Women are usually offered an injection of ‘syntometrine’ during the baby’s birth. This is a mixture of two drugs, syntocinon and ergometrine both of which help the uterus to contract and so speed up the delivery of the placenta and membranes. This is thought to help prevent the risk of heavy bleeding. Having this injection means that the third stage of labour lasts about ten to fifteen minutes.
If you have raised blood pressure, you will be offered a slightly different injection – just the syntocinon. Ergometrine is known to stimulate a rise in blood pressure.
If your pregnancy, labour and birth have been straightforward, there is no reason why you should not have a ‘physiological’ third stage of labour. This is when you do not have this injection and your body completes the process of birth naturally, usually within an hour of your baby’s birth.
If you are keen to have a physiological third stage of labour, discuss it with the midwife looking after you. She will let you know whether this would be appropriate for you.1
1 “Evidence-based guidelines for midwifery-led care in labour” RCM