Uterus Doesn’t Stop Working As Soon As Baby is Born
The uterus continues to contract first to birth your placenta, and then over the coming hours and days until it shrinks right back down to it’s prepregnancy size! (Don’t sorry you won’t be having 3 full blown contractions every 10 minutes, but you will feel them to birth your placenta and often when breastfeeding as ‘after pains’ particularly second time +) It must do this, because it is the contracting back down that clears the placenta and blood out of the uterus, and constricts the now open blood vessels where the placenta had been attached to the inside uterine wall- causing them to close and stop bleeding. If the uterus doesn’t contract in this way it can cause complications such as retained placenta/products or heavy bleeding/post partum haemorrhage
For this reason, it is important that your birthing space is protected after the birth of your baby in the same way that it had been during labour itself. Your body needs the same wonderful cocktail of hormones to facilitate the immediate after birth physiology- so ensuring you feel safe, relaxed and undisturbed! Keep those lights off, keep people out of the room, keep baby close, skin to skin, encourage early breastfeeding and keep warm in the immediate hours after birth. This is generally quite easy to facilitate at home and even on a birth centre. Sometimes on a labour ward it can suddenly feel a bit rushed with people popping in and out and lights coming back on etc. don’t be afraid to be quite explicit with how you wish to protect this immediate postpartum moment- it is still considered part of the birthing process! Words via @birth_ed - check out their hypnobirthing course!