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Know The Normal Stages Of Labour

Scone Equine Hospital - Wednesday, September 05, 2018
Know The Normal Stages Of Labour

Knowing the normal stages of labour in your mare can be crucial in knowing when you need to call your veterinarian. Read below the 3 stages of labour in a step by step guide.


Initial uterine contractions begin

Mare may appear agitated, sweat, get up and down, walk consistently, paw the ground, roll, have a general change in behaviour or generally look uncomfortable.

The duration of this stage can vary from mare to mare.


Starts with rupture of the chorioallantoic membranes (waters breaking)

Stage of active expulsion of the foal. Mares usually deliver in lateral recumbency (lying down).

Strong abdominal contractions occur.

Normal delivery is often within 20 minutes of waters breaking.

Foal should present forelegs first, one slightly in front of the other, followed by the muzzle and head on top of the legs then the rest of the body with the hind legs.

Once the foal is out, the umbilical cord ruptures (breaks) within a few minutes.

If 10 minutes of strenuous stage 2 labour produces no signs of the forelimbs or head, the mare should be examined in a clean manner (utilising gloves) to determine foetal position. If forelimbs and nose are present allow another 10 minutes. If no forelimbs or nose are present, the presentation feels abnormal, or continuous strenuous labour fails to expel the foal, contact your veterinarian immediately!


Expulsion of the placenta within 3 hours of foaling.

A visit from your veterinarian post foaling is recommended within the first 24 hours.

Appropriate action must be taken promptly in the event of a stressful foaling. If unsure or in doubt at any stage of labour, it is always best to call your veterinarian as early as possible.