Labor and delivery (18)
- Episiotomy: When it's needed, when it's not
- Inducing labor: When to wait, when to induce
- Labor pain: Weigh your options for relief
- see all in Labor and delivery
Postpartum care (14)
- Breast-feeding support: How a partner can help
- Weight loss after pregnancy: Reclaiming your body
- Sex after pregnancy: Set your own timeline
- see all in Postpartum care
Stages of labor: Baby, it's time!
Stage 3: Delivery of the placenta
After your baby is born, you'll likely feel a great sense of relief. You might hold the baby in your arms or on your abdomen. Cherish the moment. But a lot is still happening. During the third stage of labor, your health care provider will deliver the placenta and make sure your bleeding is under control.
How long it lasts: The placenta is typically delivered in about five to 10 minutes. In some cases, it may take up to 30 minutes.
What you can do: Relax! By now your focus has likely shifted to your baby. You might be oblivious to what's going on around you. If you'd like, try breast-feeding your baby.
You'll continue to have mild contractions. Your health care provider might massage your lower abdomen to encourage your uterus to contract and expel the placenta. You might be asked to push one more time to deliver the placenta, which usually comes out with a small gush of blood.
Your health care provider will examine the placenta to make sure it's intact. Any remaining fragments must be removed from the uterus to prevent bleeding and infection. If you're interested, ask to see the placenta.
Your health care provider will also determine whether you need stitches or other repair work. If you do, you'll receive an injection of local anesthetic in the area to be stitched if it's not numb already. You might also be given medication to encourage uterine contractions and minimize bleeding.
Savor this special time with your baby. Your preparation, pain and effort have paid off. Revel in the miracle of birth.Previous page
(2 of 2)
- Funai EF, et al. Management of normal labor and delivery. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Jan. 4, 2011.
- Simkin P, et al. Nonpharmacological approaches to management of labor pain. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Jan. 4, 2011.
- Satin AJ. Latent phase of labor. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Jan. 4, 2011.
- Funai EF, et al. Mechanism of normal labor and delivery. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Jan. 4, 2011.
- Normal progress of labor. In: Gabbe SG, et al. Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Churchill Livingston Elsevier; 2007. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/page.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-443-06930-7..50014-1--cesec14&isbn=978-0-443-06930-7&sid=1097726136&type=bookPage§ionEid=4-u1.0-B978-0-443-06930-7..50014-1--cesec14&uniqId=230414861-3#4-u1.0-B978-0-443-06930-7..50014-1--cesec14. Accessed Jan. 4, 2011.
- You and your baby: Prenatal care, labor and delivery, and postpartum care. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. http://www.acog.org/publications/patient_education/ab005.cfm. Accessed Jan. 4, 2011.