After Delivery

You have just given birth—what happens next?



You have just given birth—what happens next?

Immediately

Welcome to the cold, bright world! Babies are not able to control their temperature well, so they need to be kept warm and dry following the birth. If you had a vaginal delivery and you and your baby are doing well, he will likely be placed on your belly to be dried off. This skin-to-skin contact initiates bonding between mom and baby and helps him stay warm.
His nose and mouth will be suctioned to remove excess liquids and to clear his breathing passages. Nurses will cover him with a towel or blanket and put a hat on him. The umbilical cord is clamped and your partner can cut it. A sample of the umbilical cord blood will be taken to check your baby’s blood type and to use for additional tests.
C-sections: After the baby is lifted from the belly, his mouth and nose are suctioned, then the umbilical cord is cut and he is placed in a warmer, where he will be dried off and have his first tests. If he is doing well, he will then be swaddled in a blanket and brought to your partner, who has been sitting by your head during the surgery. Your partner can hold your bundle of joy while you’re being stitched up, and you can kiss and admire your baby.

One to five minutes after birth

An Apgar assessment will be done twice (at one and five minutes after birth) to quickly evaluate your baby’s physical condition and to determine whether there is a need for additional medical or emergency care. A health care provider checks baby’s Appearance, Pulse, Grimace, Activity and Respiration and rates each one on a scale of 0 to 2, then totals the score. A score of 7 to 10 is considered normal. This test can usually be done while your newborn is resting on your belly.

Within the first 30 minutes after birth

According to the Mayo Clinic, the placenta is typically delivered a few minutes after the baby is born, but in some cases it might take up to 30 minutes. After you give birth, you will continue to have mild contractions. Your health care provider might massage your abdomen and ask you to push a couple more times to encourage the delivery of the placenta. Don’t worry—this is nothing like delivering the baby, and you likely won’t feel much. If you have a C-section, the placenta will be removed during the procedure.

After delivery of the placenta, you will be cleaned up and any tears will be stitched. At this point, between the emotions of giving birth and the activity in the room, you will hardly notice what is happening to you!

Your baby’s footprints will also be taken shortly after his birth. Most hospitals make two copies of the footprints: one for the hospital record and one for a keepsake.
A nurse will put an ID band on you, your baby and your partner shortly after the delivery, and certainly before taking the baby out of the room for any reason.

Within the first hour after birth

Baby’s first hour outside the womb is very busy! Caregivers will continue to monitor your newborn’s health as they put antibiotic drops in her eyes to prevent infections, weigh her, measure her length and head circumference and give her an injection of vitamin K to help her blood clot.

Babies tend to be very alert right after birth, so this is a good time to start breastfeeding. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that healthy full-term infants “be placed and remain in direct skin-to-skin contact with their mothers immediately after delivery until the first feeding.”

Within the first few hours

Your newborn will get a complete pediatric exam and have his first bath (usually in the nursery). After his initial alertness, he will spend much of the first day sleeping.

You will likely be feeling an avalanche of emotions—you have just had a life-changing experience!

Try to limit visitors and spend the first day resting and bonding as a family.

“I was on this loopy adrenaline high that first day. I tried to sleep, but I couldn’t,” says Overland Park mom Jessica.

These are general guidelines of what typically happens after childbirth. Various factors may affect the timeline of these events.

Tisha Foley has delivered two babies, now ages 9 and 6. Her family lives in Belton. As always, please consult with your medical provider with any health concerns. 

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