This stage refers to the delivery of the placenta, which usually happens within 10 to 30 minutes of the birth of your baby. This is when you finally get to experience the joy and wonder of holding your new baby and the delight of your accomplishment.
Your baby is making the transition to life outside the womb. He greets the world by taking his first breath and is placed on your abdomen. Quite naturally, even if you have never touched a baby before, you will touch, stroke and embrace your baby.
Being together is actually nature's way of providing exactly what you and your baby need after birth. Holding your baby close to you helps him stay warm. Touching and stroking stimulate your baby to maintain his breathing and other body rhythms. Skin to skin, your baby will smell, lick and snuggle into you, which sets the stage for unhurried and unpressured breastfeeding. The pressure of your baby on your abdomen, his licking and touching of your breasts, and eventually his latch and sucking will help the uterus stay firm and will decrease bleeding.
What follows is a guide to what's happening, and what helps, as you move through labor and give birth, as well as a visual snapshot of birth.