There are three stages of parturition, or foaling. The first stage is preparation, as the mare is restless, may get up and down, look at her sides, raise her tail, and sweat; this can go on for hours! She is experiencing uterine contractions and the fetus rotating into normal delivery position. The second stage begins when the “water breaks,” or several gallons of allantoic fluid are expelled. The foal should present one front foot, then the other (soles down), with the head stretched out on top of the legs. Delivery should take only 20-30 minutes; any longer may indicate abnormal fetal position and a need for emergency intervention. Stage three is simply the passing of the placenta or “afterbirth” and uterine involution. Typically this happens without assistance and within three hours of foaling. A new foal usually stands within the first hour of birth, which breaks the umbilical cord, and is trying to nurse by two hours. Call the vet immediately if any of these stages do not seem to be progressing normally. If all goes well, call the clinic the next day to schedule an exam of the new foal and the mare.