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LABOR Stage III (Placental Expulsion)

LABOR Stage III (Placental Expulsion)

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Published by: api-3797941 on Oct 17, 2008
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LABOR: Stage III (Placental Expulsion)

Stage III of labor begins with the birth of the baby and is completed with placental separation and expulsion. Lasting anywhere from 1\u201330 min, with an average length of 3\u20134 min in the nullipara, and 4\u20135 min in the multipara, this stage is the shortest. Careful management and monitoring are necessary, however, to prevent short- and long-term negative outcomes.

Behaviors may range from excitement to fatigue.

BP increases as cardiac output increases; then returns to normal levels shortly thereafter.
Hypotension may occur in response to analgesics and anesthetics.
Pulse rate slows in response to change in cardiac output.

Normal blood loss is <500 ml.
May complain of leg/body tremors/chills, leg cramps
Manual inspection of uterus and birth canal determines presence of tears or lacerations.
Extension of the episiotomy or birth canal lacerations may be present.
Dark vaginal bleeding beginning as a trickle occurs as the placenta separates from the

endometrium, usually within 1\u20135 min after delivery of the infant.
Umbilical cord lengthens at vaginal introitus.
Uterus changes from discoid to globular shape and rises in abdomen.


1. Promote uterine contractility.
2. Maintain circulating fluid volume.
3. Promote maternal and newborn safety.
4. Support parental-infant interaction.

Fluid Volume risk for deficit
Risk Factors May Include:

Lack/restriction of oral intake, vomiting, diaphoresis,
increased insensible water loss, uterine atony,
lacerations of the birth canal, retained placental

Possibly Evidenced By:
[Not applicable; presence of signs/symptoms
establishes ana c tu a l diagnosis]
Display BP and heart rate WNL, palpable pulses.
Demonstrate adequate contraction of the uterus with
blood loss WNL.
Instruct the client to push with contractions; help
Client attention is naturally on the newborn; in
direct her attention toward bearing down.

addition, fatigue may affect individual efforts, and she may need help in directing her efforts toward assisting with placental separation. Bearing down helps promote separation and expulsion, reduces blood loss, and enhances uterine contraction.

Assess vital signs before and after administering
Hypertension is a frequent side effect of oxytocin.
Palpate uterus; note \u201cballooning.\u201d
Suggests uterine relaxation with bleeding into uterine
Monitor for signs and symptoms of excess fluid
Hemorrhage associated with fluid loss greater
loss or shock (i.e., check BP, pulse, sensorium,
than 500 ml may be manifested by increased pulse,
skin color, and temperature). (Refer to CP:
decreased BP, cyanosis, disorientation, irritability,
Postpartal Hemorrhage.)
and loss of consciousness.
Place infant at client\u2019s breast if she plans to breast-
Suckling stimulates release of oxytocin from the
posterior pituitary, promoting myometrial
contraction and reducing blood loss.
Massage uterus gently after placental explusion.

Myometrium contracts in response to gentle tactile
stimulation, thereby reducing lochial flow and
expressing blood clots.

Record time and mechanism of placental separation; Separation should occur within 5 min after birth.
i.e., Duncan\u2019s mechanism (placenta separates from
The Duncan\u2019s mechanism of separation carries
the inside to outer margins) versus Schulze\u2019s
increased risk of retained fragments, necessitating
mechanism (placenta separates from outer margins
close inspection of the placenta. Failure to separate

may require manual removal. The more time it takes
for the placenta to separate, and the more time in
which the myometrium remains relaxed, the greater
the blood loss.

Inspect maternal and fetal surfaces of placenta.
Helps detect abnormalities that may have an impact
Note size, cord insertion, intactness, vascular

on maternal or newborn status.
changes associated with aging, and calcification
(which possibly contributes to abruption).

Obtain and record information related to inspection
Retained placental tissue can contribute to post-
of uterus and placenta for retained placental
partal infection and to immediate or delayed
hemorrhage. If detected, the fragments should be
removed manually or with appropriate instruments.
Avoid excessive traction on umbilical cord.
Force may contribute to breakage of the cord and
retention of placental fragments, increasing blood
Administer fluids through parenteral route.

If fluid loss is excessive, parenteral replacement helps
restore circulating volume and oxygenation of vital

Administer oxytocin (Pitocin) through IM route, or
Promotes vasoconstrictive effect within the uterus
dilute IV drip in electrolyte solution, as indicated.
to control postpartal bleeding after placental
IM methylergonovine maleate (Methergine) or
explusion. IV bolus may result in maternal
prostaglandins may be given at the same time.

hypertension. Water intoxication may occur if
electrolyte-free solution is used. Note: Methergine is
contraindicated in presence of hypertension/

Obtain and record information related to inspection
Lacerations contribute to blood loss; can cause
of birth canal for lacerations. Assist with repair of
cervix, vagina, and episiotomy extension.
Assist as needed with manual removal of placenta
Manual intervention may be necessary to facilitate
under general anesthesia and sterile conditions.
expulsion of placenta and stop hemorrhage.
Elevate fundus by dipping fingers down behind
May be requested by practitioner to facilitate
and moving uterine body up away from symphysis
internal examination.
Injury, risk for maternal
Risk Factors May Include:
Positioning during delivery/transfers, difficulty with
placental separation, abnormal blood profile
Possibly Evidenced By:
[Not applicable; presence of signs/symptoms
establishes ana c tu a l diagnosis]
Observe safety measures.
Be free of injury.
Palpate fundus to note \u201cballooning\u201d of uterus, and
Helps identify relaxation of uterus and subsequent
massage gently.
bleeding into the uterus and facilitates placental
Gently massage fundus after placental expulsion.
Enhances uterine contraction while avoiding
(Refer to ND: Fluid Volume, risk for deficit.)
overstimulation/trauma to fundus.
Assess respiratory rhythm and excursion.

With placental separation, danger exists that an
amniotic fluid embolus may enter maternal
circulation, causing pulmonary emboli, or that fluid
changes may result in emboli mobilization.

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