The first 48-hours after birth
As your due date is drawing near, you might be wondering what exactly happens after birth. Their in-house midwife, Anoesjka Myburg has put together an overview of the specifics of your first 48-hours after giving birth.
Preparing For Birth
A lot happens during the first hour of birth, and it is important that you create a birth plan with your doctor or midwife. Each hospital delivers differently, which is why you need to communicate with doctors beforehand. Delivering a baby into the world is a special moment and each person will want to experience this differently. This overview is a guide for what happens in the hospital room when labour has happened, but mothers can choose to change certain aspects.
Right After Delivery
When your baby is delivered, the nurse will place them skin-to-skin as soon as possible and perform delayed cord clamping. The cord will be clamped between one to three minutes after birth. The skin-to-skin contact will last about an hour, depending on the well-being of your baby. A Vitamin K injection will be given soon after birth to assist with blood clotting and prevent a bleeding disorder. Within the first hour, breastfeeding will be attempted, even if you are tired, as your baby needs to start feeding to let the body know to start producing milk. Babies only need a few drops for their first feed, so do not worry if you think you will not produce enough milk.
Baby-friendly hospital initiatives do not allow nurses, midwives or doctors to give the baby supplemental feeds unless the baby has low blood sugar or the breastfeeding was not adequate to raise the blood sugar levels.
The First Two Hours
Whilst all this is happening you will also need to deliver the placenta, this can happen a few minutes after the baby is born, or it can take anywhere between 30 minutes to an hour. The placenta is soft and much smaller than the baby; however, some mothers have felt intense cramps when the placenta was delivered. You will then receive medication to help your uterus contract and stop the bleeding or have your uterus massaged from the outside. Your midwife or doctor will perform a full inspection to make sure nothing has been torn or will stitch necessary areas.
After 2 Hours
Once everything is in order, you will be cleaned, given fresh robes, and covered with a warm blanket. This is the time mothers can rest and eat, as you may be very hungry.
You will also be tired but still expected to feed the baby every 2 to 4 hours. Each time you breastfeed, your uterus will contact (due to oxytocin being secreted), and painful contractions will occur. The contractions will not be as severe as before, but you will still have bleeding. This is normal, but you can always ask your midwife if you are unsure.
While still in the hospital, you can ask for help and demonstrations on all first time activities, such as cord care or nappy changing. However, some hospitals do not demonstrate these well; in this case, midwives are happy to help. Call your midwife and they will be able to show you a full baby care demonstration.
Furthermore, some hospitals will only bath the baby 24 hours after delivery, as research has shown that the white matter which babies are born with on their skin, called vernix, is very good for the baby's protection of their skin and gives them that soft feeling. Newer baby-friendly hospital initiatives have the baby in the same room as the mother to allow maximum bonding time. However, you can always ask to have the baby moved to the nursery if you wish to sleep for a few hours. But, be prepared to be woken up to feed the baby.
Finally, babies will receive their first immunizations in hospital, BCG and HepB.
24 Hours Or More
Depending on the hospital and the type of delivery, the time of stay can range from 24 hours to 5 days. When getting ready to go home, there are essential factors to keep in mind when preparing to leave. A paediatrician will examine your baby will you will also be examined by the hospital staff to make sure your uterus is healing correctly. A skill check will be completed, which means the baby can breast and bottle feed and that you and your partners understand the necessary baby care. You will also need to fill out and sign the birth certificate. Finally, make sure you have a car seat to take the baby home; most hospitals do not allow discharge without a car seat.
Once At Home
When you have settled down, the baby might start cluster feeding (feeding with minimal intervals between feeds), which can be very tiring but normal. You need to understand that you are doing nothing wrong if the baby wants to latch often and proper latching is essential to prevent your nipples from becoming painful and raw. If you need any help with feeding or are uncertain if you are feeding correctly, do not hesitate to call your midwife.
There's a saying "sleep when the baby sleeps". You need your rest to make milk for the baby but do not be afraid to ask for help; you do not have to be a supermom.
Finally, your hormones will be all over the place, if you feel sad or detached, talk to someone about it, there is nothing wrong with you. Your body is trying to figure out how to get back to normal, and it might need some help. Drink plenty of fluids, to replenish your stores which are being used to make breastmilk. If you are unsure of your diet, there are many resources to help you out – or - give your midwife a call.
About Anoesjka Myburg
Anoesjka Myburg is a Registered Nurse and Qualified Midwife with over a decade's worth of experience in South Africa and the United Arab Emirates. She has worked as a senior midwife in Tawam hospital and Mediclinic hospital before joining Emirates Home Nursing. She also believes in the importance of empowering women and mothers through education and helping them make informed choices about their healthcare and the birthing process. Anoesjka specialises in child nursing and has a passion for looking after newborn babies.
For more information on the midwifery service contact Emirates Home Nursing or call 800 6077464