Mom has waited nine months for this day—the day of her baby’s birth. She has looked forward to it with both excitement and anxiety and now, the baby is here. This is a time filled with joy for mom, but it is also a time where there is a lot going on. Just because the baby has been delivered doesn’t mean the hard work is finished. Mom, baby and the medical team all have more work to do before things can settle down.
Often called The Golden Hour, the first hour after the baby is born is an important one in many ways. During this time, both mom and baby are adjusting to having this child out in the real world. The Golden Hour provides mom, dad and baby time to get to know one another while the medical team continues the business they must get done. There are still delivery processes to complete, mom and baby both need to be monitored for postpartum complications and they need to begin to bond.
Nature has an amazing way of preparing both mom and baby for this very crucial hour. Baby proceeds through nine stages of moving around and recognizing mom before he settles in for a postpartum nap.
20 Tummy Time Starts Right Away
Unless mom has had a C-section, the baby will be laid on her abdomen as soon as he’s born. This helps baby stay warm immediately after birth and allows him to begin bonding with his mom. According to Health And Parenting, the baby will pass through phases of increasingly heightened activity.
Skin-to-skin contact helps baby’s early development in other ways. It sends a signal to the mom’s body that it’s time to start producing milk. The Journal of Perinatal Education adds to the benefits of skin-to-skin contact physiological benefits like stabilization of cardio-respiratory rates, oxygen saturation levels, and blood glucose levels.
19 The Afterbirth Has To Come Out
After the baby is born, the placenta is birthed. The umbilical cord is still attached to both placenta and baby. While the old practice was to cut the cord immediately, standards are shifting. In more and more births, parents and professionals prefer delayed cord cutting (DCC). According to American Pregnancy, DCC is the process by which cutting the cord is delayed 25 seconds to five minutes or longer after the baby is born.
This prenatal lifeline for baby is still providing key nutrients like iron and oxygen. Lungs receive more blood and are better equipped to perform the task of exchanging oxygen into the blood.
18 Medical Staff Performs An APGAR Assessment
At one and five minutes after the baby is born, one of her first health assessments is conducted. A member of the medical staff will give this baby an Apgar score at each time interval. The APGAR test was originally designed by anesthesiologist Dr. Virginia Apgar and is used to evaluate how well the baby is doing at one and five minutes after birth.
What To Expect, says the baby is evaluated on her activity and muscle tone, pulse rate, reflex irritability, appearance/skin color as well as respiration. The normal range score is between seven and 10. If the baby scores between four and six, she may need oxygen and monitoring.
17 Mom and Baby Will Both Be Given ID Bands
Mom and baby will immediately be given ID bands which enable hospital staff to match up parent and baby when two become separated. Baby’s identification band will be matched to moms any time the baby is taken from her room and subsequently returned.
According to What To Expect, these ID bands are used throughout the hospital stay to identify either patient when medical testing is required or when any sort of procedure is done. They are simply scanned into the system which then connects testing or procedures with results. Many hospitals also have monitoring devices on a baby’s ID bracelet to prevent her from being removed from the maternity ward.
16 Baby May Get Antibiotic Ointment In His Eyes
According to the CDC, most states have made the use of antibiotic drops in a baby’s eyes a standard procedure but, in most cases, parents have the choice of opting out. Erythromycin drops are the antibiotic drops used to prevent baby from getting a dangerous eye infection from passing through the birth canal.
While it is commonly believed this ointment is used to prevent a variety of infections, it is actually only a protective factor if mom has Gonorrhea and Chlamydia, because the baby can contract either and in rare cases develop blindness as a result.
Neonatal conjunctivitis, or newborn pink-eye, is one infection baby can get during delivery, but many misunderstand the purpose of the eye ointment for this as it does not protect against all strains of pink-eye, but only those caused by the aforementioned STDs.
15 Pelvic Cramps Settle In
Even though baby has been birthed, mom will continue to feel uterine cramps—or afterpains—for quite a while after giving that final push. These cramps are a result of the uterus attempting to contract back to its original size. They will mostly feel like menstrual cramps, but they might become stronger while the baby is breastfeeding.
What To Expect tells moms that during pregnancy, the uterus may weigh as much as two pounds. Once it returns to its normal size, it will weigh about two ounces. The good news for breastfeeding moms is the uterus generally contracts back to normal size faster because of that oxytocin production.
14 Mom’s Body Produces Colostrum
Colostrum is the pre-milk fluid new moms produce before their breastmilk comes in. It is very nutrient rich for baby and looks somewhat different than breastmilk. Sometimes called beestings, colostrum is also rich in antibodies, carbohydrates—along with protein—while being low in fat. Science Daily informs us that baby’s digestive system is very small just after birth, so colostrum is able to provide him with everything he needs in a concentrated amount.
Colostrum also has a mild laxative effect for baby, which helps him pass his first bowel movement, called meconium. The passing of meconium helps baby eliminate excess bilirubin which his body produced in large quantities at birth.
13 Mom’s Emotions Will Be All Over The Place
Hormones are a necessary part of pregnancy and delivery. At some point, hormone levels return to normal. Oxytocin, a hormone responsible for contractions impacts anxiety and infant-mother bonding.
While mom’s body was producing prolactin during pregnancy, 180 Degree Health tells us higher levels of progesterone were keeping the effects at bay. Now that baby is born, progesterone has returned to normal, and prolactin effects are noticeable leaving mom feeling more stress.
A new mom may find herself crying more often after her baby comes. This can be due to a drop in endorphin levels. Endorphins are present during delivery to help alleviate pain.
12 Mom May Get Stitches
She could also have experienced a little tearing down there. In rarer cases during the delivery, mom may have required an episiotomy, or a slight incision to make more room for baby’s head, and she will require a few stitches to pull everything back together.
If mom receives stitches, she will need to take special care down there for a few days. What To Expect shares that doing things like squirting warm water over the area during and after using the bathroom and making use of sitz baths or herbal baths can help keep the area clean. It’s also important to keep the area dry with frequent pad changes.
11 Baby Will Slowly Respond To Being With Mom
Immediately after birth, the baby will expand his lungs with the birth cry. Once he is placed on mom’s abdomen, he will enter a relaxation phase, during which the baby will be still and quiet. This lasts a couple of minutes before baby transitions to the awakening stage.
In this stage, three minutes after birth, he begins to thrust his head and shoulder and move his mouth.
At eight minutes after birth, he will increase his suckling and mouth movements, and he may start moving his mouth back and forth on mom’s skin. Periods of activity will be followed by periods of rest.
10 Baby May Get Some Vitamin K
Evidence Based Birth shares vital information on the widely controversial topic of postpartum Vitamin K shots for baby. Vitamin K is not a vitamin our bodies produce naturally, nor do we manage to store it well, yet it plays a vital role. Vitamin K helps our blood to clot. In newborns, the level of Vitamin K is very low. Only a few states require this shot and parents have the choice to opt out, as many do since the shot contains more than just a vitamin.
Adjuvants in the shot include aluminum—a known neurotoxin, and polysorbate 80—a preservative known to cause cancer. Other parents opt out in belief that all humans cannot be born flawed, and that there is a reason babies are low in Vitamin K at birth, and science just hasn’t figured out what it is yet. Nonetheless, many parents still choose to give Vitamin K—either via the shot or via oral drops given to the baby that don’t carry with them any of those potentially dangerous adjuvants.
9 The Nurse Will Press On Mom’s Uterus
After delivery, mom’s uterus begins to contract, or at least it should. The catch is that the placenta was once attached to the uterus and now, that attachment is like a large wound. The uterus contracting helps the blood vessels inside to pinch off the bleeding, but sometimes things don’t work as they should.
Scary Mommy warns mom that while this won’t feel great, it is often necessary for the nurse to massage the area of the uterus called the fundus. The fundus is at the top of the uterus, which is usually somewhere near the belly button. Massaging the fundus helps the uterus to contract.
8 C-Section Moms Will Be Stitched Up
During a C-section delivery, mom’s abdomen is cut horizontally or vertically allowing space for baby to be surgically removed. This type of delivery can be scheduled ahead of time or can be an unplanned or emergency delivery. In any event, there will be stitches, both internally and externally. The internal stitches will dissolve on their own. The external closure is often done with staples that need to be removed.
WebMD reminds moms that this is a major surgery and extra precautions should be followed. Mom should avoid strenuous exercise and heavy lifting for six weeks after delivery. Taking good care with plenty of rest and fluids will make a recovery smoother.
7 Baby Will Be Examined
Along with the APGAR scoring, done five minutes after birth, the baby will be monitored to make sure she is healthy. Stanford Children’s Health states that this includes baby’s temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate, as well as measuring her weight, length and the circumference of her head. These measurements are taken to ensure she is the appropriate size for the number of weeks of pregnancy. During the time that measurements are taken, the baby’s footprint is also recorded in her medical records.
Finally, medical staff will tend to the cut umbilical cord. The cord is clamped off to prevent further bleeding. This cord stump must be kept clean and dry.
6 Dad Can Have Skin To Skin Time
Skin-to-skin time isn’t just for mom! NuRoo shares that the benefits of skin-to-skin between dad and baby are nearly identical to the benefits of mom and baby contact. When baby lays on dad’s chest, it improves his ability to develop neural pathways, accelerating brain development.
Added benefits of what is called kangaroo care include lower stress for baby, better sleep, a stronger immune system, better digestion, weight gain, as well as better synchronized breathing and heart rate. Not bad, eh? Babies have been measured to have lower levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, following contact with dad. This enables baby to feel lower levels of pain and be less fussy.
5 Moms Numbers Will Drop By About Ten
Immediately after labor mothers are often caught up in the abundance of joy and mixed emotions that you will experience after having her baby. You may notice the soreness of your uterus as the nurse comes in to push on it every so often to ensure that it will contract back to its normal sizing.
Also after the first weigh-in, you may notice that you look and feel a lot lighter as the amniotic fluid and placenta have left your body. According to What To Expect, new mothers lose on average 10 to 13 pounds immediately after they give birth.
4 Baby Has Her First Cry
This method may be a bit controversial but has survived the test of time when ensuring that a brand new healthy baby or girl has been successfully delivered. According to The Magical Hour, once the baby has exited the mother’s womb, they usually let out one good cry as they experience cold, sensations such as light, sound, and all the other sensations for the first time outside the comfort of your body.
If they don’t do this within the first few seconds, some physicians give the baby a good slap on the rear to awaken their senses—at least in part from old customs and traditions.
3 Your Lady Bits Will Encounter Swelling
After the tormenting, exhaustive and painful process of labor your body is essentially—for all intents and purposes—as tired as if you have just completed a marathon. During the course of the baby making their arrival it has stretched your ligaments, muscles, and tendons to no abandon and needs adequate healing.
According to The Bump, the postpartum downstairs after undergoing immense stress encounters immediate swelling and may get as big as three times its original size.
This is usually temporary and may subside within the first few weeks after delivery—it is treated with rest, medication and plenty of ice packs that can be requested from the nurse, keeping in mind that ice can limit swelling initially but will delay healing after the first day or two postpartum.
2 Baby Adapts To Gravity
In utero, while the developing fetus does experience some sense of spatial awareness and gravity, it is relatively small in comparison to what it will encounter once in the real world. Inside the womb, they had the protection of the surrounding amniotic fluids and placenta to protect them from losing their center of balance.
According to Midwifery Today, though as the baby emerges from their mother they begin to develop their vestibular impulses which are responsible for adapting to the gravity of their new environment and establishing their equilibrium. Later on, as they develop, this will be responsible for their sense of coordination and ability to walk or stand.
1 Mom Will Sweat A lot
While in labor, especially if you chose to undergo receiving an intravenous epidural, you may have experienced a variety of sensations such as cold spell, shivering, heat flashes and teeth chattering. This is due to the extremely high levels of estrogen, oxytocin, and prostaglandins that aided in the birthing process. According to What To Expect, once the mother delivers the baby, your hormone levels make another shift to the other end of the spectrum.
It may be startling at first but immediately after birth your estrogen levels drop at record rates and cause profuse sweating as your temperature makes adjustments.
References: Stanford Children's, Health And Parenting, Fit Pregnancy, Baby Center, What To Expect, Parents, Children's Hospital, NCT, Women's Health, NCBI, American Pregnancy, Childrens MD, CDC, Science Daily, Your Hormones, 180 Degree Health, Mama Shine, WebMD, Evidence Based Birth, Pediatrics, Scary Mommy, The Bump, What To Expect, Midwifery Today, The Magical Hour