Third Stage of Labor

June 26, 2017

The third stage of labor begins with the birth of the baby and ends with the delivery of the placenta. The rhythmical contractions that you have been experiencing temporarily cease. The contractions gradually return and cause the placenta to be expelled. There is nothing you need to do to hasten the process.

After the placenta has been delivered, the hormone Pitocin may be injected into the buffalo cap to hasten the contraction of the uterus and to prevent unnecessary bleeding.

The birth canal will be inspected for any tears and, if necessary, a few skillfully placed sutures may be required to return the tissues to their normal position.

During this time, the lighting in the room may be dimmed since the baby’s eyes are very sensitive.

Your baby will be carefully monitored following the delivery. At one and again at five minutes following the delivery, the baby’s heart rate, respiratory effort, color, muscle tone, and reflexes will be evaluated and given a score, which is referred to as the Apgar score. Scores of seven to nine at five minutes are considered normal. A score of 10 is very unusual since few babies have pink hands, fingers and toes within five minutes of delivery.

After you have inspected your baby, the nurse will place an identification band on the baby’s wrist and ankle and a matching band on your wrist. The baby will be weighed and measured, and the baby’s footprints will be taken.


Sign Score 0 Score 1 Score 2
1. Heart Rate Absent Below 100/beats/minute Over 100 beats/minute
2. Breathing Effort Absent Slow, irregular Good, crying lustily
3. Muscle Tone Lim Some bending of arms, legs Active motion
4. Reflex Irritability No Response Cries, some motion Vigorous cry
5. Color Blue, pale Pink body, blue hands and feet Completely pink
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