What to Expect During Labor: Stage 3

Your baby has been delivered! If your baby was born without complications, you’re soon able to hold your baby in your arms. Time seems to stand still during these precious moments. Enjoy this moment with your baby.

Labor Stage: 3While you may feel an extreme peace once delivery is over, there are still some things that need to get done. Stage 3 of labor includes the delivery of the placenta. It typically lasts 5 to 10 minutes. After you have delivered your baby, you will begin to feel contractions again. These contractions serve to separate the placenta from the uterine wall. Your doctor may ask you to push to help move the placenta through the birth canal. There is usually a small amount of blood delivered with the placenta, but the process is generally not painful.

Stage 3 is also when any tears from delivery will be repaired. Local anesthesia will be applied to the area and a doctor will stitch up the tear.

After delivery, your uterus needs to keep contracting. This helps cut off blood flow to the blood vessels previously attached to the placenta, meaning it helps stop blood loss. Nurses will check your uterus to ensure its contracting. If it is not, you may be given medication to stimulate contractions and decrease bleeding. These contractions are not painful.

You may feel shaky or have the chills after delivering your baby. This is normal. Ask for a blanket if you need one to keep warm. Some women report having afterbirth pains for 2-3 days after delivery. These are light cramps that are similar to menstrual pains. If you are in a lot of pain, ask for pain medication. Otherwise, they are normal and should subside in a couple days.

When do I start breastfeeding?

It’s best to start breastfeeding as early as possible. Some babies are not hungry within the first hour after delivery, but it is worth a try. It is a great bonding experience for mother and child. Breastfeeding also releases oxytocin in the mother’s brain which helps the uterus to contract and prevent blood loss.

Why happens to my baby in the nursery?

About an hour after delivery, your baby will go to the nursery to be warmed and for medical examinations. In the nursery, your baby’s temperature is constantly monitored. A baby can lose heat much more quickly than an adult, and therefore they need to be kept warm in these first hours of life. Also, if your baby’s hands and feet appear blue, it is normal. The baby’s body will rush blood towards the heart and brain and away from the hands and feet after delivery to stay warm. The medical examination includes monitoring the blood glucose level, checking all body parts for abnormalities, and running blood tests for genetic diseases such as PKU and sickle cell anemia. Babies are often given hearing tests in the nursery, and it is advised to immunize your baby for hepatitis B at this point. Once your baby can sustain a 98.6 degree temperature on its own, your baby can be released from the nursery and back into your arms.

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