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After birth what is important?

French obstetrician and author Michel Odent says that it’s important not to wake the mother after birth - and he’s right.

After giving birth your oxytocin levels peak to the highest level you will probably ever experience.
It’s a real-life Cupid’s arrow that makes you become enchanted and fall in love with your baby. That’s why it’s so important to keep mother and baby together from the moment baby is born and not to disturb them. Once baby is born, he should be put on your belly skin to skin and depending on the length of the umbilical cord (and whether the placenta comes quickly or not) should be in your arms as soon as possible. Measuring baby and doing other routine checks can (and should) wait - your midwife or nurse can monitor your baby without disturbing you.
Baby is very alert in the first hour after birth, with eyes wide open, taking in the world around him. Because his eyes are so wide open (and because he’s just come out of a dark environment) dimmed lights help him adapt more easily. Keeping the room warm, quiet and calm helps increase the production and flow of oxytocin and prolactin, which improves breastfeeding and slows postpartum bleeding.
The placenta (or afterbirth) is born usually within an hour of baby being born. Once baby and placenta have been born your body’s next job is to start reducing the uterus back to its original size - basically it’s going from the size of a watermelon to a medium-sized pear in just a few weeks. For the first few hours and days after birth, when baby breastfeeds you will feel your uterus contracting more vigorously -baby’s sucking stimulates hormones that help your uterus.

What if my environment is not ideal?
Humans are mammals whose birthing process has evolved over thousands of years. When our ancestresses were living in the wild, they had to have the ability to stop labour if they felt they were in danger. This is done with a surge of adrenaline, the hormone that gives us the fight or flight response and helped our ancestresses stop labouring until they found a safe space to have their baby in. We don’t live in the wild anymore, but we do sometimes birth in environments that are stressful and can prevent our hormones from doing their jobs.
In cases like these, labour can start and stop more often, may stop progressing and the need for assistance in birth (like artificial hormones, instrumental or caesarean birth) increases. That’s why it’s important to choose your birth place with care, and to make sure that your environment and the people in it work in a way that supports the hormonal orchestra.