Parent Time

Fourth Stage of Labor

(Rest, Repair, Relaxation)

This stage is really more about getting back to normal than anything else. Your blood pressure, temperature and heart rate will stabilize in much the same way a marathon runners does: a little at a time during the hour after the placenta is delivered. Contractions will cease. Your uterus will harden, doing its job to tighten around the blood vessels that had supplied the placenta and your baby with nutrients. Your midwife or doctor will keep an eye on you, make sure the entire placenta was expelled and take a look at the umbilical cord. If you had an episiotomy, this is when you'll get a few sutures.

Your medical person will make sure you didn't suffer any tears in delivery and will repair them if you did. You probably won't be paying much attention, since once your baby is checked out for health and admired for his or her beauty, wiped down, weighed and identified, you will most likely be spending this time getting to know each other. The fourth stage is typically the time parents spend counting fingers and toes and wondering at the fact that their newborn is much more gorgeous than anyone else's could ever be. And that's just the way it should be.

Stages of Labor Sections of Interest

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