The third stage of delivery is sometimes called “afterbirth.” After your baby is born, the placenta is no longer needed so it will begin to separate from your uterus. Usually within 30 minutes after delivery, your placenta is completely separated and your provider will remove it. You may notice some mild contractions, but they’re much less intense than your labor contractions.
After the placenta is delivered, your provider will massage your uterus to make it contract, which helps to close the blood vessels where the placenta was attached, and to reduce your blood loss. Through your IV or by injection, you may be given a medicine called pitocin, or oxytocin, to help keep your uterus contracted to reduce blood loss. Your provider will check your placenta to make sure that it’s completely separated from your uterus. This is important because if any placenta remains in your uterus, it can cause further bleeding and possible infection.
The last part of your delivery is when your provider checks your cervix, vagina, and perineum. If you had an episiotomy or have torn during delivery, you’ll receive stitches at this time. The nurse will then help clean you up and help you with breastfeeding or anything else that you need.