How long does it take for the placenta to be delivered after birth? Is it riskier to have a natural 3rd stage(and potentially risk haemorrhage) or to have the syntometrine (and risk the uterus contracting too quickly?) Are there any side effects to having the syntometrine injection?

If you try for a natural (physiological) 3rd stage it can take typically up to an hour for the placenta to be delivered and yes, breast feeding will help as it encourages your womb to contract, thus expelling the placenta. It is more common for you to need an operation to remove the placenta (manual removal of placenta) with a physiological 3rd stage. Also, the risks of haemorrhage are increased with a natural third stage. Syntometrine is a combination of oxytocin and ergometrine. The drug speeds up delivery of the placenta and significantly reduces the risk of bleeding, expulsion of the placenta also then typically takes only a few minutes. This is why syntometrine is routinely offered to all women. Serious side effects of syntometrine are extremely rare: It can make you feel a little sick and does cause your womb to contract suddenly and so you can feel pain for a short time. Having said this, if all goes well at delivery you can certainly try for a natural third stage, itís your choice and a decision you should make at the time with the staff caring for you.
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