Labor and Birth Stage 3: Birth of the Placenta

The Afterbirth

The third and final stage of labor is when you push out the placenta (also known as the afterbirth). This stage can take anywhere from a few minutes to more than half an hour after your baby is born. Holding your baby in your arms against your breast and letting her “nuzzle” or suck will stimulate the release of oxytocin (a hormone that helps the uterus contract) and help your body push out the placenta.

  • Your contractions will stop for a short period of time after you've given birth to your baby.
  • When they begin again, they are usually not as painful. These contractions will cause the placenta to separate from the uterine wall.
  • Once the placenta separates completely, you will probably feel the urge to push it out. Your health care provider will help guide you.
  • After you push out the placenta, your uterus will shrink to just behind your belly button.

Continue to "How to Cope with Labor Pain" journey to parenthood

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Most recent page update: 9/9/2010