This article will fully prepare you for what happens after giving birth in a hospital so you will know exactly what to expect after your baby is born.
You will probably be as prepared as you can be for the birth of your baby. However, have you given any thought to what will happen after you have given birth in a hospital or birthing centre.
This step by step guide takes you through what happens after giving birth to your baby. What happens in the delivery room after birth, what checks you and your baby will receive, and what happens before you are discharged.
This article discusses what will happen in hospital after a vaginal birth.
What happens After Giving Birth
Immediately After You Give Birth
Skin to skin contact – Your baby will be placed on your chest or tummy directly after the birth. Skin to skin contact has benefits for both you and your baby. It triggers a hormonal response in you that can help with the bonding process, and gives you an overwhelming feeling of love.
Your baby has been through quite an ordeal and skin to skin contact helps to reassure them as your body is warm, they can hear your heartbeat and will recognise your voice if you talk to them.
Skin to skin contact also helps to regulate baby’s heartbeat, breathing, and blood sugar levels.
Your baby will be examined – A series of routine tests will be carried out on your baby straight after they are born.
The first test is the Apgar score. This test evaluates your baby’s condition quickly.
A – Appearance
P – Pulse
G – Grimace
A – Activity
R – Respiration
Your baby’s heartbeat, breathing, muscles, skin colour and reflexes will be checked. A score is given for each point with a total of 10. A score of 7 or above is considered normal.
The test will be given at 1 minute after birth then again at 5 minutes.
Your baby will be weighed and measured and the fontanelle will be checked. The fontanelle is the soft spot on top of baby’s head where the skull bones have not yet fused together.
You will deliver the placenta – The placenta has nourished your baby while it has been in the womb. It is attached to your baby by the umbilical cord and will soon follow after the baby is born.
After the birth of your baby you will continue Fo feel mild contractions which are pushing the placenta forward. You may be asked to push to ensure a quick delivery. The placenta will usually be delivered within 5 to 60 minutes after the birth of your baby.
Once delivered the placenta will be examined to ensure it is complete. Any placenta left in the womb needs to be removed as it can caused bleeding and other serious side effects.
You will be examined – After the delivery of the placenta you will be examined for any vaginal tears or you may have had an episiotomy. Any lacerations will be repaired under a local anaesthetic.
You will usually stay in the delivery room for around 2 hours and will then be transferred to a postpartum room.
After Transfer To The Postpartum Room
You will be made comfortable – Once you have been moved to the postpartum room you will have the chance to freshen up and change your clothes. You may have a shower if you feel up to it. You will need to use a postpartum pad and underwear as you will be bleeding quite heavily.
You will probably be given a peri bottle to use. You will fill this with warm water and squeeze it over your perineum while you go to the bathroom. Your perineum will be sore and swollen for a while and the warm water will help to soothe it.
This time will give your partner a chance to hold your baby.
You will get a chance to bond with baby – Once you have freshened up and are settled in bed you and your partner can spend some time bonding with your baby. It is important that you take this time to hold, cuddle, and talk to your baby. An awful lot has just happened, you will be feeling overwhelmed and some quite time with your new family is exactly what you need.
You will feed the baby – If you have chosen to breastfeed then it is best to start within a few hours of your baby’s birth. This will enhance the bond between you and your baby, give you confidence, stimulate your baby’s digestion, and help to avoid any suckling problems.
The colostrum (first breast milk) will boost your baby’s immune system helping to protect them from infection.
The hospital staff will assist you with feeding your baby and you can ask to speak to a lactation consultant about any concerns you may have.
A chance to rest – It is vital that you get as much rest as you can while in the hospital. You will be exhausted after giving birth and you will need as much energy as you can get for those busy first days at home. Your partner or the nurses can take care of baby while you get some much needed sleep.
If the birth was straightforward and you and your baby are healthy you will usually be allowed home within 48 hours of your baby’s birth.
Before You Go Home
A doctor will examine your baby – Your baby will be examined by a paediatrician. They will check for signs of infection, illness, or any developmental problems. They will also be given a short hearing test and a dose of vitamin k to help their blood clot properly. If everything is okay your baby will be discharged.
Your progress will be checked – A midwife will check that you are healing as you should be. They will examine your abdomen to ensure your uterus is returning to normal size, examine your stitches if you have any, and check for signs of infection. They will also take your blood pressure and temperature. If everything is satisfactory you will also be discharged.
The staff will go through important points with you – The hospital staff will check that you can install your baby’s car seat correctly, that you know how to care for the umbilical cord, and know how to bathe your newborn. They will also answer any questions you may have. You will also receive details on how to register your baby.
Knowing what happens after giving birth in a hospital will help to prepare you and to help you relax about what is to come.