What is the difference between expectant and active management of the third stage of labor?

Updated: Jan 24, 2019
  • Author: Sarah Hagood Milton, MD; Chief Editor: Christine Isaacs, MD  more...
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Expectant management of the third stage of labor involves spontaneous delivery of the placenta. Active management often involves prophylactic administration of oxytocin or other uterotonics (prostaglandins or ergot alkaloids), cord clamping/cutting, and controlled cord traction of the umbilical cord. Andersson et al found that delayed cord clamping (≥180 seconds after delivery) improved iron status and reduced prevalence of iron deficiency at age 4 months and also reduced prevalence of neonatal anemia, without apparent adverse effects. [18]

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