Third Stage of Labor — Once Your Baby is Born
The third stage of labor is the shortest stage, lasting from 5 to 20 minutes. After the baby is born, the uterus continues contracting, although with less intensity than during the first two stages. The placenta spontaneously separates from the wall of the uterus and is expelled. You may be asked to push with the contractions to deliver the placenta, or your caregiver may guide foe placenta out using firm fundal pressure. The placenta should be allowed to separate without strong traction or pulling on the cord. Otherwise, placental tissue may be retained inside the uterus, which can result in postpartum hemorrhaging.
Once the placenta is delivered, your caregiver will examine it to determine if it is intact. If necessary, he may do an internal examination of the uterus to make sure that no placental tissue has been retained. This examination is uncomfortable, but you can reduce the discomfort by doing a breathing pattern.