While you're pregnant, you may constantly think about your baby's birth. But after your baby is born, a lot is going on, and there's plenty you need to do.
The first thing both doctors and mothers focus on is skin-to-skin contact, as research has found that it helps with bonding. In most cases, the doctor will place the baby on your chest as soon as they're born, even before cutting the cord.
This will allow you to be close to your newborn right away. After that, the doctor will clamp the umbilical cord and dry your baby. They will also cover the baby with a blanket to prevent them from getting cold.
Your baby may have some vernix or blood on their skin. Vernix is the protective white substance on a newborn's skin that keeps the child safe in the womb. You can also request that the doctor or the midwife dry your baby before giving them to you in a blanket.
In some cases, doctors will have to clear mucus from the baby's mouth and nose. If the child's breathing needs some initial help, the doctor will take them to a different part of the labor room to give them oxygen. They will then bring your child back to you.
A pediatrician will examine your baby, weigh them, measure their height, and give them a band with your name on it. If you want to get your baby boy circumcised, you will be recommended to do it on the first or second day after their birth.
Feeding the newborn
Mothers can choose to bottle-feed or breastfeed their babies. Breastfeeding is typically recommended since it allows the child to get nutrition and antibodies from the mother. If you decide to breastfeed, you will be encouraged to start as soon as possible after your child is born.
If you choose to bottle-feed, someone will assist you with your first feeding.
Nurses will check your child's feeding patterns and well-being throughout your stay at the hospital. If you have any questions or concerns, don't hesitate to ask them.
Vitamin K injection
Along with feeding, a vitamin K injection is also essential for your child. This helps prevent hemorrhagic disease of the newborn, which is a bleeding disorder. Your doctor would have discussed this with you during your pregnancy.
If you do not wish your child to be injected, they will be given vitamin K orally.
What happens to the mother after a baby is born?
Mothers often get too caught up in the immediate care of their children. But postpartum care for the mother is just as critical.
If you had a vaginal delivery, you would have soreness in the region. If you had a tear or the doctor had to make an incision, the area will take a few weeks to heal. During this time, it might hurt. You can reduce discomfort by doing the following:
- Sit on a pillow rather than a hard surface, such as a plastic chair.
- Put an ice pack on the area to cool it.
- When you're urinating, pour warm water over the area between your anus and vaginal opening through a squeeze bottle.
- Ask your doctor to prescribe over-the-counter pain relief medications. You can also use a numbing cream or spray.
- If you have constipation, ask your doctor to prescribe you a stool softener.
You may have contractions after your child is born. These are afterpains, and they continue for a few days after delivery. The pain is similar to menstrual cramps. Afterpains help prevent bleeding as they compress your uterine blood vessels.
You are more likely to have afterpains if you choose to breastfeed your child. They're a result of oxytocin release. The hormone is released when you breastfeed. If the pain is too much to handle, talk to your doctor. They'll recommend over-the-counter medications for pain relief.
You may have sore breasts for a few days following delivery as your milk comes in. Your nipples may also be sore.
Vaginal discharge after your child's birth is heavier than your period. It may also have clots. Your discharge will stop in a few weeks.
Emotionally, you may have the "baby blues" in the postpartum period, characterized by sadness, anxiety, and crying. They usually last for one to two weeks. Baby blues are common in women and could be related to exhaustion, hormonal, and physical changes. If they have not passed within a few weeks, contact your doctor, as you may have more severe post-natal depression.
Your body may take months to heal, especially if you have had a cesarean section. You may even have emotional issues for a long time. In the first few days after delivery, you'll experience the most pain. It gradually gets lesser with time. Don't hesitate to ask for help in newborn care, as overexertion and exhaustion can delay your healing process.
Nemours KidsHealth: "Recovering From Delivery."
NHS: "What happens straight after the birth?"
Mayo Clinic: "Postpartum care: What to expect after a vaginal birth."
Mayo Clinic Health System: "Immediately after delivery."
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