Preparing for a baby is an exciting time for a parent. There is nothing like the feeling of buying a crib, diapers, or tiny little clothes for your newborn to wear! However, in addition to preparing for the birth of the child, parents also need to prepare for the hours immediately after the birth of the child.
As soon as your child is born, he/she will go through a series of tests to ensure that he/she is healthy. These steps differ from hospital to hospital, but below is some information about the process to ensure that your time in the hospital is joyful and less overwhelming.
First Few Minutes
In the first few minutes after your baby’s arrival, the doctor or nurse will use a suction to clear the mucus and fluid from his/her nose and mouth so that she/he can breathe.
The doctor or nurse will then cut the umbilical cord and then determine the child’s Apgar score. If your baby’s score is low, more tests will be done. There’s no reason to be worried, though. Many babies with low scores turn out to be happy and healthy. Soon after this time, the mother will get stiches if necessary.
Your baby will then be weighed and measured while the mother delivers the placenta. The nurse will clean the baby and place him/her in a baby warmer until he/she can maintain his/her own temperature.
Within the first hour, the baby will receive an antibiotic eye ointment to prevent eye infections and will receive a vitamin K shot to prevent blood from clotting. Even if you’ve had a C-section, you will be encouraged to try breastfeeding at this time, provided there are no complications. If there are complications, the doctor may send the baby to the neonatal intensive-care unit (NICU) due to risk of infection or premature birth.
Hours 2 – 3
Around the 2- to 3-hour mark, all your baby’s tests should be completed and you two can spend time together. The nurse should check-in to see how well the two of you are doing. The nurse will also need to check the baby’s body to make sure his/her body has formed properly.
Hours 4 – 22
During this span of time, you will be learning how to care for your newborn. You will likely help the nurse bathe the child and change his/her diaper after the first bowel movement. The staff will also educate you in wrapping and holding the baby. The mother will breastfeed the child every 2 to 3 hours.
Hours 23 – 24
The baby will go through a number of other tests, including one for risk factors of infection, jaundice, sickle cell anemia and phenylketonuria (PKU). If the test results come out negative, more tests will be done and the proper procedures will take place.
Before You Go Home
If the mother had a routine vaginal delivery, the woman will stay at the hospital for 24 to 48 hours. If the mother had a C-sections, she will usually remain at the hospital for 3 or 4 days. Before you leave, the child will have a hearing test. Around this time, your baby may appear smaller. Don’t worry though – fluid is moving throughout his body is causing a dip in his/her weight. This is normal.
After you’ve been released from the hospital, the hospital will confirm that you have a car seat which is legal in all 50 states. Before leaving, make sure you report the birth to your insurance and schedule your next doctor appointment for you and the baby.
Leslie Perez enjoys writing about beauty and health. She is dedicated to living a life that is full of happiness that comes from living healthfully. Aside from writing about makeup routines and healthful eating- she enjoys writing about exercise, especially for pregnant woman.