The third stage of labor is typically the shortest. This is when the placenta or the afterbirth is delivered. Your contractions will now resume, but they will be milder as the placenta separates from the wall of the uterus and is expelled.
Post the birth of the baby the placenta is a redundant organ and hence needs to be delivered. The third stage of labor lasts typically between 15-30 minutes. If it is taking longer the doctor may introduce Pitocin which is synthetic Oxytocin via the IV to initiate or augment the contractions and help separate the placenta. The doctor will also check to make sure that all parts of the placenta have been delivered. If any part is left behind it can cause an infection.
Initiating breastfeeding soon after birth helps the uterus contract and can help the placenta deliver much faster without any intervention. Breastfeeding releases the same hormone Oxytocin but in a natural form and this can augment the uterine contractions and also reduce postpartum bleeding.
Most moms may not even realize that the contractions have resumed as they are so occupied with the baby and all that is happening with the baby.
We now also consider a fourth stage of labor which is called the recovery stage. The uterus contracts and sheds the excess lining. This is the time to breastfeed your baby and get to know your newborn. Spend as much time together as a family as you can, considering the baby is in a highly alert state for the first 60-90 minutes after birth. The baby is also overwhelmed from all the new sensations and the new environment so being held by the mother helps the baby to calm down.
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Also read: Second Stage of Labor
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