Thursday 30 March 2017
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Third phase of labour: Step-by-step explanation and tips


If you thought birthing the baby marks the end of labour, then you need to know that there is more in store for you. The process of labour ends with the birth of the placenta. This phase can last from anywhere between five minutes to an hour.

What to expect

Slow contraction: After the birth of your baby, the uterus starts to contract to help birth the placenta. At this stage the contractions would be less intense. The contractions return a few minutes after the birth of your baby. With the return of the contractions you will again feel a surge to push down and now you can do it in a slow and gentle manner.

Birthing of the placenta: As the contractions set in the placenta peels away from the walls of the uterus and prepares it’s exit through the vagina. Also the excess water drains out along with the placenta. Sometimes an injection is given in the thigh of the mother to make the process faster. Delayed placental birth can lead to heavy bleeding post delivery.

Clamping of the cord: Once the placenta is birthed, it’s time to cut the cord and give your baby the status of an individual. This can be done either by the father or the medical help staff. Sometimes the clamping is done even before the birth of the placenta, especially if you wish to bank the cord blood cells, as they would lose on their efficacy if storage is delayed. There are various benefits of delayed clamping too. Read more to know about the pros and cons of delayed cord clamping.

What you can do

Demand a breast crawl: Once your baby is out in the world try to connect instantly with your baby. Demand for a breast crawl to your doctor. This not only helps in the mother-baby bonding but also has a host of other benefits to reap. Know more about the benefits of a breast crawl.

Start to breastfeed: We know you aren’t in the position to sit upright after the delivery nor you have the energy to do it right away. But this is necessary. The nourishment you provide your baby right after birth through breastfeeding, keeps your baby off infections and also helps to kick start the little systems well. Colostrum, your baby’s first food is what you would be offering to your baby as the first feed and it has a lots of benefits to give your little one. Know more about the importance of colostrums.

Take rest: Your baby might be active for few minutes or upto two hours after birth and then fall asleep. Take advantage of this time and steal some rest. You need to stack up on your energies to keep up with the demands of your newborn. Postpone making the announcement of your baby’s arrival to after you have taken enough rest. Family and friends can visit you when you feel a tad better.

Remember you can opt to breastfeed and demand for a breast crawl even before the birth of the placenta if you wish too. The skin-to-skin contact with mother early helps to stabilize the breathing of the baby and also set in the contraction for placental birth. Experts also believe that breastfeeding after delivery helps in placental birthing and lessens bleeding post delivery.

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