What is the third stage of labor?

Updated: Jan 24, 2019
  • Author: Sarah Hagood Milton, MD; Chief Editor: Christine Isaacs, MD  more...
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The third stage of labor is defined by the time period between the delivery of the fetus and the delivery of the placenta and fetal membranes. During this period, uterine contraction decreases basal blood flow, which results in thickening and reduction in the surface area of the myometrium underlying the placenta with subsequent detachment of the placenta. [17] Although delivery of the placenta often requires less than 10 minutes, the duration of the third stage of labor may last as long as 30 minutes.

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