The third stage of labor is when your uterus continues to contract to push out the placenta (afterbirth) after your baby’s birth. The placenta usually delivers about 5 to 15 minutes after the baby arrives.

Stage Three of Labor

Your baby is born, the placenta has delivered, and you and your partner will probably feel joy, relief, and fatigue. Most babies are ready to nurse within a short period after birth. Others wait a little longer. If you are planning to breastfeed, we strongly encourage you to try to nurse as soon as possible after your baby is born. Nursing right after birth will help your uterus to contract and will decrease the amount of bleeding.
What to expect & what to do:
After the delivery of your baby, your health care provider will be looking for small contractions to begin again. The contractions signal that your placenta is separating from the uterine wall and is ready to be delivered.
Pressure may be applied by massage to your uterus and the umbilical cord may be gently pulled. The result will be the delivery of your placenta, also referred to as the afterbirth. You might experience some severe shaking and shivering after your placenta is delivered. This is a common symptom and not a cause for concern.
After completing all the stages of childbirth, you will be monitored for the next few hours to make sure that the uterus continues to contract and that bleeding is not excessive.
You should now be able to relax and enjoy your little bundle of joy!

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Compiled using information from the following sources:
William’s Obstetrics Twenty-Second Ed. Cunningham, F. Gary, et al, Ch. 17.
Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn: The Complete Guide. Simkin, Penny, P.T., et al, Ch. 9.