Third Stage of Labor

There are critical physiological changes that happen within birthing parent and baby immediately after birth that allow for bonding and a healthy transition from womb to word. What are they, how can they be supported, and how do interventions change the hormonal flow?  Dr. Sarah Buckley tells us more. Check it out.

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What we talked about:

  • What is the third stage of labor?
  • What naturally happens -physiologically and hormonally- during the 3rd stage?
  • The large and critical body changes that occur in mom during this stage.
  • How baby needs to adjust from fetal to newborn circulation
  • How to best support these adjustments
  • Why skin-to-skin is an important metabolic step
  • Giving yourself that much needed pause
  • The immediate oxytocin high that allows for bonding and imprinting in both baby and mom
  • How adrenaline and noradrenaline plays an important role for baby’s transition
  • What does the “active management of third stage of labor” involve?
  • Where do these practices come from
  • How high is the risk of maternal bleeding after birth?
  • Are there any risks for mother and baby from an active management approach?
  • Routine use of Pitocin
  • Is a calm and peaceful 3rd stage incompatible with active management?
  • How the placenta detaches, and how quickly does it need to come?
  • The importance of delayed cord clamping
  • What parents can do for a more physiological third stage
  • The need for active management when labor is not physiologically supported


Resources, links, and other great info:




Courtesy of Sarah Buckley

About Dr. Sarah Buckley

Sarah is a GP/family physician, author of the best selling book Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering, and currently full-time writer and mother to her four home-born children.

Sarah’s work critiques pregnancy, birth, and parenting from the widest possible perspectives including the scientific, anthropological, psychological, and experiential, Sarah has been sharing her unique blend of science and wisdom with parents and birth professionals internationally since 2005.

Her special interests include the hormonal physiology of childbearing, with her report on this topic published in January 2015.

Sarah encourages us all to be well informed, to listen to our hearts and instincts, and to take our rightful place as the real experts in our bodies, our babies and our families.

She lives with her family on the semi-rural outskirts of Brisbane, Australia.

For more about Sarah and her work see and her membership website





Title music:Vibe Aceby Kevin MacLeod, from the Free Music Archive / CC BY (edited for length).

Sponsorship music:Air Hockey Saloon” by Chris Zabriskie, from the Free Music Archive / CC BY (edited for length).

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