When you find out you’re pregnant, there is so much to learn. First, second, third trimesters, Lamaze classes, shopping lists and healthy diets, taking your baby home and everything after that. Sometimes there’s so much to learn, nine months later you’re in labor and you suddenly realize you don’t know what to expect out of your hospital visit. We get it, and we have all the answers for you right here about what to expect right after you meet your little one.
Immediately After Giving Birth
After you get through the really painful part, there will be a lot going on! Your baby will be immediately placed skins to skin as long as both of you are stable. ID bands will be placed on the baby’s wrist and leg immediately after birth. Your skin to skin time is called the golden hour and this will continue until your baby has nursed or the first hour is finished. They’ll then get foot printed and their weight will be obtained. This is the basic procedure right after delivery.
They will be transported with you to the postpartum area after your recovery time. Once you arrive on postpartum your nursery nurse will give them their first medicines. They will be given an injection of vitamin K. This is to help their blood clot to minimize any bleeding. A nurse will also apply an antibiotic ointment to their eyes to protect them from infection. But don’t worry—your baby can still see, and the ointment is not irritating.
At our hospital all of our stable babies room in with their mom so that Mom and family can spend time together the first days. This will help you recognize feeding cues and help you bond with your baby. Remember—you have the right to question or refuse any treatment that doesn’t sit right with you!
The First Hour
After you’ve delivered your baby, you’ll need to deliver the placenta. It’s about one-fifth the size of your baby, and sometimes slides out immediately, but you may still feel some intense cramping. This can take anywhere from 30-60 minutes, too. Your nurse will give you a medication called Pitocin, either through an injection or through the IV fluids you’re already hooked up to. This will also help your uterus contract to reduce bleeding. In addition to the medication, your uterus may be massaged externally or your nipples stimulated to induce these contractions.
Your doctor will inspect your genital area for any lacerations that need to be repaired, and if there are any they’ll be repaired at this time. A small amount of local anesthesia will numb the area, so you may feel pressure but no pain.
After any repairs have been made, your area will be cleaned with warm water, and a sanitary pad will be placed underneath you. You’ll be helped into clean, dry clothes. Some moms shiver intensely after birth, so you’ll get a warm sheet or blanket too. You can eat, drink and rest now! If you’re holding your baby, be sure to talk to them—they already know your voice, and they’ll be soothed by the familiar sound. Take some time just the two or three of you, even if you have friends and family waiting outside for an update.
After a few hours, depending on the hospital, you’ll be transferred to a postpartum room.
If you want to breastfeed but it isn’t coming easily, you can request a lactation consultant. Our hospital has several on staff, so just ask your nurse! One of the best things you can do on your own is institute a no-visitors policy while you’re trying—privacy will make a huge difference. Make sure you and your partner are using the call button wisely. Don’t be afraid to ask for multiple things at once! It’s better to do that than to hit the button every five minutes to ask for something new. You’ll get more focused, attentive care this way.
After everything you’ve been through, you’ll certainly want to take a shower. Keep in mind that post-delivery fainting is extremely common, and it’s most common in the shower. The hot water causes your blood pressure to drop, so if you want to shower, make sure you use the shower bench and have someone—your nurse, your mom, your partner—to help you.
When you take your baby home will depend on a couple of factors, including your insurance and your delivery method. The majority of insurance plans will cover two days for a vaginal delivery and four days for a C-section. There a few things the hospital will need from you before you go, including exams for you and your baby, a skills check and lots of paperwork.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact the experts at Regional Medical Center today!