what to expect after birth

The D-Day is finally here. You’ve been preparing for this moment for the past nine months. All the prep, the fatigue of giving birth - whether it is a normal delivery or a home birth, it all just fades away. Your little one has come into the world and the moment is much more magical than you had ever imagined. After the initial wave of happiness subsides you start to think, “What happens after giving birth to the baby?” True your body has gone through a multitude of changes and will return to normal in this postpartum phase, even as your newborn adjusts to the environment outside your womb. Lots to get used to right, mom? Don’t worry we’ve got your back with handy basics of what you can expect after giving birth to keep in mind about you and your precious little one. What happens to the baby?

In case of a vaginal delivery

Your baby will be given to you almost immediately for the super-important skin-to-skin contact. Making skin to skin contact with your baby helps the baby stay warm, and enables you to connect with him after giving birth.

In case of a C-section

Your baby will be placed in a radiant warmer for a brief period. The doctors need to ensure that your baby is hail and hearty by running some routine tests. After this, your baby will be given to you for making skin-to-skin contact.

When should the umbilical cord be cut?

Professionals recommend that you delay cutting the umbilical cord for at least a couple of minutes after childbirth. Studies show that they may receive important nutrients from the placenta. The baby is more likely to have a higher red blood cell count, which results in higher iron levels and a lower risk of anemia.

Is there a need for eye drops for the baby?

Your baby will be highly alert for the first one hour after coming out of the womb. Initiating eye contact with your baby at this time will create a magical moment for the parents to cherish forever. Your nurse or midwife may apply an antibiotic to your little one’s eyes, which causes temporary blurriness. This ointment is to protect your child from any eye infections that may happen during birth. You can ask your nurse to delay this process so you can have some time to establish eye contact with your little muffin.

Breastfeeding for the first time

Since your baby will be extremely alert for the first hour or so, it is the best time to breastfeed him for the first time. It is a great bonding activity along with skin and eye contact. Breastfeeding immediately can also be beneficial for your baby as he it is a source of colostrum, which is the nutritious fluid your breasts produce before the milk comes in. Postpartum breastfeeding can also be beneficial for the mom. It helps in the contraction of the uterus and also slows down heavy bleeding. It may take your baby some time to locate the nipple and begin sucking, but your nurse can help you out. You can also call a lactation expert to help and guide you through the process.

APGAR testing

To evaluate your newborn’s general health, your doctor will conduct the APGAR test. This test is conducted twice - once immediately after giving birth and the second time after a few minutes. Your baby will be scored on a scale of 0 to 10 basis the following criteria:

  • A (Appearance): The skin colour of the baby will be checked to make sure the baby is normal and healthy.

  • P (Pulse): The heart rate of your baby will be checked.

  • G (Grimace): This will test the baby’s reflexes and how he reacts to stimulation

  • A (Activity): This test is done to ensure that your baby is making active and spontaneous movements.

  • R (Respiration): A newborn’s respirations are more rapid than adults. In this test, the breathing of your little one should be somewhere between 30 and 60 breaths per minute.

A newborn's first bath

When they are just delivered, newborns are covered in a substance called ‘vernix’. It’s a natural moisturizer that coats the skin of your baby. You can ask your nurse to delay your baby’s first bath by a couple of hours to allow your baby’s skin to completely absorb the vernix. Massage it gently into his skin, allowing you and the baby some one-on-one time. After a couple of hours, if you are feeling up to it, you can join the nurse in giving your baby his first bath.

What can the mother expect after giving birth?

As important it is for the baby to be safe, it is equally important for the mother to be safe too. You’ve just gone through hours of labour and are bound to be feeling tired and emotional. Take your time to do things, don’t rush. Lay back and enjoy the calm, healing process.

Period of postpartum

Postpartum or postnatal period begins immediately after childbirth. In this period, your body, including hormone levels and uterus size, returns to a non-pregnant state. The postpartum period lasts for about six weeks after delivery.

Delivery of the placenta

After you have given birth to your baby, you will deliver the placenta. If you have had a c-section your doctor will stitch you up after you have delivered the placenta. After this, you can rest and recover for a while as your baby naps peacefully in the nursery.

Is it common for mothers to feel lightheaded after giving birth?

Most moms lose some blood during childbirth. It is common to go feel dizziness, but informing your nurse or your partner is always a safe option. This way they can keep an eye on you and make sure you are completely safe. If you want to take a shower, try and take the help of your nurse in case you feel dizzy suddenly.

Final check-ups

Before you leave the hospital with a newborn in tow, you’ll have to go through some standard tests, screenings, and immunizations. These tests make sure that the baby and the mom are both completely healthy and fine. For a healthy, vaginal birth, you can anticipate remaining in the hospital for 24 to 48 hours before you're discharged. For a c-section birth, you'll probably be kept under supervision for about two to four days as you begin to recover from surgery. After you fill-up the required paperwork, you will be all ready to leave and take your tiny one home!

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