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Birthing the Placenta

The majority of healthy pregnant women can expect the natural process of labour to result in the birth of a healthy baby, followed by the birth of the placenta (or “afterbirth”). The time between the birth of the baby and the delivery of the placenta is referred to as the third stage of labour and is a crucial time in the development of the bond between the mother and her new baby. Allowing the placenta to arrive naturally without the use of drugs and other interventions also has other important benefits.

The Maternity Services Consumer Council has produced a pamphlet to provide you with evidence-based information about the importance of birthing the placenta naturally, a process known as a physiological third stage of labour.

Information in the pamphlet covers:

  • What is the third stage of labour?
  • Physiological third stage
  • Advantages of a physiological third stage
  • Active management of the third stage
  • Reasons for active management
  • The risks of active management
  • Lotus Birth
  • Cord Blood Banking

Before you give consent to the active management of the third stage of labour your midwife or doctor should make sure you understand why it is being recommended, and explain the risks, benefits and possible consequences of the interventions being proposed.

If you would like to receive a copy of our pamphlet – a single copy is available free of charge – or wish to order copies for your practice, then please contact us at mscc@maternity.org.nz, or download a copy of our order form from our website. Please note there is a charge for ordering multiple copies of this series of pamphlets; the charge depends on how many you order.

“At a time when Mother Nature prescribes awe and ecstasy, we have injections, examinations, and clamping and pulling on the cord. Instead of body heat, skin-to-skin contact, and the baby’s innate instinct to find the breast, we offer separation, wrapping, and outside assistance to “attach” the baby. When time should stand still for those eternal moments of first contact, as mother and baby fall deeply in love, we have haste to deliver the placenta and clean up for the next case.”
- Sarah Buckley