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Third stage of labour

After the excitement of giving birth, the delivery of the placenta is somewhat of an anti-climax. However, it is potentially a time of great hazard.

Pic: Getty Images

Article originally in Health24

There is always a chance of complications such as the mother haemorrhaging or a retained placenta that may require a manual removal. Thus, this stage needs to be well managed. The use of oxytocic drugs, early clamping and division of the umbilical cord and controlled cord traction for delivery of the placenta are all measures used to prevent any of the above complications.

This stage usually happens within 30 minutes of birth.

Placenta phase and post partum


  • The umbilical cord is cut and unless there are complications, the baby is usually placed on the mother's abdomen.

Contractions are:

  • Mild and not regular.

Mother's reaction:

  • Not too aware of the placenta
  • Relief and elation
  • Hunger
  • Many women get after-pains or "the shakes" after birth

Mother should do the following:

  • Gently push when asked to
  • This is a good time for the first breastfeeding, which is enjoyable for mother and baby and also tightens the uterus and decreases bleeding

Father/birth partner should do the following:

  • Congratulate the partner on how well she did.
More about the stages of labour:

The first stage
The second stage
Read more on: birth  |  labour  |  pregnancy


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