on what happens in their bodies post-birth.

    placenta dinner plate size comparison
  • placenta dinner plate size comparison
  • For others, the image started a serious conversation about the lack of paid maternity leave in the US.

    placenta dinner plate size comparison
  • placenta dinner plate size comparison

    This isn't the first viral image to show what happens in a uterus after a woman gives birth. Last year, a nurse shared a similar image using a paper plate and explained, "After a baby is born, mothers are told to take it easy for at least 4-6 weeks. There are good reasons for that! One of those reasons is that after the baby is born, mothers are left with a wound on the inside of their uterus where the placenta was attached. That wound will take at least 4-6 weeks to completely heal. During that time they are still susceptible to infection and hemorrhaging."

    The problem is that in the US, many moms are forced to go back to work less than two weeks postpartum. Only 20 percent of US employers offer any paid maternity leave, and the ones that do often don't include leave for fathers, so moms are left at home without any help. Meanwhile, the US has some of the highest rates of maternal mortality in the developed world.

  • When you look at the image of that plate and compare it to the way women are treated post-birth, it's clear something needs to change.

    placenta dinner plate size comparison

    The moms of this country deserve better, and so do our babies.