There is so much prep and thought that goes into the delivery process, but you might be wondering what next? Once you have delivered if you’re thinking that you have your baby and that’s all you need to know, you might be in for a bit of a surprise. In order to better prepare yourself, here are 6 things you need to know about what happens in the first moments postpartum.
1. Newborn Assessment.
Immediately once the baby is born, he will be placed on you while they are delaying the cord clamping. At this point your baby will be suctioned if needed with a bulb syringe in the mouth and nose, will be dried, and stimulated until he starts to cry. Crying helps the baby’s lungs open up and expel the amniotic fluid.
Note: If your baby requires further assistance to breathe or if there are other complications, then the baby will be taken care of by a team of by neonatologists and specialized nurses next to you in the same room. If the baby is stable, he will be giving back to you for skin-to-skin. If the baby requires further assistance due to complications, the baby may be brought to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at this point for treatment or supervision.
2. Cut The Cord.
Usually the doctors will choose to do delayed cord clamping to benefit the baby. Waiting an extra minute to cut the cord can benefit the baby in many different ways, such as; decreases the risk of intraventricular hemorrhage (brain bleed), stabilizes the blood pressure, decreases the risk of anemia, and increases the baby’s supply of stem cells. Ask your doctor for more details, or visit the WHO’s recommendations.
When the cord is ready to be cut, the doctor will allow the father or support person to cut the cord with their assistance. This is a big moment for Dad’s, their time to shine!
Once the cord is cut the baby will be placed on your chest for skin-to-skin. Skin-to-skin has many benefits for mom such as bonding and to help stimulate the production of colostrum. The benefits of skin-to-skin for the baby are to regulate their temperature, to calm them, ameliorate their lung and heart function, and stabilize their blood sugar. When babies are cold they are using their energy to stay warm which can lower their blood sugar further. Keeping them warm have many benefits for both mom and baby.
4. Deliver the Placenta.
You may or may not be completely distracted by your newborn to notice that you are delivering your placenta. Yes, you are doing a second delivery. Your uterus will continue to contract after the baby is born to deliver your placenta. The contraction won’t be as strong as they are for delivering your baby, but you may be asked to push the placenta out to accompany your contractions. The doctor must check to make sure the whole placenta comes out, because otherwise can cause many serious complications. The whole procedure of delivering the placenta can take a couple minutes up to half an hour.
5. Get Stitched.
If you have teared or if the doctor made an incision (episiotomy) to assist your labour, your perineum will be stitched after delivering your placenta. A tear or episiotomy can range from a first degree to a fourth degree laceration. This can be very painful, planning ahead for the different type of pain relief measures will be helpful instead of waiting after. You can use warm compresses to bring blood to the area in order to increase healing, cold compresses to decrease swelling, sitz baths, witch hazel pads, and anti-inflammatory medications such as Ibuprofen.
Once your baby is placed on you, you can begin to express your colostrum to give to your baby. Whether you get your baby to latch right away or express your colostrum in a cup and give it to your baby, either is fine. The colostrum is the first milk that is produced, it is thick and rich in nutrients. Your baby’s stomach is the size of a cherry at birth, so remember he does not need a large quantity.