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Information on the Fourth Stage of Labour


mom in hospital bed holding her newborn baby

The fourth stage of labour is the first two or three hours after birth.

During this time you might experience tremors and chills, as well as discomfort from after-pains, episiotomy or tears, and hemorrhoids.  

You may also feel dizzy or faint if you stand up.

If possible, try to rest - recovering from the hard work of labour and birth takes time. If you're feeling well enough, you may wish to take a warm shower. Make sure you have someone nearby who can help you if you need support or start feeling dizzy or weak.

What to Expect During Fourth Stage Labour

  • Babies often breastfeed or nuzzle mother's breast. 
  • Fatigue from blood loss during labour.
  • Body shakes.
  • Difficulty peeing due to swelling.

Tips for you and your support person

  • Ask for more warm blankets as you need them.
  • Place an ice pack (wrapped in a towel) between your legs to decrease swelling in your perineal area.
  • Drink fluids and eat a light meal if you are hungry.
  • Ask for help to stand up.


  • Continue breastfeeding and cuddling your baby.
  • Keep your baby skin-to-skin until after your baby finishes the first feeding and then for as long as you wish.
  • Skin to skin is the best way to help your baby learn to breastfeed and keep your baby warm, calm, and stable. Partners can use skin to skin contact to help keep baby warm if you need to get up.

Resources and Links:

Labour and Delivery

Last Updated: August 8, 2013