After your baby is born, there are a series of checks and procedures that need to be carried out to make sure they’re in good health. It’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with them as soon as possible.
Your baby’s umbilical cord will be clamped and cut, and you will be given care instructions for the cord stump before you leave the hospital. Ankle and wrist bands will be given to your baby with identification details that will be checked with you. They will also get a security tag on their leg along with their ankle bracelet.
If you and baby are in good health, skin-to-skin contact will happen for about 60 minutes. This will help bonding and promote breastfeeding, while encouraging normal infant heart rate and breathing patterns.
The Basic Examination
Following on from skin-to-skin contact, your baby will be weighed and examined by the midwife. They will check toes, fingers, fontanelles, the spine, and for palmer creases on the palm of your child’s hand.
Don’t worry if your baby is a little bit blue when they are born, as the colour can take a while to come to their little bodies. They also may have a conical shaped head as they navigate through the birth canal, and it will settle into a regular shape in a day or so.
Your healthcare professional will carry out the APGAR test one minute and then five minutes after birth. Reflexes, skin colour, muscle tone, breathing and heart rate are checked and a baby should get a seven or higher if they are in good health. A baby with a very low score means your baby will need medical attention. A paediatrician will be present to do a comprehensive check, and if your baby needs bloods they will be brought to a neonatal unit for swab tests, urine and blood samples and in some cases a spinal tap.
Intravenous antibiotics will be given for 48 hours until all tests come back clear.
Some babies will require an early feed and will have no problem latching, however some might be too tired to be interested in feeding. You can discuss this with your midwife or healthcare professional.
Looking After Yourself
The midwife will check your condition, and examine your vagina for tears. You may also need sutures after delivery of the placenta, and your blood pressure will be monitored. Your healthcare team will also ensure your blood loss is at a normal level.
Tips For At Home
- Try your best to persist with breastfeeding if that’s what you have planned. The midwife can help you with this while you’re still in the hospital.
- Keep hydrated and eat lots of fibre to prevent constipation.
- Have a couple of showers daily to help heal tears.
- Try and rest when your baby is sleeping.
- Ensure you take painkillers if it’s recommended so you can go about your day feeling as well as possible.
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