Childbirth in steps


On average, it takes 30 minutes for the final stage of childbirth. The midwife and/or obstetrician at your side give you guidance.


Several positions are possible

• The lithotomy position, lying down with your feet in stirrups.

• Lying on your side, with your legs bent and apart.

• The position of suspension, with your arms attached to a support.

• The all-fours position.


To find out more about these positions, do not hesitate to ask your midwife or doctor for advice.


During this final stage

  • During a single contraction (30 to 40 seconds on average), you generally push two or three times, breathing out very forcefully. 
  • As soon as the contraction has passed, you take the time to relax and breathe normally.
  • If you have chosen the lithotomy position, the baby’s head often appears first. Once the head is free, the midwife tilts it downwards to release the highest shoulder and then the second one. The body then slips out of its own accord in a few seconds. One or two additional contractions are sufficient to push out the rest of the body.
  • The newborn cries spontaneously and establishes aerial breathing, which will give them a pink complexion.
  • If everything is fine, your baby will be wiped and placed directly on your stomach, their head to the side and their nose clear. The midwife puts a hat on their head and places a warm covering over their body.
  • More and more maternity hospitals are practising skin to skin contact. Examinations can thus be left to a later stage and bathing may be avoided. 
  • The midwife or the doctor offers the father the chance to cut the umbilical cord.
  • It is compulsory for you and your baby to be monitored in the delivery room for two hours.
  • Your baby may show signs of awareness that direct them towards your breasts. You may thus give them their first feed.


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