The Third and Fourth Stage of Labor - The Afterbirth

No, its not a scary movie and every woman’s experience is unique. 'The Afterbirth' is the first hour or two after delivery, a monumental time where emotions and hormones go rushing all over the place.

congratulations kangaroo

Where your body continues to morph into what is postnatal, afterbirth, and recovery. Biologically speaking so much is happening. After the birth of your baby, your uterus continues to contract to push out the placenta. The tone of the uterus is reestablished as the uterus continues to contract again and again, expelling any remaining contents.The placenta usually delivers about 5 to 15 minutes after the birth arrives. Honestly, I don't know if it was just me, but at this point I barely even noticed this happening. Our bodies are just amazing btw.


And yes, remember the rush of hormones I mentioned earlier? Oxytocin - the happy hormone helps here big time for both Mom and baby! 

So your baby is born, the placenta has delivered, and you and your partner will most definitely feel joy and fatigue. Most babies are ready to nurse and eat within a short period after birthing. Others wait longer. If you are planning to breastfeed, we amongst medical professionals strongly encourage you to try to nurse as soon as possible after your baby is born….skin to skin majorly helps with this process.

Keep in mind, many midwifes tend to immediately swaddle babies. Studies have shown that babies held in skin to skin versus swaddled, responded better to breastfeeding. Opt for holding your baby on you, vrs swaddling and putting in a cot. Speak up for what you want, Mom you got this!

You will tend to miss visual hunger cues from baby, especially so soon after birth if in the swaddled blankets.


skin to skin vrs swaddling


Watch and Learn:

The Crawl - Baby's First Crawl - Initiation of Breastfeeding…Babies are amazing 


Most medical professionals place a good value on the golden hour, which are considered these first couple of hours immediately after birth. But after the doctors leave, and the few nurses, it's up to you and your husband and/ or partner to welcome and take care of this little bundle of joy into your family’s life. Everything is amazing and all new, especially so for new Moms. Still so for even Moms second, third etc. time around Moms. Am I right? 

If a first mom, you will experience maybe a first diaper change, a first bath, a first cry, a first burp, a first eye open. Everything will be new, and when your baby finally does start to cry. You want nothing more than to help your baby. Any Mom can agree with that.


Mom and Dads instinct should be on high and want to help the baby. But may feel clueless. So try to keep in mind that your baby has just entered an entirely new world. With lights, people, smells, and Mom holding and touching her is mostly all your baby needs. Your baby will not want anything more than to feel as comfortable as she/he could be by being close to Mom and by receiving the nutrients and care to grow. Oh how they grow so fast. 


The first poop, the first hiccup, the cute new onsie, leaving the hospital, family visiting. The 4th stage of labor often gets swooped up and forgotten quickly. Many women need to rush back to responsibilities, quicker and quicker these days so it seems. 


You will be in recovery, those signs you start to feel about 1 hour later after birth.  Because at first, and for a while tbh, you will be in a baby daze. Your LO has arrived and you will just be rushing with those happy hormones.

So skin to skin and nursing not only are good for the bond between baby and Mom, they also help your uterus contract, allow Mom and baby to get much needed rest, help produce milk and prolactin and will also help decrease in the amount of bleeding you experience. Trust me, you want the less bleeding bit. 

For more details on All of the Stages of Birth:

To read on about some signs and symtpoms Moms felt after birth:

After birth you might experience tremors, and chills, as well as discomfort from after-pains, episiotomy, or tears, and hemorrhoids. You may feel dizzy when standing up. You may need some assistance to move around again. 


Best advice - If possible, try to rest! - recovering from the hard work of labour and birth takes time. If you're feeling well enough, you may wish to take a warm shower. Make sure you have someone nearby who can help you if you need support or start feeling dizzy or weak.



What to Expect During Fourth Stage Labour
Babies often breastfeed or nuzzle mother's breast. 
Fatigue from blood loss during labour.
Body shakes.
Difficulty peeing due to swelling.
Tips for you and your support person
Ask for more warm blankets as you need them.
Place an ice pack (wrapped in a towel) between your legs to decrease swelling in your perineal area.
Drink fluids and eat a light meal if you are hungry.
Ask for help to stand up.
Continue breastfeeding and cuddling your baby.
Keep your baby skin-to-skin until after your baby finishes the first post and then for as long as you wish.
Skin to skin is the best way to help your baby learn to breastfeed and keep your baby warm, calm, and stable. Partners can use skin to skin contact to help keep baby warm if you need to get up.

Keep in mind: Newborns should be nursing every 2 to 3 hours. After they’re done, they shouldn’t be looking for more milk. Weight loss, jaundice and weakened vital signs should also be considered warning signs that a child isn’t receiving enough food from breastfeeding alone. Consult a breastfeeding consultant for help, and your midwife and doctor to make sure your baby is growing healthily and Mom is healing well post birth. 


Baby Skin2Skin