The following are a few suggestions that may assist you in supporting yourself during the 4th stage of the labour. They include:
Food and fluids
Physical help to the toilet or shower
Heat and ice packs
Asking for pain relief
You will still need your partner or support person's physical and emotional strength and support in the 1st hour after the birth. They could require some input and direction from you regarding your needs at this point. They too will probably be feeling a rush of adrenaline and an array of emotions as well as physical tiredness, but you are still a priority.
Your caregiver will usually remain with you until after the placenta has been delivered and you and your baby are stabilised. They will normally help make you dry and comfortable (and respectable) before attending to their other duties. However, occasionally your caregiver may be caring for more than one woman in labour and may need to attend to the other woman, leaving you, your partner and baby alone for short periods. While this is not common, it can occur if the ward is busy, and some women can be left feeling physically uncomfortable or emotionally vulnerable at this time. Alternatively, your caregiver(s) may be preoccupied with caring for your baby if the baby is unwell.
In these circumstances you may need to voice your needs and concerns to your partner or support person or ask them to find a caregiver who is not busy to give you a hand. Perhaps your partner could find some extra blankets if you are feeling exposed or cold. If the sheets underneath you are making you feel cold or uncomfortable, then ask them to place a dry towel underneath you or go outside to the midwives' station to ask for guidance.
NOTE: Don't ask your partner or support person to remove your legs from stirrups without the guidance and help of your caregiver. This needs to be done correctly to avoid nerve and ligament strain.