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Third Stage

Category: Obstetrics or Midwifery

The birth of the head is very soon followed by the shoulders
and the rest of the body, and the woman is now at comparative rest. The
cord is now tied and cut and the child laid away, if all right, in a warm
place until it can be washed and dressed. Following the birth of the child
there is a short resting period, the contractions of the womb cease and it
becomes smaller through retraction. After a few minutes the pains begin
again, the after-birth separates from its attachment in the womb, and
together with the membranes is extruded into the vaginal canal and vulvar
opening; whence it can be easily delivered by pressing upon the abdomen
over the lump (womb) and by guiding the after-birth with the cord. This
should be done slowly so that the membranes will all come away with the

This should always be examined to be certain that everything has come
away. A greater or less amount of clots of blood come with the
after-birth. The contraction of the womb stops the bleeding, one hand
should be kept on the abdomen over the womb, to see that it remains hard
and retracted. The womb moves under the hand. If it softens, gentle
rubbing should be kept up and the womb will soon remain contracted. This
stage averages about fifteen minutes.


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