The Stages of Labor and Birth in a Vaginal Delivery

Third Stage

Delivery of the Placenta

The incredible moment of baby's birth is followed swiftly by the delivery of the placenta (sometimes called "the afterbirth"). This usually takes anywhere from a few minutes to a half hour.

What You May Experience:

You'll likely be so absorbed in getting to know your newborn that you won't notice much about this phase. Your practitioner may ask you to push to expel the placenta. You may experience cramping and pain as this process takes place.

What You Can Do:

You may be asked to put the baby to your breast, as this stimulates uterine contractions, or your practitioner may gently massage your abdomen to help stimulate placental separation. As the third stage ends and the drama of childbirth comes to a close, you'll probably feel an overwhelming sense of fatigue. There's bound to be a good deal of hubbub around you, but, as soon as you can, you should close your eyes and get some rest.

Copyright © 2001

All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.

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