Know The Normal Stages Of Labour

Know The Normal Stages Of Labour

Posted by Scone Equine Hospital on 2nd Apr 2019

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.


Please Note: *CUSTOMER SELF DECLARATION* By purchasing any prescription product from the SEG Online store, you acknowledge and agree the following is true and accurate.

  1. I confirm that my horse was examined by a Scone Equine Group veterinarian who prescribed this medication for use in the horse’s treatment on the basis of their diagnosis of the horse’s condition.
  2. By confirming this order, I agree to use this prescription medication in the manner prescribed, on horses under my care and for which I have the authority to act under veterinary direction.
  3. I have read and understood that I need to seek immediate veterinary advice if my horse’s condition changes or deteriorates in any way whilst being treated with this prescription medication.

NB: If there is a particular prescription product you need which is not on this list, please contact your SEH veterinarian directly.