Fourth Stage of Labor

June 26, 2017

During the first few hours following birth, the uterus will contract in size, and bleeding will gradually subside. During this time, you may eat or drink as desired and should rest to refresh yourself.

Both you and your baby will be carefully monitored by the nursing staff for one to two hours. The nursing staff will teach you to massage the uterus to keep it contracted.

Afterpains, or contractions of the uterus, are more noticeable after second and subsequent births.

Lochia is the normal flow of blood, excess tissue, and fluid from the uterus. It will be monitored for amount and consistency.

Phones are available so that you can notify family and friends of this long-awaited event.


Getting to know your baby and incorporating this new little stranger into your family is a process that is referred to as bonding. The first few hours following the delivery seem to be very important to this process. The baby is usually very alert and receptive during this time, making it an excellent opportunity for you to become acquainted. Feel free to touch and hold your baby, look into the baby’s eyes, talk to the baby and, if you wish, nurse.

From two to 24 hours following birth, your baby will often be very sleepy, and most babies do not seem to be as receptive to the bonding process during that time.

The Postpartum Area
Approximately two hours after birth, you will be transferred to your room in Women’s Care. Your baby will be taken to the nursery at this time for a brief exam, bath, and photo.

During your stay, your baby may either stay with you in your room or be in the nursery. Do not feel that your baby must be with you all of the time. It is very important for new mothers to get plenty of rest.

Your doctor or nurse midwife will normally examine you baby in the nursery between 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m.

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