Third stage of labour

The third stage of labour is when the whenua/afterbirth (placenta) comes out.

Find out more about this stage, including how long it lasts and your choices for the whenua.

The whenua/afterbirth (placenta)

After your baby is born you will feel some more contractions as the whenua comes away from the wall of your uterus (womb) and out through your vagina. The whenua is what fed and supported your baby while they were growing inside you. The cord from the whenua, which is attached to the baby, may be clamped or left for a few minutes after the birth to provide the baby with extra iron. An injection is sometimes recommended. Whether or not you have this injection is something to discuss with your midwife (or specialist doctor) in your birth planning.

Caring for the whenua

After the birth you will be asked what you want to do with the whenua. The whenua is very special to some women and they choose to take it home. You could talk with your whānau before the birth and make a decision about the whenua with them. You can also include your decision about the whenua in your birth plan. To find out more about caring for the whenua, the National Women's Health Clinical resources - patient information page has a PDF called 'Disposal and burial of the whenua'.


These are not as strong as those you had during labour. 

Related website

Stages of labour – National Women’s Hospital (Auckland District Health Board)
About the three stages of labour.

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