The birth of your new baby is such a beautiful and wonderful moment. There are very few times in life that can even compare to this experience. While newborn babies have fantastic and amazing abilities you wouldn’t even think of, they are completely dependent on you for warmth, feeding and comfort.
With birth, come several amazing physical changes and experiences. If you are expecting a baby, you may be wondering what to expect when it comes to the care of your newborn in the delivery room. There are a few things that you will want to prepare for.
When your little one is born they can easily become cold due to the amniotic fluid build up on their skin. The nurses will dry the baby and use warm blankets to prevent them from losing their warmth. Oftentimes, they will place a hat on the baby’s head to ensure they stay warm.
Skin to skin contact with their mother on the tummy or abdomen can also help to keep the baby warm so they will want you to hold your little one. It is important to have skin to skin contact early in your baby’s life as it improves the bond you have with your little one, reduces crying and even helps mothers to breastfeed more successfully if they plan to.
Immediately after your newborn’s birth, the nurses will begin assessing your bundle’s health. One of the first tests that is usually performed is called the Apgar test. This test works on a scoring system to evaluate the newborns condition at 1 and 5 minutes after birth. The nurses evaluate the following, assigning a point value to each:
- Heart rate
- Muscle tone
- Reflex irritability
- Appearance of skin color
A score from 7-10 is what is considered normal, a lower score of 4-6 can indicate that the baby needs some additional help and monitoring. A score less than 3 means there needs to be immediate interventions when it comes to utilizing lifesaving techniques.
A very brief physical exam will be performed to look for clear signs that the newborn is healthy. There will also be other procedures completed over the next few hours and minuets, either in the delivery room or nursery depending on the hospital and your baby’s health.
- Measurement of length, weight and head circumference.
- Measurement of heart rate, temperature and respiratory rate.
- Cord care.
- Footprints recorded in the medical record.
Newborn Care after a Cesarean
Chances are, if your baby was born by c-section, you will be awake during the procedure. Most cesarean births are done with a spinal or an epidural. Only part of your body will be numbed for this surgery, but you will be able to hear and see your baby as soon as your bundle is born.
Babies born by c-section are checked by a nurse immediately following delivery. This is often performed in the operating room, near the mother.
It is important to note that some babies born by cesarean may have some difficulty clearing out the mucus and lung fluid, needing extra suctioning of the mouth, nose and throat. This will be done rather quickly if necessary.
Once your baby has been checked, the nurse usually wraps him or her in a warm blanket to bring over to you to touch and see. Some hospitals require c-section delivery baby’s to be monitored in the nursery for a short period of time, where all the usual procedures like weighing will be performed. Your baby will usually be brought right back to you while you are in the recovery area.
This is when I had prepared my husband before our c-section so he knew to go with the nurses. I wanted one of us to be with our babies. He was able to be with them to see what the nurses were doing and be able to ask questions.
He took a video of most of what was going on so I was able to watch. It was fun to see my parents and sisters peaking through the windows watching the nurses while my husband was in the nursery filming and our little ones getting a good check up.
One of my twin boys wasn’t breathing for a good minute or two after birth and had to have that bag put over his mouth/nose to start him breathing so he needed a good checking out. All was well though even though it was a scary 2-3 minutes right after he came out.
It is a good idea to plan to have someone stay with you after your c-section delivery as you will experience a fair bit of pain in the first few days. They can help you with the baby when necessary.
Newborn Care after a Vaginal Delivery
As quickly as possible after a vaginal delivery, your new baby will be placed directly into your arms. When a healthy baby is born from vaginal delivery, there will be some assessments performed, usually right in the room. This allows you to remain close to your little one through the entire process as most assessments will be performed right in the room.
In the first few hours after his or her birth your baby will probably be wide awake and alert, offering you a great chance to get to know your little one. Your baby may turn to the sound of your voice as it is the most familiar one they will notice. Remember, your baby can see best at about 8 -12 inches, which is usually the distance from your arms to your face.
Keep in mind that the first few hours is also the prime time to start breastfeeding if that’s what you are planning on doing. Babies have a sucking reflex that gives them an amazing ability to feed immediately after birth. Most healthy babies can breastfeed right away, helping to stimulate your breast milk production.
The birth of a new baby is an exciting and wonderful experience for everyone in involved. Just make sure you are aware of the things that will usually take place after your baby is born so you know what to expect.
Tours and Classes To Be Prepared
I highly recommend taking your hospital tour so they will show you the birthing rooms and operating rooms are and what to expect and where everything will is located.
For the normal childbirth classes there is no need to go to your hospital one night a week for 6 weeks. Check out my friend Hilary’s Online Childbirth Class. She has been a labor and deliver nurse for over 15 years and has taught the classes at her hospital. Now you can take the class in your own home and at times convenient for you and your partner. Check it out now.
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